Monday, April 30, 2012

Enjoying the Quarter's Character

As we continue our walk around New Orleans' French Quarter, we comment to each other that there is no other city like New Orleans.

But we have a hard time putting into words why we say that.

Some possibilities are presented by

The district as a whole, bound by Canal Street, Decatur Street, Esplanade Avenue and Rampart Street, is a National Historic Landmark.

The French Quarter boasts a storied history of inter-national influence with cultural contribu-tions from the French, Spanish, Italians, Sicilians, Africans and others--all evident in the development of this global port settlement.

The neigh-borhood's stunning archi-tectural feature is the handiwork of the Spanish who ruled--and re-built--the city after powerful fires in 1788 and 1794.

Every street in the French Quarter has something to offer from classic restaurants, music venues, boutique hotels, galleries, and antique shops to voodoo temples and the historic French Market.

And while these are all important contribu-tors to the allure of the Quarter, there is something over and above the structures of the Quarter that calls to us.

Perhaps Amanda Shaw, homegrown Cajun fiddle prodigy, touched on that quality in an answer to this observation: Interviewer: "You have been offered opportunities elsewhere but choose to stay rooted here."

Amanda: "What I love about New Orleans is that it's not just a city, it's a lifestyle. It's more a spirit, really; it gets in people's hearts. New Orleans is such an infectious place.... It's a place that sticks with people, even those who aren't originally from here....

"It's an artist town. Even if they are painters or musicians, the people here have mastered the art of living; they know how to enjoy themselves" (Where, April 2012).

That same enjoyment comes through in the respect that the residents show for the character of the Quarter's structures. It may take the form of small touches, but the preservation of the character comes through.

No comments: