Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler

Last week, I headed to New Orleans for a work conference.  I've been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to get back to New Orleans.  I went once, more than ten years ago, and I loved the city, and I wanted to explore it as an adult.  I've really wanted to go post Katrina, and was impressed by how well things were hopping during my visit.The conference I attended over four days was excellent (In addition, I laughed so hard with the company I kept, it was hard to convince anyone we were, actually, sober), but work did prevent us from getting to explore a lot of the city during the daylight hours (shock), and a lot of the historical buildings were closed by the time we got out of our meetings.  I need to go back and take more pictures.  The injustice, I know.  Life is so rough.   Having said that, we did get a chance to walk along the French Quarter, look at the architecture, obsess over the iron work (maybe that was me?), and eat great food.  I have a week of Mardi  Gras projects planned for this winter, but I must admit, considering how crowded Bourbon Street was during the middle of the week in October, I'll cross attending Mardi Gras off the future list.  So, if Mardi Gras isn't the time to go, I have to recommend October, the weather was fabulous.  Here are a few of my favorite things. 
The last time I went, I missed Cafe du Monde, this time, we headed there on the first night. 
Yes, beinets really are that fabulous.  Heather said it best, they taste like funnel cakes, but....better!  And while I'm speaking of food (which I'm a little bit of an expert on after as much eating as I did).  We went to a restaurant in the French Quarter called Irene's.  It was the best meal we had, hands down (thanks for all the advice from the people I pestered in advance, we took it, and I saved the ones I wasn't able to utilize this trip).  My very favorite pralines were from a company called Sweet Sensations.  I loved the Creamy Pralines, but they also had an Amaretto Praline that was to die for from the same company (sold in random stores)!  We also hit up Brennan's at the advice of many people, and as the guide book said, I ordered a banana foster. 

The fire display was impressive, but, in the end, Irene's is the place I'd recommend.  One thing I have to note about New Orleans, the wait staff didn't give change, really, they kept it unless you asked for it, this included everyone from the street vendors to nice local restaurants. 99.9 percent I tip much more than the change (too many of my friends have worked service, and so I tip for all the non-tippers), but I like to have the option.  We had some great service, and some of the worst service available, but consistently good food, and consistently...no change. 
We enjoyed some jazz on Bourbon Street the second evening. 
What I love about New Orleans are all the open patios, and restaurants, thanks to this open atmosphere jazz seeps out from all throughout the French Quarter as you walk along. 
New Orleans at night is covered with street artist, ghost walking tour guides, tourist indulging in drink on the street, ...and then trying to traverse the broken sidewalks (compliments of all the enormous trees shading the pathways), police patroling the legal street drinking, locals wearing, umm, limited clothes, horse drawn carriage tours, and music.  I love all the old buildings, the iron, and statues...
Trolley Cars....
...and the beads that tell of  past parades and adventures. 
They hang from trees, lamp post, electrical lines, shop racks, and the necks of tourist.  They are more prominent than mask. 
On our second full day in town, we headed via trolley to Magazine Street.
I don't think we made it to most of the shops we read about, but we did walk by a cemetery in the garden district.  It was supposed to have closed at 3, but they were late in closing, so we were able to walk in quickly. 
New Orleans is below sea level, so there are rows and row of  burial sites that rest above ground level.  Most are so close together, it's almost impossible to walk through the rows, but they are really beautiful, old tributes with detailed stories about the families that rest here. 
After 4 days of shops, eating, conferencing, and eating, with a stop or ten to eat....  I know I'll be back, I have to, the shops were mostly closed, the plantations were totally ignored, and there are far too many desserts that need my attention,  they need me. 
Minus a few hundred pictures of iron 'letters,' and the typical, black mail photos I collected, here are some more photos.
Linking To: 
French Obsession

7 comments:

Lori said...

I love, love, love New Orleans!

malia said...

thanks for sharing your great photos!

kim c said...

spotted you at paper issues. your recipes sound amazing, can't wait to try the pumpkin pie cake. btw, we're almost neighbors. fort worth girl here. GO RANGERS, lol.

Katie's Nesting Spot said...

I've always wanted to go to New Orleans! Now I want to go even more, I was never really tempted to go during Madi Gras but now I think going for the food alone is enough to keep this on my top 10 places in the US to see.

Jami said...

I want to go to NOLA so badly! Haven't been since the hurricane.
Thanks for stopping by...the cake balls are in a square ceramic egg holder I picked up at Hobby Lobby during Easter. I have them in pink, green and yellow, too. Be happy to loan them to you if you need them sometime!
smiles!

The French Maid said...

What lovely memories of your trip of a town that is truely a jewel in our country's crown!
--Lee Ann

Le Chateau des fleurs by Frenchy said...

The closest i have been was Mississippi! I want o go there so bad! What a lovely trip and post ! WOW thank you so much for sharing and linking up !
XO
Frenchy