The members of the House of Bourbon would turn in their graves if reports reached them from the other world of what became the street named in their name, in the recently founded Nouvelle Orleans.
Dusk after dusk, as the sky darkens above the skyscrapers and pioneering streetcars of Canal St., the lush neon lights of Bourbon Street accentuate.
A horde of revelers who want to decompress and celebrate life invade it, even if it means damaging their health. Little by little, a cannabis aroma spreads.
The bars serve drinks after drinks, from simple beers to New Orleans' most famous cocktails: the Sazerac, the city's official drink.
Os daiquiris locals, the Ramos Gin Fizz and the centuries-old Absynthe Frappes, invented at the Old Absynthe House, one of the city's unmissable “drinking fountains”.
Bourbon Street: the New Orleans of Endless Night
On Bourbon Street, not all drinks became popular due to their elegance and subtlety.
We come across passers-by drinking Hurricanes. Others, sip from Hand Grenades.
Legally served in a mere five French Quarter bars, this blend of vodka, rum, gin and melon liqueur generates a euphoria befitting the surrounding atmosphere.
On Saints game days – the local American football team – the city dresses in gold. As we witnessed in the festive “Upper Quarter Bar”, drink, toast and celebrate with the cadence of each touchdown got.
From bar to bar, dozens of bands and musicians create a growing communal intoxication.
We found a little bit of everything. Piano duets, piercing hard-rock, country music, exhibitions of drag queens in rainbow bars.
And, a short distance away, at The Jazz Playhouse, an even more naked and daring burlesque.
The musical amalgam is renewed. It's back to shuffling around in the bars and stages of the new popular nightlife in Orleans, Frenchmen Street.
Located on the edge of the French Quarter, with its elegant colorful villas, equipped with cast iron balconies and terraces, and interior patios set between walls.
The Cradle and the American Home of Jazz
If we stick to Bourbon, we can still travel through the XNUMXth century jazz of New Orleans.
This is the “old” style that we watch Richard Piano Scott and his band play at the Fritzels Jazz bar, inspired by many of the renowned bands that passed through Preservation Hall during the XNUMXth century.
In an era in which racial segregation was legalized after the American Civil War, this emblematic room hosted performances by pioneers such as Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, and bands, some multiracial, that performed to an enthusiastic mixed audience.
They are also praised by the National Historic Jazz Park, created side by side with Congo Square.
The latter is the open, green space where, during the XNUMXth century, colored inhabitants, whether slaves or already free, met, traded with each other, danced and played drums considered the precursors of jazz.
There they also carried out African rituals later linked to voodoo, another of the cultural esotericisms in which New Orleans became prolific and which the new tourist agents integrated into a panoply of tours. Themed:
But, let's return to Preservation Hall.
This hall of winds and percussion has survived segregation and time. It has become a jazz temple of integration and multiculturalism.
This, in the same context in which, in the second half of the XNUMXth century, thousands of musicians other parts of the US., they began to see New Orleans as a safe haven for their talents.
One of the theories behind the nickname “The Big Easy” from the city argues, in fact, that it came from the ease with which musicians found jobs.
The other, still current, resulted from the feeling of relaxation, hedonism and creativity transmitted by residents.
Flagboy Giz and the New Music of New Orleans
Emerging talents like Flagboy Giz immortalize old New Orleans, who makes all his songs celebrations of his indigenous ancestry, the genuine life of the city, the spectacularity of Mardi Gras
and the moving musicians of the First Lines, entertainers of events and events, from birthdays and weddings to funerals.
As Flagboy Giz sings “I fell in love at the second line".
The most famous of the Flagboys fell in love in a procession that followed one of these walking bands.
New Orleans Street Artists
For all purposes, the category includes “entrepreneurs”, and craftspeople and Bourbon Street opportunists.
The masked Darth Vader who plays Céline Dion.
The man with the pin dressed as a pirate, accompanied by a skeleton, who massacres his neck while posing upside down.
The couple who own Burmese pythons who offer them for selfies and petting.
