Jul 31, 2008


I'm in my hotel in the French Quarter this morning, just off of Jackson Square. It's raining and I'm enjoying a strong cafe au lait and a warm croissant-- flaky, but not dry; soft but not oily-- with fresh, whipped butter and marmalade. These are the things I do so love.

This hotel in particular, is a wonderfully kept secret-- it sits on the back corner of Jackson Square, just blocks from Cafe Du Monde, is small and creatively mapped, but decorated beautifully and was once the site of a school house until a tragic fire, so is, as such a history might imply, haunted to bits.

My room, comfortable and not terrible eerie, is cozy and fitted with pretty details, namely a Ladies chair at the writing desk of which I'm particularly keen, yet I will admit to waking up in the night-- arriving after a welcome Tanq and tonic with Marika in the Garden District-- to the sound of children giggling in the halls. Sound, I reasoned, does funny things, so I paid no attention to the fact that the children seemed near the foot of my bed, despite seeing nothing. An inquiry at the front desk this morning revealed the school fire story, which Marika confirmed.

Bonjour, les enfants de fantôme!

No matter. There is important work to be done today. Namely, the delivering of the very giant check from Pilcrow Lit Fest to the New Orleans Public Library Foundation, and a bit of lunch with the library crew themselves.

But first, I must update you, dear readers, on the past forty-eight hours. I'm not announcing the ScavenTour winners just yet, for there are photos to develop, and film to edit and audio files to upload. So, we'll wait on those for now. (Oh, stop! You'll live.)

Anyway, so Tuesday morning, I left Chicago fairly uneventfully and made it to Memphis. I went to dinner at Stella's, where a very new menu (not quite the one on the website) was unveiled and I enjoyed wild mastery involving horseradish and braised leeks, and a few glasses of Oregon's King's Estate pinot noir. Stella's is nice, clearly a rehabilitated old building, with new, ad rather sleek decor inside. The service was excellent, too. It seems I have excellent luck with positive dining experiences in Memphis, if you'll recall my trek through a year ago May. Anyway, do give it a try. Stella's is on 39 S. Main St, in downtown Memphis.

In the morning, I filmed and photographed a local statue around which I'm creating a manuscript, ran a few errands around town, and set off through Mississippi. Mississippi very well might have the nicest highway rest stops ever, by the way, all furnished like a reconstructed living room in a historical home, and staffed with security guards and information desks. Information desks, mind you, that come with a "Let me get you something to drink. You want a coke? Sprite? Surely not Diet Coke?" and complementary wifi access. Nice.

Mississippi stretched and stretched, but eventually, I crossed into Louisiana, just as the afternoon visible humidity rolled in. Have you sen this before? It's magical. There is a hot fog that sit low in the Gulf Coast, and it fills the air late in the afternoon, in a way beyond the reaches of haze or chilly fog. It's hot, there's not getting around that, but it feels good on your skin and, as the case is with me, prevents any sort of hair modification and forces you to be as you are-- in English, the straight hairstyle I wear in Chicago never survives in New Orleans. I'm all ringlets down here.


wafelenbak said...

I remember that weird sensation of actually feeling my hair float away from my head into bigger and bigger curls down in NOLA.
Happy travels!

John at Hella Sound said...

Okay, the giggling phantom kids would have freaked me out. Hardcore.

Anonymous said...

I do so love a good road trip. I am jealous (covet covet covet). Twelve-ish days until the OKC stop!

egspoony said...

Wonderfully written blog, Amy, you should think about becoming a writer... Wait, what? Oh... nevermind...


Anywhoo, thanks for the update!

Anonymous said...

The rest stops in Miss. Are very nice. My road trips to Arkansas usually begin at 2am so it's still dark when I hit the state, and having a guard to watch over Dash and is awesomeness. And with Dash, I have to hit every rest stop .. his bladder is my priority

Bubs said...

Ah, that hot fog...perfect description.

I love watching the girls' hair grow ever curlier when we hit Louisiana. Enjoy!

J Rock said...

Which hotel is it in NOLA?....