Ever wonder…

… what Santa does on the off-season?

M and I spotted him in New Orleans when we were there last April.  A group of school children gave him their Christmas wish-lists early after he proved — by way of his driver’s license — that he really is Santa Claus.


Ghosts of sound

(143:  Courtyard entrance.)

It is a silent, shady place, with a paved courtyard so full of echoes, that sometimes I am tempted to believe that faint responses to the noises of old times linger there yet, and that these ghosts of sound haunt my footsteps as I pace it up and down.

~ Charles Dickens, from Master Humphrey’s Clock

The haunted theme and I will be parting ways after this post.  It was an interesting challenge and if I had the time, I’d try to stretch it out until the end of the month.  I’m getting back into the swing of life and the next few days will be busy for me.  It’s much, much easier to post a daily photo that doesn’t meet theme or meme requirements.  Less time consuming as well.

I’m heading to Chicago on Thursday.  M and I used to live in the Chicago area when he was in grad school.  I’m looking forward to a week of wandering around the city, exploring the museums and seeing what’s new since my last visit there (more than a few years ago).

And who knows?  Perhaps I’ll come up with something haunted to post.

😉


The St. Charles line

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(139:  St. Charles line streetcar.  New Orleans, LA.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

The St. Charles line in New Orleans is the oldest operating streetcar line in the world.  It has been in service for more than 150 years.  When in New Orleans, don’t call the streetcar a “trolley.”  Although “trolley” and “streetcar” are used interchangeably in some places, New Orleanians call them streetcars.

Rumor has it that there has been a ghost-sighting along Carrolton Avenue on the St. Charles line.  A tourist couple has been seen by a conductor, heads bent together over maps and tour books, looking as normal and as real as any other tourist couple.  And then, well, suddenly they disappear into thin air!

My guess is that they liked New Orleans so much that they decided to come back and ride around on the streetcars occasionally as part of one big afterlife party.  Or perhaps they were so lost that they’re still trying to get to their original destination (hence the need for the maps and tour books!).

Whatever the case, hauntings or no hauntings, riding the St. Charles line is an inexpensive, romantic, and lovely way to see parts of New Orleans.    The St. Charles streetcar will take you through parts of the Garden District where you will see some impressive homes, churches, and antebellum mansions.  Along St. Charles Avenue it passes through a tunnel of live oak trees.  And if you want to visit one of the cemeteries and perhaps find a few ghosts of your own, the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 is just a block or two from a St. Charles line stop.


Beads

(138:  Beads at a gravesite.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

~ Henry David Thoreau

I suppose that might be true for some people, but most of the people I know seem to be making sure they sing loud and long and as well as they can.

I would think that, in some way, living your life without having sung your song would be a haunted life, a life haunted by the what-if’s and might-have-been’s.


A flash of light

(136:  A flash of light.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

Or is that a ghost hovering around her flute?

An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.

~ Charles Dickens


Preservation Hall

(135:  From the Preservation Hall courtyard.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

As far as I can find out, Preservation Hall in New Orleans does not have a history of being haunted.  (Note:  The use of the word “haunted” may be as close as I can get to carrying out the NaBloPoMo theme for the month.)  The building that now houses Preservation Hall was built as a private residence in 1750.  It survived the Great New Orleans Fire of 1788 and another in 1794, making it one of the oldest surviving buildings in the French Quarter.  During the War of 1812, it was a tavern.

Musical performances at Preservation Hall began in the 1960’s.  It was founded as a venue for preserving the history and legacy of New Orleans music and culture.

I didn’t take any photos of the outside of Preservation Hall which is too bad because it has an interesting look to it.  The couple of times we went to Preservation Hall was during the French Quarter Fest when the streets were teeming with crowds of people.  I meant to go back when things were a little quieter, during a weekday morning, but forgot.

Pictures inside were also difficult to come by as flash photography is not allowed and I didn’t bring along a tripod.  The following was the best of a bad lot:

There is very little seating in Preservation Hall, and no dance floor.  In between sets people would come and go so that you might start out at the back of the crowd, unable to see, then move towards the front, and then to the side where you might find a seat.  I hear that’s the normal course of events in Preservation Hall.  The music makes it all worth it.


Real estate

(134:  Shadows on the path.  Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans, LA.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I’m not sure my photos will be particularly “haunted,” but I thought I’d work towards haunting.  Even that might be a stretch since the cemetery pictures were all taken on a beautiful, sunny day.

That’s what sepia is for, I suppose.  😉

While touring Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, our guide mentioned that the tombs are pretty much like real estate.  They are owned by families, and as a family moved up financially, they were able to buy, or have built, bigger, more elaborate tombs.  I imagine it worked the other way as well.

In other news…

I’m glad I had the chance and the time to enjoy yesterday’s sunshine.  We woke up to heavy rains again this morning and it looks like it will be raining for most of the day.

M and I went to the Akron Art Museum last night to see a couple of exhibits.  M wanted to see Rethinking Art:  Objects and Ideas from the 1960’s and 70’s.  It’s a small but interesting exhibit that ends on October 4th.  We had to pass through Familiar Faces:  Chuck Close in Ohio Collections exhibit and ended up spending more time there than we thought we would.  Some of the things he did to create his portraits and self-portraits were, to me, pretty amazing.

I enjoyed the Helen Levitt exhibition.  Helen Levitt was a photographer who took most of her shots on the streets of New York City, capturing people doing the things that people do (living, working, playing, etc.).  I found some of her images amazing and would love to see more someday.

We followed up our museum visit with a trip to Kent and the Water Street Tavern to check out Cajun Dave’s which recently opened there.  M had the Shrimp Creole and I had the Crawfish Monica.  I first had Crawfish Monica at JazzFest in New Orleans this past April.  It was some yummy stuff.  Cajun Dave’s didn’t disappoint.  Their Crawfish Monica was also yummy.  It’s not a sit-down type of restaurant.  You order at the window and they’ll bring your food to your table or the bar (if you’re sitting at the bar).  The food comes on plastic (disposable) plates with plastic forks.  Both the prices (a bit high) and the plastic remind me of JazzFest.  However, I did enjoy my dinner so I’m not complaining.  In fact, I’d like to go back and try their muffeletta.