New Orleans — Magic and Music

“If you walk a city, if you love a city, if you put in your miles and years with open heart and mind, the city will reveal itself to you.”  Rebecca Solnit

It was everywhere.  Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a city where music is more woven into its very fabric.  From late night bars to impromptu street performers, the sound of NOLA is something that you never forget.  One of the girls on our upcoming trip requested that we hear live music, so I went back to my last journal for ideas. I had forgotten that music was everywhere — and so beautiful in New Orleans.

“Up early to walk and stop at a patisserie for a croissant and cafe au lait.  Music is such a part of the culture in NOLA. Musicians don’t perform simply for the tourists, they perform because the just can’t help themselves.  It’s just everywhere.  From the lone tenor performing operatic arias with a boom box in the middle of Royal Street — and drawing a crowd and wild applause to the street corner musicians striking up Dixieland jazz favorites.

Yesterday, early, as I walked across an empty Jackson Square, a lone trombone player started playing ‘When I Fall in Love.’  He was warming up and taking his time, playing slowly, letting each note ring strong, low, and clear. “Wha wah waaaaaaaaahhhhh wah waaaahahahahahaha”  He played the entire verse as I walked across the square, stopped, then started to sing.  He had a dusky voice, raspy and rough, but beautiful. He sang slowly and not too loud.  “When. I . faaaaaalll in. loooove”   At 8:30 in the morning in Jackson Square, alone with this man, it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard.   “It will.  Be.  Forever.”

I know that I teared up.  Who could help themselves?  And while there are times in my life when this would have made me impossibly sad and lonely, in this case, it was just simple perfection. He was, at that moment, the voice of the city.    I love to fall in love.

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