Monday, 4 March 2013
The Big Easy
On a tour of the city, the guide said that around half a dozen films are shot in the city on average each year - a statistic I found amazing. But you can see why film-makers would be attracted to somewhere with so many visual charms. The city featured memorably in a Bond movie too, Live and Let Die, as well as in The Pelican Brief, based on a novel by John Grisham (though it wasn't a book I liked as much as The Firm, which remains my favourite Grisham.)
In a short visit, it's only possible to sample some aspects of a place with such a remarkable heritage, but I enjoyed a trip down the Mississippi in the steamer Natchez, as well as hours spent mooching around the French Quarter. It was great fun to sit in a cafe, or a restaurant at night, and listen to the music. It's a very musical city, and a quick ferry trip across the river to Algiers Point ends at a terminal close to a statue of the great Louis Armstrong.
The cemetery near to Basin Street Station is fascinating, and the grave of the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau is much visited. Again, full of atmosphere. Talking to one or two people who had been very badly affected by Katrina was a sobering reminder of the way natural disasters can prove life-changing. But my overall impression was enormously positive. It's taken me a long time to get round to discovering New Orleans in reality,as opposed to in fiction or film, but I hope to get back there again before I'm much older.