What a city! We’ve been to New Orleans about four times in the last six and a half years including just a few weeks after Katrina devastated the area. Remembering the unimaginable damage that we saw then, it was pure joy to see the indomitable spirit of the New Orleanians when we returned last week. With the excitement of little children, they are preparing for their biggest event of the year on February 21st….Mardi Gras.
What we never would have guessed about this wild and wacky celebration is that the residents of New Orleans have traditionally been faithful Catholics ….which is why Mardi Gras always comes the week before lent when supposedly everyone is expected to give up the wild life and go without things that they want for the next several weeks until Easter. They feel the need to celebrate as much as possible while they can! We could feel the excitement in the air!
Every time we’ve been there it’s been just a day in, a speech at night and back out the next morning. But this time we had a whole day to do our own kind of reveling in this really fun city! We visited the amazing Cafe du Monde started in 1862 which is open 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s mostly a huge tent which seats about 200 is always crammed with people even though it only offers french doughnuts called beignets buried in a mountain of powdered sugar as well as coffee or hot chocolate.
Across the street was Jackson Square where General Andrew Jackson is immortalized in a beautiful bronze statue with a beautiful cathedral for a backdrop.
The French also sent a sent a beautiful statue of Joan of Arc:
Nearby is the place where the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803. It was bought for $15 million dollars which is 3 cents an acre and about the same price as nice house in The Colony at Park City. The US could only come up with $3 million, borrowed $12 million from England and then because of the war of 1812, never paid it back.
Royal Street was amazing. Street musicians and entertainers abounded. The shops were delightful with everything imaginable.
I even saw a funeral procession accompanied by six police cars. About a hundred people were marching behind a woman with a black umbrella followed by a mournful band, just like in the movies. Pretty much everyone in the group looked like drug addicts. There were tatoos and dreadlocks and lots of black and sad faces. I didn’t dare take pictures but there were so many police cars that before I saw the procession, I thought the president must be in one of the shops on the street!
We took a mule ride through the French Quarter and on to an old cemetery where a voodoo queen was supposed to be buried when she’s not out haunting the streets.
We even saw the future tomb of Nicholas Cage. For some reason he is emotionally attached to this cemetery just outside the French Quarter and has arranged for a pretty strange resting place:
Te each his own!
We spoke to a group of terrific Entrepreneurs on Thursday evening and again with a smaller group the next morning on marriage relationships. They were so bright and fun to be with!
We had the privilege of staying at the stellar Ritz Carlton. How lucky are we?
The food was simply TDF (to die for).
Seafood Gumbo, beef sliders and a delicious Po Boy Sandwich kept us rolling our eyes and smacking our lips!
We had SO much fun!
After a hairy flight which connected through the monster snow storm in Denver (600 flights had been cancelled there that day) we arrived home safely though many hours late. The next day we were headed for Castle Dale, a mining community about three hours away from SLC. for another speech. There couldn’t be a more stark contrast in audiences. From successful fabulously wealthy entrepreneurs in New Orleans to a wonderful salt-of-the-earth audience full of terrific people who were also concerned about their relationships sponsored by the USU extension agents in Emery County was about about as different as any two places could be. Our dinner at Taco time was less than scrumptious and our cute Bed and Breakfast on Main Street wasn’t quite the Ritz but it was delightful! Our ride home this morning through Utah’s San Raphel Swell was spectacular!
How lucky are we?