When people think of New Orleans and the French Quarter, the oldest section of the city, they picture Mardi Gras– loud raucous drunks and a cacophony of jazz and strip joints. To a certain extent this is true and if you read my “I Live in a Theme Park”, you know why. However, there is a romantic, mellow kind of side to the Quarter too. One usually finds it at its best at dusk.
A good sunset over Bourbon Street is born high in the sky above the buildings and sinks slowly where the chimney sweeps forage for insects. The display can be a long one or a flash. This evening, layers of aqua, orange, pink,indigo,violet and mauve with a few lilac and cream streaks entertained your heat fogged brain for what seemed like a good hour. The colors kept changing and reinventing themselves. It was like you dipped a brush in orange day-glo paint and suddenly changed your mind and hit it with flamingo pink and rainslicker yellow, splashing a sunwash over the sky. High above, the tiny bat-like birds flittered and chanted an eerie shrill call reminiscent of the famous Hitchcock movie.
Then, nature put on a light show! A dark speck of midnight blue over the horizon on the lake threw lightening bolts towards the sinking sun, snake-like silver and gold flashes like fireworks! Hardly any thunder was to be heard, just the usual French Quarter sounds– the birds, a mule drawn buggy click clacketing full of laughing tourists, a mellow saxophone from a corner and a riotous medley of Dixieland tunes blasting from Bourbon Street nightspots that never close.
The winds picked up, blowing a light tropical breeze from the south, across the balmy Gulf of Mexico, that smelled of distant rainforests and coral seas. My garden came alive to dance in their pots. 6′ tall orange, scarlet and peach cannas like models on a runway swayed and jiggled with the lime green banana trees. Below, the apricot colored roses, which had just bloomed today wafted sweet scents my way. The intoxicating jasmine and passiflora vines weaved seductively thru the wrought iron railings while the red hot cayenne peppers seemed to laugh and dance like it was fiesta time in Old Mexico.
The Big Easy turned on its nightlights one by one and for awhile I forgot about the clanging delivery truck noises and sooty city garbage smells, so enraptured by the sensual beauty that makes me grow this balcony garden in the heart of this moody city!