Day 2- The first half of my day was spent on my own trekking around the French Quarter. WHAT. A. BEAUTIFUL.NEIGHBORHOOD!
My husband went off to speak at the conference ridiculously early. He left so quietly that I was able to stay asleep soundly. I have to share this part of myself, I LIKE TO SLEEP IN. I ended up waking from sleep at around 9:40AM. This. Was. The. Best. Start. To. My. Vacation. I hopped out of bed to open the room darkening curtains to find glowing sunshine. Yes! Grabbed an outfit and hit the shower. This room had a great shower, the kind of shower head that is above your head not off the wall. And the water came out of it in a lush waterfall. Ahh. It was relaxing. I took my time getting ready, watching some TV along the way. The little luxuries I don’t have time for at home unless I am home without kids.
Did I mention no kids on this trip??? Haha
By the time I got my big butt out the door it was 11:20AM! And, I was starving! Luckily, across the street was a remarkable cafè, Revelator Coffee Company. Unluckily, they didn’t have food this morning (my husband had the same fortune, as he told me later.). I grabbed a 12oz latte, they serve by size in ounces not small/medium/large, and made my way to French Truck Coffee for something to eat, and to peruse through my travel book and online bookmarks. By this time, my husband called to check in, asking me, with his loving concerned voice, where I was, if I had gotten coffee and where I was planning to go. He told me his talk went well, and repeated his itinerary for the day. I had decided, while sitting in the cafè, right before he called, to take my own Anne Rice tour of the French Quarter then meet up with him at the Marriott on Canal for a quick hello, as he had a meeting scheduled to break at 2:30PM. He had a window of time before going back to the convention center.
Any Anne Rice fans reading today? She is a spectacular writer, and used her city as the backdrop for most of her books. As a younger woman I had read a few of her books. The world she created always fascinated me with her romanticized characters, bloody stories and mysteries. Then when the movies came out, it was beyond a thrill to watch. So, I figured since I was in New Orleans that I should pay some homage. When I google mapped a route, I found that one of the houses was about a mile away, a twenty minute walk, down Royal Street. Which we had walked down a part of the day before. The cafè I was in was a few steps from St Charles, which a few blocks down made its way to Royal Street. Royal had a lot going on.. shops, music, and art galleries, just my speed to check out.
So off I went.
First stop was over to the only Starbucks I had seen the whole trip, on the corner of Canal and St Charles Street. At least I think that is where I was, hahah. Where, of course, I grabbed a New Orleans themed mug. I can’t give up this tradition quite yet. My cabinets wish I could though. From there I got to see the St Charles St trolleys in action, which were beautifully painted red and green. Ringing their bells as they went by. I love trolleys, especially the ones in San Francisco, but these trolleys were special, too.
The best parts of walking around on your own is that you can stop anywhere without anyone giving you grief. Not that my family does that, they are truly great to walk around with, but there’s a freedom to just go where you want without anyone around asking you for things or pushing you to something else. I had the whole day at my leisure, and let me tell you I took full advantage.
I ended up going into every store because the humidity was pretty high, not a complaint, but my hair needed the breaks! haha I ended up tasting homemade pralines and hot sauces while talking to the local people. It had started to rain as I left the praline shop. I tucked myself away under a balcony by a sidewalk to grab my umbrella, when I noticed a big brass band playing jazz. They were spectacular. The banjo player was walking around through the crowd, and he was just so cute and talented, most of the folks walking by stopped to take a listen.
Really, I had such a great time shopping for souvenirs. There were so many eclectic shops filled with unique gifts. As soon as the rain started it stopped, and I was keeping on my trek of finding the first stop on my Anne Rice tour, the houses along 700-900 Royal, then a walk a couple of blocks to the the Gallier House. This was home to vampires Lestat and Louis in Interview with the Vampire. From there I took a coffee break, where I got some time to rest up my feet and talk to my husband a little bit. He was on his way to lunch with everyone and wanted to make sure all was kosher with me. It was :).
After my coffee break, I took a walk up to 632 Dumaine Street to see Madame John’s Legacy house, which was where they filmed some of the movie IWAV. The house was closed for renovations, so I kept going forwards down Dumaine Street. I took a right down a small street and ended up upon Jackson Square. Which was beautifully laid out. Across from Jackson Square is Cafe du Monde, another Anne Rice book spot, and an amazing place for coffee and beignets (but I don’t go till our last day because of timing). Beyond the bustling street of Decateur, is a set of stairs that takes you across to the Mississippi River. And you are right to think I sang typing that out just now.
