New Orleans a City of Sinners and Saints

New Orleans a City of Sinners and Saints. The City That Care Forgot, The Crescent City, The Big Easy, NOLA, The  Birthplace of Jazz, N’Awlins. All names someone has taken to calling the city. I love New Orleans a City of Sinners and Saints the dichotomy of sinning and being saved is what is so appealing to many myself included.  There is a rich spiritual vibe here. It comes from Catholicism and the mixing of many Caribbean and West African religious practices often called Vudoo or Voodoo. Including but not limited to Haitian and Louisiana French Creole. You put all of these Ingredients  in a pot and you end up with a deeply Religious Gumbo as thick and rich as a Gumbo anyone would cook up to feed a congregation on a Sunday afternoon.

New Orleans Sinners

I find myself drawn into the religion of this city every time I visit. I am a sinner,  I make no apologies for that. Somehow the feeling is real in being able to acknowledge being a sinner while in the city known for sin. There is no other city I have visited that invites you to be both Sinner and Saint.

In many ways it is a city that should not be. It’s below sea level, it has been a place where criminals came to hide, where pirates walked the streets. New Orleans was a place where 1000’s of slaves were bought and sold at public auction in the heart of the city.  Wars and Battles were waged many men died as a result of this.  It has been ravaged by mother nature since its inception. Still to this day boasts unparalleled levels of poverty and riches. The gang and murder rates today are some of the worst in the country.

New Orleans Saints

Yet New Orleans is a city of unique joy. A city that created many famous cocktails, the most famous is arguably  the one named after the devastating storms that have plagued this area for 300 plus years.  Sugar Plantation Slaves from the Caribbean and West Indies discovered that you could ferment the by-product molasses from sugar by refining it into alcohol. Slaves created Rum and the knowledge on how to make the spirit. That knowledge traveled with them when they were loaded on slave ships and brought to the New World to be sold.  Rum has been described in old documents as Kill-devil, hot and hellish the devils drink.  In New Orleans they took the devils spirit and made the most tropical  drink you could imagine. The Hurricane a combination of fresh fruit juice and dark rum.

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Pirates delivered Rum to this city. The “privateers”  walked the streets of New Orleans making deals and selling their product. Pirates who ran afoul of the law were imprisoned in an alley right next to the Cathedral-Basillica of St. Louis King of France. Also known as  St. Louis Cathedral, it is the oldest cathedral in continual use in the United States. They still offer daily mass at 12:05 pm and the doors are open from 830am until 4pm every day. They welcome sinners and saints alike. Light a candle make an offering. There is no judgement.

New Orleans a City of Sinners and Saints

If you walk around to the side of the cathedral and up pirates alley however, it did not officially become pirates alley until the 1960’s. For 250 years the alley was  a short cut thru the middle of town past the church from the Mississippi River on the way to Lake Pontchartrain. Used by the sinners and saints of New Orleans to not have to go around the massive buildings on either side of the cathedral. One the Cabildo housed the seat of government the other a convent literally Sinners on one side and Saints on the other.

Savior of Sinners

If you exit Pirates Alley  on your way towards Bourbon Street,arguably the single most Sin filled Street in all of America. Pause and look back over your shoulder you will see the green of St Anthony’s Garden. The garden forms the back yard to St Louis Cathedral.  There stands a statue of Jesus with arms out stretched. Inviting all sinners to take refuge in his arms. During the day it is like every other statue of Jesus welcoming and open. A man who did not look at your sin and judge you. He was there to welcome you with open arms.

At night the statue of Jesus transforms into a giant holy caretaker of the sinners of New Orleans.   This is one of my favorite places in all of New Orleans.  During the day St Anthony’s Garden is a tranquil hide away surrounded by artists selling artistic creations. At night Jesus stands arms open wide. He invites you to take refuge, he offers loving arms of protection he does not care who you are or what you have done. There is no judgement in the Jesus of New Orleans.

New Orleans a city filled with Sinners who sometimes are Saints. Every person that has survived this city and what it has gone thru  has a bit of Saint in them.  I feel closer to the heavens here and yet the devil is at every corner and I like it the way.  It makes you feel alive.