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Page 11
THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2016
The Rockaway Times
The Lazer Speaks
NEWORLEANS
By Lou Pastina
I visited New Orleans for
the first time recently and was
blown away by the city: its
history, its culture, its food,
the architecture, the people,
and oh yeah, the music too.
It truly is a Jambalaya! Take
some American Indians, mix
in the Spanish, the French,
the Creoles, the Arcadian Ca-
juns and you have about the
biggest filet gumbo you can
find.
Rockaway is a pretty cool
place too, but the open con-
tainer policy in the French
Quarter ensures a 24-hour
party every day of the year,
not just for Mardi Gras. Bour-
bon Street, named after that
royal family in France, is a
place where just about any-
thing goes. I was not prepared
for the racy gentlemen’s
clubs at one end of the street
and the truly rainbow envi-
ronment at the other end. In
between there are bars every-
where with music blaring at
top volume. There is jazz,
blues, zydeco, you name it
they had it. They say that you
either love or loathe Bourbon
Street. The mermaid was not
crazy about it but I found it
part of Americana.
Did you know you could
charter your own parade? Yep,
all you do is register with the
NOLA Police and hire a band
and march through the streets
to your own beat. Our young
merman scheduled his trip to
NOLA at the same time forget-
ting that we told himwe would
be there too. He did mention
that he would be in a parade
with his friends, and low and
behold, as I was sitting in Pat
O’Brien’s he marched right
by! So I jumped out of the bar
and joined him, shocking him
when he turned to see ME!
Life is good sometimes.
New Orleans is definitely
not all about Bourbon Street
however. The French Quarter
has some of the best restau-
rants around and the Gar-
den District made famous by
so many writers, including
Anne Rice of Vampire fame,
is beautiful. There is a great
Aquarium, a Steamboat with
dinner/jazz cruises on the
Mississippi, a casino, the na-
tional World War II Museum,
and so much more. French-
men Street is a cute enclave
adjacent to the French Mar-
ket with cafes and a burgeon-
ing music scene of its own.
Did I mention the food?
Beignets, grits, muffulettas,
gumbos, and jambalaya: they
got it all going on. And cem-
eteries yes the famous cem-
eteries, all above ground be-
cause naturally New Orleans
is below sea level. Katrina
knocked the hell out of the
place, but they sure have come
back. Smart investments by
the city, state and federal gov-
ernment have made NOLA the
place to visit. The people are
the friendliest too, and they all
thank you for visiting and ask
when are you coming back.
Southern charm is not lost
there. There are homeless,
and some unseemly charac-
ters on the periphery, make
no mistake this is not Dis-
ney. But if you are going to be
on the street this is not a bad
place to do it : it’s warm, there
is music in the air, and people
do give money.
Which brings me back to
Rockaway. It’s been four
years since Sandy and there
has been some movement but
not the type of movement that
New Orleans has seen. That
place is an economic money
machine! How many indus-
tries do you know that can set
up hundreds of the same type
of establishments right next
to each other and they all
do well. And these aren’t big
corporations, these are indi-
vidually owned and operated
businesses by entrepreneurs
taking a risk that people will
come and spend money. You
know what, I did!
Rockaway is getting there
and with a little bit of help
maybe we can be the little en-
gine that could.
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on
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or
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