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French Quarter Views

A Blog about the Places, Music, Events and Culture of The Big Easy

Retiring to New Orleans

St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, historic church

St. Louis Cathedral

Those of you who have reading this site over the last weeks and months may have gleaned that, although I am much enamored of the city, history and life style of New Orleans, I don’t actually live there.

As only an outsider can . . .

I guess my infatuation with the Big Easy is the kind that only an outsider can generate. When I told someone who went to college near NOLA of my starting this blog about New Orleans his response was “Why?” It didn’t seem to him to be that interesting.

So, I’m not from New Orleans. I’ve visited there three or four times every year for the last 3 years. I have been there in all the seasons. I’ve participated in the festivals (which I written about here) and fully embraced the life style. I’ve expanded my roaming to outside the French Quarter and Central Business District, the CBD, to gain an appreciation of the city and it’s neighborhoods. I’ve soaked up the history and culture. My wife is doing her Masters thesis on the historic St. Louis Cemeteries in the city. We are New Orleans-ophiles.

Now, as my retirement date approaches, we decided to make the big leap and move to New Orleans, committing ourselves fully to this, up till now, long distance romance with the Crescent City.

Once made, this decision spawns a big question; how does one do this retiring to New Orleans? How do you walk away from 25 years in one place and move to a totally different city. My wife and I are not the kind to just throw everything in the back of the Kia and drive there.

Did I say question? I meant questions . . .

Where do I decide to live? What are the mundane things like taxes for a retiree? Will I need two cars or can I survive with one. For that matter, what’s parking like? Where do I shop for groceries? And what’s all this about renters paying the water bills?

So, over the next few months, I’ll share our the experience and knowledge we gain as we transplant ourselves from the Northeast to the Big Easy.

Chart Room Bar : a great find

NOLA rain storm Chart Room Bar

Down pour seen from the Chart Room bar in NOLA

We ducked into the Chart Room Bar at the corner of Chartres and Bienville in the Quarter, to shelter from a down pour. What a find! Inexpensive drinks and friendly people. We sat near one of the open doors and watched the weather until it abated.

 

Sometimes you stumble on a great place !

Loose Marbles at Fritzel’s

Just a quick post to talk about a great experience I had the other night.

loose marbles at Fritzels 1

As you may know, Fritzel’s on Bourbon St. is one of the best places to hear jazz in the city. ┬áLess widely known is that they have a more intimate upstairs space and on a recent Friday night, I got to see the Loose Marbles play there.

The Loose Marbles are much as their name implies: a loose collection of jazz musicians from the city who get together to play. The membership is fluid but, you’d recognize a number of musicians from other New Orleans bands. On this night one of the notables was John Dixon from the Shotgun Jazz Band.

To say they played a few sets over states it. This is more relaxed. They sell some CD’s, they put out a tip jar but, it’s more like some musicians friends coming together to just play, taking occasional breaks. The acoustics and atmosphere of the upstairs room at Fritzels – high ceilings (interestingly painted) and old world architectural details – are perfect for this kind of session. It wasn’t crowded and there’s a small bar up there to keep things lubricated. You can even access the balcony over looking Bourbon St..

If you get the chance, you should check it out.

New Orleans ‘Fest’ Season

festival, Louisiana, New Orleans

Entrance to the 2014 LSF

With Easter coming in a couple of weeks, we see the unofficial start of ‘Fest Season’ which seems to bring with it some festival, celebration, fete or event every weekend. It’s not like New Orleans needs a reason to celebrate. After all, this is the home of the spontaneous ‘second line’ parade !

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