Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?

Written by: Kenju

I visited New Orleans in the 90's, attending a convention of people involved in the party industry. We had five wonderful days in the city, enjoying all that it had to offer: good food, great scenery, partying heartily, a ride on the Delta Queen Paddleboat, fabulous antique stores, Hurricanes (the drink), beignets dripping powdered sugar, and coffee with chickory!These are various postcards and pics from that trip. One of the most interesting places we saw was the warehouse where they keep most of the Mardi Gras floats. In fact, they had a party for us in that warehouse, and it was an excellent experience. If you have never attended Mardi Gras, you can have no idea of the size of the floats, most of which are huge. Imagine how fun it was to stroll, drinks and hors d'oeuvres in hand, between the floats and large puppets, imagining what it would be like to participate in the Mardi Gras parades. I could picture myself standing on a float, throwing beads and candy to the by-standers, or being a by-stander and yelling "Throw me something, Mister!" to the guys on the floats. (I would not, however, be showing them anything!).

Speaking of the foods, we ate alligator sausage that night (andouille, I think) and crayfish (crawdads) were found in abundance, as were shrimp and other seafood. The buffet tables were replete with delicacies of nearly every description and the floral decor was to die for; such as tall palm trees whose trunks were made from the hulls of pineapples. It was very creative. Of course, when you are putting on a party for people who put on parties nearly every day of the year - you have to be creative and over the top with your decor!

New Orleans bent over backwards to welcome us - as well as all the other tourists who came there each year. I mourn the loss of this very special city with its distinctive architecture, no less than I mourn the loss of its people, who practiced a brand of hospitality not found everywhere. I cannot imagine how it feels to be one of the displaced, and I hope they can find peace and understanding at some point. Vaya con Dios.