Today’s mission was to make it to the cemetery and find Marie’s vault. We got there right before noon and it was blazing hot. I think I may have been the only person that actually liked it. When we got there, a tourguide had a large group of large tourists with cameras stuck in their faces (ironic that I’m being catty about them…) so I couldn’t get what I came for.
I found out yesterday that another famous NOLA citizen is buried there – Homer Plessy, of Plessy vs. Ferguson fame. We decided to find him first, and hopefully get back to Marie when it wasn’t so crowded. We almost walked right past his tomb, and I had even commented on the engravings in French on it when we realized what we were reading. I’m kind of bummed that there wasn’t anyone else around his grave, considering what he tried to do. I guess the whole segregation thing isn’t as romantic as voodoo.
St. Louis is the oldest cemetery in the city, and out of the ones I’ve seen, far and away the most decadently decayed and beautiful. So many of the markers are so old, they’ve been worn smooth by centuries of hands and hurricanes, so you can only imagine some of what’s engraved. One really interesting thing is the occasional more “modern” burial sites and markers interspersed among the old ones, the most notable being Dutch Morial, who is actually next to Miss Laveau.
There was another tourguide giving his spiel when we got back there. He was telling them how she was never involved with voodoo, but was never stopped from seeming like she was because she used the money she made giving palm readings and fortunes to purchase and free slave families. He then finished the story by telling them she was moved from her crypt a week after her burial to New Orleans East because her followers wanted to exhume her and eat her heart. I will be digging further into all of this, because I have the feeling these street hucksters are as sincere as…well…Huey Long and Edwin Edwards in a church full of little old ladies.
Mission accomplished, we moseyed back toward the river in search of a non-overly-heavy lunch. Yep. Based on many shining reviews, we decided on Stanley, named after the “Streetcar” character. It’s called a diner, but if it is one, it’s the most upscale one I’ve ever seen. It’s on the corner of Decatur and St. Ann, overlooking the cathedral and its usual menagerie of weekend street performers. Our waiter, David, was completely accommodating. When I asked for a banana for Holland, I was expecting him to run to the kitchen and grab one, and was pleasantly surprised by the presentation of a perfectly sliced banana spread in a fan on a little plate. (It better have been…there’s no other reason to pay $2 for a banana.) Mom’s salad was beautiful and tasty, and my Stanley club was fit for a blue-collar man of the 1950s. Huge, meaty, cheesy, piled on thick French bread.
Refreshed and recovered from the sun, we departed the city to head home for a lazy day of napping and reading our new book, “Jacques and de Beanstalk.”