Saturday, January 22, 2011

New Orleans - January 15-19,2011

We had a great time in New Orleans. This trip I wanted to go to Tipitina's, and we managed to make that happen, taking a bus down Tchoupitoulas on a Sunday afternoon (just like natives) to hear Bruce Daigrepont and some great Cajun music with guests from Cajun country in Louisiana who never record. It was a real treat to hear the best Cajun performers and watch the dancers try to dance to those fast Cajun beats. (In the Lafayette area, where the real Cajun's are, they know exactly how to do the two step and the waltz to these up beat tunes...not an easy thing to learn.)

We decided that the theme for this trip was: all stairs, no chairs. Neither of the two clubs we visited, Tip's or the Mid-City Rock and Bowl, had chairs. After a while we found a chair in both places and enjoyed the music. At Rock n Bowl we saw Amanda Shaw, the fiddler who plays in the new IMAX movie Hurricane On The Bayou.

We walked the French Quarter on Royal Street, bought some perfume at Hove, shopped the French Market every morning after having coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde on the riverfront. We took the Creole Queen to the Chalmette Battleground. We walked and walked and tested our knees and calves to the max. We found a new restaurant, The French Market, where we had a great plate of oysters and mufalettas, and we returned to our favorite restaurant, Commander's Palace, where we had a wonderful three course meal ending with pecan pie. We had a second mufaletta at the Central Grocery, sitting on stools in the back and getting our drinks from a coke machine. Met a lovely couple from San Francisco and shared some of what we have learned in our six trips to New Orleans. That mufaletta actually lasted two days -- we ate the second half of it one the plane during the break in Dallas. (They get better with age.)

Our hotel was the Country Inn and Suites, where we had a suite, fine, but the bedroom had no windows--just a brick wall. At first I was a little appalled, but it turned out to be a fine large room which was quiet and dark when you needed it to be, and we slept like babies. This hotel is one of the few that offers a free breakfast, which we really enjoyed. They had wonderful oatmeal in a crock pot and another large container of yogurt with fresh fruit, along with all the muffins, scrambled eggs, sausage, waffles, etc. A good healthy breakfast is a must in New Orleans to fuel us for all that walking. A cab driver told us about a restaurant near our hotel that make great oyster omelets--ugh. This trip was unusual because there were no big events and no crowds, making it especially nice. Our cab driver who took us back to the hotel from Commander's Palace said it was so dead tonight, he was going to go home and watch TV. The weather was also wonderful, in the low 60s, with some clouds but no rain. New Orleans can be really hot and humid, so we enjoyed walking around this trip in the cool.

I found a really fun slot machine to play at Harrahs, that blessed me by giving me a lot of free games with lots of money at first ($100), and then took it all away again -- alas. Don't you know that gambling is bad? But Harrahs is interesting, huge, and on the way to the river. They also had a Starbucks, a Fuddruckers, free bottles of water & a friendly attitude. I really enjoy walking along the MIssissippi and watching the river boats and the tug boats as they maneuver the swift currents.

We flew first class on the way home, a great trip punctuated by a change of planes in Dallas when the windshield defrost didn't work, a delay of 2 hours. Home to the mountain of snow they call our front yard. I am happy that I bought some feather masks for my friends at work, and some masks for my wall at home. Something to remind me of the joie de vive that is New Orleans!

Have a great day.