Children playing percussion on sets of buckets. A group of breakdancers who, between performances, practices American football passes.
Another talent to recognize is that, when old people enter, they ask for 20 dollars to tell dirty jokes.
These are examples.
On any given night, Bourbon Street and the surrounding area host countless performances of the most diverse styles.
As does Jackson Square, the riverside heart of New Orleans.
French, briefly, Spanish: the Colonial Genesis of New Orleans
Above all, in front of its Cabildo, the most exuberant Hispanic building, erected between 1763 and 1803.
During this period, as a result of unusual negotiations, the Spanish governed Louisiana. The British had just recovered the colony from the French, after defeating them in the Seven Years' War.
Soon, as compensation for Florida's integration into the British Empire, they ceded it to the Spanish Empire.
In addition to the Cabildo, the Spanish rebuilt the French church of St. Louis, destroyed by the Great Fire of 1788. After half a decade, the church was promoted to the cathedral diocese of New Orleans.
It is one of the oldest churches in continuous use in the USA
Challenging the catholicity of the place, a community of palm readers, tarot readers and the like settles there.
On days of excessive competition, they even extend their convenient prophecies to sections of Bourbon Street.
Andrew Jackson, Jackson Square and the Sweet Magnetism of Café du Monde
On a historical rather than a futurological level, the equestrian statue of General Andrew Jackson stands out in the adjacent garden.
Jackson earned the status of a controversial American hero, praised by admirers for his role in the territorial expansion and consolidation of the United States.
He was elected the seventh president of the USA. He held the position from 1829 to 1837. He died in 1845.
Less than two decades later, a few dozen meters from the monument that honors him, on the edge of the Mississippi, the “Coffee of the world”, another of the Frenchized brand images of Old Carré from New Orleans.
For the convenience of your “beignets” accompanied by coffee-chicory, we adapted it as a favorite stop when recovering from the several dozen kilometers we walked in the city. Apart from the traditional snack, the “Coffee of the world” captivate us with delightful expressions of social harmony.
Typically, a street artist there entertains customers with interpretations of famous North American songs. The unexpected comes from the special appearances.
When less busy, employees offer to replace you and sing one or two of their favorite songs, at times, accompanied by customers.
But the beignet is also an expression, with a rich sugary flavor and texture, of the prolific gastronomy of New Orleans.
The Gastronomy and Prodigious Restaurants of “The Big Easy”
Unlike so many other areas of tasteless, too-fast food in the USA, the Mississippi Crescent City assimilated successive recipes brought by the French, the Spanish, African slaves, Creole and Cajun people – descendants of French-Canadians settled in the areas bayous – of Italians and many others who later migrated there.
Thus, gumbo, jambalaya, stewed crayfish and well-garnished sandwiches such as Po-Boys and “Sicilian” sandwiches were improved. muffalletas.
While it is true that dozens of establishments advertise them, only a few, with an age and spaces befitting the historical richness of New Orleans, serve them perfect or almost perfect.
These include the restaurant elders Muriel's, located in a mid-1856th century building, and Tujague's, a restaurant established in XNUMX and long renowned.
The Mississippi Crescent City
Like everything else, settlers, traders, raiders, and immigrants arrived at the city via the winding Mississippi.
We admired it from the Vue Orleans panoramic top, from the riverside and on board the steamship “Creole Queen”, one of three that delight outsiders with the experience of sailing the Mississippi the old-fashioned way.
Situated just above the mouth of the United States' main river artery, New Orleans occupies the same pivotal position.
Reason for dozens of battles and conflicts, before and after the American Civil War, whose outcome made the end of Slavery possible, as well as libertarian progressivism that continues to favor The Big Easy.
1 – Miami
2 – New Orleans
HOW TO GO
Book the flight Lisbon – Miami (Florida), United States, with TAP: flytap.com for from €820.
From Miami, you can take the connection to New Orleans (1h30) for, from €150, round trip.
Where to stay:
The Mercantile Hotel:
Tel.: +1 504 558 1914-1914