Four Days in the Hotel Provincial

Four Days in the Hotel Provincial

Loud thunk of pigskin against our bedroom wall.
Children giggling.
Is that French I hear in my ear?
An adult hush.
The soft sound of the fountain gurgling in the courtyard just outside the wall.
Childish giggling repeating but stifled by maternal rebuke.

The steady sound of my mate and his sleepy snorts and gasps for air.
A bad cold for certain.
Alarm clock beeping,
Amtrak horn keep us from sleeping.
Hot shower streaming.
And out the clanking, ill-fitted hotel door.

Take a left toward that Old Man River.
Just down the Rue de Chartres.
Past the church square where lost souls sit at the foot of the image of the creator hanging below a towering spire.
In the square center illuminating a rearing figure of a horse and Jacksonian rider all the vendors anticipating the beginning of a brand new day.
“Let me tell your future?”,” Let me shine your shoes?”, “Care for a tour or a quick trick?”

We four walk on to wait impatiently in line for the hot and soothing chicory elixir and fried, sweet dough.
Some fine sugar rests on my toe at the Cafe du Monde and on our sticky lips too. May we please, do this again?
Why is the air so cold when we so anticipated warmer days in old Dixie?
Always colder when not prepared, wrap up, walk faster, down to the muddy Miss.
Take the rusty ferry to quiet Algiers, away from the drunken disorder.
More foamy cacao cups with some soothing home-made organic sweets ward off the biting wind, and back again.

Hustling man with his banged up tuba saves us a ferry spot.
Let’s find some spicy gumbo thick.
Just say Stanley’s and you will have your fix quick.
Shops of voodoo dolls and suave felt French caps.
Rows of shotgun houses wedged in
Between creole black iron balconies bursting with Boston fern and pots of streaming ivy.

Onto the glittering gold and white lit hotel lobby of the Roosevelt beckons us to the warmth and absinthe.
Then across the crowded street to soak in the bluesy Bonamassa on tour at Nola’s renovated palace.
Treated to his trained and talented fingers on an arsenal of gleaming guitars.
His vintage Led Zeppelin-inspired aging rocker band and fans.
Rock on like there is no tomorrow…
Let us put in our ear plugs before you start.

What else is there to see and do in this bayou town?
Trek to the CBD and tour Ambrose and friends well-funded National WW II museum.
How many soldiers lost?
Half a million GIs reported gone, gone, gone.
Nibble a po’boy at Mothers, off our feed.
Walk the fifteen jumbled city blocks back for a nap and quiet reflection in the Hotel Provincial. Thankful for life.

Time to tour the canal streets.
A must stop at St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to read the names on the above ground plots like Arnaud Jules Beauvais, Dominique You – a patriot and pirate – and Nicholas Girod to list just a few.
Discover a pyramid-shaped tomb; more like an Egyptian than a National Treasure —
But guidebooks tells us this is the future resting place of  a seemingly lost leading man, Sir Nicholas Cage.
His future star power could benefit from a long rest in a quiet space just like this.
But what do we know about the trials leading men must endure? Take a snap.

Next big marching band sounds fill the Market Square.
Green and gold drum lines,
Grambling alumni strutting big stuff.
Pink feathers blur parade view.
Rancid smell of too many performances and nights on the street
This flamingo street dancer is due a nice treat.

Guided history tour by dear Richard
Takes us across Lake Pontchartrain to the winding Old River Road to Laura and Oak Alley.
Fourteen,  three-hundred year old live oaks,  line each side of the entrance stately.
Inhabited by iron-fisted creole women plantation presidents for centuries causes pause to reflect the cruelty of the species.
Melding of the races, the shame of our past, the lessons history teaches each of us. Of our dependent, intertwined lives.
Like the Spanish moss clinging from the mighty oaks, gleaming grey in the southern moonlight.

Ride back through Slidell and by the nuke.
Over the long bridge,
To then dine at Luke just like a spoiled Louis, Dauphin of France.
The rabbit pate with watermelon rind pickles taste divine.
Will pass on the infamous turducken
As the feast not worth the trois poultry pluckin’.

Big Easy gave us a sexy french lick.
Made us forget.
Then sent us back home with sweet memories that are sure to stick.
The four days in the Hotel Provincial.

hotel provincial


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