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9.35 am Envie Cafe, Barracks and Decatur St., French Quarter

This place is not in my guide book but it should be. Looks like an old-fashioned espresso house. Having a chocolate muffin and iced tea with hibiscus. Rain is expected. It isn’t hot, but the humidity is typically tropical. I’m thinking of some of my memories from the my trip here so far. Yesterday, at Cafe Beignet, I saw one of the most strikingly beautiful women I’ve seen in my life. She was a thirty-something mixed-race woman with a young son. Knowing the history of New Orleans (both factual and luridly embellished), one always hears stories of White Creole families in Louisiana and their quadroon or octaroon mistresses. These stories were always tragic, mostly for the women. Her face reminded me of those stories, as if she was completely rooted in the city, her existence trapped within it.

10.25 am Envie Cafe

At this moment in time I am completely relaxed. The languor here has removed any angst within me. It might be the weather, the environment in this cafe, some laissez-faire quality of the culture, but I feel I’ve internalized a sense of ease, as if living in some sort of dreamtime, one of those liminal states between full consciousness and drowsy swooning.

1o.41 Cabrini Park, Barracks and Delphine

I’m sitting in a bright blue lawn chair in a torpid parkette. The moisture and overgrowth of grass, the abundance of ornithic and insect sounds reminds me so much of Lahore that I felt a stunning need to sit down and just be here for a moment. Dogs abound here, and their owners have an open, friendly vivacity that adds to the sense of peace here.

2 am

Back from the Maple Leaf Club after seeing Rebirth, a brass band in true New Orleanian fashion. The crowd was mixed, black and white, class differences seemed to mean nothing. The crowd was huge; even the outside air seemed cold in comparison with the heat inside. At the back was the bar’s patio, bathed in blue light, with oak trees and mosquitoes interspersed with the ironwork chairs.

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