Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Charleston Plays Water Music

Charleston does fountains right, do you agree?  It has the whole Atlantic nearby, and it plays with water better than Chicago played with Lake Michigan.  Seattle failed in the fountain category miserably despite proximity to the Pacific.  Only St. Louis, on the Mississippi, rates as well as Charleston in the fountain category. 

Air temperature was in the 80s in Charleston the second week in November.

The top three fountains were in the middle of downtown.

This is in Waterfront Park.

Also in Waterfront Park.  Rate Charleston on fountains (the next pic is of one of the two waterfront fountains in Seattle, so you can compare).

Seattle's waterfront fountain.  This is an important issue, folks!  If Seattle can't be creative with the Pacific Ocean, what sort of future does it have as a city known for entrepreneurial spirit?  Let's hear from you...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Deep South

In the Deep South I experienced comfortable, early-November weather, not oppressive heat, which in a way would have been good because hot, humid weather is the essence of our dreams of the South. 

My tour guide at Eudora Welty's house. Ms. Welty loved camellias
My tour guide at Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Eudora Welty's house in Jackson, Mississippi, the town in which "The Help" was situated.  Ms. Welty was in favor of human rights and loved camellias.

A camellia close-up.
A camellia close-up.

This plaque, with sunlight playing over it in Eudora Welty's garden reads:  "The outside world is the vital component of my inner life...My imagination takes its strength and guides its direction from what I see and hear and learn and feel and remember of my living world."

Eudora Welty's Pulitzer Prize.
Eudora Welty's Pulitzer Prize was found in a box in a closet in her house.  Either she was very humble about the prize, or wanted to appear humble, or forgot she had it, or didn't like the people on the committee who selected her, or.....She also won two Presidential Medals of Honor, an honorary doctorate from Harvard, and five other world-class literary prizes.  She didn't display any of them.

Occupy Birmingham
Pictures of Occupy Birmingham.  They are pressuring the government to pass campaign finance reform that keeps big corporations out of elections.  They are also interested in tax reform that levels the playing field and makes the American dream more obtainable for those who aren't extremely wealthy.  Temperatures get into the teens in Birmingham several nights per winter.  It's that cold or colder every night for Occupy Portland, Maine, where I attended a General Assembly.  Occupy Maine intends to be there all winter in order to effect change.  What do you think of the Occupy movement?

Monday, November 21, 2011

More Scenes from New Orleans

New Orleans has magic that can't be denied, and I can't be denied the opportunity to post more pics of it.

Andrew Jackson statue in front of St. Louis Cathedral.

Interior of St. Louis Cathedral.

A beautiful balcony in the French Quarter.
A beautiful balcony in the French Quarter.

A secret garden, way in the back, in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
A secret garden, way in the back, in the French Quarter.

For some reason,
For some reason, "dat" is a big word in Nawlins.  Don't ask me why...

Real leaves in the cracks and the wrought iron leaves on the gate make it leafy. 
Real leaves in the cracks and the wrought iron leaves on the gate make it ------ leafy.

The front door to the open air market.
The "front door" to the open air market.

The Mississippi is not that much wider here than it was in St. Louis.
The Mississippi is not that much wider here than it was in St. Louis.

Picturesque French Quarter.
Picturesque French Quarter.

A real pirate this time.
A real pirate this time.

Full moon rising over the Mississippi.
Full moon rising over the Mississippi.

Statue of a Cajun 'gator.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Scenes from N'Orleans

The Caribbean influence on Magazine Street, the street upon which I fell in love with New Orleans.

A neat house on Magazine Street.  Lots of wrought iron.

The wrought iron gate and fence are like lace.

I want a palm tree in my front yard, too!

A bird of paradise growing as a perennial in the Garden District of Nawlins.

Here's the house that goes with the bird of paradise bush.

This is how it looks when morning glory vines grow year-round in the French Quarter.

Some other sort of vine.

Anybody know the name of this vine?

A tempting private garden lies behind these houses in the French Quarter.

In keeping with my statue theme, here's a Mardi Gras king.

A scene from another neighborhood, the St. Louis #1 Cemetary.

A fountain in front of St. Louis Cathedral.  Demerits to the City of New Orleans 'cuz it's not running.

An equestrian statue:  Andrew Jackson.

An funny understatement that works two ways.

An interesting door in the French Quarter.

A statue in New Orleans of Joan of Arc, of all people.  And why not?  She was a peasant girl who rose to command an army, in an era when peasant girls hadn't the slightest chance of being any more than a peasant girl.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nawlins and Lagniappe

You get to see the pics after you read this quick definition from The Free Dictionary: 

la·gniappe  (lnyp, ln-yp)

n. Chiefly Southern Louisiana & Mississippi
1. A small gift presented by a storeowner to a customer with the customer's purchase.
2. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit. Also called regionally boot2. See Regional Note at beignet.

[Louisiana French, from American Spanish)
Regional Note: Lagniappe derives from New World Spanish la ├▒apa, "the gift," and ultimately from Quechua yapay, "to give more." The word came into the rich Creole dialect mixture of New Orleans and there acquired a French spelling. It is still used in the Gulf states, especially southern Louisiana, to denote a little bonus that a friendly shopkeeper might add to a purchase. By extension, it may mean "an extra or unexpected gift or benefit."

Lagniappe is thrown from floats into the crowd at Mardi Gras.  Here are several varieties at The French Market, an open-air market.  I think that here you're expected to buy them.

Mardi Gras masks in the foreground, lagniappe beads on the far left.

There's lots of lagniappe to choose from.

This is The French Market.  Lots of lagniappe, plus Louisiana crawfish, shrimp and crabs on sale here.