For the longest time, I’d catch myself dreaming about a visit to New Orleans, Louisiana. Ever since reading about it in National Geographic when I was younger, I was interested in the architecture, the food, the history of this city on the banks of the Mississippi River. The colours of Mardi Gras. The smells of creole cuisine. The sounds of jazz. It was something I thought I’d never get to experience.
When we were planning our drive from Birmingham, Alabama to San Antonio, Texas for San Japan, I asked if we could make a stop in New Orleans on the way back. During the return trip after the convention, we drove into New Orleans along the I-10 and while the initial downpour of rain threatened to ruin our visit into the French Quarter (or Vieux Carré in French) we were treated to the sun and that southern humidity for the remainder of the day.
Right off the highway exit ramp, we stopped at the venerable St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 for a look around, only to find out you need a tour to access the grounds. At $25 USD per person, we decided to skip the cemetery. Pressed for time (and the darkening skies), we hopped back into the car and navigated the narrow streets, with me hanging out the front passenger seat snapping away pictures on my phone.
Streets in the French Quarter are lined with elegant balconies and galleries (balconies are supported from the building, whereas galleries have pillars or columns from the ground), overflowing with lush greenery and bedecked with flags and banners. With resilient brickwork, weathered wood and intricate wrought iron, each building is unique and beautiful. Much of the architecture isn’t actually French, as it was destroyed during a fire, the buildings we see today were rebuilt during the Spanish occupation using materials and techniques available at the time.
Our drive took us down Conti Street south-east towards the Mississippi River, south-west along North Peters Street, up Canal Street to Chartres Street, back to Conti Street, onto Decatur Street. We meandered around the French Market including Barracks Street and Esplanade Street before returning to Decatur Street and leaving along St. Louis Street.
While taking pictures, a number of pedestrians stopped to gawk at the vehicle, some snapping photos, others shouting how awesome it was to see a My Hero Academia-themed car in the Crescent City. And yes, this was where a fan parked their car in the middle of an intersection to grab a few shots of the car.
Sadly, due to time, (and trying to find affordable parking) I wouldn’t get to sample some of the food I’d been looking to try in their home: po’boy, jambalaya, oysters Rockefeller, or beignets. But just getting to see a section of this city with my own eyes, does help fulfill part of a dream, but doesn’t extinguish the desire to return. Perhaps on my next visit, I’ll get to explore more of the mystical city that is New Orleans.
View the rest of our brief trip through the French Quarter in New Orleans on Gallery.