Clang, Clang, Clang!
Quick, push the buzzer for the Chartres Street stop! We've got a short educational field-trip on our way to the French Market.
This is the Williams Research Center at 410 Chartres St., where Evie's mother works. In reality, it is the research center for The Historic New Orleans Collection on Royal St., where I am gainfully employed. If you want to learn anything-- and I do mean anything, from old city directories to Storyville bluebooks-- about the history of New Orleans, this is the place to come and do your research. We even have an online catalog now, where the thousands of items yours truly has scanned/shot over the years are visible to the public. Right now some of my favorite oil paintings are on display in the foyer.
Yes, I know it's a bit formal, but it's air-conditioned. Suck in the cool air now, cause we walkin' the rest of the way to the Market.
Oh, look, there's St Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in the U.S., and Jackson Square! Almost exactly the same as it was in the late 1800s, when our heroine visits it for the second time.
It is not usually this crowded in August. Be prepared to spend about $20 on street musicians. Some are good, some are great, and some make you turn around and walk the other way. But we are on a strict schedule and won't be deterred by anyone or anything. Except a beignet.
Across the street as we pass through the square is Cafe du Monde, which, as Evie learns the hard way, has been in the same spot since the 1860s. Man, look at the line already! Okay, maybe some of those people are waiting to cross the street to the square, but even at 8am the line is out the door. (Shhh... The powdered sugar on the beignets contains crack.)
Well, now that we're covered in powdered sugar and drank our chicory coffee, we've only got a few more blocks till we get to the French Market. And here we are!
I know it looks a little daunting, but once you get inside, well... okay, it's still a little overwhelming when it's crowded, as you can see:
First you'll find every brand of hot sauce available in the south, and boy, do we like it hot! Then there's an area for fresh produce and other Louisiana food specialties. But then we continue to the "flea market", where retailers of jewelry, luggage, clothing, hats and other items crowd in, vying for attention:
It can get really full and really hot REALLY fast, but you can get really cheap sterling silver jewelry and prints by local artists if you look hard enough. Though this is the setting where my novel opens, our tour stops here, for now. Lord, I need a cold-drink, then let's get back on the streetcar and head back home. But don't pick up any strange tarot cards...
Till next time!
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