Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans

We spent the weekend in New Orleans, the Big Easy, NOLA, the Crescent City, or Paris of the South to name a few of it's nicknames.  It has been over 10 years since I had been to New Orleans.  Growing up in Baton Rouge meant that I visited the city many times a year all through high school, college and early marriage.  I never really appreciated it back then, it was just New Orleans, a place for Mardi Gras and a good time and good food.  Having visited a few other cities since those days I now appreciate NOLA for the awesome city it is.  Post Katrina it seems to be doing well and we really enjoyed our visit.

Our friends Bob and Donna met us there and they had never been before.  How fun it is to share a city with friends.  We were greeted with amazingly perfect weather for the first two days. 

Note the cloudless sky and brilliant sunshine!  Nice architecture too.

We were not greeted by beautiful accomodations.  I was a bit skeptical of our time share exchange from the start.  For 2 couples, we could only manage a one bedroom, one bath suite so one of us would be sleeping on a sofa bed, well... we are all good friends right?  When our bell dude, Nate, showed us our suite, and I use that word loosly, there was no mistaking my disappointment.  Nate picked right up on the shock and horror that I was sending his way and told me discreetly that he had another unit to show me if I was interested.  I practically ran out of the room and flew down the 6 floors to option B.  Option B was only 4 times larger then option A.  Hmmmm, let me think, how fast can you bring our bags down here Nate?  Bigger does not mean awesome, still only one bedroom and one bath but the sofa bed was a queen not a double and the bathroom had a swimming pool size round sunken tub and private dressing area so we dealt with the lack of privacy.  We thanked Nate with a handsome tip and were his good friends for the rest of the weekend.  Welcome to the Crescent City!

TJ and Donna preparing our happy, because we are not staying in Option A, hour treats!

Our weekend adventures included a lovely dinner at Herbsaint on Friday night, which happened to be walking distance from our hotel.  Heck, almost everything was walking distance from the hotel, a bonus.  We all left with happy faces and went back to our room and watched LSU beat Texas A & M in the Cotton Bowl.  Not a bad night if you are from Louisiana!

We began our Saturday with a perfect breakfast!  Here!
Cafe du Monde in the French Market

Beignets and Cafe au Lait, breakfast of champions!  Nom!

The rest of our day was spent soaking in the "flavor" of the Big Easy.  We walked the French Quarter and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the city.  There were many street performers that day, one of our favorites was a group that reminded us all of O Brother Where Art Thou.  The Saints were playing football that afternoon in a playoff game and the city was full of anticipation.  Check out this balcony.
Ready for the game!

We had the pleasure of watching the first half of the game in a local brew pub and it was standing room only.  The place erupted when the Saints did anything good.  We were there watching a football game when what to my surprise should walk by outside than a group of bagpipers and an Irish dancer!  I had to leave the game and run out to listen!  I am a sucker for bagpipes!
Gotta love a man in a kilt!
Everyone cheered when they came into the bar and played When The Saints Go Marching In.  My day would have been complete if the Saints had won the game but they lost.  Oh, well....

Our evening was an adventure.  We took the streetcar down St. Charles street almost to the end of the line.  When we got onto the streetcar it was packed full of all different types of people.  Donna says she sat next to Sammy Davis Jr.  There were other groups of visitors going out for dinner just like us.  There were students, families, loners, bums, and our driver was a real character...imagine that!  We found a wine bar where a friend's son works and were treated to several plates of delicious food and had some great wine.  On our ride back to town we ran into two groups of people who rode down with us...everyone wanted to know how dinner was!  People are so friendly in NOLA!  It was a great night!  Several people thanked us for coming to New Orleans too, they are just so happy to have tourists again.

Sunday was a different story.  It stormed all we stayed in and played cards.  That is what friends are for.  We did venture out to dinner and I finally had the quintessential Louisiana dinner.  I can't believe I ate the whole thing and that is what I repeated all night long while my stomach rebelled.  To add to the joy, we had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. for our 6:30 a.m. flight.  Guess who made those travel arrangements?  Not me!

Not wanting to end this post on a sour note I have a little tour of New Orleans to end this post. Enjoy it...we sure did!

Peeking through a wrought iron gate at a fountain
One way to keep the riff raff out of your yard

The river boat Natchez on the Mississippi River

Royal Street
Just making a living.  He gets the creative use of instruments award for the day.

So, as they say in New Orleans....
Laissez les bon temps rouler! 
We sure did!

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