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Issue #185, Epic Road Trip, June 7, 2018: New Orleans, Louisiana

June 7, 2018
7:44 am I just returned from sketching the St. Louis Cathedral, the ‘Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis’ in Jackson square. I woke up at 4 am to serious head-ringing, but decided to make the best of my early awakening to gather my sketch book and ride my bike the short distance into town.

I enjoyed sketching, but I feel I’m not quite dialed in. Yesterday, too, I sketched, after we had returned from a day of wandering around the French Quarter and had gone for a steamship boat ride; I went down to Toulouse Street because there was some cool architecture I noticed on our walk back, but when I started sketching I felt overwhelmed by the complexity of the architecture, and the sun was fading fast. I made a good attempt even when police cars parked right next to me. Entertainment was provided by kids who were banging on plastic drums down on Bourbon Street.

Back to the day with the family: After wandering the streets for an hour or two we booked a steamship tour that left at 2pm, then found an authentic place to eat lunch called “The Gumbo Shop”. Phoenix even tried some rice and sausage and shrimp; I had a ‘gumbo sampler’ and we enjoyed the air conditioning. Our waitress at the restaurant had thick black mascara and called Paige “Babe”. Later, Phoenix bought a hat with a picture of a slice of pizza on it.

The steamship ride was the highlight of the afternoon. To get there, we wandered down Canal Street past the Insectarium and Aquarium. While standing in line to board, we were treated to a ‘calliope’ concert, something you don’t hear too often.

The steamboat had three decks, a full restaurant and an ‘engine viewing’room that was fascinating. We floated down the Mississippi and looked at the sugar mills and the barges pushing great loads of oil and rocks and whatever else they push. It’s one of the busiest ports in the world, and the large width of the Mississippi allows several huge tankers to cruise past each other at once. Phoenix bought $3 ice cream at one point, and we listened to the dixieland jazz band churn out popular jazz standards on the lower deck.

steamboat engine room
those managing the controls
seem to be asleep

calliope blasts
tunes for waiting passengers
mighty steam organ

the lure of the phone
occupies even engineers
surrounded by dials

5am bike ride
into the french quarter
smells like beer and barf

nobody around
as i set up my easel
on freshly washed streets

sketching cathedral
he offers me lemonade
as he cleans the streets

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen