Day 10 - New Orleans  
    A traditional sight in New Orleans - The Natchez Paddle Steamer on the Mississippi River    
Minolta X-570 with 200mm f/2.8 MD Tele Rokkor Film: Fuji Superia Reala

Monday was mainly a travel day for David and me. We left Dulles Airport in Washington DC in the morning and made our way to New Orleans. This was my first flight where I was carrying a lot of film (I had purchased over 100 rolls in New York), and I requested, and was granted a hand search. When travelling in the USA, it is worth knowing that Federal Regulations require that upon request all film and film equipment can be hand checked instead of being x-rayed.

Upon arriving in New Orleans we caught a cab to our hotel, the Holiday Inn French Quarter at 124 Royal St, right in the heart of the quarter. The cab ride was an education in itself. We had a woman cab driver who wanted to make sure we had a good time. Her advice to us was "Don't keep your wallet in your hip pocket, don't go North of Bourbon St, and don't expose yourself in public". I commented that this was probably very good advice because I regularly exposed myself in public. She considered this for a moment and then realised I was making a bit of fun.

Given these dire warnings about our safety I enquired of our erstwhile cab driver what the police presence was like. She replied that "Normally if you don't bother them, they don't bother you - but there's always some bad ones". Funnily enough, I didn't find this particularly reassuring. David and I decided to make sure we didn't get into a position where we needed to bother the police.

Upon arriving at our hotel in mid-afternoon, we set out to do some exploring in order to get a feel for the city. The French Quarter in New Orleans comprises an area of about 120 blocks, east of Canal Street and nestled in a curve of the Mississippi River. Despite its name, most of its architecture is Spanish, not French, and much of it dates back to the 1700's. Over the next few days we were to experience many of its treasures and pleasures, but on our first afternoon we were just out to get a feel for the city.

One thing that is immediately obvious about the French Quarter is that it is very focused about catering to tourists. In some areas, for example Decatur St, every second store is a tourist souvenir store. Some are simple stores, stocked with beads, masks and t-shirts, others are stores like the one below, where the owners have gone to a little more trouble to create the mood.


A traditional horsedrawn hearse is the centrepiece of this display at a souvenir store on Decatur St


Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2MD Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala


Walking East down Decatur St, we arrived at the French Marketplace, where a Jazz band was playing for the patrons of the Market Cafe. Inside the marketplace we wandered through, looking at the foodstuffs and stalls, and just soaking in the atmosphere. It was great to be in New Orleans.


Garlic wreaths at a store in the French Marketplace. I bet there are no vampires around here!


Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala


After visiting the French Marketplace and getting hungry seeing all of that great produce we headed up towards Bourbon St to find a place to eat. Along the way, we walked through some of the more residential areas of the quarter, and got a glimpse at a different side of New Orleans.


No room for a garden? not to worry!

Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala
A mighty fine dragster, decorated mardi-gras style

Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala



No need to worry about grand theft auto here.


Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala (selectively desaturated)


Reaching Bourbon St for the first time, I was immediately struck by the number of bars and nightclubs on the street. Immensely popular for its nightlife, the bars lined each side of the street, with sidewalks overhung by balconies where one could easily imagine mardi-gras revellers drinking and having fun. We passed one of the famous 'Lucky Dog' hot-dog vendors on the way, and while we were famished, David advised that they were actually called lucky dog because you were lucky if they had any meat in them. We headed on a little further, looking for a feed of traditional New Orleans fare.

The Lucky Dog stand - We weren't feeling particularly lucky, so we moved on to Patout's for a meal
Minolta X-570 with 35mm f/1.8 MD W.Rokkor-X. Film: Fuji Superia Reala

Patout's Cajun Bistro is situated at the corner of St Louis and Boubon Streets, and is famous for its traditional Cajun cuisine and live music. On a late Monday afternoon the restaurant was near deserted which suited us just fine, and we relaxed in the bar, soaking in the New Orleans atmosphere, along with some fine beer.

A table at Patout's Cajun Bistro where we finally had a meal. This is my favourite shot of the day.
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X. Film: Fuji Superia Reala

After a fine meal of fried crawfish and some crawfish etoufee we headed back to the hotel. David had had enough for the day, and I wanted to relax for a while before heading out later for Monday Night Football. I ended the night at a great bar adjacent to Jackson Square, where I drank a considerable amount of beer and tasted another New Orleans delicacy (well maybe not) - deep fried cheese sticks with salsa. I headed home to get some sleep - we had a big day tomorrow.

Well our first day in New Orleans was a short one due to our time spent travelling, so it was probably less exciting for the viewer. Certainly the photos were less inspiring than usual! However, visit Day 11 for some great vistas as we travelled to some of the great plantation houses around New Orleans.

David looking insufferably pleased with himself because he is finally in his favourite city - New Orleans
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X. Film: Fuji Superia Reala
Next: Day 11 - New Orleans
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