18th November - 25th November
We jumped on another plane from New York to New Orleans. Heading south to warmer weather. The hotel l had booked was just off the French quarter in a very quiet street, we had a room at the back off the courtyard. It was very nice to have breakfast in the courtyard, sunny and protected from the wind. The room was fine, but the shutters had been nailed closed it was permanently dark in the room. I would have loved a bit of sunlight.
Over the seven days here we had the most amazing food experiences. Deanies as advised by our concierge on our first night a short walk from our hotel and Bourbon Street. It was a very American diner lots of fried food and huge helpings. We had a ball - crayfish , oysters and lots of fish. I tried the New Orleans special drinks the Hurricane and a Hand Grenade both a bit sweet for me. After dinner, a short walk to Bourbon street to find it in the midst of road works and complete chaos. Loved itI managed to pick up a nasty cold probably on the plane, I had a quiet day watching the washing, while Ross to a walk around. Another amazing meal at Meaux bar for snails and sweet breads and their special drink was chartreuse, we had a green and a yellow and liked both!!!
A cold slightly damp day greeted us; undaunted we went on the paddle steamer the Natchez the only steam powered riverboat left on the Mississippi. It was to hot inside and freezing cold outside. We sat outside where the view was better. Well what a view….to miss. It would be about the ugliest river cruise I have ever done, including the docks in Melbourne!! The boat goes past factories - ugly ones and wharfs that have not had anything done since they were washed away in the cyclone. The houses are very ugly too as the poor people live along the river getting flooded regularly. I was very unimpressed. The Bloody Mary’s were good though.Lunch was back in New Orleans at a live jazz bar it was very good, if a little loud for me (old misery guts with her cold!!). On the way back to the hotel I found a gorgeous shop the lady was suffering from an ingrown toenail, it did not stop her walking around and showing me her gorgeous hats and handbags and vintage clothes, I could have spent a fortune. She was so nice, I had explained our circumstances and that I could not fit anything in my suitcases. Then I spotted a super pair of gloves with special fingertips that allow the use of technology without taking the gloves off, just what I need in Norway. I purchased them immediately forgetting about the tax!!! I remembered and offered it up, the lady said no she totally understood why I had forgot and was not going to charge me. I said she must at which comment, I was told I was not her mother, she did not need a second one and to do as I was told. We both had a good laugh and I thanked her. If you are ever in New Orleans visit go and see her lovely shop Jezebel’s 1041 Bourbon Street.
A good friend had sent us a list of places not to miss so we kept an eye open as we wandered around spotting a few places for a visit at a later time. We found a little bar called Vacherie with a barman who had a great sense of humour. It made me realise how stupid the tipping system is in the USA. All the service people are living on the tips, they do not let anyone help them, the barman was run off his feet and the service while humorous was not speedy and the waitress stood around and watched him and us! I found this annoying when my glass was empty. I would not have tipped for this service in Australia as it was so slow, but he was a nice guy and he is stuck with the tipping system.
On to the Café Du Mond an institution in New Orleans we queued up to get in. It was worth it Coffee and Beignets are all they serve, and both were magnificent the beignets are a square donut style cake absolutely covered in icing sugar. I was sure they were going to be to sweet but like everyone else found myself adding icing sugar when it fell off. Decadently delicious. I am so glad I do not live here as I could have breakfast here every day!!!
Well New Orleans is Anne Rice country, off we went to find her neighbourhood I was told she throws the most amazing parties at Mardi Gras. We caught the tram to Lafayette cemetery. I was fascinated by the crypts. They are in poor repair although the cemetery foundation is working on it. A walk in the street found so many houses that could be the ones in the novels I gave up and just decided which one I wanted to live in. Many had beads in the trees or on the fences, hung from the balconies and the terraces.
