Sunday, June 27, 2010

Travel is Fatal

Over the last decade or two, I have seen firsthand numerous examples of the wisdom of Mark Twain...
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."

I believe that when we know and understand our neighbors, whether they live around the corner or around the world, we cannot hate them. When we understand, we begin to trust and, perhaps love.
During the early days of this year's Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, I was greeted by strangers on the street, in the shops, clubs and restaurants, and in their homes, with nothing less than warm welcomes and an obvious love for their city and for each other.
A few weeks after returning home, I came across an online news story about a shooting just outside the French Quarter. The comments from readers were venomous. There was only extreme disdain for "those people".
When our impressions of a city or a region are formed primarily by a sensational media, as in New Orleans after the Storm, we have no awareness of the beauty and kindness that surround us.
I went to New Orleans looking for goodness and I found it everywhere.

I believe that Knowing is Loving and I cannot wait to explore and share the next world city through TravelGuyde Photo Journals.
If others can understand our world better through compelling images and shared personal experiences, perhaps human unity can be improved.

If you agree (or if you don't), I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What a Week in The Big Easy!

What a Week!

Everyone with whom I met, dined, bowled, worshiped, interviewed, photographed, paraded and second-lined could not have been more welcoming.

I hope you enjoy the photos and video clips from my Jan. 26 to Feb. 4 stay in New Orleans.
As I visit and add more cities, just click on "New Orleans" for a link to those specific pages.

They are truly a City of Saints.
Below is a sample of what is included.

Best regards,
Stephen Young
The Original City Photo Journal for Curious Travelers

My week in New Orleans included:

The funk 'n blues sounds of Eddie Vinson and the Top Notes at the 'only in New Orleans' Rock 'n Bowl

Eclectic Oak Street restaurants and galleries

The recently re-opened classic diner, The Camellia Grill

FAB - one of the best independent art and book shops in the country.

Sizzling char-grilled oysters at Acme

Great shopping including inside pics and video clips from Papier Plume, Absinthe Museum of America, Rubensteins Men's, Meyer the Hatter, Louisiana Music Factory, Boutique du Vampyre, James H. Cohen & Sons (antique weapons and coins),

An evening with some of the city's young, curious professionals at IgniteNOLA

Receiving the gift of painted coconuts straight from the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club

Strolling the Bywater

Spending an afternoon in the Lower 9th with author and community spokesperson Ronald Lewis

Second Lining with the C.T.C. Steppers

Imbibing with Lisa and Joann and the extended family of Kajun's Pub

Celebrating at St. Augustine Catholic Church

Experiencing (on the street and above) my first Carnival parade

Visits to the WWII and Ogden Southern Art Museums

Various scenes around the city - including food, streetcars, and plenty of Who Dat-loving Saints fans

And finally, beginning my visit learning to blow glass at New Orleans School of Glassworks & Printmaking Studio

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Orleans - Now For the Pièce de résistance

Yes, I've fallen for New Orleans. (most visitors do so) - For all the reasons and more that the following 7 days of entries will show.
But THIS has to be the single-best example of what makes this city unlike any other in the world:
Funk 'N Blues band
a danged good funknblues band
in a bowling alley
on a Tuesday night!
And the scene is at least this good
all over town
EVERY Night.

If you're planning a long weekend in New Orleans, when you arrive (especially if on Thursday), make your way to John Blancher's Rock 'n' Bowl. Do whatever you have to do to get there. It'll start your visit off right. Thank you John for the warm welcome and thank you Ernie Vincent and your Top Notes for one of the best nights of my visit.

Now, give it up for Ernie, Eric, Josh, Phillip, and James...

The bands at Rock 'n' Bowl perform just to the left:

New Orleans - Hanging Out on Oak Street After Dinner

Jacque-Imo's Cafe - see the sign, "Warm Beer, Lousy Food, Poor Service".
Not from the looks of the crowd waiting to get in. My first stop when I head back to New Orleans.

Frenchy Studio/Gallery

New Orleans - Dinner at Camellia Grill

Otis Fennell, of FAB, an eclectic Art & Book shop in the Marigny. I found a graphically inspiring photo journal on the life of Hunter S. Thompson - now one of the most visually stimulating books I own - and I just checked, Amazon doesn't even carry it. SCORE ANOTHER ONE for well-curated independent book shops!

Otis on what draws people to New Orleans.
By the way, Otis, I'm hanging out in your shop when I return to the city in the spring.

New Orleans - Afternoon snack at Acme Oyster House

The chargrilled oysters are the best seafood I have ever put in my mouth. Acme is the only restaurant in which I dined twice while in the Crescent City. Drake, the master glass-blower, thanks for the recommendation!
(Drake Fuller begins the New Orleans show in a few pages - be sure to see all the entries over the week - at the bottom of each page, click "Older Posts"