Saturday, September 17, 2016

Eight Things I Like to Do in New Orleans

Margaret S. Hamilton

For all the readers and authors attending the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in New Orleans September 15-18, 2016.
I’m a walker, a gardener, a birder, and a photographer. When in New Orleans, I’m out and about, seeking inspiration for my short stories and novels as I prowl through gardens and walk the streets.
 1. Audubon Park stretches between St. Charles Avenue and the Zoo on Magazine Street in Uptown. The walking trails are thronged with people, the open spaces used for sports and a bridle trail for a nearby stable. The rookery island in the lagoon is a protected nesting site for a variety of egrets and herons.

2. The adjacent Uptown residential neighborhood is home to Tulane and Loyola Universities. I love walking under the live oak trees, their limbs creating a cooling canopy over the street. I’ve set several short stories in the area. I photograph the architectural features of nineteenth century houses and gardens to use as visual prompts. The pink and red crepe myrtle trees are in full, opulent bloom, with flowering mandevilla vines twining over the wrought iron fences.

3. The Garden District offers grand nineteenth-century houses on tree-shaded streets. Lafayette Cemetery is a favorite of mine. I read the tomb inscriptions, ponder the history of the city, and wonder about the people buried there. The area is a few blocks from the St. Charles streetcar.

4. Magazine Street runs through the Garden District and Uptown neighborhoods. Lined with shops and restaurants, it’s a great place to stroll after a meal, browsing in funky boutiques and antique shops.

5. Julia Street is one of the main thoroughfares in the Warehouse District, lined with art galleries and historic architecture.

6. New Orleans City Park, Museum of Art, Botanical Gardens, and Sculpture Garden, are at the end of the Canal Street streetcar line. I could spend an entire day exploring the gardens. During my last visit in May, everything was in bloom at once: daylilies and stargazer lilies, foxglove, and swathes of pink cosmos. I discovered Lily of the Nile, or Agapanthus, tall spikes with spherical flower heads filled with dark purple, blue, or white starburst flowers.

7. French Quarter: French Market, St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, the river overlook and antique shops on Royal Street, with historic sites nearby. The bustling hub of the Quarter, with sidewalk art and musicians in front of the cathedral. A great place to sit and people-watch.

8. Louis Armstrong Park and New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park. Home to historic Congo Square and the setting for many concerts. A short walk from the Quarter.
    Readers, what do you enjoy about New Orleans?

    Margaret S. Hamilton has published cozy mystery stories in Kings River Life and stories about New Orleans in the Darkhouse Destination: Mystery! Anthology and as a runner-up in the Southern Writers Magazine September 2016 story issue.


    1. Margaret, what wonderful pictures! Made me feel as if I were there. My one and only trip to NOLA was in the early 1970s when I was in college. Went for Mardi Gras, of course. Although lucky enough to have stayed at a friend's house in the French Quarter, I can't say I saw much of anything except crowds. I always promised myself I would go back. Someday, I will!

    2. New Orleans is also home to the World War II museum. I visited it with may father who was a combat veteran.

    3. When we visit a city we usually try to walk as much as we can to get a real feel for it. New Orleans is a great walking city and over the years I have wandered through most of your “eight things.” The one exception is we have not explored the University areas.

    4. I've never been to New Orleans, and your blog has me wishing that I was there for Bouchercon--the city and the conference combined would have been terrific. Thanks for the beautiful pictures.

    5. I've been twice - once in winter and once in August. August heat made me grateful for AC, that's for sure. I loved walking in New Orleans despite the heat, drunks, and naked ladies on Bourbon Street. Perfect day: Walking in New Orleans, muffaletta from Central Grocery, dancing at the Spotted Cat. I can't wait to go back.

    6. You certainly make New Orleans sound like a "must go" destination!

      Your pictures are wonderful.

      Thank you.

    7. Margaret, I've never been to New Orleans, but after reading your blog and seeing your pictures, I want to go there someday, but never in the summer.