beignets in the French Quarter

Eighteen years ago I had my first beignet in the French Quarter of New Orleans. I decided it was time for another. So when we visited my son’s family in New Orleans I asked that we go have beignets.

Saturday afternoon we parked just outside the Quarter. Hubby and son carried baby and toddler piggy back as we walked down the narrow streets. For a fee, artists offered to paint portraits. Tarot card readers promised a reading of great insight for a small rice. A bicycle wheel twisted on the head of a man.
At the corner a copper cowboy reached for his six-shooters. Only the movement of air into and out of his chest betrayed his humanity. A passer-by tossed a dollar bill into a large urn at his feet. The human statue whistled, creaked and moved into a new gun-slinger position.
We crossed the street to the restaurant that serves only one thing: beignets with beverages. Powdered sugar dusted the tables, chairs and floor. Our waiters quickly jotted down two orders of beignets with coffee, several glasses of water and one juice. The waiter grabbed a tray to shove down a cafeteria-style line. He served up coffee, glasses of water and juice, arranged a couple plates of beignets and sprinkled them with confectionery sugar before bringing them to our tiny table.
The baby wanted water. He reached. h is grandpa helped him take a sip, most of it spilled down the front of his shirt. Grandpa set the glass down, the baby reached across the table and batted at the glass. The glass flew off the table and crashed on the cement floor. The child began crying.

“No sense crying now, you already broke it,” the waiter said.
We decided it was time to visit the open market. Stacks of vine ripened tomatoes, watermelons and pralines beckoned. Local artisans offered a collection of unusual crafts.

On our way back to the car, we detoured to a small park with a fountain. At the entrance we passed a clean looking young man wearing a long hermit’s vest tied over his khakis and polo shirt. Balancing on the balls of his feet, he talked about God’s love to a couple of guys with shaggy beards, bare backs, low pants and dreadlocks.
At the fountain, the babies shed their shoes and splashed their feet to cool off as my husband and son relaxed in the shade. An 18-month-old boy wearing blue-bibbed shorts and baseball cap stood in the water studying our 28-month-old. She smiled at him and softly splashed water at him. He watched her quizzically. His father beckoned for his wife to bring the camera.
Passing adults smiled at the children’s fun in the water. A young couple slipped off their sandals, sat at the edge of the fountain and shared a cigar as they chatted with each other.

And then it was time to go back to the car.
The street was hot, the car hotter. The air conditioning was a welcome relief after our successful expedition for beignets.