In New Or­leans, noth­ing’s half as be­guil­ing as the French Quar­ter.

The Washington Post Sunday - - TRAVEL - PHO­TOS AND TEXT BY MATT MCCLAIN matthew.mcclain@wash­post.com

In the early morn­ing, the French Quar­ter is quiet and serene. At times, you don’t spot an­other soul ex­cept the work­ers clean­ing up the af­ter­math of the nightly party that is Bour­bon Street. As day turns to night, mu­sic en­velopes the area and peo­ple be­gin to crowd the side­walks. New Or­leans of­ten feels like a liv­ing or­gan­ism, teem­ing with col­ors, sounds and smells un­like those in other places. The city is cred­ited with be­ing the birth­place of jazz, and mu­sic is a vi­tal part of the New Or­leans ex­pe­ri­ence. Whether it’s echo­ing down a side street or fu­el­ing a sec­ond line be­hind the brass band, there is a nearly con­stant sound­track as you go about your trav­els. I re­cently took some time to ex­plore the area in and around the French Quar­ter. There was some­thing to doc­u­ment around vir­tu­ally ev­ery cor­ner. From a per­former dressed as Darth Vader danc­ing for tips to a wine­themed parade, each street led to its own mini­ad­ven­ture.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: In mid-Fe­bru­ary Car­ni­val cel­e­bra­tions in the French Quar­ter of New Or­leans, Ray­mond “Dr. Wrackle” Wil­liams, left, and Aure­lien Barnes get ready to play dur­ing the wine-themed Krewe of Cork parade; Lori and Kevin Frischhertz, both dressed as Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, min­gle among vis­ages of the real thing; as dual Lone Rangers, Fran­cis and Yvette DeBlanc leave no room for a Tonto. ABOVE: Col­ored lights cast a smeary glow on the slick pave­ment of Bour­bon Street.

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