John & Anne Wiley

2013/03/24

Mystique

We wandered repeatedly into the realm of magic today. It began with our decision to ride the bus out to look at the Garden district, where many magnificent old homes have been restored. The bus was full, so we each sat with someone else in two rows and struck up conversations. We learned that by going beyond the Garden we could find another fruit: a neighborhood French Festival.

0354 Serendipitous Street

0354 Serendipitous Street

It was such a garden of delights! There was a band playing at the end of the block of course, and lots of arts and foods. But hidden inside the St. Henry School auditorium was the delightful Norbert Slama Trio playing a lilting French accordion and guitar waltz to a nearly empty hall, as if destined for our ears only. And this playful pair.

0362 The Eternal Dance

0362 The Eternal Dance

Walking out a side door, we found this woman in skull makeup turning the Wheel Of Fate for a gathering of kids.

0367 Wheel Of Fate

0367 Wheel Of Fate

Everything was magic by the time we began our walk toward the trolley back into the city, so my eye wandered to these drunks happily loitering beneath the No Loitering sign with their little dog.

0373 Three Men & Dog

0373 Three Men & Dog

After many more enchanted moments that I’ll spare you (and this will still be long!), we were happy to get a seat on the trolley that soon filled to capacity with uncomfortable tourists trying to avoid contact. After meeting more interesting people we’ll never see again, we eventually got to Frenchmen Street as darkness enfolded us and this mannequin welcomed us to the realm of mystery.

0415 Silent Welcome

0415 Silent Welcome

New Orleans is a city of music. Everywhere. All the time. But aside from Lafitte’s the jazz we’d hoped to hear on Bourbon or Royal, was mostly loud rock or blues. Here just beyond the French Market we found various colors of tight jazz in every bar. First the red.

0419 Red Jazz

0419 Red Jazz

Then the black and red.

0428 Black & Red Jazz

0428 Black & Red Jazz

Then the blue gals.

0435 Blue Jazz

0435 Blue Jazz

Next some rainbow jazz.

0443 Rainbow Jazz

0443 Rainbow Jazz

Even lots of great street jazz playing for change.

0541 Street Jazz

0541 Street Jazz

Amid it all, this lonely and all but ignored stoic jazz poet.

0466 Jazz Poet

0466 Jazz Poet

In an alley off the street we found a courtyard jazz artist colony.

0508 Jazz Art

0508 Jazz Art

Anne bought mementos for loved ones…

0522 Jazz Mementos

0522 Jazz Mementos

…as I was entertained by this jazz performance artist playing an angry beaded lady.

0514 Jazz Bearded Lady

0514 Jazz Bearded Lady

One of the tightest jazz bands we heard tonight was at The Spotted Cat, where a guitar and tuba found exquisite harmony in a small ensemble that drew a big crowd.

0507 Jazz Tuba

0507 Jazz Tuba

Few days bring the spectrum of magic that New Orleans provided these wanderers. We’re dizzy with memories, our souls opened by the city of saints so that our dreams can begin to savor the spicy flavor of life here below sea level. I’m reminded of this blessing written for a dear friend.

May we awaken to our Need with the help of other eyes.
Outside our sphere just enough, but near,
That our hearts can stretch to touch new Truth.
Singing what we can barely hear afar,
The harmony of our true nature,
Mingling in the music of ages,
We are blessings each and all,
Rising to the stars together.

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