Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Orleans revisited.

Last night I returned to Philadelphia after living out of a suitcase for nearly a month, so I'm feeling a bit disoriented as well as relieved to be back in my home community, even though I'll be going on the road again next week. In the meantime, I know that some readers will appreciate some visual impressions of my recent time in New Orleans, offered as a kind of sequel to this post from last year. To start, take a look at this delicious soft-shell crab po-boy from NOLA Grocery in New Orleans' Warehouse District.

La croix de Lorraine on a French Resistance armband on display at the National World War II Museum, a place that I visited with my friend Stephen before we had lunch at the aforementioned NOLA Grocery.

This is a view of the campus of Loyola University New Orleans, seen from a window of the dorm room in Carrollton Hall where I stayed for most of the week while attending a conference on campus.

As this banner on campus indicates, Loyola University New Orleans celebrates its centennial this year.

Attention, residents of Carrollton Hall: Eric Cartman wants you to take Beginning Ancient Greek this fall.

The Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life is a student center on the campus of Tulane University, Loyola's next-door neighbor. The Lavin-Bernick Center is the sort of attractively austere modern structure that I enjoy taking pictures of, so I ended up making several visits there over the course of the week.

Here is another shot of the Lavin-Bernick Center. I got the idea for this particular photograph as I was passing by one evening at twilight, sans camera. I returned the next evening around the same time, but an excess of light and a cloudy sky meant that I couldn't get an image that matched what I had seen the night before.

As seen here, PJ's Coffee boldly promises "the most satisfying cup of coffee you will ever experience." I have yet to achieve coffee nirvana in several visits to PJ's, so perhaps I'm expected to keep going back in the hope that I'll get there someday. Then again, I suppose I'm a lost cause: when in Louisiana, I prefer Community Coffee to PJ's.

The Times-Picayune has been New Orleans' daily newspaper since 1837, but that is likely to change in the near future: owner Advance Publications recently announced plans to cease daily publication of the paper this fall, instead putting out three print editions a week while posting daily news updates online. This move would make New Orleans the largest U.S. city without a daily newspaper, a prospect that has generated an outcry from civic leaders as well as Times-Picayune advertisers and recently led hundreds of the newspaper's loyal readers to rally in an effort to reverse the decision.

This 'wanted' poster offers evidence of the public outcry against the Times-Picayune cutbacks. Ricky Mathews was recently named as the publisher of the three-day-a-week version of the paper, which will employ substantially fewer people than the current daily. For his part, Mathews offered a front-page editorial in last Sunday's edition of the Times-Picayune defending Advance Publications' plans for the future of the paper.

A well-established local hangout in New Orleans' Uptown neighborhood, Franky and Johnny's can't seem to decide whether the first part of its name should be spelled 'Franky' (as seen on the restaurant's menus, and on the official website) or 'Frankie' (as seen above on the sign outside the establishment). No matter how you spell the name, this charming dive is a great place to go for fried seafood.

Daily specials on a chalkboard at Franky and Johnny's.

Houses on Arabella Street in Uptown New Orleans, with a light dusting of clouds in the early-evening sky.

The Prytania Theatre claims the dual distinction of being the only single-screen movie theatre in Louisiana and the oldest operating theatre in New Orleans. I like the way the 'Prytania' lettering seems both to glow and to float in front of the brick building.

Prytania Street at twilight.

Founded in 1870, Temple Sinai is the oldest Reform Jewish congregation in Louisiana and a neighbor of Loyola University.

St. Nicholas of Myra, the only Greek Catholic church in Louisiana. Though the church building was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the parish has endured and rebuilt its house of worship with help from the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh and Byzantine Catholics from across the United States.

This icon of Saint Nicholas of Myra was rescued from a junk shop and lovingly restored by a parishioner of the church, an inspiring story which also serves as an apt metaphor for the recovery of the small but devoted Greek Catholic community in post-Katrina New Orleans.

The Camellia Grill, a New Orleans institution since 1946 and the place to go for classic diner food served cheap and in massive quantities by waiters who are characters. The experience of dining here reminded me of past visits to the late, great Ben's Delicatessen in Montreal. The two places are more different than alike in their particulars, but there's something about the self-consciously idiosyncratic, same-as-it-ever-was Camellia Grill that inevitably leads me to reflect wistfully on my memories of Ben's.

What would a visit to New Orleans be without a ride on the streetcar? The slowness of New Orleans' streetcars and the network's limited coverage suggests that this vintage trolley system is kept in operation more for the benefit of tourists and as a nod to tradition than as a practical means of getting around the city. Efficiency isn't everything, though, so I'm glad that the streetcars are still around. This one was spotted late at night on St. Charles Avenue, where I sincerely hope streetcars will still be rumbling around next time I find myself in New Orleans. AMDG.


At 6/21/2012 10:47 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Thanks for the pictures, though they made me homesick (and hungry!). I was baptized at Holy Name of Jesus, near Loyola...so this is very familiar ground.

At 6/21/2012 11:14 PM, Blogger Joseph Koczera, S.J. said...


I went to Mass a couple of times at HNJ while I was in New Orleans - a beautiful church, and I'm sorry I didn't take photos there!


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