It's summertime in NOLA. Even though New Orleans is a fabulous place to visit anytime; June, July, August, and September can be humid and hot. How hot? Frying eggs on the sidewalk kind of hot. You will want to stay hydrated so aside from walking around with a bottle of water, you may want to chill in some favorite watering holes with a local flavor where you can cool off while enjoying our magical city.
1. Igor’s Bar Gameroom and Laundromat
A streetcar ride down St. Charles Avenue through the Garden District is a must. If you get off of the streetcar at 2133 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District, you will find yourself in front of one of the most unique bars you will ever stumble across. I mean where else can you do your laundry while you sip on a cold brew or a Bloody Mary?
Open 24/7, Igor’s serves a great burger any time of the day or night. You can sit at one of their outdoor tables and relax while you take in the sights and sounds of the Avenue, or you can enjoy a game of pool or video poker to an eclectic blend of music from the jukebox while you’re waiting for those clothes to dry. No laundry, no problem! Have fun anyway. I've always found it a great place to get together with friends.
Igor’s has been one of my favorite hangouts since 1999, and finding your picture in the collages on the wall in more than one location could be an indication you may have been there a little too often.
Photo by Karen M
2. Voodoo Two
Located at 330 Carondelet Street in New Orleans’ CBD, this bar is a tribute to the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. What do we do with our old Mardi Gras beads in New Orleans? Artwork, of course. This bar features some impressive artwork including a baby grand piano completely adorned with Mardi Gras beads.
Photo by Karen M
3. The Napoleon House
Located at 500 Chartres Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter, The Napoleon House is the home of the famous cocktail, the Pimm’s Cup. Born in London and reengineered in New Orleans, the Pimm’s Cup is the signature drink of the Napoleon House.
It was originally the home of New Orleans Mayor Nicholas Girod. Girod offered his home to the emperor in 1821 as a refuge during his exile. Napoleon never made it to New Orleans, but the name stuck. The Napoleon House has been a favorite hangout for artists and writers since the early twentieth century.
Owned by the Impastato family since 1914 and purchased by Ralph Brennan in 2015, the Napoleon House is a perfect place to enjoy lunch on a hot summer day. Their signature muffuletta is always a treat. When you step into the two-hundred-year-old building, the classical music and ambiance make you feel as if you are stepping back in time.
Many ghosts are rumored to haunt the Napoleon House including an old lady who sweeps the floors late at night. Hmm. A ghost who sweeps. I wonder how I could get her to come to my house.
Photos by Karen M
4. The Hermes Bar at Antoine's
I usually find myself stopping in at 725 St. Louis Street after walking the French Quarter. It’s a perfect place to relax and their happy hour prices are appealing to the wallet.
Photo by Karen M
5. Krazy Korner
This hole in the wall dive bar at 640 Bourbon Street is a great place to cool off on a hot afternoon while listening to some fabulous live music. If you happen to catch The Daywalkers, you’re in for a musical treat.
Photo of The Daywalkers by Karen M
New Orleans is full of bars, so you never have to worry about not being able to find a place to chill on a hot day or night. If you discover a place that's awesome and exciting, please let me know about it. I'm always looking for new places to visit.
The Battle for the Four Realms - Dragon Bone by Aldrea Johnson (Guest Post from KKantas Author Assist)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Siblings Aliedori and Maldar, heirs to the throne of the Southern Realm are attacked by an unseen assailant while camping in The Sacred Forest. Aliedori's brother Maldar and his golden dragon, Keidrop, are trapped by a powerful binding spell; a spell that leaves Aliedori strangely unaffected. In an attempt to track down their unseen attacker Aliedori uses her natural gifts and casts a "Seeker" charm enabling her to pursue a chase to a shadowy figure through the dark woods until he mysteriously disappears without a trace...and the adventure begins!
As the trio sets off in the direction the mysterious figure disappeared they encounter mysterious creatures formed from dark magic, a mage powerful enough to incapacitate dragons and other threats only ever spoken of by the Chronicler.
