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Take a stroll with me through the French Quarters: My stops Fiorella’s Bistro & Bar, French Market, Latrobe Park & One Love LLC

It’s was a beautiful day in New Orleans to “Be A Tourist” in my own city! New Orleans is full of life and booming with love and adventure everywhere you look. I decided to listen to the call of my neighborhood Rooster, “Who Dat” and make an early start too, but I would need a boost because I’m more of a night owl, far from being a rooster. Today, was Mel’s birthday, he would be forty years old had he not been gunned down over a parking spot months after Hurricane Katrina. It seems like he was stolen from us yesterday, but the hole in my heart feels as if it’s been there forever. I poured myself a cup of chicory coffee with lots of cream and sugar the way my grandmother made it for me ”just to give me a Lil taste of coffee” while we had our morning kitchen table talk before I went to the Job Corps around the corner from her house. She would babysit for me twice a week while I took free nursing assistant classes there.

As I sipped I thought about how both she, Shana and Mel were all gone now. They were my biggest supporters and more than family, they were my friends, my krewe. My grandmother was my best friend and mentor. I watched her every move all of my life and I desired to grow up and be just like her. She was my saving grace, my connection to God and my light. Mel and Shana, my cousins, but more of my little brother and sister made me feel like I was the best Big Sister ever and very protective of me. No matter what pit I found myself in they made it seem like I was just on a “pitstop” as if I just pulled over to take a break from long a road trip. When I found myself pregnant in less than six months of giving birth at seventeen they supported and believed in me. They were always there if only a phone call away and now I only get to see them in my dreams. Oh, how I miss them so.

”Who Dat” let out another ”cock a doodle doo” just as the church bell rang and the train blew it’s horn in unison as if the sounds were a Nola band coming through to snapped me out of my thoughts. The feeling of jumping back into my bed of grief and comfort was forming, but thankfully the soul of New Orleans knows me. I was so ready to head to the voice of depression too. I became accustomed to laying in bed all day only to get up to eat, check the mail and use the bathroom. I couldn’t find it in me to do anything during the fun festival season. I canceled appointments, interviews and denied the company from coming over, I didn’t want my sadness to jump on them. I decided after one of my cousins surprised me to stopped answering the door no matter how long and hard they knocked after she sat on my sofa with a concerned sad face and said, ”So, this is how you want to be, huh Dee. You want me to help you with something.” I had clothes and shoes spread out all over the living room, books, papers and mail in the bed with me and the refrigerator was filled with half-eaten to-go boxes from ordering from the various restaurants via Doordash. No, I refused to have company until well I didn’t have a date, but her visit did move me to at least move around in the house.

I opened the back door and as usual, my neighbor was out early feeding the chickens like we like we live out on some farm. The air had that six a.m dewy feel with the hint of New Orleans humidity will smack you in the face when you walk around the corner so you better enjoy this coolness now. I pulled on some leggings and a tee-shirt, wrapped my head and headed out to the corner store to get a $1.99 breakfast and a glazed donut. As I walked the birds sang a morning melody, the flowers lifted their heads to let out a fragrant hello and the colors of my neighborhood seemed to open up to me giving me a big hug as if saying, ”Hey girl good morning, we were just talking about you, nothing bad lol. We just miss seeing that beautiful face of yours. You know today Mel’s birthday I know you doing something fun in remembrance of him right?” Before I made it to the store I decided I would take the spirits of my loved ones out with me and ”Be A Tourist in Our City.” I bypassed the store and went for an early morning walk up the Avenue. I needed me to save my calories for later.

When I got home I felt renewed and ready for my adventure. It was June 26th and I hadn’t gone anywhere since the Jazz Festival in May. The walk peeped me up alright. I danced and cleaned to my New Orleans Jazz playlist. When I finished cleaning I remembered all the businesses that sent me to offer to visit, eat, and review their restaurants and today was the day to redeem one! The first envelope would decide our lunch location, Fiorella’s Bistro & Bar, an Italian Restaurant and it was located in the Quarters. I pulled out my linen red dress, red was Mel’s favorite color and it was his day so with that I got ready to go!

I must say I’m happy I came, I really enjoyed everything from the ambiance, menu selections, service, price, and taste. I was surprised that Fiorella is known for their fried chicken, which I have to pass on, because I had a taste for seafood and a rich broth or sauce, so I ordered the etouffee and I ate the whole bowl. Usually, I always have leftovers but I’m “full as a tick” like the old ppl would say. Yasss, it was so good, the chef knew what he was doing and I felt like “kissing the cook.”

