Back Trackin’, New Orleans Edition – NOLA on My Mind

Friday, April 15th, 2011 | Posted under Back Trackin', New Orleans

Some of my favorite bloggers will be heading to New Orleans this weekend, and it made me think of why I loved NOLA.

1. Excellent music
Music is everywhere in New Orleans. Whether walking down Bourbon Street or hopping from one bar to another in the much smaller and less rowdy Marigny, there is so much darn GOOD music at every turn. Husband J and I definitely loved popping in and out of all of the great music venues. The street performers were just as good as in any bar or club.
I’m playing the trombone! Well, not really 🙂

2. Unique architecture

We have our gorgeous skyline in New York City, but I really haven’t seen architecture like NOLA’s in other parts of the country. The architecture reflects NOLA’s “easy-going sit on the balcony and soak in the scene” pace of life.

A street in the French Quarter

3. Unforgettable Food

Beignets, gumbo, po’ boys, etouffee, oysters…should I go on? I was only in NOLA for about four days and didn’t even eat half of the local cajun/creole food that I could have. When I went, I had no idea that I would later write about food and travel, so I didn’t take pictures of my meals for you. I loved my meals at the following places:

Bayona – Tucked into a cute little side street in the Quarter, this small restaurant had big flavors in all of its dishes.

Restaurant August – One of the best fine dining meals I had in 2009, if not THE best. It’s a little bit of a splurge but totally worth it.
Emeril’s – It seems kinda pedestrian and touristy to go to the original Emeril’s in the Warehouse District, but we ended up having lunch there with one of Husband J’s friends who’s from the area. I thought everything we ate was absolutely excellent, and the lunch pre-fixe menu is a great value. I actually liked the original Emeril’s better than its sister restaurant, NOLA, in the Quarter.
Fried dough perfection: beignets and chicory coffee from the famous Cafe du Monde
4. Distinctive history and culture

The mix of French, African with a little bit of Caribbean and just plain ol’ American influences have created a unique cultural and historical imprint in this part of the country. It’s pretty different than what I’ve learned about and experienced before in other parts of the U.S. A fun and decidedly offbeat way to learn about the history of New Orleans and the Quarter in particular is to take an evening history ghost tour. Husband J and I really enjoyed the New Orleans Ghost Tour. The tour was chock full of fascinating information plus a stop at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop for the best hurricane I had in NOLA (Yes, better than Pat O’Brien’s in my opinion).
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. My favorite hurricane in NOLA and a great historic bar.

Plus, NOLA folks know how to party! Check out a past post on Mardi Gras costumes.
If you have not had a chance to go to New Orleans, please put it on your list of places to visit in the future. The city is fabulous, and tourism is one of its biggest industries. Please support it!
Blogger friends, I want to see pics and hear some stories. 🙂
Happy Weekend, all!


Here’s Lookin’ At You, NOLA! Happy Mardi Gras!

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 | Posted under New Orleans

I know people don’t really say Happy Mardi Gras, but you know what I mean. 🙂

With today being Mardi Gras, I thought I would send a visual shout out to NOLA. I really loved our very short trip to New Orleans. The food is fantastic; the people friendly; and the history so intriguing. My most favorite historical tidbit being that although Husband J and I would not be able to legally marry in most states in the U.S. in the 19th century (or for a good majority of the 20th century, but who’s counting?), I could have been his common law wife under the Placage system, which allowed this extra legal marriage and financial relationships between mostly white men and free Black and biracial women. I never even knew something like this existed in the United States. Read about that here.

While we weren’t there during Mardi Gras nor did we hop across the river to go to Mardi Gras World (you can see actual Mardi Gras floats, etc. there), we did get to see a Mardi Gras exhibit at the Louisiana State Museum in the historic Presbytere, the former residence of Capuchin monks who helped to settle the New Orleans area.

You can seriously write an entire blog or book about the various Mardi Gras krewes in New Orleans and their history. I’m just going to show you the spectacular costumes that we saw at the museum.
Many of the costumes pictured here were donated by the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, one of the oldest and largest predominantly Black carnival association participating in the Mardi Gras parades.

Part of a float…

I’m not sure if this exhibition is still there, but Husband J and I learned quite a bit about the origins and history of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebrations. I will say that many of these costumes reminded me of Caribbean carnivals as well, which make sense since they come from similar origins.

Wherever you are today, make sure you have a “Laissez les bon temps rouler” (Let the good times roll) kinda moment before Lent like true Carnival revelers. 🙂


New Orleans’ French Quarter During the Holidays

Friday, December 3rd, 2010 | Posted under New Orleans

If you can believe it, it is in fact the holiday season…ALREADY! I started this blog in June, so needless to say, I am shocked that it is time for hibernation (I mean winter) already. I find that many people stay close to home during the holiday season and chill with the family; or others try to escape their families and go somewhere warm if they live in areas that are gearing up for harsh winters. Last year, Husband J and I took a long weekend trip to New Orleans in the holiday dead week between Christmas and New Year’s.

I’m not going to gush here a ton about New Orleans, especially about the fact that I think it is by far one of the most interesting cities that I’ve had the chance to travel to within the U.S. (lusciously decadent food, intriguing and complex history, wrapped up in its own brand of Southern charm..okay I had to throw this description in). Since I won’t talk too in depth about our trip for this post, I will tell you that I love the way any city looks decked out in its holiday best.
I feel in the holiday spirit today, so here are some pics of New Orleans, specifically the French Quarter, during the 2009 holiday season.
Gotta love the “Peace Y’all” sign here. It looked great lit up at night.

Jackson Square (do you see the bows?)

In the lobby of the Royal Sonesta Hotel, French Quarter

Being in the French Quarter during the holiday season definitely added a certain flair to our visit. That being said, I think we got the short end of the stick with the weather. We were hoping for 60s Farenheit and got the same weather than NYC was having. 40s…Brr…. I hope to get back to NOLA soon when it’s much warmer. I think it would be even more fun in warm weather.

Do you ever travel during the holiday season? What are your favorite local destinations for viewing beautiful holiday decorations?


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