Yesterday, I walked through the famed French Quarter. The condition of this area struck me. Since I visited last year, there was a marked decline. This is sad for a place so rich with history. It’s slummish feel made me uncomfortable. Ladies, don’t walk there alone like I so foolishly did. I recommend avoiding the famed Bourbon Street. That said there are many great restaurants, unique shops, more than enough tourist traps and elegant French antique stores that make it a worthwhile trip.
While strolling down Dauphine Street I happened upon a used book store named Dauphine Street Books. Immediately my brain put on the brakes and directed my body to turn and walk through the door. Wow. I could barely squeeze in between the shelves, crates, and stacks of books. It is like hunting for treasure. So if you love old books, plan on staying there a while. The owner is very knowledgeable and even through there are thousands of books in the place, he knows if he has what you are looking for. I purchased books by New Orleans authors and about New Orleans lore. A true find. I left there a happy girl.
I also found the Williams Gallery, The Historic New Orleans Collection on Royal Street. They showcased Something Old, Something New Collecting in the 21st Century. It is a small gallery but a nice place to visit.
If you are visiting New Orleans for the first time, you need to visit the French Quarter, shop in Jackson Square, drink chicory coffee and eat beignets at America’s original coffee stand, the Café Du Monde. If you don’t go there then you have cheated yourself out of a true New Orleans tradition.
Although the first thing that comes to mind when we hear New Orleans is the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, there is so much more to this lovely town like the Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Lake Pontchartrain, and the Riverwalk—I’m visiting there today.
While I’m listing the treasures I’m finding in New Awlins, the greatest ones I’ve discovered are the people. True, there are some who will take your food order and never make eye-contact. But most are warm and genuine. They take the time to chat and are truly interested in you and your day. Even though we only exchange a few words, I feel valued.
This is a good lesson to learn: it doesn’t take a lot to make others know they are special. All it takes is eye-contact, willingness to take a little time, and being interested in others.