The first place I ever sat at a bar was while I was in my late-20s, here at the Carousel Bar while Av and I were staying at the Hotel Monteleone in the Quarter. Growing up in a ‘dry’ county (no alcohol sales, although that was reversed a couple of years ago) I absorbed this almost Puritanical attitude toward bars. I think because the popular idea was that my ‘dry’ hometown was free of so much crime and unseemliness that burdened ‘wet’ municipalities, bars were just not a great idea in the scheme of things. And what about the idea of lonely, down-on-their-luck people hanging out at bars? Those were the images that populated my mind. I know. Whatever.
Well, back to the Carousel Bar here at Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. I actually asked Av (who grew up in the big city with no issues around alcohol) to take me since I had heard how beautiful it was, and that it had a mechanism that made the counter and seats go completely around the center of the bar, completing a round in 15 minutes. Acknowledging my adult status and the fact that I needed to take a giant get-over-it pill in regards to drinking establishments, we went.
And we’ve visited the Carousel Bar a few times since. This visit was from last year:
The whole area is just lovely:
And the art… photographs by Alfred Cheney Johnston of Ziegfeld Follies from the 1920s were blown up and printed on canvas, then shipped to Latvia where they were embellished by artist Binka Rigava, who used Austrian Swarovski crystals and pearls to hand-bead each of the images.