I first fell in love with Jackson Square on an incredibly 100 degree plus day in June. As my husband and I walked into the Square, I was amazed to see that there were throngs of tourists; and there were families… all smiling, laughing and seemingly oblivious to the heat!
This was their family vacation, and Jackson Square was at the hub of it all. A local brass band in front of the St. Louis Cathedral boomed out tunes with a beat that no one could ignore. (You gotta love what these local musicians can do with a tuba!) A street performer, covered with metallic spray paint, enthralled the kids as he “transformed” from a construction worker into a race car. And Art was everywhere! Hundreds of paintings were hung from the Square’s magnificent iron fence. And the artists, just as colorful as the artwork, were all on hand to engage in conversation.
Carriages drawn by very good looking mules (in my estimation) were doing a brisk business, hauling everyone through the French Quarter; their drivers giving the unbelievably exciting history of New Orleans. There is always something new to learn on these tours, because the history of this city is so dense and so rich. Tales of pirates, yellow fever, ghosts, and military battles will leave one breathless. The beginnings of New Orleans were not easy!
It was at this moment that I realized I was in the living, breathing heart of the French Quarter. The beautiful architecture (built over the centuries by the French, Spanish, and even an enterprising 19th Century woman) is still in use as shops, museums and restaurants. These buildings surround the square in a warm and intimate way, gently blurring the line between the past and the present, gently weaving that old New Orleans’ spell that makes us want to return again and again.
To see more of my New Orleans art, visit: www.neworleans-art.net