Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Orleans in the Fresh Air

Flower and Beads

Let’s head back to New Orleans, shall we?  One of the things that surprised me the most about our trip is that we spent most of our time in the sunshine and wind, enjoying what the city had to offer outside.  I already mentioned our visit to the cemeteries on Canal Street and the ferry ride on Saturday.  That evening, we had an amazing, amazing dinner at Salu, a tapas restaurant, which I’ll tell you about next time.  For now, I’d like to tell you a little more about our explorations of the city.

Last Sunday, we decided that our field trip would be a visit to City Park.  This park has a beautiful (and free!) outdoor sculpture exhibit, and we were all excited to see some art and wander through the park.  We took a cab from our section of town (Canal Street in the French Quarter), which gave us a chance to see the spectacular homes and bed-and-breakfasts along Esplanade Avenue.  I am in love with Esplanade Avenue.

Ah So Gorgeous

So Pretty     

The view of that street alone was worth the cab fare.  But City Park, it turns out, is the perfect place to spend a lazy, touristy Sunday afternoon.

Naked Archer

The Ducks

Looks Like Cycladic Art

City Park has a lot of good sitting spaces in which to take pictures of your friends.

Christy and Sam at City Park

That’s Christy and Sam.  You can find more of Sam at her blog, Wanderlust and Lollygagging.  I like to call her our trip planner with the mostest, as she did the bulk of the work organizing our NOLA fun.  She’s the best. 

And here is Erin, our bachelorette!

Erin at City Park

Yes, she is always that photogenic.  Imagine what she’s going to look like on her wedding day!

From City Park, we headed onward to gastronomic delights in the form of Irish coffee and beignets at Café Beignet.

Erin Likes Beignets

Tonya at Cafe Beignet

That’s my friend Tonya about to sip her coffee.  Funny story about Tonya and coffee in New Orleans: she is an admitted coffee snob who says that bad coffee tastes like “piss water.”  Tonya couldn’t even believe I was drinking the free hotel coffee with breakfast because it was so bad.  (It was bad; I’m just a creature of habit who will drink coffee, even terrible hotel coffee.)  But everywhere we went in New Orleans, they served us chicory coffee, which I kinda enjoyed but Tonya didn’t.  I think she said the Café Beignet coffee she’s drinking here was okay.  The beignets, on the other hand, were an undeniable hit.


We had a blizzard of powdered sugar flying around our table as the wind did a number on us.  But the mess was worth it.  I could go for a fresh beignet right now.

From Café Beignet, we continued our outdoor eating and drinking adventure by heading to Pat O’Brien’s for hurricanes and mint juleps.  My friends all ordered hurricanes.  I was afraid that a hurricane would be too much for me, so I got a mint julep instead.  It was delicious.

Me at Pat OBriens NOLA 2013

{Photo taken by Christy}

From Pat O’Brien’s we hopped on to the self-proclaimed oldest bar in America, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.  Here we moved our party inside and drank disappointing Pimm’s cups, but I enjoyed the candlelight and company.  Then we hit a very cool bar on Royal Street, where our server astutely noted that I am the Charlotte of my Texas friends.  I’m pretty sure I have the same pearl necklace that she’s wearing in the Wikipedia photo!

From Royal Street we meandered back toward Canal Street and found dinner at a Cajun diner called Daisy Dukes, where I ate a very yummy vegetarian po’ boy sandwich.  People kept asking me, “What makes it a po’ boy?” to which I kept responding, “I don’t know!”  And I secretly wondered, Is a vegetarian po’ boy even legal?  According to the ultimate authority on everything, a po’ boy is a sub sandwich on fluffy French bread that “almost always contains meat.”  Well, instead of meat, mine came with mushrooms and olives in a well-seasoned tomato sauce, topped with some melted cheese, and it was terrific.  I ate a not-so-vegetarian cup of gumbo alongside the po’ boy, and it was also terrific.  More on my adventures in meatless eating in New Orleans soon.

Altogether, it was an amazing, memorable day, wandering through City Park, maneuvering our way through the crowds on Bourbon Street, enjoying our friendly neighbors in Café Beignet.  They were even kind enough to take this photo of the five of us together.

Cafe Beignet_via Christy on FB

{Photo via Christy’s camera}

Gah, I just love New Orleans so much!  And it’s not just the booze and the doughnuts, I promise.  It’s the history, the culture, the architecture, and at this stage in my life, the distinct feeling that in New Orleans, I am most definitely not in Texas.  Unlike a lot of transplants, I think living in Texas is not so bad, and I try to maintain an upbeat attitude about it.  Where else would I have grown so bold about being vegetarian and asking for what I want without hesitation?  But New Orleans was a welcome break from Texas, and I can’t wait for my next chance to explore that beautiful, crazy city.  It’s a place I hope to return to again and again.

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