Monthly Archives: March 2010

Sunday in the Big Easy

It’s a beautiful day to be on a bicycle in New Orleans.

The weather is in a magical in-between state. The mornings are still chilly and the afternoons warm, but the humidity is low and the sun is shining and the leaves on the trees are an intensely bright green.

I rode around the city all day on my bike. Sundays are fantastic days here. Instead of rushing around in cars, everyone is hanging out. Probably eating. Traffic is calm and the streets are clear. I rode from Lakeview through City Park, then through Mid-City and a bunch of neighborhoods whose names I know but whose boundaries I’ve never been clear on, full of shotgun houses smashed up together like books on a crowded shelf. I rode through the French Quarter, where the people on porches gave way to tourists. I rode out to the Ninth Ward and saw the Brad Pitt houses and the still devastated houses beyond that bright patch of life. I saw the place where Homer Plessy was arrested for boarding a whites only railroad car. I watched tugboats motor down the big brown river. I could smell the beignets and the crab boil on the levee and a man played the trumpet. I passed a pirate in the French Quarter and we exchanged “arrrr”s. I saw a church congregation parading in the street carrying palm fronds. I had a cup of cafe au lait in the French Quarter and passed people walking their dogs or jogging on the path along Bayou St. John. I fell in love a little more.

Touring around the city, it always strikes me that this is a place of both beauty and ugliness, of both sorrow and joy, and that living here is like having an on-again, off-again relationship with a volatile, exuberant, messy, bipolar artist who both paints masterpieces and slashes your tires, who cheats on you and then saves your life.

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The art of doing nothing


If you want to make your kitchen smell like earthworm, leave a french press full of wet coffee grinds on your counter for a week.

Traveling is all about learning new things, right?

Utah is where I was all this time, hanging out with my sister who is in graduate school in Denver. We drove 6 hours to Moab, Utah, which was only moderately charming until the men with the dirt-caked 4x4s in the parking lot of our hotel were up all hours of the night tinkering with their stupid toys.

We hiked somewhere around 50 miles over the course of 5 days in Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, and Arches National Park, camping at night in various places.

I think what I enjoyed most was that every evening, feet aching, we’d come back to our camp site and just sit, waiting for the stars to come out and the air to get too cold. We’d pull out the camp chairs, untie our shoes, open our books and not say much of anything. And while now I’m glad to be back in a place that has more than 1% humidity, I appreciated having nothing to do but eat, sleep, and watch the air turn purple with the setting sun.

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Born to be Wild

Of all the flowers vying for our attention, it’s possible orchids fascinate us the most.

There are about 25,000 orchids on six continents. They are a part of nearly every ecosystem, not to mention most flower shops. They’re fine-tuned to their surroundings, dependent on various factors such as wildfire, soil, moisture, and even other plants.

Some 46 species and varieties are found in Louisiana, about 20 of which are native to St. Tammany Parish.

Click here to read the rest of the story online at Inside Northside magazine.

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