Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Small City Called New Orleans

New Orleans ain't whatcha think
I took the snapshot above from the roof of the New Orleans Athletic Club on North Rampart Street a few months ago.  The peach colored building, an old established electrical parts warehouse, is torn down as I write this.  What's going to replace it?  A hotel, of course.  We really only have one industry in New Orleans to speak of.  Thanks for coming down to visit.

North Rampart Street itself is all torn up and mostly closed to traffic as I write this.  There is going to be a new streetcar line that will run down N. Rampart Street as far as Elysian Fields Avenue by the end of this year.

Let's provide a little soundtrack video, shall we?

You won't believe this when you meet me, but I used to have the same haircut as the Fun Boy 3 singer.  I still have the same pants.  I sometimes wear them for breakfast.  At the ripe old age of 50, I have a hard time pulling off that haircut unless I've just rolled out of bed.  Now you know why I always wear a hat.

The jolly innkeeper
New Orleans is a real city, though it is sometimes hard for people to fathom that fact.  It doesn't look like any city I've ever lived in.  In a lot of ways, it is a giant town.  Frau Schmitt and I are always bumping into people we know as we run errands around the city.

Frau Schmitt's brother lives in China.  He told a co-worker who is from New Orleans that his sister runs a boutique inn in the middle of Esplanade Avenue.  He told his co-worker that the inn is one of three colorful houses on our street.  His co-worker said he knew exactly where he was talking about and he emailed Frau Schmitt's brother a picture.  Guess what the picture was of?  It was this:

La Belle Esplanade
I'm not suggesting that we are locally famous.  We aren't.  Our address is notable, however.  When you stay with us, you'll be staying in a local landmark.  Bus tours, bicycle tours, and walking tours stop in front of our house every day to admire our inn.  It can be a pain in the neck but it's mostly unobtrusive.  

Some people, our guests mainly, call your humble narrator The Jolly Innkeeper.  That's better than what some of our innkeeper compatriots are called.  It's better than being called the Solemn Innkeeper, The Distracted Innkeeper, the Sullen Innkeeper, Mr. Wet Blanket, The Souse,  Johnny-Come-Late, Saggy Pants, or That-Creepy-Lady-Who-Ripped-Us-Off.

Jolly Innkeeper has a nice ring to it when you consider the other possibilities that are tossed around by people who stay at other lodging options, including those offered on AirB&B.

Whenever someone calls me The Jolly Innkeeper, it reminds me of that Franz Hals painting:

The Jolly Toper
Whenever I think of that painting, it gives me hat envy.

I'd like to take this opportunity to mention, humbly and nonchalantly, that we've been ranked the #1 inn in New Orleans, and in all of Louisiana, for 23 months now.  If we can make it to April, that will be a solid two years being #1.  Thanks to everyone who has reviewed their stay with us.  Sincere thanks from the bottomless wells of our unsullied hearts.  We don't take it lightly.

He's looking at the future
Happily, we haven't yet been cited as a dangerous voice at the Dangerous Speech Project.  Why would we be?  We're all about love on Esplanade Avenue, love of New Orleans.  If you want to know what it is like to love where we live, you've found the right place.  Good memories are made on our street.

New Orleans' population is still about a 100,000 people less than it was before Katrina.  People who stay in the French Quarter and the Garden District are all, like, "Hey, what's all the fuss about?  Everything looks like it's 100% back from the flooding."  It isn't.  There is still plenty of work to be done.  We are part of a gigantic rebuilding project that is reforming New Orleans in more ways than one while trying to keep true to the spirit and traditions of the city.  There is no place else like New Orleans.  It really is magical here.

If you want to visit New Orleans to learn what it is like to be a part of this cadre of civic imagineers, La Belle Esplanade is open to host you and to help curate your New Orleans experience.  We won't just steer you to the Quarter or to Frenchmen Street, the lazy way.  We'll tell you about places that most tourists don't even know exist.  It always makes us happy when people go off the Convention and Visitors Bureau map.  That's why we provide different maps to navigate the city.  We enjoy the company of urban explorers and cultural connoisseurs.

You can follow whatever NOLA you want to.  As innkeepers, we aren't here to judge.  Our job is to help you find what you are looking for.  We live in a kaleidoscopic city that presents different viewpoints from every possible angle.  It's bewildering sometimes until you get used to it.  You will find what you are looking for in New Orleans, especially if what you are looking for is good memories.

Wherever you are in the world, if you say you are going to New Orleans everyone will know where you mean.  It really is magical here.  It's a small city that is world famous for a reason.  It really is magical here.  See for yourself.  

À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade
...where every morning hosts a curated breakfast salon

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