Upon entering the Quarter, I am captivated by the intricately designed and decorated balconies. For someone who may or may not be obsessed with balconies, The French Quarter is my playground. I quickly whip out my camera and transform from the unassuming visitor into that tourist. I am snapping pictures left and right, zig zagging through the streets for the best angle, dodging cars, bikers and pedestrians…I am a camera-wielding crazy woman, if you will.
I instantly notice the street signs and my heart skips a beat.
Something about seeing those tiled street signs on the corners of buildings feels like home to me. Not to mention the fact that they are actually in Spanish and many of them are broken, falling apart or nearly illegible. Oh Spain, I miss you so.
Jackson Square is basically everything I’ve come to expect from a large, open plaza area in the center of the city. It is brimming with artists, musicians, horse drawn carriages, and powdered sugar covered faces (one of the city’s most famous cafes is right across the street).
Then there was Bourbon Street. I almost can’t put the Bourbon experience into words. By day it’s nearly deserted…almost scary. The neons still glow, but the bars are mostly empty and quiet. Plastic beads are littered carelessly along the street lacking the proud, belligerent owners that were decked in them the night before. The beer trucks rattle down the road, re-stocking…preparing for the inevitable mayhem the night will bring.
By night Bourbon Street is vibrant and alive. Brassy jazz music fills not only the air, but the bodies. People are spilling into the street everywhere you turn, dancing and grooving to the beats. Not a soul is without a large alcoholic beverage in an obnoxious looking souvenir glass. The balconies are full of spectators taunting the crowds below, scoping out their targets with beads dangling from their fingers. So, I do what what any seasoned traveler does…I immerse myself in the culture.