If my city had a heart. That heart would be the French Quarter. This 78-square block town within a city, that moves to its own beat, has its own architecture, has its own cuisine. It breaths. It lives. While most visitors know of it. They know it’s famous for Jazz, and Bourbon St. They know of the large parties, Mardi Gras, or the world-famous Jazz and Heritage Festival. But what most don’t know is that there is a weekend in New Orleans every spring that we don’t tell others about. The airport is not packed with people coming in from out of town. The hotels aren’t booked to capacity. Because it’s for us. The New Orleanian. It’s for us to celebrate the treasure we have in the heart of our city. It’s, “The French Quarter Festival.”
As I woke up this morning and had a cup of coffee. I looked over the talent. The 23 stages and hundreds of local bands and musicians that would be performing today. Then the food. Oh the food! For a relatively small city. We currently have 1,550 restaurants open in the metro area. You can usually find something new opening every other of week. There is always some new eclectic fusion of something somewhere. But my personal favorites are what I call the old guard. The restaurants that have stood the test of time. With names like Antoine’s, Galatoire’s, Court of Two Sisters, Tujague’s, K-Paul’s, Broussard’s. With dishes, only New Orleans knows like, Shrimp Remoulade, Crawfish Etouffee, Po-Boy Sandwiches, Trout Amandine, and Gumbo. This was going to be the day. The day of food, music, and fun. The day I would listen to more music then I can possible remember and the day I would get to eat a Galatoire’s Shrimp Po-Boy, followed by some Oysters Bonne Femme from Antoine’s, then some of K-Paul’s Butter Beans “That will make you crazy”, and a Large (huge) Chocolate Éclair from Haydel’s Bakery for dessert. All for around $20.
While I lay here in a food induced coma. With Jazz tunes ringing in my ears. I’ll allow you inside for a moment in time. Inside through my lens. With the click of the shutter the photons are captured in fractions of seconds of people places and things. These are part of me. As I know each one in detail. There is something there in each one that made me click the shutter. Each is the essence of my life, my mind, and my city.
– Whitney Richard