My son Matt and I went over to the Old US mint today and took in the “Treasures of Napoleon” exhibit that’s on the second floor until early August. It’s well worth the $6 admission and it’s a good way to culture yourself for an hour or so before you face the hipsters on Frenchmen or go back into the Quarter to dodge the Segways and the stumblers. We then adjourned to Lucy’s for a couple of margaritas (sitting on the sidewalk because the just-off-work-it’s-a-three-day-weekend-woo-hoo crowd was in full swing at the bar) and some food before heading back towards home.
I’d post a link to pics of what’s in the exhibit, but there apparently isn’t such a site. I mean, there are some promotional things, but you kinda have to actually go into the museum to get a sense of what it’s all about. One of Napoleon’s hats. Many of his personal possessions. One of his camp beds. Even one of his Jesus-Eisenhower-Christ-I’m-bored pencil doodles. Anyway, check it out if you’ve got the time — but they stop letting folks in at 4pm. The place doesn’t close until 5, but closing the huge old building takes a while and they don’t want folks showing up at 4:52 to get started. It means they want you OUT at 5pm.
…but I doubt this is the weekend to simply amble into Da Quawtah for a leisurely stroll. It’s Essence Fest — and I gotta say the best thing about it has to be the fashion that will be strutting itself big-time along Canal and elsewhere in the city’s center throughout the weekend. And that’s just the cars. The clothing will also be variated, coordinated, colorated and definitely appreciated by those who are motivated to go. Just this afternoon, I watched a woman crossing Tchoupitoulas in the CBD wearing gold earrings with a diameter as big as a headlight on a Jeep Liberty. Seriousass earrings — and the gold straps on her flipflops were a perfect match. It’s quite a change from the “whatever falls out of the dryer” look of JazzFest.
This being the Fourth of July weekend, a lot of places that are normally open will be closed. It’s the time of year (as mentioned in an earlier post) when many of the locals simply hang out the “gone fishin'” sign and, oftentimes, go fishing. Given current gasoline prices, however, more will be fishing The Rigolets than heading to Destin or wherever. But there are benefits to the gas crunch — as I discovered on my brief foray to the Westbank early this morning. If it’s rush hour, I usually prefer the leisurely pace of the Gretna ferry rather than sit in long tollbooth lines on the Crescent City Connection. But this morning at 7:30, I whizzed right over the bridge after only a brief stop. I’m not sure if the short lines resulted from it being an approaching holiday or because fewer people are driving. Maybe both — but I’ve noticed traffic is definitely a bit less hectic these days.
Last summer, TBK and I nailed down a room at the Hilton Riverside for a couple of nights because we were in desperate need of a swimming pool. Sure, the water was bathtub warm — but the room rates were dirt cheap it was fun being a tourist in our hometown. I look for more folks to be doing that this summer.
…and that Napoleon exhibit is a pretty neat place to start.