In New Orleans you can wake up in Spain and fall asleep in France

It’s true I tell ya. This entire weekend was a defining “I love New Orleans” moment.

My Friday evening looked like this: two bar stools, Abita Amber, discovering the jukebox-friendly treasures of Miles Davis & Jimi Hendrix, bizarre conversations that only two brass players could have, cheap wine, unraveling the inherent rhythm in a line of trash cans, and a film named Pink Flamingos at a dive called Lost Love Lounge. It gets worse (better) from there.

Cue three hours of sleep. 7am rolls around and I jack-in-the-box myself awake, poke the other two sleepy folks in my apartment, and head 8 blocks south to catch the Running of the Bulls. This deserves a bit of a description.

The “runners” are thousands of New Orleanians dressed in white with red sashes, and usually have a cocktail in hand. Or they’re wearing elvis costumes. The bulls are 600 poised women on roller-skates, dressed in red and wearing bull horns. Oh – they’re swinging paddles and baseball bats.

It’s our way of celebrating Pamplona’s Encierro. You can find out more about the event here.

An hour later, I was eating grits at the Trolley Stop Café on St. Charles Avenue.

…then it’s naptime and a few hours of work…

Evening strolls through and a friend drives down from Mississippi. Dinner is Middle-Eastern. Hummus & Falafel.

An hour later, while walking through the lower quarter, I sit on another bar stool (no, there really isn’t a pattern there) at Molly’s to grab their signature frozen Irish coffee. Suddenly a hand covers my eyes as I sip and a guy belches out “go get your horn!” Turning around, there’s a 20-piece thrown-together brass band playing their drunken hearts out on the street…and I know a few of them.

Long story short, the next six hours were spent second-lining and bar-hopping through the French Quarter with this group of oddballs and a good friend of mine who has just moved to NOLA.
It was a BP protest-meets Bastille Day celebration-meets typical band bar hop-meets Second Line. Crowning moments were singing the Marseille at the Joan of Arc Statue, second-lining to “Down by the Riverside” along the bank of the Mississippi, and drawling out Iko Iko on the way to Johnny Whites.

(Keith & Howard)

The iPhone can be amazing. Here’s a short clip I managed to take:

At the end of the night, my friend mentioned that on my tombstone she would engrave, “I love this city”. I think it’d be appropriate. I suppose I could sit here and make an academic analysis of the whole day… but I don’t want to scuff the experience. I love this city.



  1. The abiding image for me, the one I can’t shake from my mind, is the bull-runner who is a kind of louche, Hawaiian Elvis, on and electric scooter with a shopping basket…

    Your love for NO shines through this. I know, from your descriptions, what an amazing place the city is – hell, I have even written poems about the place, thank you from the bottom of my heart, honey. Okay, Tallahassee can’t hold to it ein candle noch, but there will be adventures ahead…

    And, very importantly as regards NO, ye’re no’ awa tae bide awa. 🙂

    1. Yes, weren’t they so very Spanish? There were about 25 Elvis’ on scooters.

      And yes, I’m convinced that somehow there will be adventures in Tallahassee, even if we have to bring a lil N.O. to it ourselves…

      1. I thought you might appreciate the first few seconds of this UK advert:
        The bloke in this ad is diminutive TV presenter Richard Hammond, one of the three guys who host BBC’s motoring show “Top Gear” (hence the woman’s comment at the end).

        Anyhow, I am totally sure you will take a little NO to FL with you.


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