My sisters and I took a trip to New Orleans over Easter weekend. This is Our Story:
Day 1: Arrived in New Orleans Thursday afternoon. Bippy and I checked in and then decided to take a walk down to the Riverfront and then over to the French Quarter for a quick look. Then Jamie called from the hotel and we headed back. Quick freshening up and headed back to the French Quarter for some eats and atmosphere. Dinner was at Mr. B's Bistro (a Brennan restaurant). Dee-licious. The vodka gimlet I had with dinner just about knocked my socks off. It packed a punch! After dinner, we cruised Bourbon Street. Interesting place, Bourbon Street is. Strip joints next to gift shops next to bars. And the ho's hanging in the doorways, wearing nothing but G-strings, pasties and 5 inch lucite stripper shoes. And then there was this place:
Yep. Live sex show. Even better were the photos around the doorway showing exactly what happens on the stage at Big Daddy's. And no blurring of the naughty parts. I think my jaw dropped and I felt so...so...provincial. Since it was Thursday, Bourbon Street wasn't all that crowded and we were approached by a "representative" of a bar, inviting us up on their balcony along with some complimentary cocktails. I guess being invited up to a balcony is supposed to be an honor. The club must have been desperate for customers: "Cougars approaching! Cougars approaching! Head 'em off at the pass!" Especially since the occupants of the balcony at that time were several 60-something men. We graciously declined the generous invitation and continued on.
We headed back to the hotel around 10:00pm (Party Animals are We!) since we had to be ready to go on our Plantation Tour very early in the morning.
Day 2. Woke up at the buttcrack of dawn in order to be ready for our 7:45am pickup for our Plantation Tours. We had breakfast at the hotel's Cafe Adelaide (a Brennan Family restaurant). I had worried that I would be having withdrawals from not having my daily Del Taco Bacon & Egg Quesadilla, aka "Crack" but Cafe Adelaide had a worthy substitute: Bacon, egg and cheese biscuit. Whoo-hoo! Best damn biscuits I've EVER had, I'm just saying.
We were picked up at our hotel by a charming gentleman named Elmore, who kept up a running narrative on the history of New Orleans for the entire drive. Learned lots of trivia and history. Anyhoo, our first stop is the famous Oak Alley Plantation:
where one could sip on a Mint Julep while enjoying the tour of the house. You couldn’t take photos but you could carry a cup o’ bourbon to slop around. Go figure. Our tour guide for Oak Alley was this adorable tiny girl in a huge hoopskirt. Beautiful property and the oaks are actually at least 100 years older than the house itself. Nobody knows who actually planted them. Oak Alley is allegedly haunted and at one point, our group got locked out of the house while out on the rear upper gallery and our guide said, a bit exasperated, that it's usually the ghost that loves to shut doors and lock them. After Oak Alley, we continued on to Laura Plantation, which we did not actually plan on visiting but I'm so glad we did. I preferred it to Oak Alley. Laura was a "Raised Creole" plantation house with all the rooms on the upper level and was painted in traditional Creole colors. It was the Americans (not the French Creoles) who had the big white plantation houses.
Our tour guide for Laura was a local guy named Jay who would sometimes start chattering away in Cajun French. I loved it! Laura was a working Creole plantation that was deliberately modestly built so that the family did not appear too wealthy to customers. In Creole society, it wasn't always the eldest son who would inherit but whichever child appeared the most intelligent, which in the case of Laura, was the females in the family. There were still slave cabins standing at Laura along with other buildings and the "Maison d'Respite" which is where the Dowager President of Laura moved to after stepping down and handing the reins over to her granddaughter.
It was very, very warm that day. And muggy so we were pretty pooped and were glad to see Elmore and the air-conditioned bus come pick us up. We got back to the hotel absolutely STARVING and headed to Cafe Adelaide for lunch. Many people had told me I HAD to try the turtle soup and lemme tell you, I could swim in that stuff it's that good. And I was so glad I had the hot soup because the room was so icy cold that Bippy ran up to our room and brought back sweaters and jackets. After lunch, we headed to our room for an afternoon siesta and so Bippy could watch The Masters on TV (snore). We headed back to the French Quarter around 5:00pm.
After our siesta, we headed back to the Quarter and walked around for hours, just taking in the sights. Talk about Elegance:
I just loved the Creole Cottages:
We had coffee and beignets at the Cafe DuMonde, across from the St. Louis Cathedral:
Bippy was jonesing big time for oysters at the Acme Oyster House but there was always a massive line outside so we ended up having dinner at the Redfish Grille (another Brennan Family restaurant). Our waiter, Perry was his name, was rocking a serious gold grill across his front teeth, too. I don't remember what I had but whatever it was, it was damn good. We walked around Bourbon Street again and then were back in our room by 10:00pm, thoroughly exhausted from the day's events.
Day 3: Saturday morning and we got to sleep in! We took our time reading the newspaper (the Times-Picayune) and headed down to Cafe Adelaide for their breakfast buffet. More biscuits! Yay! Our plan for the day was to take the St. Charles Streetcar (I'm pissed I forgot to take a picture of the streetcar) uptown to the Garden District. One of our planned stops was to be the Lafayette Cemetery #1. We were taking our time when Jamie discovered that Lafayette would close at Noon and not be open again until Monday so we hauled butt to the Streetcar.
Now as you may know, as the Official Caretaker of Gramma's House at 2002 Petaluma, one of my obligations to Gramma is to hit the cemeteries in her honor. We struck Gold with Lafayette:
As Bippy described it, Lafayette Cemetery is "High Creep." Most of the "inhabitants" are German and Irish victims of the many yellow fever epidemics. This one looks like it belongs at Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. If you look closely, you can see that there are about 20 occupants of this particular plot:
Many of the tombs are very neglected and some of the tombs are open and empty.
We started to make our way to the gate since it was closing time when I saw this:
I stuck my camera in this opening:
She Shoots, She Scores!!!!!!
My work here was done. I had fulfilled my obligation to the memory of Gramma.
To be continued...