It is believed that Mardi Gras parades began in New Orleans sometime around the 1830's. ... During the late 1800's, inexpensive necklaces made of glass beads began to be tossed into the crowds by the parade krewes. The beads were an instant hit among the crowds of New Orleans residents and visiting Mardi Gras tourists. They pull about 45 tonnes of beads out of the storm drains after Mardi Gras.
While walking around me with my mouth open at the glorious houses, Ross spotted a photo shop, naturally we wandered in. The photos were very good and while Ross was chatting to the Photographer, I spotted some photos from the cyclone Katrina which I asked about. The Photographer had been out as soon as he could to record the devastation and also help when he could. One particular photo had me fascinated – it was taken in the cemetery and showed one crypt on top of another (upside down) with the coffin on top of a crypt!! I bought it, it will remind me morbidly my New Orleans trip (when I am not wearing my gloves). On the way back, we walked Canal St supposedly the widest in the world, I think some of Melbourne’s Streets would equate, but it is very wide.
We tried to make a dinner booking for the next night Thanksgiving and of course had left it to late but were told all the smaller places that don’t take bookings would accommodate us. We had dinner at Tableau. Oysters (big ones) and steak. The service was good. I asked the lovely waitress how they managed to have so much service and was told only the best worked here and all the tips were shared equally so everyone did what needed to be done. Very sensible.
Thanksgiving and we did find a small place I had a rather lacklustre Thanks giving dinner of turkey (not quite dry), bread stuffing, sweet potatoes and green beans. The pumpkin pie was delicious.
We found the Three Sisters again another New Orleans must see (CSI – New Orleans uses the courtyard). It is an amazing place very old and beautiful from the courtyard to the lovely wood and trinkets inside. We sat at the Court Jesters bar were Eddy became our new best friend and led me happily through the cocktail menu. I found Gold and Black Martini made with gin, kalua and Goldwasser. I must try it at home, it was fabulous. We returned a few night later when Eddy made us a Sazerac another famous New Orleans cocktail actually the official cocktail of New Orleans and this was the best we have tasted out of the many!! When we left the bar Eddy gave me a show bag of souvenirs from cocktail stirrers, serviettes and different cups, very sweet. I will try to get them back to Australia. Dinner in the restaurant was very grand.
As we were walking home that evening, I was stopped by one of the people outside the beauty salon trying to sell anti-aging stuff. I told them that it had taken me many years to get the character into my face and was happy with it. They were young and eager, and I was tipsy. I gave it a try. Some spray under my eye (note eye) to remove the bag, as if I have bags!!! Any way the stuff worked, and I wandered away with one tight not baggy eye and one baggy eye feeling rather foolish (it took a week to correct – I should have bought some for the other eye!!!)
The tram was not running the next day due to traffic for a inter college football game. It is a grudge match between two of the African American Colleges and everyone was in town for it. We gave up on our plan for the day and walked to the markets for lunch!!! We then purchased Ross a new camera as his had been dropped on the Queen Mary 2. The one we saw at a great price was sold when we returned for it (always buy when you see something you want!!). We ended up with a much more expensive camera but at a huge discount Ross said he could sell it second hand in Australia for what we paid for it. Everyone was happy. Ross would not buy a new PC (his has been smashed in our travels). He now regrets this ( I told him he would!)
Our last place to visit The Café Napoleon. We got there in the rain, settled in to spend a while as it was to rain for a few hours. I again made great inroads into the cocktail menu and became friendly with the waiter. Helping him to sell the cocktail that I was enjoying to the table next to us a lovely couple from Washington (honeymooners I think). The waiter then offered to show us the rest of the hotel. Yes, please so off we went upstairs to the very elegant rooms used for wedding receptions etc. The balcony looks out onto the Courthouse that the Kennedy Trial (Chappaquiddick car accident) was held. We had a photo taken. I was so impressed I think it is a grand place for a wedding anniversary perhaps our 40th so save your pennies. I got the brochure. I figure New Orleans is half way (ish) between Australia and Europe so everyone can come for a holiday and a party in July 2024 that give everyone enough time to save!!!