Dreams come true on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans.  Things are not always what they appear to be---they're usually better.

A day spent on Esplanade Avenue is better than a day spent fishing.  Wile away enough time on Esplanade Avenue and you'll have a smile on your kisser.

The Great New Orleans Pit-Spitting Contest

The Great New Orleans Pit-Spitting Contest

I was lucky enough to witness an interesting and indigenous New Orleans sporting event on Esplanade Avenue, in Alcee Fortier Park.

Alcee Fortier Park sign on Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, LA

Alcee Fortier Park sign on Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, LA

Alcee Fortier Park is located in the Faubourg St. John neighborhood.  The park is officially maintained by the City Department of Parks and Parkways, but it's really the people who live around the park who are responsible for the park's amenities and upkeep.  Like many things in New Orleans, it's an intramural effort.  The city government does do some things, but many, many other essential things are left up to the people on the ground.  As anyone in city government will tell you, and they are very forthcoming, the city doesn't have a lot of money and it doesn't have a lot of staff, and the staff doesn't have a lot of expertise.  New Orleans stands or falters on the shoulders of its citizens.

Alcee Fortier, after whom Alcee Fortier Park is named, was a linguist, a historian, and a Louisiana folklorist.  I'm slowly working my way through Volume I of his "History of Louisiana."  

A view or Alcee Fortier Park.

A view or Alcee Fortier Park.

I was walking past Alcee Fortier Park the other day when I heard frenzied cries of, "Spit the pit!  Spit the pit!" coming from the middle of the park.  A pit-spitting competition was underway and I had arrived in the middle of it. 

I took a seat on a bench at the lakeside of the park and settled in to watch from afar.  Then, I got more interested and joined the crowd.

"Spit the pit!  Spit the pit!"  There was a group of men and women by the red abstract sculpture on the riverside of the park and they were all gathered in one of the most exciting, small-scale, neighborhood events you can find in our fair city: a watermelon pit spitting competition.  Naturally, there was betting involved, just to make it interesting.

The red abstract sculpture in Alcee Fortier Park, New Orleans, LA, and one of the watermelon pit spitting contest that went on there in May, 2017.

The red abstract sculpture in Alcee Fortier Park, New Orleans, LA, and one of the watermelon pit spitting contest that went on there in May, 2017.

I locked up my bicycle and wandered over to where the games were taking place.  I won't get into too many details, but it was a fascinating display of tongue and cheek artistry, as well as expansive lung work.  I walked away twenty dollars richer after sizing up the abilities of a small woman named Sally.  I figured she had heart and she walked away with the longest distance of the day: 7'8".  Not bad for an elderly lady who only weighs 105 lbs.  When I asked her the secret of her success, she told me.  "You have to use your diaphragm," she said.  She never lifted her shirt but I suspect she's sporting six-pack abs above her belt line.

You never know what you'll find in New Orleans.  Turning every corner brings a fresh surprise.  You never know what you'll find on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans.  Ours is a beautiful and intriguing street.

Alcee Fortier would be impressed by what he could find around Esplanade Avenue today.  Here's a picture of him:

Alcee Fortier, New Orleanian and Louisiana historian

Alcee Fortier, New Orleanian and Louisiana historian

I, your humble narrator and your man on Esplanade Avenue, am equally delighted by the adventures I have in our neighborhood as Alcee Fortier would be.  If you think you would be equally delighted, here's a word from our sponsor:

La Belle Esplanade is a boutique experience inn located in the 2200 block of Esplanade Avenue.  When you visit New Orleans, you'll be tempted to stay in the French Quarter.  You can do that, but there is a whole wide and interesting city outside the French Quarter.  It's the part of New Orleans where the city's culture is made and embellished.  If you want to explore the real New Orleans the way it's experienced by the people who live here, La Belle Esplanade is your best bet.  La Belle Esplanade's lobby is home to The New Orleans Odditarium, a real museum with its own website.  

The only way to make a reservation at La Belle Esplanade is through our website.  Investigate the pages to see if you think it will be a good fit for you.  If you have Esplanade dreams of your own, La Belle Esplanade will be a good fit.  Good memories are made on Esplanade Avenue, especially in the 2200 block.  

Dream on and dream well.  There is no place on earth like New Orleans.  There is no place else in New Orleans like Esplanade Avenue.  Come see for yourself.

A Quarter on Esplanade Avenue

A Quarter on Esplanade Avenue

Dead Squirrel on Esplanade Avenue

Dead Squirrel on Esplanade Avenue