One should never rush and hurry and zoom through the French Quarter. (Unless, of course, one is running exceedingly late for work or somesuch.) There is just too much to see, and that does not include just the Big Stuff like the St. Louis Cathedral or Jackson Square or the view of the river from the top of the Jax Brewery mall. It also takes into account the Little Things. Those weird, bizarre, beautiful, or random (sometimes all four at once) things that make the Quarter, and New Orleans, what she is. It is not a place to duck your head down and run blindly. Take your time. Look at things. Look at everything. She really is in the details.
Sometimes, it’s the smallest thing that can cause you to pause with a catch in your throat, to stop and stare or photograph with the hugest feeling of appreciation in the world.
This time, it was age and contrast. I love old architecture, old details. I also love bold colors and high contrast, two design elements that New Orleans most certainly does not lack. This green door with the red knobs was on Royal St., somewhere. I happened to notice this one on our last night there, which made the Pause and Catch moment all the more precious, and somewhat bittersweet.
When J and I made our journey back to Colorado, I couldn’t help but notice, as we breezed through various mid-American cities, just how…modern, or sparse, or generic (maybe?) or clean…most places look. More power to ’em, I suppose. But there was nothing there for the imagination. Perhaps that is why I found myself, last Saturday, taking photos of an old pressed tin ceiling from a precarious perch on the bar toilet.
Or why, not too long ago, when Cootie and I were out thrift-storing, and we drove by an old house on a corner that most folks either don’t notice or don’t want to notice, I suddenly felt this huge amount of comfort derived from a sense of familiarity. This comfort was…well…kind of backwards and wrong, though, I think, but I can’t help it. It was an abandoned house, you see. A wooden structure, pink with white trim. Overgrown yard. Boarded-up windows. Blight, essentially. And yet it made me feel Okay. Just like the view of the old pressed tin ceiling from the loo made me feel Okay. Don’t analyze me, I so don’t wanna know.
(Two months, 23 Days.)