The Big Easy

So I went to New Orleans last weekend.  Tom had a conference there and I love New Orleans so when he asked me if I wanted to join him of course I said yes.

My in-laws came out to kid-sit and I hit the road.  Oh, but I didn’t drive all the way to New Orleans, just to the airport.

Two flights later and I had arrived in beautiful Louisiana.  Where it was warm.  And things were green.  Green!  I haven’t seen green vegetation since sometime before Halloween!  There were flowers too.  Can you imagine such a thing?

Tom’s flight got in about 45 minutes after my flight so I just waited for him at the airport and we got a cab in together.  We stayed at the W Hotel just across Canal Street from the French Quarter.  After we dropped off our stuff we hit the quarter.  First we had po’boy sandwiches at the Historic Court Po’Boy Shop.  Mine was roast beef with gravy and mayo.  Mmmm.  Good and good for ya.  We washed it down with a couple Abita beers.

We also had a drink at Pat O’Brien’s which I think is very famous, and then ambled over to the Old Opera House bar which is our favorite place in the Quarter.  Sadly there was no live Zydeco music that night, but it was fun anyway.

The next day we had Debris Po’Boy sandwiches at Mother’s for lunch.  Do you see a theme developing here?  Tom had to go to his conference that afternoon so I just wandered around taking pictures.

I have decided that New Orleans is the Venice of the United States.  You just kind of wander around eating and drinking and looking in the little shops, but you don’t really do much.  They are also both very old and kind of crumbling around the edges.

It seemed like every guidebook entry I read contained some variation of the phrase “after Katrina” or “after the floods”.  It made me sad.  It made me feel like I had to eat at every restaurant to do my part to save New Orleans.  And I think it does still need saving.  I noticed one of the many tour touts was advertising Katrina tours.  I didn’t take one.  I figured it would just break my heart.

Friday I went to the Garden District and took a cemetery tour.  I have wanted to do this for ages, but I never had time on my other trips.  And all the travel information says you should not go into the cemeteries unless you are with a tour.  What was the appeal of a cemetery tour?  Well, let’s just say I have read a lot of vampire books set in New Orleans and leave it at that.  The cemetery was beautiful.  You may not know this, but in New Orleans you can’t bury people because the water table is too high, so you have to use above ground crypts instead.  They are strangely beautiful.

Friday night we had dinner with the whole Big U contingent at a fancy restaurant in the Roosevelt Hotel.  We also had cocktails in the bar.  Tom had a Sazerac.  This is a very famous New Orleans drink.  It’s made with rye and bitters and sugar and absinthe.  But of course it’s the new and improved absinthe that does not cause blindness or madness like the original brew.  I tasted it and thought it tasted like cough syrup.  I was disappointed because I would like to like it.

Oh, and we had a muffaletta from the Central Grocery for lunch.

Saturday morning we came downstairs to find a young gentleman sound asleep (passed out) on one of the chairs artfully placed around the hotel lobby.  I’m not sure if that was a good night or a bad night but he was gone when I came back from breakfast.

Tom and I had planned on going to the Café du Monde for beignets and coffee but the queue was huge and Tom didn’t have time to wait.  So I thought I would wander around for a while and come back later.  Well, when I came back later the line was no shorter.  However, the story has a happy ending because I discovered that on the other side of the restaurant there was a much shorter line for the take away window.  So breakfast was saved.  Hooray!  It’s just too bad we didn’t figure that out before Tom had to bail and settle for conference food for breakfast.

Saturday night we had cocktails at Emeril’s and dinner with some friends from Houston at Herb’ Saint.  Yum.

As you can tell it was a big time.  I hope to have my pictures organized tomorrow so I can post some.  Watch this space.

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