As they journey East more of the Chronicler's prediction come true, Aliedori's destiny lay ahead along with ... the battle for the four realms!
Traders had secured their wares for the night to begin trading again in the morning. There was so much to do before his coming of age... the young man’s thought process was interrupted as his attention was caught by an approaching figure. Aliedori was sure that the thought about coming of age was to hide the original thought process. He tried to hide it, but the pleasure that the germ of a thought had started remained with the young man. The thought filled him with a secret sense of well being as he watched the figure. Aliedori smiled as she recognised so well the approaching man. Her grin spread as she recalled the times when she and Maldar were small and their mother had often told them stories about this figure. One such story that her mother often told was of sneaking out at night to do the rounds with one of the local dousers. The douser approached the young man, his job momentarily forgotten. He inclined his head, palms together as a sign of greeting. The young man brought his palms together and inclined his head also, a deeper bow as a sign of respect to his elder. The douser had been doing the job for a very long time; he knew the young man and his family of drac breeders.
“The hour is late Sorin, even you should be weary of being found out after lights are extinguished.” The young man smiled up at the douser and leant back resting his elbows on the stone steps behind, throwing his head back to look at the night sky. He appeared relaxed, but his casual stance hit an expectant tension.
He brought his head forward and caught the eyes of the douser. The hood of the grey cape the douser wore was hiding his face so the only things visible were lines and shadows. But Sorin fancied that he had caught the douser’s eyes and smiled in a lazy manner.
“I fancy a moonlight walk and who better to do that with but my good friend the douser,” Sorin mused.
The douser said nothing for a while, as if he was thinking over the offer, and when he spoke, his voice was full of unexpected merriment.
“Walk with me, then we shall tackle the hunter’s moon together and we will hunt after dark.”
Sorin sighed and treated himself to the glorious view of the silver moon as he stood up reluctantly. He didn’t really want company but once the lights were extinguished only fools and thieves chose to walk the streets alone.
“If you have another of those, our moonlight stroll will merely be seen as work and no one will know differently.”
He winked at the douser and chuckled at his own small joke, accepting the douser he was offered by the master of illumination. The lights of the six lamps in the square were quickly put out rendering almost total darkness. Sorin waits for his eyes to adjust to the darkness the lights at the other end of the market place suddenly seemed very far away.
There were many bandits in the settlements and they had been known to cut a man’s throat the instant the lights were extinguished. Sorin swallowed because, despite his bravado, he was a little afraid.
Aliedori felt Sorin’s fear, palpable, unknown, faceless and nameless but nevertheless very real fear. Sorin was experiencing a mixture of joy and fear, deep bright colours and dull grey hues tumbled through his emotions in equal measure, Aliedori had no trouble recognising these emotions; it felt as if Sorin had discovered something new and tantalizing. The discovery brought joy and fear in equal measure, both emotions vying to be the dominant one. Suddenly Sorin stopped. He had been looking at the moon and smiling to himself, thinking that it appeared to be so close. He could almost reach out and touch it and he was about to stretch out his hand when he froze. Sorin didn’t move until douser grabbed him and pulled him forward, almost off his feet. The douser had removed his hood, and Sorin was looking into the calm face of an olive-skinned man. Soft brown eyes showed slight concern for the young man. Sorin moved quickly, he was a fool to have stayed out so late, but he had become lost in his own thoughts of the upcoming ceremony, and he had not noticed the dark creeping in. What kind of man would he make if he were frightened of the dark?
He had been born close to the settlement by the wall and had spent almost his entire life there. Everything he knew about the Realms he had learnt whilst there, and yet... and yet. Aliedori wanted to find out more, but the young man’s thoughts were now unclear, jumbled and full of imagined and unimaginable fears. Aliedori caught small glimpses of features but somehow she felt that this was more about what Sorin had imagined rather than what he had seen. Aliedori wondered if she should probe Sorin’s mind to find out more, but she knew that she had no right to any of his thoughts. They were his thoughts and fears, and she had no right to any of them, not without his permission anyway. She could not find a justifiable reason to search his mind, so she concentrated on what she was there for. She had simply wanted to use his eyes to gather information on the city outside the wall.
