First Katrina, Now COVID - New Orleans, The Resilient City That Continues to Push Forward
Stop 6 - New Orleans, LA - “Blind Busking” Live Stream Music Tour
Want to listen to the Live Stream while you read the post? Click play and start scrolling :) Enjoy!
If you are looking to visit a “foreign country” within the borders of America a typical response is to go to New York. For me, it has always been New Orleans, Lousiana. A city you can still feel the loss and change brought about by the infamous Hurricane Katrina. A visit to New Orleans today would hold only traces of the loss Katrina caused. Venture outside of the tourist areas, to a neighborhood such as the Bywater and it will reveal places that over 15 years after Katrina have yet to be restored.
Joyous memories of New Orleans rebuilding in the year’s post-Katrina are now more important than ever to keep alive. COVID has again ravished the city with stay-at-home orders and lockdowns shuttering many of the beloved mom and pop shops that made up a portion of the traditional heart of New Orleans.
November 12, 2020, was my first time driving into the Crescent City. It wasn’t until the drive in that I began to truly take in the devastation caused so many years earlier by that fateful hurricane. Newly formed swamps engulfed what were once homes. The tops of the wooden cottages still peak out of the water with no hope of restoration. The Sea has reclaimed the land, and no human life was taken into mother nature’s consideration.
Our stop through NOLA on the Blind Busking Tour was our second time in the city together. We booked an Airbnb for 3 nights just off Frenchman Street. It was obvious from the second we pulled up how different the city was in terms of population. We were able to park directly in front of our new home for the week.
A strange silence filled the city once known for having a different tune for every turn. Where music would typically be filling the streets and overflowing from local bars and restaurants the music was now a faint hum coming from living rooms, garages, and home studios throughout the once vivacious neighborhood.
Taking the first night to relax in our new accommodations, Anthony and I set out the next day with our scooters. We were on a mission to visit some of the old outdoor spots we ran across on our last visit. After all, chasing past memories is a game we both love to play.
Laughing as we tried to navigate massive craters on the streets and uneven sidewalks on tiny Razor Scooters we finally made it to Crescent park. Gaining speed on our scooters after entering the newly developed park and the smooth concrete, it wasn’t long before we came across a place in the park that holds a special meaning to Anthony and his healing journey.
Exactly 1 year before we visited NOLA on the Blind Busking Tour, Anthony and I took a trip to New Orleans. We found a special place in this park with graffiti and a danger sign. A place that looked like it had so much potential yet it was abandoned. We decided to place some of the ashes of Anthony’s late brother Oliver in this spot just under the danger sign.
Flash forward to this trip in 2020, as Anthony and I approach the place from our memory we both notice a change in the distance. Where the graffiti once was and the abandoned structure reigned, a transformation had occurred. The park was expanded and a huge pavilion pier was now present in the exact location. Chills filled us as we realized how beautiful the transformation was. A hard year filled with hope for new beginnings and change. The correlation was surreal.
“This is the place and we will do it at sunset!” Anthony said as he looked in my direction. This is where the live stream would happen tomorrow. We were both in agreement and continued on our scooter ride.
Shortly after we were filming the scooter ride with the GoPro mount and Anthony took a funny fall on the side of the road thinking he was falling in the Mississippi River. We will post the video someday soon on his YouTube so make sure you are subscribed to his channel!!!
As we sat on a bench looking out over the city and the Mississippi River towards New Orleans we held each other and enjoyed the golden hour sun on our faces. Anthony picked up his phone and made a spontaneous call to our favorite fancy restaurant, Clancy’s. “Any reservations for tomorrow? No? What about tonight? 6:30 pm? OK GREAT!” Looks like we were on for tonight. It was now scooter time to book it back to our Airbnb to get ready and make the 25 min drive to Clancy’s in time for our outdoor dining reservation. Arriving just in time for our reservation tucked away in one of the most beautiful affluent neighborhoods in the city. If you ever get a chance to eat at Clancy’s when you are in New Orleans – DO NOT pass it up.
The next day we prepared for the sunset live stream at the park. We brought some more of Oliver’s Ashes and decided to have a ceremony under these amazing red lights in the park where Anthony played. It was a special moment that I will hold in my heart forever to pass down to future generations. I never had the chance to meet my future brother in law but learning about his legacy so one day I can share it with my family is one of the most important things to me. You can really feel Oliver in this Live Stream both in Anthony’s Peaceful delivery and the beauty surrounding as the sun sets and the day falls into the night.
As our time came to a close and we started preparing for the next stop on the tour, gratitude and peace were feelings we would hold with us as souvenirs. It was time to continue on to Texas and we were more than ready…
Eating outside at Clancy’s
Elizabeth’s praline bacon in the Bywater
Continuing the journey of spreading Oliver’s ashes
Visiting Crescent park and seeing all the new development
Lots of food places closed
Eerie silence filling the city
Not getting a PO boy before I left
Not getting oysters more than once
People ignoring COVID in most touristy parts of the city
No live music in a lot of places you would have typically seen it in the past
Links / Notable Places:
Into Fancy Food? - Clancys
Into Parks and Outdoors? - Crescent Park
Into amazing food and crazy bacon? - Elizabeth’s Restaurant
Into colorful houses? - Bywater Neighborhood
Into a good burger or steak? - Port of Call
Live Road Ramblings Recorded on our Roadtrip via Podcast:
Austin & Marfa, Texas