Monday, March 10 2008 @ 08:56 PM EDT
Contributed by: anne
People are not the only lovers of the French Quarter and Warehouse District of New Orleans. After a long week of indoor confinement, our dog, Zeus, decides it is time for a “dog day” outside… and that means Deb and me finding some entertainment for the old boy – or else. Woof.We aren’t sure of the dog-friendliness of our neighborhood, or the French Quarter. One thing we do know for sure is that dogs are welcome and loved at the Cotton Mills condominiums.Our building is full of dogs – from small yappy ones to full-blown great danes. A favorite is the shiny black lab, Boo-Ray, who lives across the courtyard and spins in circles with glee when he’s released outside. His owner is friendly, giving us a wave and a smile when we take Zeus out to play, and dozens of other pups populate the halls, stairwells and sidewalks of our cozy co-op.
But out on the town? We decide to give Zeus a special day, and our mission on a beautiful Saturday morning in March is to show the man of the hour a good time. We’ll have to be creative…
We start six blocks away from home with breakfast at Lucy’s, our favorite neighborhood pub. We’ve become “regulars” who can now order “the usual” at Lucy’s, so we think it will be a safe test… will our dog be welcome?
We find a table outside, the cheerful umbrella flapping in the breeze… This seems to scare Zeus. The pigeons strutting on the sidewalk are another distraction. Zeus thinks we should chase them, but then he’s driven back behind our table in fear as a city bus goes by. He is afraid of cars, and definitely afraid of buses. He hates motorcycles, he hates bicycles. Our fun day out has our poor dog reduced to a shivering furball against the wall… his ears are down, and he seems to be asking, “Are we having fun yet?”
Things start looking up when the food arrives. Our waitress assures us that Zeus is welcome, we order him his own plate of fries, and he is encouraged by two staff members to feel free to lick our plates when we finish our breakfast.
After breakfast, we head toward the French Quarter. We want to share all our favorite pastimes with man’s best friend, so we take Zeus shopping at a great store in the French Market called Pets are People, too. He buys an LSU jersey, a fleur-de-lis collar, and this stunning ruffle around his neck in purple and gold – a real Tiger fan! (I hope no one tells him that tigers are cats).
We show him the wonders of the uneven streets in the Quarter. We encounter all the usual artists and performers; including this sarcastic clown. The clown does not appreciate our zeal for Zeus’ big day out and barely tolerates having his picture taken with “our baby.” We don’t think he’s a native; he’s an imported imposter clown – an angry day-glo multi-colored fake rainbow-haired bastard who won’t acknowledge the doggy groove of this very cool outing.
All is well a few moments later when the silver robot mime, our personal favorite, gives him a tender pat on the head. Zeus loves the mechanical space-like whistling sounds and forgets all about rude clowns.
Our next stop is to have Zeus’ portrait done. We interview several artists, determined to find the best one to capture our noble beast in all his glory. We finally settle on a charcoal sketcher. Here he snaps a picture of his subject and tells us to come back in an hour for the finished picture.
It’s after lunch, so it’s time for a drink. We take Zeus to the most famous watering hole in New Orleans – Pat O’Brien’s. Unfortunately, the bouncers do not agree that three years old in people years equals twenty-one in dog years, but we did snap a picture to commemorate the moment.
We meet a leprachaun just around the corner…
Zeus stops for a cold Bud Light…
… and of course, a world-famous native Lucky Dog…
Other than poseur-clown-guy, everyone else toasts the four-legged visitor with enthusiasm. Several tourists snap his picture, many exclaim, “Oh, look at the Doberman. Look at his cute outfit!” And we find a mexican restaurant for lunch with a breezeway entrance with tables. This sort of counts as keeping Zeus “outside,” and we are in luck that the waitress speaks little English. Her frown and “shoo-ing” gesture are lost on us… we assume she’s saying, “Welcome to the restaurant. We are pleased to have you here, and thrilled to have your dog lying in the doorway.”
Zeus gives her his best “sad boy” face, and she grunts something and allows him to stay.
Her English is also inconvenient for Deb. She orders a strawberry daquiri – virgin – with her lunch and gets a pretty stiff one… She’s only sixteen so I send it back, angering the waitress even more. “She no say that,” she insists. “She no say ‘no alcohol.'” Apparently virgin means something else where she comes from… Alas, she’s not among our growing number of fans today.
Circling back around, we visit Jackson Square park, only to be asked to leave. Dogs are not allowed. Zeus is totally psyched that he’s been thrown out of a New Orleans landmark. Another tall tale to share with Boo-Ray over cocktails in the courtyard tonight.
We go pick up Zeus’ portrait… a masterpiece. He is clearly impressed when he sees how perfectly the artist has captured his likeness, complete with all the Mardi Gras beads around his neck.
Satisfied and tired, we head for home. Now we’ve got the Dog Scene all scoped out, and we’ll be back to the French Quarter with Zeus soon, enjoying a beautiful day in New Orleans. Maybe next time we’ll check out the dog park on the river…
Nah. Too canine. So last season.