And finally I got to the most interesting place in the USA.
I first became enamored with New Orleans when I watched James Bond's Live And Let Die (1973) as a child. Then there was the film Angel Heart (1987) and the game Gabriel Knight. I decided that I would definitely find myself here someday. I was attracted by a stormy mixture of cultures and the atmosphere of an eternal holiday. And I must say that New Orleans did not disappoint me, even though it was half-empty, half-closed, and it was not possible to fully experience the atmosphere of this place.
Along with Boston, it is America's most European city. As you know, the Portuguese heritage is easily identified by the black and white paving stones, and the French heritage by the wrought-iron balconies. Here is a lot of this stuff:
The sign conveys the New Orleans accent well.
By the way, there are quite a few shops selling cigars - another reason to love this city.
Voodoo store. Inside is a bunch of meaningless junk.
Literally a few hours before my arrival, someone was shot at this store (this is the city center, if anything).
Upon arrival in New Orleans, I noticed that there were a lot of black guys and girls of all ages rubbing at the hotels. It turned out that this was resettled by evacuees from the city of Lake Charles, where a devastating hurricane recently took place. The murdered man and the murderer were also from there.
Monument to Ignatius Riley - a character from the book Confederacy of Dunces. This is a cult novel about New Orleans. I once tried to read it, but did not master it.
Lockdown was so harsh that the authorities even closed the cemeteries. Why the heck? What kind of logic can there be?
Although no, the city has been practicing the cult of voodoo for a long time; apparently afraid that zombies will infect residents with coronavirus.
Trams run regularly around the city.
Beads are the main decoration on Mardi Gras.
Iconic Cafe Du Monde, where French sweets Beignet are made. Reminds of Petersburg donuts, but sweeter and with a huge amount of powder.
While we're on the subject of food, New Orleans has a wild mix of Cajun, Creole, and French cuisine. Not very healthy and diet food, but worth a try. I don't really mind seafood, so most of the delicacies passed me by.
I had a chance to try Po 'Boy - roast beef with gravy on a bun.
Red beans and rice.
New Orleans has a Garden District with beautiful Greek Revival houses. One of the most expensive areas in the city.
It’s probably good on a sultry Louisiana evening to sit on such a terrace and smoke a cigar ...
An indispensable feature of these beautiful facades is the Mexicans on the stairs who renovate them.
What can be a visit to Louisiana without an excursion to the swamps?
You drive a little into the outback and the Trump / Pence flags immediately appear.
These are the so-called "bayou". They are very fond of filming.
A bunch of alligators live here. The guide fed them marshmallows, stroked them like dogs and said “good boy”;)
The history of Louisiana and the rise of New Orleans as the richest city in the United States is inextricably linked with the slave trade. The state was once the third largest slave state, and there are still many plantations in the surrounding area. Many of them have been converted into local history museums.
In Louisiana, planters lived almost exclusively on sugarcane (cotton was grown to the north), but the main income was obtained by selling slaves. The slave trade was very profitable, because the Negro population was constantly multiplying and under it it was possible to take out loans, conclude deals and so on. Horror.
I visited the Oak Alley plantation; a lot of films were shot here and I think even Tarantino made a mark.
Slave South Map.
And this is how the slaves lived. The heat outside is such that God forbid. I can't even imagine how it was possible to work all day in such conditions.
In short, New Orleans is the most interesting city in the United States. He's handsome, but dirty and criminal. The French heritage is overlaid with the typical culture of the American South and it's amazing. It is warm here, but the dampness is off scale. The weather often "pleases" the locals with hurricanes and other disasters. But I understand people who want to live here.
I will definitely come back here when the covid hysteria is over.