Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Wii-Mas!

Wii celebrate a Wii Christmas!

Wii-ing is exhausting!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop

A bar built in 1722 is supposed to be a little seedy. A little run down. A little scary. And down on the quiet end of Bourbon Street--away from the hip-hop, the rowdy tourists, the gunshots that echo soundless through the crowd of boisterous revelers--you can find just that.

A group of men, boys really with baby faces flush with booze and sandy hair, sing along with bad American 80s music in German accents at the entrance of Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, arm in arm and laughing. But don't let them fool you, just inside, in the dark shadows of the 275-year-old bar, tucked into wooden benches between walls of crumbling brick, couples sit, friends sit, among the clatter of beer bottles and the haze of cigar smoke. They speak quietly, intimately, smiling at private jokes and smirking at the harmless antics of the European tourists.
Inside, your companion can only be seen by swaying candlelight, the flicker bouncing from glass to face to the tired brick in a wall standing only by the grace of borrowed time. The sounds from the juke box fade away into the back of the tavern, disappearing under the sweet, sultry sounds of a crooner and her piano, hidden in the dark recesses, candles dimly lighting the music she knows by heart.
The quiet audience gathers around the piano, one of John Lennon's if the legend holds true, leaning lightly against it, sharing secrets and bottles of wine. The night is cold, for New Orleans, and as people hustle in through the open shutters--used in lieu of doors in the old shop--they breathe frozen breaths and rub hands together while waiting for gin and tonics. They stand close together and pull shawls and jackets around shoulders and waists, touching just slightly, a hand or an arm or the shift of a hip, as to convey a gentle intimacy. Despite being on Bourbon Street, they all seem to know each other and know the place and know the music.
You can feel the ghosts of history, the spirit of Jean Lafitte, in the walls, in the candles, in the bottles of aged alcohol, dusty with decades of disuse. You can hear pirate chatter and smell the fires of 200-year-old iron furnaces and taste the sweetness of smuggled rum.

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas!

I've been sick with some funky air-supply-diminishing thing, so for now, I will just supply you with my most recent round of jelly-fish shots from the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. I may be moderately obsessed...

And for posterity, one of Jonmikel attempting to become one with the fishes...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

View from the Top

Right on the edge of all the action!
And yes, somebody was totally shot and killed half a block from our French Quarter condo.
Nobody can ever accuse New Orleans of being boring.

Traveling to New Orleans and want to stay here? Want this view on YOUR vacation? Check out the rental here!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Maison Bourbon, New Orleans

The low trumpet hums on as it has for years, over the low din of the crowd and the thwomp of the hip-hop beats outside.

The air is stale with cigarette smoke and spilled gin, and the clink of glasses and shuffle of chairs fill any short silence. Low voices and laughter and applause provide the chorus.
He breaths between songs, takes a drink, smiles as he has for 13 years. He was talented and he was handsome, but perhaps he was a little too late, a little too past the prime of the waning light of jazz. He dutifully signs CDs between sets and sneaks out into the cramped courtyard for cigarette or two. Heavy draws, heavy drinks, a night heavy with humidity and one of the coldest on record.
"My pianist is 89 years old, plays every damn day and loves his vices," he confides in me. He gestures in a motion full of daydreams and resignation, a cigaretted hand with fingers curled and relaxed. "He's gonna die on that thing." He makes it sound like an admirable way to go. I sip my wine and smile.