Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Start, New Job

When I first arrived in New Orleans, it almost felt familiar. Perhaps because I had been doing Google Earth Street views of almost the entire  city for months before moving down here, or perhaps it's some sort of new agey past life thing. 

Immediately I fell in love with the buildings and architecture. Structures hundreds of years old and almost unchanged over the centuries. You know that you're getting old when you're looking at the wrought iron work of a balcony and not the strippers hanging off of it.

Today was my second day at my new job. Yea, I landed some employment. I'm working as a helper for a painter contractor who has been doing a lot of work in the Quarter and Treme. After soaking in the these structure with awe for all of these months I was now no longer just studying them in drawings but now given an opportunity to apply a brush on one.

We worked on a condo in the French Quarter,  when I say "condo" don't picture what is called a condo up in Jersey. This condo was originally built as a slave's quarters about 250 years ago.  A narrow brick building that creaks with rich history and spirits.  Again I stress that I never was one to subscribe to any sort of paranormal beliefs, but in this town the side walks are crowded with ghosts of America's past. Slaves, pirates, artists, Indians and musician's spirits brush your elbows on apparently deserted streets.

Tourists come to the French Quarter by the millions every year to experience this magic. Ok, and also to experience lap dances and hang overs of Biblical proportions. Any renovations in the Quarter are strictly controlled by ordinances and zoning permits to retain the authenticity. You won't see vinyl siding or double insulated vinyl clad windows for low cost maintenance. All colors of paint, material, hardware and designs used in the Quarter are regulated by code.  This condo had a 12 foot high ceiling and the door to the bathroom was ten foot tall made by the talented hands of a craftsman many, many years ago.

During a smoke break I sat on a granite stoop leaning up against well weathered brick wall. I looked over a picturesque courtyard hidden away from the tourists and traffic picturing centuries of tragedies and comedies that must have unfolded. It was a privilege to add my stamp to the pages of New Orleans' dynamic history.

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