HomeSouthern VoiceJust One Street in the French Quarter

Just One Street in the French Quarter

by Robert Baylot

She walks through the French Quarter,
Holding her mother’s hand
To the bang and clash of cymbals
And the sliding smash of a trombone

Filled with a new fervor and joy, she sees
Scuffling hands moving across the pavement,
Gymnasts flipping and suspending on chairs,
Arms down and bodies up,
Legging their way into the blue skies,
Pointing bent legs toward St. Louis Cathedral.

The calliope strikes up a river tune,
And a small band sings for people
Lined up for the festival.

Down below in a restaurant along the street,
The pans and pots clatter and gumbos
And jambalayas effusively bubble, now simmer,
Ah that smell, seafood and chicken in the roux.

Someone throws a chocolate mixture down upon a table,
And scrapes it and mixes it and shapes it,
While playing to the crowd and acting:
Like a creole Shakespearean play.

Just ahead beignets assaults with powdered sugar
And a chicory smell rising up from fresh coffee,
And tables cleared with clanking glass cups and saucers.

Best day ever for a five-year-old daughter.


Robert Baylot writes from Germantown, Tennessee, and lived for many years in Vicksburg, Mississippi, working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He has published poetry in Clarion Magazine and The Broad River Review. Read his previous poetry in Deep South here.

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