Streetcars are just like telegraphs or kerosene lamps — they are symbols of history. Indeed, I can hardly remember any city which still has streetcars as a part of the public transportation system nowadays. Yet, New Orleans is one of them. There are four streetcar lines currently operating in New Orleans, and one of them, namely the St. Charles Avenue Line, is said to be the oldest continuously operating street railway system in the world. Sometimes I can see young boys or girls run along the streetcar rails, which reminds me of the cable car heading to the top of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong. I guess this is the magic power of time: memories are refreshed with similar scenes, and histories are revisited with legacies from the past.
I was going across the Decatur Street to enjoy the famous beignets and coffee Au Lait at Cafe Du Monde, and here came the carriage. Alongside with it was a long line of cars waiting for the green light. Suddenly I found the beauty of this city: no matter when and where, you always have the choice of a slower pace of life. Sitting in a cafe and observing people walking by, fine; walking into random antique shops and appreciate the value of time and history, perfect. We may choose to live slower, but we keep moving forward while enjoying the trip. Sometimes, less is more.
New Orleans is a city of arts — and according to my recent knowledge from the Library of Congress, music belongs to arts in ancient classification of academic disciplines. Painters were sitting along the street drawing whatever coming out of their minds, ranging from the street view of Jackson Square to delicious raw oyster and crawfish; bands with young boys and girls were performing their self-composed songs, with the audience cheering here and there; behavior artists put on their costumes, standing still in the street as if they were sculptures. Among all the different forms of arts, one of them is somewhat special for New Orleans: Jazz. This city is said to be the birthplace of Jazz. Indeed, I was almost surrounded by this slow and melodious music: Every few steps, you would hear a different piece of Jazz, coming out of saxophone, trumpet or double bass, elegantly and beautifully.
Located at the historic French Quarter area and being famous for its lively bars and clubs, Bourbon Street is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to go at New Orleans. Not so much interested in the noisy nightlife, I wandered down the street in the morning: it was surprisingly quite. There were very few people in the street, probably just one or two runners and a couple of visitors like me who got up early. Unlike other blocks in French Quarter, delicate ironwork balconies and galleries were not the signatures here, instead, you would find a host of different signs of bars and clubs here, some of them were even flashing as if it was still at night. And the street also got a special smell: somewhat a mix of alcohol and food, always reminding you what a luxury and dissipation night that just past.