22 December 2010 by Chris Marais

Bourbon Street On Long

Long Street, in the heart of Cape Town, has the same wild magic as some of the famous lanes of the French Quarter in New Orleans.

On a book tour some time ago, Jules and I decide to become backpackers at Carnival Court for a week, to taste the flavour of Long Street at party level.

The best feature of Carnival Court, the place that brings me right back to the Café Royal in Old New Orleans, is the filigreed metal balcony, which runs almost the full length of the block. From here you can view Long Street in all its colour and intensity, in good company and with something cold to hand.

We go on a bookshop safari that takes in eight rather noble establishments on Long Street. Jules and I have to make constant forays to our room to off-load new second-hand purchases. One can sense that the book vendors of Long Street are happy with our patronage.

After two days the book dealers of Long Street have become friends. They start giving us discounts on some of their books and magazines. It feels like we’ve stumbled into a village in the middle of a big city. A friendly one.

We sneak briefly down past St George’s Cathedral to visit the flower sellers of Adderley Street. Jean Solomons, who has been flogging flowers here for 40 years in the family tradition, confesses to selling roses to ‘naughty men’ on Fridays.

“On Mondays, I sell to the women, who like to take flowers to work.”

We buy a lovely mix of blooms and present them to the folks at Carnival Court, where the Big Easy lives on in Africa.

Category: Culture & History

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