Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Orleans

One of the best things about visiting New Orleans is in the details. It is a graphic-lover's city. Everywhere you look there are pretty things to see --scrolling ironwork, beautiful vents on the buildings -- even the manhole covers are nice looking! Maybe it is the Spanish historical influence (there isn't much left of the original French architecture) but it is an endlessly fascinating city to walk around in. People drape their balconies with beads and flowers. Restaurants decorate their windows. Shops lure you in with antiques and treasures that look one of a kind, whether they are or not is a small detail.

This trip we spent time roaming on Royal Street. We took two long walks down that street and stopped in several shops. I bought some perfume at Hove, which is a perfumery that has been in business since 1930. The shop was old and beautiful, clean, not cluttered, and the shopkeepers are not pushy. New Orleans is a city for shop keepers, and they let you roam around and don't pressure you to buy anything. They are used to tourists and treat them well.

We had lunch at the French Market Restaurant on Decatur Street. Tired from walking and hungry for oysters, we went in at lunch time. It was a beautiful large room with ceiling fans. The waiters and waitresses were friendly and no one minded at all when I asked questions about whether to order my mufaletta with french bread or the traditional sesame seed roll. They took their time, explained the differences and didn't act as if I was foolish to ask. We run into that kind of service everywhere. Cab drivers are eager to talk to you about places to go, and will give you good hints. This trip we found that there were no lines anywhere for anything. The city was quiet. Most weekends are not like that, there is usually always some kind of festival in New Orleans. We liked having the city to ourselves (not quite), and we enjoyed our quiet dinner at Commander's Palace with the four other parties in the room. Usually a bustling restaurant, it was fun to have all that service to ourselves!

New Orleans is fascinating and unexpected, even when you have been there six times, like we have.

Have a great day.