Once we crossed Lake Pontchartrain and into New Orleans, we made our way to Uptown to find Dan’s sister Rebecca, where we hung out with her and her boyfriend Berhane for the week.
This was our longest stop so far, so we had some solid downtime wherein we did useful things, like buying travel insurance (expect a post on this from Dan in the coming weeks). It also gave us a chance to putter about the neighborhood and check things out, like Bloomin’ Deals, where Christina found a new (to her) bikini for a whopping $4, hot diggity!
The stretch of Freret St near where we were staying has a lot of cool bars and restaurants, including Dat Dog, and the newly opened Beer Room, which has great happy hour deals, as does Cure, where I really enjoyed the Pimm’s Up, their spin on the Pimm’s Cup without the soda. Dan and I also had great fried chicken and donuts at Freret St Po’boys and Donuts, though I kid you not, we waited a full hour for our food. Not sure why, but the wait got us some free donuts, so, win?
Since it’s New Orleans, and we are tourists, it was inevitable that we would make a pilgrimage to Bourbon St. We took the street car down Saint Charles St. from Uptown where we disembarked and took a stroll down the iconic NOLA street.
Interesting trivia that I learned is that New Orleans was named after the Duke of Orleans, who was a member of the Bourbon family, and this is the origin of the name, not the booze. Also, the fluer-de-lis was also used in the Bourbon’s family’s heraldry, and is the likely origin of its use as a New Orleans symbol. Or so the internets told me.
I was also advised by locals and tourists alike to get a beverage known as a hand grenade, which I did at Tropical Isle . We didn’t really sample many of the Bourbon St bars, but the people watching was excellent. Beignets are also a local treat, very similar to funnel cake (fried dough buried in powdered sugar but in triangle form), at Cafe Du Monde. Careful, they’re messy. Finally, we ended up at the Riverwalk where we took in the view and listened to some busking musicians, feeling like the montage in a summer movie.
Something that I didn’t realize about NOLA before I got there is that there is no law banning open containers, as there is in most of the US. It is completely legal to walk down the street with an alcoholic beverage in hand, and a result, there are lot of places were you can get drinks to go (or ask for a to go cup for your drink). Daiquiris and Bloody Marys are some favorites, which get served in foam cups (sad for the environment, good for keeping your drink cold on a hot day…). Daiquiris are fairly plentiful, and we were just opportunists when it came to where to get them, but Marie’s Bar is a famous place to get Bloody Marys, and as a newly converted Bloody Mary drinker (shout out to Lindsay!) I was very happy with their offerings.
We also did a run for po-boys (Louisiana style sandwiches) and snowballs (like snow cones), which Dan will discuss in detail in the next post. Other miscellaneous interesting foods includes muffaletta, which is a meat and cheese sandwich, but the essential ingredient is the pickled olive mix that fills the center. The sandwich pictured was purchased in the Quarter at Verti Marte, which is 24 hours, but doesn’t have its own website? Thumbs up on the food though. NOLA also has its own flavor of Zapp’s potato chips, which are heavy on the garlic and paprika seasoning. And we got some very tasty donuts from Blue Dot Donuts in Midcity (founded by NOLA police officers), with flavors including Maple Bacon.
One thing we did not manage despite multiple attempts was seeing Nicolas Cage’s pyramid masoleum in the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. I only did research on the mausoleum, not the cemetery (mistake!) so the first time we showed up the cemetery was closed, and the second time we discovered the $20 per person entrance fee. So much like Sevelyn Gat, I am just going to exert my control over reality using Photoshop. Here is me bringing Mr. Cage’s empty tomb some flowers. TA-DA!
On Monday went to a popular local spot called Country Club to have an early lunch and enjoy the pool. They offer brunch on the weekends, with a $15 cover for the pool, but if you go on a weekday, you get half off the cover if you get something to eat off the lunch menu. Notable menu items were the the fried oysters and boudin. It was a lovely day out and on a weekday the pool wasn’t too crowded.
A real treat was reconnecting with Ian, a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen since band camp seventeen years ago! He was MC at the Cajun-Zydeco Festival that was going on in the Louis Armstrong Park, and we stopped by to say hello. Other fun destinations included the City Park, where we watched people feed and nearly be attacked by geese… then keep feeding the geese… and the Frenchman Art Market, where there was a lot of great art, including things like jewelry, photography, and embroidered clothes (and I made light paintings of the art market, I am soooo meta).
So after eight days enjoying NOLA in all its glory, we said good-bye to Rebecca and Berhane, packed up, and headed west for Texas!