Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Old New Orleans

New Orleans took me by surprise.  I was expecting a total devastation with modest signs of recovery.  The city is huge and the half that didn’t suffer the flooding in 2005 is up for business.  I arrived at noon under heavy rain and the scene was frighteningly beautiful.  I stopped in the middle of a neighborhood where half of the houses were abandoned and contemplated under lightning those skeletons of a way of life.  If I was a child I’d spend a big amount of time breaking into these mansions and recreating with my imagination the lives they contained.

When the rain ceased I had the opportunity to contemplate a joyful landscape.  The rows of humble wood houses with their hammock chairs in the porch looked fresh under the shadow of centenary trees that hug each other across the street.

It is a city to be walked, but the traffic was so low that I had no problem to park, even besides the St. Louis Cathedral in the center of French Quarter.

I never saw so many new cars in old garages.

What I like about the deterioration of New Orleans is that it’s authentic.  There are so many houses more than 100 years old where nobody famous ever lived that you have the chance to see the real thing and no just a tricky restoration.

I went to a po'boy shop in Magazine Street and First.  I love this old houses converted to restaurants.  You really have the chance to have a cup of coffee in the same room where somebody in the family dined, and look outside through the same window.  The cafes and bistros in narrow corridors between blocks reminded me Paris but under heat.

I want to age like New Orleans; deteriorating with elegance.

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