Arrving at Louis Armstrong International Airport, the jazz tradition this city is so well known for is prominently on display.
A relatively quick cab ride whips past well known locations like LSU Medical Center and the Superdome (home of the NFL's Saints - here shot from moving vehicle).
First stop - The Royal Barracks Guest House - not coincidentally located on Barrracks street (by Royal) in The French Quarter.
Directly across the street, and equally charming view.
And looking down the street.
A look inside - attractive and ornate.
The architecture is truly beautiful here, with one building after another presenting it's own unique structural qualities.
As we headed out on this Saturday night to check out some of the world famous music that is the centerpiece of this city’s culture, I asked the lovely Sissy Jean to snap a shot of me in front of some particularly appealing iron gatework. The desire to capture a moment and put yourself in it is difficult to resist – especially in a city as captivating as this one.
Strolling the streets of the French Quarter is a wonderful way to soak in the ambiance all around you. As a coffee aficionado, I made note of all the places I wanted to stop in a some point during this sojourn.
Soon enough we were raging off to a good time club called The Rock'n'Bowl to catch Dave Ferrato and his Tchoupazine all star funk, R&B and blues band!
Check 'em out:
After their killer set we went outside and met the nicest, chatty and friendly people.
We relaxed a bit, joked around and took a photo or two as well.
But like the best of party nights and the attempt to see and do as much as possible, we high-tailed it over to another venue to catch a very special event.
The big show this evening was a very special 30th Anniversary Celebration of Grammy winners the Rebirth Brass Band being held at Howlin Wolf.
The bands longevity and award winning status is a testament to the incredible high quality jazz and funk hybrid they play.
Opening the show was a duo combination I had yet to experience elsewhere. While one member had the current DJ setup you see quite frequently (and it sounded like he had his own unique mixes, which were for the most part very good) - the other half of this duo was an electric violinist in the Jean Luc Ponty Jazz-Fusion mode. What was even more surprising was how this bizarre combination actually worked! They had the place jumpin' and the sound blended together very well.
Soon it was time for the evenings main event.
The large ensemble were working their way onto stage and getting everything set.
Hoping to experience one of the great New Orleans brass bands, it's hard to imagine doing any better than this.
In addition to their amazing sound, the band had a dedicated dancer on board (on the right there) who entertained the crowd with his high energy and moves!
He wore a dapper suit and hat, as well as a sash with the band's name on it - and waved around a huge feathered fan.
Dancin' man came out into the audience and the party revelers lapped it up.
Although a very diverse audience (much like the city itself) the partiers leaned towards the fratboy and bachelorette set - though there appeared to be plenty of locals there too.
The band played at a relentless pace and in this photo it almost seems like the member on the right there is reaching up and holding a magical orb in his hand.
Check out how they sound:
Performing "Big Chief" at their regular gig at The Maple Leaf Bar
Needing just a few temporary moments of a calmer environment, we headed just out and just up the street to a local establishment called the Corporation bar. They had a great jukebox in there.
Heading back out and towards the Howlin Wolf, the Rebirth Brass Band was now out on the street in front, entertaining a large crowd.
One more clip from them, here performing on the wonderful
HBO dramatic series 'Treme
Find out more about them here:
At this point it was suggested I "needed" to experience the gauntlet that is Bourbon Street on a teeming Saturday night.
It was as crowded and rowdy as anything I have ever experienced. The closest that came to this previously was Saturday night on 6th street in Austin during SXSW.
However this seemed even more alcohol soaked (and puke splattered). It was a hell of an experience, but I was glad to get through it unscathed.
Sunday morning brought a refreshing sense of newness to the proceedings and the lure of a quality New Orleans breakfast.
Such fine appointments and details
a lovely atmosphere
Newspaper headlines of the day
What is in the tiles outfront of Croissant D'or.
Remants of another time.
Seeing the sights and visiting recommended places
And more signage of past times
On a stroll, stopping at Pirates Alley
The great church in the square commemorates a previous visit by The Pope.
And on this day a Bishop was there.
We decided to go on a trolly car ride and see things outside of The French Quarter
The Creole Creamery. Again, with signage remaining from days gone by.
The next stop, Three Brothers Lounge
Back on the trolley again
Street sign views
Neighborhoods just outside of the French Quarter
So many wonderful architectural details can be see. I loved this banner plaque hanging from a spear or arrow. It reminded me of the Lannister Lion sigil.
Strolling through the public spaces, we experienced many wonderful street musicians
and famous clubs on Frenchman street
The decision was made to check out this great band The Palmetto Bug Stompers at club dba
Not only did the band swing, but the floor was filled with many elegant dance couples
The swirl of activity served to enchance an already great sound
Ghostly images merge with soundwaves
Soon it was time for dinner, and we would be dining at Emeril Lagasse's world famous restaurant NOLA
I loved this "autographed" carving knife
The meal. Every bit as good as advertised.
The room. Relaxed and inviting.
Back out on the street, we strolled past cafe's
As well as a pilgramage of sorts to St. Peter's Guest House - to pay respect toJohnny Thunders final residence
The Inn on St. Peter's from across the street
The night's final image shows a full moon rising over the shadow of Jesus
Monday the 27th - Memorial Day
Starting the final day of this adventure off just right - with breakfast (and delicious coffee) at Cafe Beignet
The much recommended and very worth it Beignet
My buddy David Fransen who I got to know when he lived in Brooklyn enjoyed them as well. David is born and raised in Louisiana - it was great catching up with him.
My breakfast. Soooo good.
Out on the street - Croms and Frans
We caught a wonderful acapella group singing and I captured a bit of it.
Ornate rooms with lovely detail
And cool friends to hang with
Getting a Po Boy for the road.
If it isn't obvious by now, I would not hesitate recommending a trip to New Orleans to anyone considering it.
Just go - you'll be happy you did.