A snow storm, a cancelled flight, a hundred alternatives and a generous favour later, ‘Tido’ and I finally managed to join the crew aboard our flight to New Orleans, recently coined as the quirkiest city in USA. I call it a crew, given that we were 16 of us, most of whom were flying together and altering the flight environment to that of a typical Indian train journey, playing games, passing around food and walking around like it’s our living rooms. Sighing relief as we looked down upon snow clad landscapes in hope for some sun for the weekend, little had we known that we would land into freezing temperatures as well. It wasn’t until the next afternoon that the sun decided to pay us a visit and saturate the New Orleans architecture with myriad hues of warmth.
Ending the night at 8 am and starting the next day at noon was made possible with the assistance of some ‘cafe au lait’ and ‘beignets’ at Cafe du Monde, the star child of the French Quarters. The relatively overhyped dessert was made up for by the under exaggerated architecture of the city. Long intricate balconies on colourful homes were complimented with an artist here and a musician there. My camera’s’ and me often drifted away from the crew wanderlusting for more.
An insane hot sauce tasting session, requiring us to sign off waiver forms, called for some thirst quenchers namely ‘hurricanes’ and ‘grenades’, clearly keeping up with the quirk factor of the city. Repeated visits to DatDog and street jazz helped keep the momentum going. The eclectic people on the streets, seemed to seamlessly blend with the context and added to the constant invitation to the ‘party on the street’.
The days turned to nights, jazz turned to party anthems, coffee to coffee patron and colours to neon lights but the people stayed. Everyone just happened to stick around and tune into the vibe as it changed by the hour. Once we started bumping into familiar faces from previous nights, the magnetism of the french quarters felt unavoidable for one and all.
The last day finally had us explore something beyond the city life that we had been combed in since the time we landed. The swamp tour was our turn to bask alongside gators and herons, all trying to soak in the occasional sun. Miles of waterways framed by ‘spanish moss’ drooping lifelessly over muscular trees, was adorned by ample fauna which comprised of agile birds, lazy turtles and marsh-mellow hungry alligators.
All in all a memorable getaway in the land of ‘mardi gras’. So here’s signing off from the Desi Crew until next time……..(hopefully memorial day weekend?!?!)
Copyright Abhimanyu Prakash