Walking around any city by yourself is a true blessing, especially when you normally travel with kids. Don’t get me wrong. I love traveling with my boys. I wouldn’t trade them as travel partners for anything. OK so maybe a trip away ALONE with my husband would be pretty amazing. We are working on that though. Getting time to photograph while we travel is tricky. My body is literally being pulled in three directions– one direction per kid plus what I want to do.
I had the opportunity to travel down to New Orleans for the first time for the Le Meridien New Orleans hotel opening. It was my first time in the city of jazz. I was getting to do it by myself without the boys with me. There were other writers on the trip, but there was only one direction I needed to go in. Mine.
On my last day in the city I joined up with two Instagramers on the trip (yes, there are people who make their living by posting to Instagram. Go figure!) We had been on an architecture bus tour earlier in the week. All three of us were disappointed that we couldn’t get out to actually photograph some of the unique styles of architecture that we were being driven past, many of which can only be found in Louisiana. One of the gals rented a car. We drove around the city all morning just photographing people and buildings. It was pure heaven. I haven’t photographed that much southern architecture since I was a photo undergrad in Savannah.
After wandering the Garden District, parts of the French Quarter and other bits of the city that I definitely can not remember the name of, we got hungry. We’d had a lot of meat, butter, sugar, and fried food all week. We longed for a big salad or something with at least a raw vegetable on it. We found Satsuma in the Bywater neighborhood and headed on over.
This gem of a neighborhood was filled with shot-gun houses (named for the fact that you could open the front door,open the back door and shoot a gun straight through them. It provided natural air conditioning in this very hot southern region). Hipsters of all shapes and sizes were working on their laptops in this little cafe.
Friendly staffers took orders at the counter, poured fresh coffee and herbal teas, while rushing out sandwiches, salads and healthy breakfast items to the patrons. Our colons were probably clapping after each bite. We couldn’t sit there forever though. The street Satsuma was on was intriguing, not to mention all of the other blocks we had passed while looking for the restaurant.
Wandering the neighborhood I found what looked like an antique shop disguised as a junk shop. The exterior told me nothing of the treasures I would find inside. I stared longingly at a hundred-year-old writing desk and an old steamer truck. I willed them to shrink so they could fit into my suitcase. Alas no. They would have to stay and become someone else’s treasures.
Meeting back up at the car after our post-lunch wanderings we all agreed that this was a place worth further exploration. Thecolors, scents and sounds of Bywater New Orleans surrounded this community that my driver to the airport described as a “kind of oddball mix” of a neighborhood. He sounded almost hesitant, like he didn’t know what to do with these people who had bought up houses and moved in to make Bywater their home. To me, it sounded like a place I needed to hang out in a whole lot more.