First impressions have left their mark as we travel across the US on a short trip. As much as I try to avoid it, I do make comparisons when I visit a new city based on other places I have seen and experienced.
I liked New Orleans as soon as I saw it. From a distance, its skyline is defined but doesn’t impose. Being introduced via the Garden District, my eyes and mind immediately became preoccupied. Lush green ferns cascade over lacy wrought iron balconies; Creole, Caribbean, and Colonial architecture decorate the streets, block after block; the opulent interiors of the neighbourhood’s stately homes stand on display, well lit by their high ceilinged grand chandeliers.
On a general scale, I initially likened New Orleans to some of my favourite places. I compared its palm fringed, neon lit Canal St with LA’s Hollywood Boulevard; the milliner, boutiques, and cafes of Magazine St with the main shopping arteries of Brooklyn’s Park Slope and Williamsburg; the Spanish and French Colonial styles of its French Quarter with the Gothic one in Barcelona; the oranges, pinks, and blues of its residences and storefronts with the colours of Havana, Cuba.
All these observations combined highlighted the well liked and familiar, but I gleaned a greater appreciation for the city by characteristics I found unique to it:
Receiving a warm welcome upon arrival at Terrell House B&B, housed in an immaculately maintained 3 story Italianate mansion; tasting my first spoonful of spicy gumbo, my first bite of tender alligator sausage, my first forkful of blue cheese topped fried oysters at the Red Fish Grill on Bourbon St; people watching and sipping on a chicory coffee in lively Jackson Square while listening to a saxophonist play the tune of Amazing Grace.
Seeing, feeling, and tasting so much in a short span of time, and being hungry for more, is testament enough that first impressions do count for alot.