Now that I’ve been in New Orleans a little over a week now, I’m glad I made the decision to stay in a neighborhood (not a hotel) because I feel in touch with the rhythms of the locals, and local businesses than I would have if I stayed in a hotel in the French Quarter. This is important to me since I’m here for 3 weeks, not the typical 3 day tourist stay.
Near where I’m staying is St. Mary Street. It’s part of the Lower Garden District. St. Mary’s runs from the Mississippi River to St. Charles Avenue. Running along St. Mary are several neighborhoods, which if I had to decide where to say “one side or the other” was I’d choose Magazine Street because it is such a “busy” (all things being relative in New Orleans) street with a majority of the local restaurants, antique shops and art / photography galleries.
I’ve walked St. Mary many times now since I’ve arrived, and the more often I walk along the sidewalks I’m coming to know, the more I like it. Just like I did on Magazine Street a few blog posts back, I decided to take a few shots of St. Mary to give a flavor of the neighborhood.
Above: The afternoon light casts a stark shadow from the Half Moon Bar sign across the face of the building, on St. Mary Street. A few empty tables and chairs sit on the sidewalk because the bar is quiet in the afternoon during the week. On the weekends it perks up a bit more.
On the corner of St. Mary and Magazine, as you can see from the image above, the corner building is undergoing renovations. Two doors down is the Lucky Ladle, a great breakfast spot. I’ve eaten at the Lucky Ladle a few times already. In addition to the wonderful food and good service, the works of local artists hang on the walls, and I admit, I have a soft spot for such places.
The first time I went in I met Bob, a local who eats there all the time. We chatted for a while and he shared his stories about himself and the neighborhood, which was fun. Then Bob let it slip that he goes to the Lucky Ladle so often they named a special after him on the menu! (It’s called the Bob Special and I can report it is completely delicious.)
Strangely, I feel more like I’m in New York when I’m in this neighborhood than when I’m anywhere else in New Orleans, so far. I’ve mentioned this to a few people I’ve spoken to, and they say others say that about this neighborhood too.
Maybe it’s because many people are from out of town and it’s a big mix of locals and transplants, or maybe it’s because art galleries are mixed with restaurants and antique shops and funky looking people walking down the street now and again; I don’t know. But I like it.