My rest stop

For one whole day the car stayed in a parking lot. The city we chose for the rest stop is New Orleans, not even at the physical half of the trip. It’s an absurd city that I thought I hated, but at least learned to appreciate when I was here last April. This time, here she is again in the climate, which I very well remembered, of the first week of August. The city was announced by an electrical storm over Lake Pontchartrain one hour before our arrival. No rain (not that I could see), only lightning embedded in giant clouds.

My experience of New Orleans is still limited to the French Quarter, which doesn’t seem to have changed since the students’ spring break. It also seems that the students have never left, captivated by the hidden forces of the city.

With this heat, during the day no musicians are playing in the streets. The smells of food and putrefaction, already pungent in April, saturate the city and are amplified so much that the brain is overwhelmed and, at one point, refuses to acknowledge them.

New Orleans is aggressive. It exploits every ounce of its history and its fame, from the local cuisine to the drinks and the music – jazz drowning in Bourbon Street’s sound wave or zydeco coming from cajun eateries – and stuns the tourist, if it can fascinate him.

For one day the car stayed in a parking lot. We’ll pay for that later, with nine hours of driving, westbound.