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10212245538993170&id=1218678471

Shrimp Etouffee

The only complaint I have is that the Credit card app wasn’t working, the ATM was $5, the one across the street is $3 and the bread pudding was ok because of the texture and sauce made it good, but other than that everything was great!⚜️💯

If you plan to visit make sure to snag a voucher for half off on @groupon.com *I noticed there was an offer.

Groupon

The French Market

Front entrance

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10212243509182426&id=1218678471

Exit, towards Esplanade Ave

I took advantage of being in the French Quarter’s and walked through the French Market, taking pictures and video along the way.

I need $2k to buy this massive African mask from one of the vendors, but then I would need like $500k+ for a house with tall wide walls to hang it on lol. Maybe, I’ll settle for a nice size $200 version for now.

The French Market was kind of quiet, but it was near close, but that gave me the opportunity to meet a few nice locals. There was a young man selling his self-published book, he has an awesome story of overcoming adversity. I met a huge German shepherd, well he introduced himself to me lol. Good thing I love dogs, well why else would he have come up to me. There were some cool finds there, but I wonder how does it work out for all those vendors who sell the same merchandise?

I walked over to Latrobe Park because I couldn’t resist the sound of live music. The heat finally let up some and I sat by the fountain for a bit just to feel my city. New Orleans feels like she comes alive when people are enjoying life and the sounds, sights and smells delights her. Yesss, New Orleans is a woman and her nickname is NOLA.

One Love LLC Shop

After I sat for a bit I started my walk through the Quarter’s to head home, but not before I stopped in a few shops. I found a Somalia owned boutique across the street with all kinds of cultural inspired clothing and accessories. The owner was very nice, inviting me in to take pictures and gave me a pair of earrings as I exited. I couldn’t believe it! I was brought to tears as it had Mel’s spirit all over his actions. It was just like Mel to give me a gift even on his birthday and typically it was always some little earring, a doll or just spending time with me before he went out with his girlfriend and buddies. The owner caught big teardrops fall from my eyes and all I could say was ”You made my day, you Angel you.” His gesture increased my faith and it made me a believer, the spirit lives on.

I had a few local men admiring my oversized BCGB orange bag. “Excuse me Ms. but what does CGB mean?” a man about my age asked as he sat drinking bottled water, looking a Lil suspect. “What, where do you see that, IDK?” I responded. “It’s written on your purse, that looks like a designer purse, nice, you shouldn’t be wearing stuff like that out here.” He said with a sly, but I’m not gonna grab your bag look. “Oh my purse this purse comes from Macy’s, it’s a woman’s line, but it’s not that expensive. Man, I live here, I know better than that, but it’s no more than a $100, that’s like a knock off compared to the big time designer bag, but thank you good looking out.” I appreciated that he made me aware of my surroundings because pickpocketing is big everywhere in the world and I did have my purse hanging open. There’s not a big robbery rate, especially not purse snatching or what you see on the news, but pickpocketing.

If I can say anything about general safety in New Orleans or period it would be to always check your surroundings, hold your head up, give eye contact and please, please speak to everyone even those people who don’t speak back. New Orleanians are big on speaking to each other, acknowledging one’s presence, their life. That person you passed up and didn’t speak may be having a bad day and your rude butt walked pass now giving him a reason to be made that you were happy. Please be cordial it just might make your trip here a Lil more magical.

Second Line Arts and Antiques

Secondline Arts and Antiques prides themselves on having something for everyone! Find a variety of European furniture and antiques perfect for

Shop Info

We have over 150 local artists all under one roof! Stop by and find a unique treasure for a great price.

Market Info

Our outdoor art market is uniquely New Orleans. Like a party where all of the best people are invited.

Vendor Info

If you are interested in becoming a vendor in our nice outdoor market, contact Jackie at (504) 451-8522.

If you read my bio, you know I love thrift stores and in all my years wandering the streets of the French Quarter I never paid Second Line Antiques any mind. But that goes to show you how we as locals have made it up in our minds that everything in the Quarters is too expensive and it’s for the tourists. This shop has lots of stuff with my name on it!!! I was pleasantly surprised. I happened upon this shop, the Louisiane sign caught my eye, I love everything about this store from it’s Sanford and Son outdoor feel to the shocking fabulous blue suede sofa, a huge selection of everything cool, unique and priced just right. Definitely worth taking a stroll through for both locals and tourists.

Thank you for joining me on my stroll through the Quarters in honor of Mel’s birthday! Now it’s time to say goodbye as I board my chariot home.

I love my NOLA Life ⚜️🖤💛💫✨

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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