I had possessed this unrealistic impression about the Quarter and Bourbon Street before I went. Beautiful houses with decorated ironwork balconies, street musicians playing jazz, tons of photo ops everywhere…Well, not quite true.
French Quarter is the area from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue. One can easily spend an entire day here. Start the day in Cafe du Monde with some beignets and chicory coffee, walk around the open-air artist market in Jackson Square, visit the St. Louis Cathedral and the French Market, get a muffuletta from Central Grocery for lunch, walk up to Frenchmen Street to see all the graffiti in the live music area of the town during the day, stroll down Royal Street to visit art galleries and souvenir shops, get an early dinner at Acme Oyster House or the Gumbo Shop, listen to live jazz at the Preservation Hall, and then head over to Snug Harbor or some other bar on Frenchmen Street for more. I love the vibrant plaza at Jackson Square. Eating beignets while listening to street musicians singing live Jazz is a perfect way to start a day.
法國區是在Canal Street和Esplanade Avenue之間，可以在這裡逛一整天。早上先去Cafe Du Monde吃紐奧良版糖粉雙胞胎和菊苣咖啡，在Jackson Square的藝術市集晃一晃，走進去看看St. Louis Cathedral內部，逛French Market，去Central Grocery買義大利紐奧良人三明治muffuletta，走到Frenchmen Street在白天看看這區的塗鴉，再沿著Royal Street一路邊走邊逛藝廊、古董店和紀念品店，晚上提早吃晚餐，可以去Acme Oyster House吃生蠔和烤牡蠣，或者去Gumbo Shop吃Creole菜，再乖乖七點去Preservation Hall排隊等八點的表演，聽完再到Frenchmen Street的Snug Harbor或其他酒吧繼續聽現場爵士樂。
The iconic Bourbon Street? My first impression of it was: trashy Vegas. I could not care less about this place.
The most fun we had was running into pleasant surprises on Royal Street. Parallel with Bourbon Street, Royal Street from Esplanade Avenue to Canal Street was full of art galleries, antique stores, and souvenir shops. This was where we saw the George Rodrigue Studio of the blue dog. This section of Royal Street is closed to cars. Many street musicians perform on the street.
Antique stores tend to be really pricey but fun for window shopping. My sister really enjoyed seeing the many art galleries ─ all very welcoming. She led the way with her artsy instinct. I did not expect too see an extensive collection of Rembrandt, Picasso, Miro, Chagall, Matisse, and Renoir all in one small gallery. The souvenir shops on Royal Street sell t-shirts that have more design and are not marked up as much as those in touristy shops on Decatur Street.
最有趣的還是Royal Street，整條街上充滿小驚喜。Royal Street跟Bourbon Street平行，從Esplanade Avenue到Canal Street整條都是畫廊、古董店、精品店和紀念品店，我們就是在這條路上發現藍色狗George Rodrigue Studio。這一段路是行人徒步區，大馬路上很多街頭表演，大部分的古董店價格不菲，畫廊都十分平易近人，沒有「妳們兩個又買不起進來幹嘛」的態度，我們進去不少精品店和設計小店，畫廊就靠我妹的直覺，沒有想到在這條街隨便晃晃就可以在一間小畫廊裡看到為數不少的林布蘭、畢卡索、米羅、夏卡爾、馬諦斯和雷諾瓦。Royal Street賣的上衣比較有設計感，也比較便宜，女生t-shirt的話Royal Street比Decatur Street上面的騙遊客商店選擇多得多。
French Market is a farmers market plus flea market. We did not spend much time in the market. Colorful doors and random street scenes were more intriguing to us. It is this kind of moment caught with my camera made me love this city:
Being tourists, we went to Preservation Hall one evening. Visitors are advised to get in line one hour in advance. That was no joke. We were delayed a little bit and made it there about 40 minutes before the 8 p.m. show. Just a hair too late. We did not get any seats. With four rows of people standing in front of us, that performance hall was not very friendly to 5’2” me. A rare glimpse of a single musician here and there was all I got to see in the entire show. Getting in line early is really important if you are not paying extra for VIP tickets. Sitting in the front row on the ground would have been an amazing experience. The seats look so close that musicians could splash on you when they pour saliva out from their trumpet or trombone.
Built in 1803 and all rustic and even moldy looking, this place was actually maintained quite well. Preservation Hall is open seven nights a week from 8-11 p.m. Tickets are $15 a piece for a 45-minute performance.