There's no where like the French Quarter - colorful and unruly, secretive and showy, smelly and elegant. I remember approaching the city as a teenager in a church van and hearing someone say they could feel the evil as they approached New Orleans. Maybe New Orleans is simply more honest with itself than everywhere else. And while I can't say as I felt the evil, I could not pretend it wasn't there – sight and smell... the streets of the French Quarter marinated in beer and pee, homeless, aimless, disillusioned runaways used and abused by the riverfront, old vagabonds carrying the weight of the world and at best a backpack of dirty clothes, and asinine drunk tourists trying to forget how much they dislike their sober selves with a night on Bourbon Street.
Like nowhere else I know, the French Quarter is transformed from day to night...elaborate weddings by day in Jackson Square's St. Louis Cathedral and tarot card readers hawking their fortunes in the shadow of the church by night. Although Cafe Du Monde makes for some good pictures (and snacking) by night, I'm much more a fan of the quartier (and most everywhere else) by sunset. The dark hours are less threatening in the warm light of the descending sun.