The View from the Balcony
The above picture is the picture of the hotel we stayed at on our last visit to New Orleans. Or, at least I hope we didn’t get taken, we bought it in the lobby. The picture normally hangs in our hall (when it isn’t resting on our scanner).
If you click on the picture to see the details you will see it is on the corner of Royal Street – that is about right.
I promised I would do a posting on the balcony of the room we stayed in the French Quarters of New Orleans, in the mid 1950s. It was no Hitchock’s Rear Window, but interesting from one fleeting moment to the next. We had places to go and things to do, so I did not spend a lot of time on the balcony looking down, but it seemed there were always some interesting movement down on the street level.
No, I didn’t hear anybody in the daybreak hours of the morning hollering, “Crawfish!!!”
We went during the school spring holiday week, which that year the day we arrived was a holiday we had never heard of. It was the day after lent. Which was after Madi Gras.… which meant there was a lot of partying catching up to do.
Brass music was honking and people were staggering and stumbling – which might be ordinary there.
As I mentioned before the pink building we stayed in had been there for centuries and it had been reported this hotel was the one Anne Rice had in mind for the interview in her book INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE.
The courtyard, not seen from the street had a beautiful fountain. Our room was on the second floor. I remember walking down the hall and feel the slope of the hall. I’m sure if you had dropped a marble, it would have rolled down the hall, bounced down the steps to the fountain in the courtyard.
Our room was either two or three rooms. It was very roomy for us four. The last room had double doors going out to a balcony. The balcony overlooked a street that headed down towards Jackson Square, the big church, and the Mississippi River.
When we first brought the first of our luggage in and looked around the room my two boys and I had to go out on the balcony.
We got on the balcony just in time to see an angry mob of men with ball bats, sticks, and I forgot what else march up to just below our window and started shouting. We finally figured out there was a bar beneath us. The men was not too happy with the clientele of the bar. It seems one man ran in just before the mob that was dressed in some kind of feathery-looking outfit.
Across the street was another bar. It was always opened. I think it was opened 24 hours a day. I think it was probably a straight bar. I think that year Rocky had been 18 just a few months and in Louisiana the legal drinking age was 18, so Rocky had his first drink in a bar. I went with him the first time, but he went a couple times after that.
Looking down from the balcony for the several days we stayed there we were always seeing a flow of interesting people: street musicians, paper sellers, panhandlers (I think New Orleans has more than its share of homeless people begging for the price of a drink – who cares about food), mimes on the way to the river front to perform, and so on.
A couple of blocks away was a big seafood restaurant. They had all the Cajun and Creole dishes plus Bayou dishes such as frog legs and ‘gater meat.
I forgot what I ordered and what I didn’t order now, but that night it was fresh on mind. When the food was brought it was not what I orders so I called the waitress over and told her so, in a nice way. She rudely disagreed with me. The rest of the time in the seafood restaurant the waitress glared at me.
That night, at bed time I became deathly ill. I threw up… I threw up when there were no more to throw up… I thought I was going to vomit myself inside out.
I think there is a possibility the waitress wished me ill and either she added something to my food or put some kind of hex on me. I think I have the strongest stomach of my family. They have stomach sickness far more often than I do. I think I was “selected” at our table for one reason or another.
Whichever, I spent part of the night hugging the commode and the other part lying on the balcony to feel the cool air and hearing party goers coming and going at all hours.
I can see the voodoo chick holding her voodoo doll, snatching her fingers and saying, “Curses! Foiled again!”