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It it all started with lost cheese purchased in Santa Fe and an absent water bottle from Australia. While walking through St Roch on my first day in Louisiana certainly gave me some pleasure, the knock on the turquoise door of my pink house in Music Street with the delivery of my luggage 24 hours after my arrival reinstalled my feeling of self…facing New Orleans without my cheerful red travel wardrobe presented a challenge my still Ross River Fever harassed joints didn’t want to entertain. Staying in charming albeit slightly decrepit NOLA houses without the tasteful leopard print flannelette PJs? Borderline insane. And NOT having a polka dot hot water bottle to my rescue when the world outside seemed to drown in a watery deluge? Mon dieu.

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Lost and found…reunion in St Roch, New Orleans. VERY HAPPY reunion seconds before facing yet another day blow-drying same outfit…

Today is my last day in New Orleans and I am part of the smallish crowd hanging out in the ‘Orange Couch’ – the first place / Café which agrees with my idea of visual and colour and makes me want to stay a bit longer…coming to terms with my perception of the place and the reality it presented while I walked the streets in my comfortable Gomez boots….

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The couch this cafe is named after…bright and light and ALMOST red…

My current fellow couch sitters are pretty much what a wintery inner city suburb in Melbourne, Australia has on offer…hipster types in various degrees of coverage…grungy folk and their dogs engulfed in just a hint of ‘Eau de Foul’. While the majority is pretty much swaddled-up in darkish clothes and some rather creative beanies, two people in my vicinity have naked legs with shorts around the middle of their bodies…I am pretty sure there is a light hint of blue creeping in the flesh colour though, so a good match for anything denim and a bit grunge. And the colour of the sky? A feisty grey…not very inspiring but much better without the addition of rain.

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Busy American bee undeterred by rain…found this soggy RED flower on my way to free library box to deposit paperbacks kindly handed over to me in Brisbane by Fiona…love the idea of handing over and sharing…got a fabulous book of short stories out of there…delighted!

New Orleans in a nutshell as this shoe designer has experienced it over a week during January….

Right now, it’s much colder than usual for this time of the year – why am I not surprised? I have a knack for attracting unattractive weather patterns…

The majority of people is astonishingly friendly. Big burly men nod and say ‘good evening’ when they accounter you at night on the street…so I never felt uneasy while walking home late…this was NICE!

French quarter very much a tourist only destination…I did like parts of Royal Street though as just a tad less seedy … nice little shops although sadly it looks like I shall be coming home without a charming pair of voodoo earrings in tow….might whip up some myself when back in searing or soggy Darwin…I am sure I can think of something infuriating while casting a spell….I couldn’t resist visiting the Boutique du Vampyre in St Ann street and enjoyed a lovely conversation with the sales vampire….again, what a polite specimen!

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They have Killer Rabbits though…right where I lived!

There is a John Fluevog shop in Royal Street….yummy shoes from much cherished Canadian designer who has been delivering his magic for many decades now…and THE ONLY interesting shoe shop, really…

New Orleans loves Purple. Very much. I do not. Very much. So that has been a challenge…

The tomato and basil soup with pepper croutons @ St Roch Market is delicious…again and again. Day three so far…

Lots of graffiti around St Roch and adjoining suburbs…made my day when walking amongst the debris which is still around here…lots of dilapidated houses, crumbling structures and abandoned stuff…but shiny new BIG cars…transported me back to my London days when living in Hackney (early 90ies)…and a little bit of Kreuzberg/West Berlin (80ies before the wall came down)…grunge and homelessness very much visible here. Completely different planet to the tropical north where I live and sweat and curse while wrestling with shoes...

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Along St Claude Avenue…St Roch

Last night was a Mardi Gras parade very much anticipated…Krewe du Vieux…a marching parade with this year’s theme ‘Bienville’s Wet Dream’…also the only day it rained and rained and RAINED with relentless abandon. More like a wet nightmare, really. But all in sync, really…

May I present you with an extract of Le Monde de Merde, the official paper of the Krewe du Vieux:

Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de Bienville, dreamed of founding a great, eternal city of gleaming buildings, educated people, thriving commerce, robust institutions – a true world capital. 300 years later, that dream is more like a lurid nocturnal fantasy, full of exotic rhythms and characters, melodies and mysteries, aromas and enchantments. Though it may be a pit of dysfunction, decay, inequity and a thousand wasted opportunities, a muddy, swampy, littered patch of beleaguered semi-high ground, New Orleans is also a rare gem, a deeply fragrant flower, a saxophone solo roaring over a soulful backbeat, a passionate mistress to all who love her so deeply. Bienville’s dream may have been all wet, but yet it flickers on (…) – author Richard Campanella

I didn’t make it out of bed until very shortly before they marched…gum boots kindly provided by Zoie not needed after all, thank goodness. A sea of gay and generally happy folk of all shapes and forms in a variety of weird and wonderful outfits. Hastily whacked on slightly askew towering purple wigs (argh! Way too many of those!) joined much more elaborate costumes celebrating what is known as the most irreverent and satirical Mardi Gras parade on show…needless to say president #45 made an appearance…in his usual less than appealing demeanour but of course true to form…it was rough, crude, politically incorrect and a lot of fun…add in the distinctive wafts of herbal remedies easing everyone into a rather chilled-out crowd and some mighty brass bands dedicated to blowing off earrings while trumpeting (politely) in your face…truly impressive. I made it home with some peculiar gifts in tow…true to its theme genitalia shaped drinking vessels were distributed freely, and the amount of tacky purple shiny beads now in my possession is most disturbing…I might add them to the already impressive row of similar precious jewels on display outside the railing of my temporary home here before I am heading back to Santa Fe tomorrow.

No way I take that cursed purple home…NO WAY!

Let’s have some turquoise for a bit of non-purple delight:

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Entrance panel of my house in St Roch

And finally….let’s end with some DECENT colour after all…it’s about time.

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Rather nice bullet-shaped side car in the RIGHT colour…

And that’s it from New Orleans. Of course not without a link to an artist of sorts…when wandering around the French Quarter (with lots of same same tourist stuff) I came across the BEE gallery which represents Martin LaBorde. It appears he does not have a website, so I added the link to his gallery for an idea what he does…check out his biography here…needless to say I do love the way he incorporates alligators in almost every painting….and floating animals….enjoy! X

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