When she had cast her mind out she hadn’t expected to find settlers, nor did she expect to enter his mind so easily and freely; it was strange, but she would have to think about that one later as well. The douser and Sorin had reached the last lamps on the Square and before he put them out douser drew out a torch, held it against a lamp, and lit it. With the lamps out, the entire square was plunged into total darkness. The market was for day traders and there were no residents about. Once trading for the day was over there was no need for illumination and the small market was plunged into darkness.
Sorin was out with an old man whose only experience of the world was to bring illumination to others. The younger man turned and looked behind him, he was sure he had heard something out there in the darkness, something large and unfathomable. He felt something touch him and almost cried out until he realised that it was douser’s hand on his arm.
“I find it is always best to look forward, sire, head up, shoulders back... best way, sire,” he said. “We will walk to your dwelling.”
“And you?” Sorin enquired.
“Don’t you worry about me young sire, I have been walking these paths before you were born. Besides I am not a wealthy man, I have nothing of worth. Bandits want gold coins, and I have none, I am simply not worth the effort.”
The douser was lost in thought for a moment, perhaps thinking of his coinless life, or perhaps the welcoming sign of a tavern. Sorin handed the dousing implement back so that he could draw his sword. He did not believe that his sword would be of any use, or that he would get the chance to use it if something was there in the darkness. He was a good a swordsman and liked to think he was getting better, but he was always a disappointment to his trainer, the master swordsman. It was a comfort to feel the weight of the sword in his hand, though, and what a triumph it would be to single-handedly take down some of the settlement’s bandits. Sorin and the douser moved forward together as one, and Sorin noticed that the douser also had a large club in his hand. Perhaps not single-handedly then... the thought began.
Then there was nothing, Aliedori could no longer sense him, Sorin was gone. He had disappeared into the darkness, the connection was severed so suddenly that when Aliedori found herself staring at the distant moon she did not realise for some time that it was through the window of the hut. She pulled herself up from her comfortable position and tried again to re-establish a link. But nothing. Sorin was gone. Aliedori continued to search for Sorin but was unable to find him again. Now she knew where to look she would continue with her search.
Where you can buy the novel:
Paperback - https://www.amazon.com/Battle-Four-Realms-Dragon-Bone/dp/1944653074
Digital - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-battle-for-the-four-realms-johnson-aldrea/1126400930
Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-battle-for-the-four-realms
I was brought up on stories, tales of adventures of far off places, of princesses in peril and their princes rescuing them, they filled my head and sparked my imagination from an early age. I have very fond memories of “Lloyd Brown or “Lloydy” as he was known to us children, telling the most wonderful stories. The only time he didn’t stutter was when he was telling stories, I would travel with him to those far off places from the Grimm fairy tales and just around the corner of the “Anansi” stories of Jamaican fables, these were amongst my favourites. By the time I had to swap the Jamaican sun shine for the winter “watery” sun of England at the age of almost eleven years old. My head was already crammed full of stories to accompany me on my very own adventure to far off England.
I may have spent my formative years in the Jamaican country side the wild green woods and perfectly clear rivers but I grew up in London. Long winter days and darkened evenings would find me with my head in a book, the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Arabian Nights and closer to home Enid Blyton’s Famous Five were later replaced but not forgotten by Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, Sterling E Lanier’s Hiero’s Journey.
I was a shy introverted child but while at school I was regarded as one of the “cool” kids I was a real Jamaican with the accent to prove it. Libraries became my playground, they helped to fuel my imagination where adventure after adventure played out again and again in my head. I could be anywhere, any place, anytime from my little corner of the local library, I lived in my head my stories gave me a sense of belonging, they sustained me and now somehow one of my adventures found its way onto the page and is about the be shared with others.
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