Hopping on the Southwest flight from Dallas Lovefield on a cold and wintry evening with my best gal pal for weekend trip to ‘Nawlins was just what the doctor prescribed. Neither of us had been there and it was time to explore a bit of America with my best gal pal. I had worn my favorite red sweater for the trip. (Red, just love red.) You will see more of this as time goes by on this trip. My Spanx however were squeezing me…..ah, but I digress….I had to look good, I might find myself a cutie to flirt with and it is always good to be ready.
We arrived in New Orléans, and it was a muggy chill, I don’t know how else to explain it but I was sure glad I had my Spanx still on. I needed the extra layer to keep me warm. We hailed a cab and away we went. My first initial view I have committed to memory was the bridge we passed and recognizing the great river. I was under the impression that the airport was fairly close to our destination, but was proven wrong 30 minutes later when we arrived at our hotel, Prince Conti (www.princecontihotel.com). We checked in and were then escorted on an ancient elevator that was slower than molasses, but we eventually got to our floor and then were immediately entertained with our ‘Duncan Donut’ walk on a very wavy floor to our room. We got to our room and took a nice sigh and gander of our quarters. We had gone fancy and had ourselves a wonderful suite. Two little twin beds in the bedroom, high small square windows giving us a view of Conti Street, yep, I saw some weavers! I did a little quick reconstruction on my face and my hair and let my gal pal have some time to herself….I am very energetic little bunny when I am introduced to new places, I want to get out there NOW. So I let her work on freshening up and took the ancient elevator down to the lobby and stepped outside. Apparently we had a convention group staying with us, they all just got back from dinner and were very lively. It became even more lively when what seemed like an impromptu parade passed us by, various people throwing beads and hooping and hollerin’, well I am not a cheerleader gal and don’t usually get sucked into the mania, but I could not help it! I loved it! I hooped and hollered right back, caught my beads and was making some new friends all in the course of 15 minutes. It was great.
Well gal pal showed up and we began walking toward our destination for dinner. I had read about a restaurant that had been a part of New Orleans history since before the 1900’s. So we went to check it out, called Tujaques! Thankfully my gal pal is a great navigator, she understood the Quarter’s streets and paths; where all I did was look and gawk at whatever filled my fancy. This worked out great for me. As we are strolling along to Tujaques we see several people basically staking out their spots with chairs and other items for a parade that will occur later in the evening. Gal pal and I finally find our restaurant, now we expected an institution like this to be filled with diners. I mean we had to make a reservation so what was one to think? So I ask what is one to think when we are escorted to a nearly empty dining room with only 2 other diners? Well I say, woo hoo, got a room to ourselves, love it! The Maitre D was a great guy, his family use to own the restaurant and he now stays on to work a bit for what seems like old times sakes. The room walls are filled with framed pictures of visitors from the past, with autographs, smiling faces, arm in arm comrades enjoying the place. You could feel the ghosts dining right along with you. You could imagine the noise level of the faces on the walls enjoying dinner there. At the end of the day, we had a lovely meal, not memorable, we had great wine, I took a picture of it to find it when I got back here and most of all we enjoyed our conversations with some Tujaques patrons and our wonderful Maitre D. Nooni, he was definitely a free spirit. For the rest of the evening we walked the quarter and did a bunch of people watching.
We found a few bars, had our first hurricane, dang those are good and sock a punch without knowing it. But I have to admit flirting was not getting us anywhere so we gave up, enjoyed our poisons and danced some of it off and headed back to the room about 12:30 am…..what can I say we had a fully packed day scheduled for Saturday.
Saturday, we began by heading out in search of the famous beignets and good coffee….about 15 minutes later we were at Cafe DuMonde…..I got some great photos around here. We walked into a really busy place and within minutes were seated by a young waiter to our table. We ordered our Beignets and coffee and were amazed at the size and smell. Oooh, I am gaining 20 pounds right now just thinking of those lovely coma induced sugary confections….
I can’t tell you the name of the place we went to, but Gal pal’s plate says it all…..I did not find myself very hungry after seeing that. So after she completely immersed herself in some fine Cajun cuisine we walked it off a bit and I found this great place that just begged me to buy a Muffaletta. Oh, did you hear that? The angels just sang! Wait a minute, let me savor the taste I am envisioning. Ummm, olives, deli meats, cheese, fabu holy grail bread and some oil to make it all mesh. Okay, I am done now. So then it was time to check out some fine touristy spots and wet our whistles. So off to Pat O’Briens and some 2 hurricanes later…..well this is what you get. Red tongues, funny looks, feather boas, (notice the red?) and a lot of laughter. As we are walking back to our hotel room I stopped in and got myself a chocolate flavored cigar…..The cigar owner was just marveled at how many women had come in that day to buy a cigar and no not for their fathers, brothers, husbands or boyfriends it was a revelation of woman independence walking in and out of his store that Saturday afternoon.
We got back to the room and I am ravenous and tear back into my huge muffaletta, by the way, they deliver. I call my MaMa and without any filters tell her in a rather loud voice, for some reason your hearing is muted so you think everyone else must not be able to hear as well, so you talk a bit louder. So it was a short convo.
We got refreshed and left to meet a group on a ghost tour of the quarter. I don’t have a lot to say about this except our tour guide was a cutie and if not for that we would have left the tour much sooner. Groups like that are a let down, why?? Well it is not because the story or the tour itself is boring but it is the size of the group, the dynamics, the energy of the other tours can make or break the experience plus it is difficult to always hear and see what is being discussed. Not dissing the tour but our group was not our style so we left midway and decided it was time for dinner. I highly, highly recommend even after a 1 1/2 hour wait that you must have dinner at Irene’s. Good wine selections, great food and fantastic energy. So dinner ended about 10 and we continued our stroll along the quarter. We found ourselves going into a jazz club, ahhh the angels just went off again. Gal Pal is not a huge jazz fan but she knows I am. It was a cold weekend and we had our fair share of Hurricanes, Wine and my specially ordered G & Ts. So I was insistent that I have a Hot Toddy. I had never had one, really did not know what one was but seemed old school enough I had to try one. Woo Hoo, those are strong and very warm and goes down really well and warms you from your head to your toes…..oooh so sleepy now. The music is pumping, the cigars and smoke is hazing up the room, the warm toddy is doing its thing and so I place my head down to rest. It was quite blissful.
So, Sunday we are up and both of us are really wanting to experience the cemetaries and I have always dreamed of visiting the Garden district. So we did…….
You can’t help but feel this creative vibe in the city. You just want to embrace it and hold on to it and grab a bit of it yourself. So when you leave you do leave a bit of your soul there and the biggest gift is bring a bit of it’s heart with you. This was a fabulous place. It was dirty, gritty, grimy, then beautiful, serene, historic and meld the two and you have something amazing. Everyone’s experience is to be their own and this is my story to you.