I was walking the dog yesterday when I came across Santa Claus lying in the middle of St. Charles Avenue. This wasn’t a mall Santa with too many toddies after a stressful day of wishes, but a twenty foot tall fiberglass guy! He was accompanied by workers from a company that produces Mardi Gras parades and extravaganzas. A small crowd watched in fascination as a large crane hoisted Santa over the iron fence, skillfully dodging overhanging oak branches. How I wish I’d had the camera with me! But I went back to capture him welcoming passersby in front of his beautiful temporary home.
Loyola and Tulane Universities are several blocks away. The nativity scene in Loyola’s quadrangle facing the avenue has been a Christmas fixture since I was a child. It was very serene this morning compared to last week when the school brought in 20 tons of ice for the enjoyment of neighborhood children. As you might imagine, snow is a rarity in New Orleans and it was packed. I managed to get a few shots before some snowballs to the face told me it was time to go.
This morning was the annual carol service at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church, a much anticipated event. The choir accompanied by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra performed Hodie, a Christmas cantata by Ralph Vaughan Williams. It was a soothing hour, especially in light of the country’s recent tragedy. (Wish I could share it with you, but we have a no electronics policy during services.) There was another attraction for the kids and kids at heart – my friend Geoff set up his model train set in the fellowship hall. You can watch his trains in motion circling through their Christmas Village. How many Saints trains (I’m talking football rather than pious types) have you seen?
All this happening within a couple of blocks – it’s why we love New Orleans!
Click pictures to enlarge