New Orleans is such an interesting place. The Mississippi River sloshes right up to the city, without walls or barriers. None either while walking along it for a mile..NONE! The brown water tries to glimmer in the sun as the freighters chug along puffing smoke from their engines. It felt like I was watching a television show on a time that once was. They recently put in a walking path along the river, aptly named The River Walk. I talked to my husband about meeting him for a brief minute after 2:30PM, so I decided to make my way to the hotel from there. I didn’t realize how far a walk it was, because, baby, it was FAR. But it was a nice walk. Lots of tourists and school groups checking out the local history right along with me, so it was sweet.
Then I finally made my way to say hi to my husband at the Marriott on Canal. Boy, what a walk! He was wrapping up a meeting, and I just quickly went by to give a kiss hello and rest my feet a bit. He didn’t have much time, so he went on his way and I went to go find food. I went down to Mother’s Restaurant for a po’boy. I had read this was the place to go to have one. Not only did I read that, but one of our Uber drivers from the night before was adamant I go. The place is pretty unassuming, a cafeteria style place with lots of memorabilia on the walls. You order at the cashier and sit, then someone brings you the order. I treated myself to a Coke, which I rarely do, and a small shrimp po’boy. I ate every single piece of that sandwich. HOLY DELICIOUS.
After this meal, I took a walk around the area then headed to our hotel. All I was told by my husband was that he would be back a certain time and that I should be ready to go out for dinner and then more museum convention events. I believe there were three going on this night. But dinner where? He didn’t want to ruin it for me. He likes surprising me, and he does this a few times on this trip..which I think is why I loved NOLA so much.
Second half of my day started off amazingly.
I got ready to go out for dinner just in time for my husband to make it back to the hotel. We walk about three blocks to the restaurant he wouldn’t tell me about.. which was EMERIL’S!! YAY!!!! I was hoping we would get the chance to go!! Just a back story, when he asked me where I wanted to go while in New Orleans, I had said at least one of Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants, because, BAM!, I love him. He sort of skirted around telling me he couldn’t get reservations to any of them, but only that he scored reservations to a few places I wouldn’t be disappointed with.
Dinner was superb. The service in this place is top notch, we had a gaggle of servers to attend to us, by far the best service of our lives, and we have dined in some swanky $$$$ places, my friends. We got a couple of cocktails to start, a side car for me, of course. Then we were served bread 3-ways; pepper focaccia, corn bread, and rustic white bread. Just the bread alone was worth the trip into the city, haha. We ordered lobster fettuccini, filet, and a chocolate soufflé. Very straight forward dishes, but the way they served them and how they put the components on the dish together was ..in a word..perfect. My husband’s pasta dish was so lush and creamy, and the lobster was delicious. That filet with the creme fraiche sauce was the best of my life.
I didn’t want to leave this restaurant, but we had to. 😦
We left there to head over to the first museum of the night, the Museum of Art. What a beautiful spot. The whole place was electric with people walking around. They had these women dressed in the coolest costumes I had ever seen. They each had a full body suit on in the theme of the character, like a peacock for instance. Then the costume had a light up piece, like the peacock feathers she wore propped up. It was so cool.
My husband knew a lot of people at this party, and we ended up having one of the folks he knew from MN join us to walk the gardens. This is where they had stations of food and bars set up. As we were walking along we bump into his colleagues from his office, who become our group through the night. We hopped from station to station grabbing drinks, and talking, and gathering more folks into the group. I met a lot of great people this night. From the art museum we walked down to the next location which was the children’s museum, it was set up outside as the building was under construction. We hung out here a long while drinking and talking, and after a while our group got larger, and decided to walk to the next stop. The next stop was short lived, we grabbed a mint julep and talked to two people then all ran for the buses to take us back to the main hotel for the event.
When we got to the hotel, we decided to go on partying and bar hopping. Which I was excited for, because I wanted to head to the Hotel Monteleone to get another sight from Anne Rice crossed off my list, AND, because they have the carousel bar inside. This bar is so beautiful, and surrounds the inner workings of a carousel. As you sit at the bar you spin, the bartenders and such stay static, but you go around. Now, all I can say is that these bartenders have a great memory, because after one spin around I would forget who was who and what they owed me. hahah
From the carousel, we headed down to Bourbon Street.
Ok, so I said my second half of the day started amazingly, so does this mean it ended not so amazingly..and the answer is.. sort of!??
Let me explain. The night wasn’t terrible, nothing dramatic happened or anything, it’s that some of us drank a lot. We were socially having a great time, and well, we drink, and party over here, and then over there.. then over here. And then at that place…and let’s just say, etc., etc. Some of us get hammered. Some of us get trashed. Some of us don’t remember much other than waking up with a massive hangover.
That would be most of the group we are with, including yours truly. 🙂 But the good thing is, I didn’t have to be anywhere the next day as they did! hahah
Overall, it was a real fun night, but it leaves me quite quiet the next morning. 😛