January 7, 2011

New Orleans. March, 1991

I had long wanted to visit this fascinating city, so central to the writings of some of my favorite authors. So when Nick mentioned he was going to be teaching in nearby Jackson, Mississippi, and did I want to meet him afterwards, well.... I got there a day early (with a change of planes in Nashville and the purchase of a Goo-Goo Cluster) and took a National Park Service walking tour of the French Quarter to contain my wonder and get my bearings. More intriguing was my own walking later in the afternoon when a complete stranger came up to me, kissed me full upon the lips and announced, “Welcome to New Orleans!” OK. Nick arrived and we hit the French Market, had lunch at a small place run by a then-little-known chef named Emeril, walked through the Irish Channel to the Garden District, split a muffuletta from Central Grocery, and hooked up with some friends of my pal Bambi who took us to a gospel concert at Tulane and a soul-food dinner afterwards. Amen. On a walk through the above-ground St. Louis Cemetery #1 the following day, I noticed these tokens of thanks for grace received. And, yes, we saw the famous streetcar on display not far from Elysian Fields, though public transit route 86 is now serviced by a bus named Desire. Imagine.


  1. what did the kissing stranger look like? Was the name eleanor?

  2. Hello I love the travel diary through the ages. its a great concept! Greetings from London!