Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bitches and Beignets - New Orleans, Louisiana

Hello LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers!

My Life on the Lam has led me to one of my favorite cities - New Orleans, Louisiana.  

New Orleans is to me what Sedona, Arizona is to many people - the air is thick with spirits and an almost magnetic pull.  It feels like coming home when I am in New Orleans.  If past lives are a true thing, I definitely spent a past life in New Orleans.  I can feel it in my bones.

After my plane had boarded in Tampa bound for New Orleans, a flight attendant found a neck pillow and a bag that did not belong to anyone on the flight.  Some passengers mumbled that there was a man who came on board and put the items down and then walked away.  I started getting slightly anxious - in a post 9/11 world, I feel like anything is possible when it comes to terror and crime.  

The gate rep kept calling out asking if anyone owned the bag.  No takers.  They took the bag off the plane.  I saw the flight attendants talking with the Pilot.  It is my understanding that it is the Pilot's ultimate decision whether to fly if something smells fishy.  Unattended baggage is something that smells fishy to me!  

The plane took off and I said a prayer that the bag they took off the plane didn't blow up the Tampa airport.

I landed in New Orleans safe and sound.  No exploding neck pillows or terrorist takeovers.  

After checking in to my hotel in the Vieux Carre (Old Square) a.k.a. French Quarter, I walked through Jackson Square.  A skinny, rough looking woman (meth addict, perhaps?) was walking alongside the square shouting at the fortune tellers who were holding court at small fold up tables.  

The woman would point at one woman and shout "There's a bitch" and then point at another and shout "And she's a bitch too."  

I watched her walking toward me pointing at every woman she saw and screaming "There's a bitch.  She's a bitch!"  She would flail her finger back and forth like she was handing out scarlet letter B's.  

Eventually her finger landed in my direction before she even looked at me.  I saw the bony finger pointed right at me and saw her head start to turn toward me.  She started to say "And there's a---" but then she looked at me and went silent.  Her mouth a suffocating fish.  Her eyes bugged out at me. She stared at me, mute and mouth agape.

I will admit that with dark hair, dark eyes rimmed with sleep deprivation and black eye liner and a colorful prayer shawl I looked pretty voodoo witchy.  The (alleged) meth addict's mouth was now slack-jawed as she stared at me with finger still extended.  I looked her dead in the eye and she dropped her finger.  She kept walking.

Once she had walked past me she resumed her tirade screaming "Bitch!" to other women in Jackson Square.  

I'm not sure exactly what about me briefly silenced the meth head.  I must have had my "You don't want to f*ck with me, woman!" vibe turned up super high.  

I like to think she thought I was a Voodoo Priestess, but maybe it's just because of all the women the meth head was screaming at - I was the one who was close enough to actually punch her.    

If you're keeping score - it is now 2 - 1 point for not dying in a plane bombing and 1 point for being the only woman in Jackson Square that wasn't called bitch by a meth head.

I believe that is what is called "winning."

I decided to celebrate at one of my favorite institutions - the original Cafe Du Monde at The French Market.



Frozen cafe au lait, regular cafe au lait and beignets covered in mounds of powdered sugar served on patio tables.  Simple and yet so wonderful.


The Original Cafe Du Monde at The French Market by Night

Cafe Du Monde at early morning

I could hear Jack Kerouac's "MacDougal Street Blues - Canto Uno" being whispered in my head as I watched giddy tourists taking first bites of hot, slightly oily, tender, chewy beignets.  "One moment less than this/Is future nothingness already."  

There is something so peaceful in sitting lazily with deep fried confections and rich, strong coffee observing the microcosm of French Quarter patrons at play.  I felt a calm and relaxed state washing over me - better than any meditation class.  This was New Orleans.  This was zen.    

I don't think people tip well (or at all?) at Cafe Du Monde, because my server looked like she was going to hug me when I gave a 27% tip.  (Which trust me wasn't much money for coffee and beignets.)  Her smile was so bright!  

Zen + Making A Server's Evening = Happy Lily.

When I returned to my hotel, a couple exited the elevator on the same floor I was staying on.  The gentleman turned to the woman and said "I wish they hadn't put us on the haunted floor."  

I did a double take!  

Excuse me, WHAT?  

And then remembered that yes indeed, my hotel was known for being haunted.  I checked Google and discovered that the gentleman was wrong - it was two other floors in the hotel that are supposedly haunted, but not the one we were staying on.

I am not sure if that is a good thing or a disappointing thing!

The night is alive in New Orleans with spirits, alcohol and giddiness.  I look forward to the natural and supernatural adventures in store for me with a belly full of beignets and a non-bitch status!  Who knows what will happen next?


Back of St. Louis Cathedral by night
Stay tuned to LilyOnTheLam.com for more N'Orleans adventures!
Café Du Monde on Urbanspoon
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