Flash Back to New Orleans

Welcome to Nola!!

I am horrible at staying current with our adventures...for that reason I thought it only fair to start labeling past stops as "flash backs" just for clarity...(currently we are in North Carolina and headed to the Outer Banks tomorrow).

If we were a band this would be our album cover...
We arrived in New Orleans on March 1, 2013 to coincide with the arrival of our friends, Curt and Carrie from Sonoma, who were out to visit Curt's son Gary and daughter-in-law Kristin. Knowing that there would probably be an excess consumption of alcohol (see our San Antonio adventure for proof) we decided to splurge and set up camp at the French Quarter RV Park...just a few blocks away from the real French Quarter.
Brick roads, a hot tub, 24 hour security, curbside garbage collection and a view of the cemetery complete the ambiance at the French Quarter RV Park.
Although quite pricy, we had to take into consideration how much we would potentially spend in cab fare had we opted to stay somewhere cheaper yet further away. The French Quarter RV Park is literally within walking distance and was quite manageable on our bikes as well. There were a few non-locals who felt it was unsafe since the projects are within view (and the entire park is surrounded by concertina wire) but we had no problems no matter the time of day or night we traipsed back and forth.

Gosh dang hurricanes!!
Our first night consisted of checking in and then taking a cab to Bourbon Street (we let our neighbors freak us out about walking the first time and then felt like asses when we saw how close we really were. Besides, the walking route to the Quarter is from the RV Park to the Police Station to the Quarter.). This was followed up with a walk down Bourbon, which smells faintly of rum, manure and urine...where I introduced Clark to the buy one get 2 free concept. See, in Nola happy hour isn't exactly a drink special where you get $2 off well drinks. Nooooo my friends, it means whether you order a beer or a rum and coke you get 3 identical drinks for the price of one. And no, you can't work a deal by telling them you only want one.

Not one to judge, I love Bourbon Street AND their Huge Ass Beers...
So began our evening of oblivion...again. And we had yet to meet up with our friends.

Pat O'Brien's aka The House of the Devil...
The plan was to meet up at Pat O'Brien's, which if you read our San Antonio adventure was a huge mistake. HUGE. Our first order of business was a group pinky swear that we would all limit ourselves to 2 hurricanes. Well, you know where this is going. Four hurricanes EACH later we were ready for some F.U.N. or a pillow and some aspirin. Before another round of drinks could be ordered we pulled the old "we have an old dog we need to let outside before she pee's on everything" excuse out of the bag...which is true, honest.

Aww, isn't she so sweet?? Miss Cleo stopping to smell the flowers...or eat them.
New Orleans is one of those places where it's worth it to be a "tourist". There is so much history in the French Quarter, the original 20 blocks were laid out in 1721 while most of the house date back to 1803...(before the Louisiana Purchase), that to avoid it would be a mistake (in my humble opinion). It's also the best place to see the famed cast iron balconies and the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley which dates  back to 1745 and colonial Spanish architecture as well as the creole shotgun houses all in one afternoon...on foot...with a bar every few feet.

Jackson Square
Street musicians and fabulous balconies...
Horse drawn carriages and more balconies...
The problem with writing a post about New Orleans...and probably one of the reasons I kept putting it off, is that we really could write a chapter for each and every placed we visited. Instead, I am going to cheat a bit and summarize, mostly through pictures, everything we experienced.

The Clover Grill...a must for any visitor who likes to step back in time (no time machine required).
Pepto pink interior of the Clover Grill keeps it real...
You'll have to venture outside of the French Quarter to enjoy a good ol time at Rivershack Tavern.


Crawfish boil anyone?
And there they are...okay, so as a vegetarian this wasn't exactly the kind of place I could grab a meal however, for my meat/seafood loving friends I hear this place is top notch.

The whole gang!

Clark really enjoys teasing me with his food...              

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop dates back to around 1745 and is the oldest bar in New Orleans...it's still lit only by gas lamp making it particularly a great place to come visit after dark.
Another view of Lafitte's where I strayed from my traditional vodka based drinks to try America's first cocktail..the Sazerac.
 We actually took a Ghost Tour of the French Quarter...after dark...which was a lot of fun. Lafitte's was one of the stops, not only as a stop for a cocktail refresher but also for some ghost hunting. We were told you can sometimes see the face of a pirate who was tortured and burned in the fire place. Perpare to be amazed at what I was able to capture with my Cannon...

Scary right?? Oh wait, that's our friend Gary.
 But how's this for creepy??

I mean no disrespect but that's a sweet shot of Jesus AND the Holy Ghost right there.
One of THE best spots to hear some good old fashioned jazz, like back in the day.
No trip to Louisiana would be complete without a swamp tour...we scored some VERY inexpensive tickets thanks to Groupon!!
The bayou was spectacular...
I'm told there's a water moccasin in that tangle of roots...and I'm not going to be the one to doubt it.
Our tour guide "saves" some of the alligators that would otherwise perish...however, he says he loves alligator meat. I just hope my new little friend has a great personality and ends up being a lap pet instead of dinner.
Another favorite for music is the Spotted Cat Music Club. It's part of the neighborhood called Faubourg Marigny where you'll find other gems like Cafe Negril, Snug Harbor and the Blue Nile. We ate at the Praline Connection so we could try some traditional soul food...tip: do not pass up the fried green tomatoes!
In the Marigny they welcome artists of all kinds, not just musicians.
I encourage you to take some time exploring off the beaten path.

There's a theme here...and it's all about food. But that's what people do in New Orleans...they eat. One of the most popular foods in New Orleans is the Po' Boy. Mother's Restaurant is rated as one of the best places to try this sub/hoagie type sandwich (just don't call it one of those other names). The hubby enjoyed the Debris Po' Boy so much that he wanted to eat there the remainder of our days.   
We also ate at Napoleon House (of course we did) where I tried the Pimm's Cup cocktail. I made it a point to try the traditional drinks which are infamous famous in New Orleans.
Speaking of music, our timing couldn't be better for our visit...we got to see Anders Osbourne for FREE as the Wednesday at the Square concert series kicked off.
The Hermes Bar, located inside Antoine's, is a great place to stop for some adult beverages. I enjoyed a French 75 while the hubby had a Crown & 7. Our bartender was full of information and tips which included the best off the beat places to eat and hear live music. Next time I think we will hit the place up first and take notes.
A short, yet poignant trip through the 7th Ward will bring you to Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery. This was an amazing side trip and is highly recommended. Especially if you take a few detours through the Seventh Ward where there are still heartbreaking visuals from Hurricane Katrina.

Chalmette Battlefield
Of course no trip to New Orleans would be complete without a stop at Cafe Du Monde. It's always best to go at off times, if you can figure that out, because while there will be a line out the door and half way down the block, locals are entering and seating themselves. If you don't know this you will wait forever...

 Although our livers...and waistlines...suffered during this fun filled week I have no regrets. New Orleans is a blast. So much so that I think we will be heading back again March 2014.

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