December 16, 2017


A Confederacy of Vices

The perfectly located Hotel St. Marie looks like an antique building but was built 40 years ago, making it a relative newcomer to the Vieux Carré.

MARCH 2017: A GLAMOR TO GUTTER LITERARY TRAVEL LOG OF FRENCH QUARTER TOURISM, WITH OCCASSIONAL REFERENCES TO A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES. New Orleans is one of the extraordinary cities, a hybrid of old and new world cultures, the perfect package of people, architecture, attitude, and vibe. Tennessee Williams once said, “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans.  Everywhere else is Cleveland.” But what about Chicago? What about Las Vegas? What about Miami? The point is well made, New Orleans is unique and there is no place like it. For a year, my friend Graham and …continue reading

Laura Plantation is Louisiana’s best house tour

Laura Plantation was built in 1805 in the traditional Creole colonial manner with a raised brick basement and briquette-entre-poteaux construction.

Growing up, I never heard of Laura Plantation; but over the past two decades it has been the buzz of Louisiana’s plantation parade. Hard to believe, but this historical gem has been hidden in plain sight within the cluster of other notorious homes like Oak Alley, St. Joseph, and San Francisco. And having seen nearly every plantation across my home state and many house museums around the world, visiting Laura has been on my list. Last year at a wedding in Houston I met Jay Schexnaydre, one of the managers of Laura Plantation. He encouraged me to visit, promising it …continue reading

Tourism during, and Surviving, the Bayou Classic

Melanie’s first experience in the Crescent City, we saw as many sights as we could. We even took a street car ride up Saint Charles

Bullets rained on Bourbon Street on November 27th, 2016, as an argument between two thugs escalated. When the smoke cleared, ten people had been shot, one fatally; and none of the victims had anything to do with the original altercation—none were intended targets. The shooting erupted because of a previous quarrel between the two, and took place a few hours after the conclusion of the Bayou Classic, an annual Saturday night football game between Grambling State and Southern University. It is a dangerous weekend in New Orleans; and this is my own story of tourism during, and surviving, the Bayou …continue reading

Memories, Museums, and Moonlight in Vermont

The last of Vermont's seasonal color on a forest road at Hildene.

My whole familiarity of Vermont came from Newhart, a popular CBS sitcom in the 1980s starring comedian Bob Newhart as Dick Loudon, an innkeeper in rural Vermont; the 200-year old Stratford Inn becomes the epicenter for illogical behavior and odd characters (like Tom Poston as George Utley; and Larry, Darryl, and the his other brother Darryl). George Utley: Dick, I cleared out that obstruction in the chimney. Dick Loudon: Thanks George. What was it? George Utley: I don’t know but when I woke it up, it ran away. And given a list of places to travel, the People’s Republic of Vermont …continue reading

I ate Portland, Maine

Steamed lobster and clams, classic Maine fare, from J's Oyster Bar on Portland's Historic Waterfront.

When I was a kid Alka-Seltzer coined the popular slogan, I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.  And my recent trip to Portland, Maine, leaves me with the same sentiment because I ate Portland. Who knew that Portland was such a foodie town?  But when lobsters, clams, fish, and shrimp pulled freshly from the Atlantic are mixed with the plethora of New England grown produce and locally-raised dairy and livestock, it results in what Bon Appétit has called America’s Foodiest Small Town. I have visited Portland before and ate myself silly.  But this last trip afforded me quite a …continue reading

Hildene, where you visit the Lincolns

Hildene in Manchester, Vermont, was the summer home of the Lincolns.

Hidden in the picturesque mountains of western Vermont, just outside the village of Manchester, is a house museum called Hildene, where you visit the Lincolns.  And a house museum it is, indeed.  House museums under the TroysArt Destinations tab are usually highly recommended to get a sense of the cultural and societal influences of an area.  But the summer home owned by the heirs of Abraham Lincoln is not only a house but also a shrine to one of the country’s most significant presidents. Robert Todd Lincoln was the oldest son of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln; and the only …continue reading

There are problems with parking in Galveston

My car with a Galveston parking ticket.

Regular readers know that I have been very kind to Galveston. My posts such as Gung Ho on Galveston or Chasing Ghosts at Hotel Galvez are two examples; type Galveston into TroysArt Search and the plethora of posts pop up. But the recent occurrence of getting a parking ticket has me flummoxed. There are problems with parking in Galveston. We all know that the recent parking situation on the Seawall is ridiculous. In 2012 Galveston instituted a pay-by-phone system and on several occasions it has taken me up to twenty minutes trying to register my car by phone in order, …continue reading

Art in Washington DC

Richard Milhous Nixon by Norman Rockwell, 1968, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; donated to the people of the United States of America by the Richard Nixon Foundation.

I was in Washington DC last week to visit a friend—I had not seen Elizabeth Arledge since we graduated high school, and having never been to DC looked forward to a tour of her stomping ground. When asked what I wanted to see I suggested a couple of monuments and a few wine bars; but I also hoped to see some great museums while there. And boy did we! I was asked upon my return how I liked the art in Washington DC. And I can offer a simile in answer to that inquiry: Art in Washington DC is like walking into …continue reading

Stumps are brightly painted at College Park Cemetery

College Park Cemetery, Houston, Texas.

Sometimes it only takes a few hours to discover something interesting in your own backyard.  For years I passed the overgrown and neglected parcel of land on the eastern border of River Oaks on West Dallas—always told that it was an ancient slave cemetery.  I guess it is poignant that I visited the site a couple days ago, being as it is Black History Month.  And I was particularly intrigued by the restoration and the folk art—all of the stumps are brightly painted at College Park Cemetery. College Park Cemetery is one of the three remaining African-American cemeteries from the …continue reading

Chasing ghosts at Hotel Galvez

A ghostly face in room 501, courtesy of Hotel Galvez.

My favorite nearby get-away is Galveston, Texas (TroysArt – Gung Ho on Galveston); and without question my favorite hotel on the island is Hotel Galvez (Troysart – The art of escape, the Hotel Galvez).   This week I visited with Lake Charles gal-pal Courtenay Deats Guillory. And for as many times as I have visited the Galvez, this was the first time I ever heard of paranormal occurrences. That is how Court and I ended up chasing ghosts at Hotel Galvez. According to concierge Melissa Hall the most notorious spirit haunting the halls is a bride-to-be named Audra who stayed in room 501 …continue reading