Heading downriver toward New Orleans on Christmas eve you can hear the bells from St.Louis Cathedral and the angelic voices of the choir singing traditional Christmas hymns. If you listen even closer, the sounds of horns playing out from Bourbon St… traditional jazz from Preservation Hall. These different sounds of syncopation… horns, bells, and singing in a blended rhythmic exchange of musical styles can only make the heart overflow with love on this magical night. But a peculiar thing happens on this night according to the National Weather Service that calls out for our attention. Every Christmas Eve winds out of the east rush from the Pontchartrain headed west toward a crescent in the river at the French Quarters… downtown New Orleans. All of this energy is pushing onward to the mouth of the river. Witnesses say you can feel the winds lift you up as though they were coming to take you away. Legend has it that Papa Noel, after his visit to the bonfires of the river parishes, leaves New Orleans from this very crescent in the river with these prevailing winds surrounding his sleigh guiding it downriver to the Gulf of Mexico and all points south. And yes the sound of someone in a loud voice or is it the wind against the currents, either way, ” Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”
“Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic” -Van Morrison
Find something, anything, which is so encompassing that in a given block of time it enthralls you to get lost together in unconsciousness. Such things are beyond space and time, it is bliss and one only questions the indignities of why when not doing this transcendent work. Indeed others drown in the waters the mystic swims in.
*Image by Pixabay
©jc2019-9 Happy New Year, ask and the numbers shall guide you.
If there is one person responsible for the modern version of Christmas we celebrate today, that person is Charles Dickens and the story that converged many rituals into one and reinvented the holiday we know today is A Christmas Carol.
For a story concerned with giving to others in compassion, goodwill, and charity Continue reading Good Tidings of Perfect Light
One of my fondest memories of Christmas as a child was riding in the backseat of a Ford station wagon along Canal Street in downtown New Orleans. The radio playing holiday classics in the background while watching the display of Christmas bells outside the front of D.H. Holmes Department Store. I’m not sure, but I seem to remember the bells moving back Continue reading December in New Orleans
Whenever I find myself in the environs of Baton Rouge on Christmas Eve, I head south on a little excursion on River Road following the levee on the east bank of the Mississippi River towards New Orleans. My destination is St.James Parish, some 20 to 30 miles upriver from New Orleans. St.James Parish is home to the communities of Lutcher, Gramercy, and Paulina. I’ve spent a lot of time in this area during my college years, so this is a special place for me.
Even before I get to my final stop I look up toward the top of the levee and see wooden structures shaped like a pyramid, some 20 to 30 feet in height. The cross beams in the structure giving it the appearance of a ladder. Other neighboring parishes, Ascension and St.John the Baptist also have these wooden edifices, but none hold to this tradition as passionate as St.James Parish, counting at least 100 such structures built and all will soon be set ablaze to guide Papa Noel, on his annual Christmas Eve run to deliver presents to all who are children at heart. Continue reading Fire of Joy, ‘feu de joie’