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Friday, February 5, 2010

Goin’ to N’Awlins: What should I do/see/eat?

Of course it will soon be Super Bowl Sunday, but truthfully, other than the excitement of seeing alot of Fleur de lis, my excitement in New Orleans is strictly limited to the fact that I will be getting on a plane in a few short weeks to visit this fabulous city.
My sweet cousin lives in a suburb outside of New Orleans. For many years I have had a deep longing to visit her. New Orleans seems like my kind of town. Lovely, historical and FRENCH!
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So why haven’t I gone? Well, there was a little thing called Katrina. Then there always seems to be the issue of limited vacation time and funds rearing its ugly head. I was my grandfather’s legal guardian for a few years, (he had Alzheimer’s)~ It seemed whenever I thought my trip would finally happen, my grandfather would develop a complication.  Such is life, and I don’t regret that I always put him first. But you can imagine how excited I was when I narrowed down a date for this year. No joke, a day later my sweet grandmother called. She needed me to come and help her move again. I understandably, but sadly, had to tell my cousin that my much dreamed of trip wasn’t going to happen this year either.
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But my cousin is something special. She decided to not take “No” for an answer and sent me an offer of a  plane ticket as an early graduation gift. Completely out of character, not only did I say yes, but chose the magnificent spring for my arrival. I figured in 20 years I would probably be glad I missed a few college classes in exchange for a trip of a lifetime.
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So that is where you, dear friends, come in. I need to know your New Orleans Favorites. It is to be a whirlwind trip and I need to pack in as much fabulousness as a can. My friend Heidi said that I MUST go to Cafe Du Monde and have a beignet in honor of her. Check!
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Then I learned from Terri that I must also have a dining experience at The Court Of The Two Sisters. Check!
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But what sprawling plantations and homes should I visit?
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Are there certain neighborhoods with balconies such as this that it would be a crime to miss seeing?
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There certainly must be museums and churches that should be placed on my “must see” list.
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Not to mention THE SHOPPING. The shopping! Help me out dear readers. Send me your lists. I promise to share my adventures and thank you for your suggestions.
Laura

38 comments :

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Oh Laura,
What fun! I lived there for a month or two, but I was a baby and can't remember a thing! Can't wait to hear all about this trip! Hugs, Cindy

The Cookie Girl said...

Happy Day Laura! So excited you finally get to take your trip.

I have never been :(

I do have friend who lives there tho.
I'm sure I could get a laundry list of things you need to see and do from her.

Trisha Jones said...

Laura, please don't think I'm gross, but I literally just drooled on myself when I saw your photo of the beignets. Like, literally... slobber from my mouth, down my chin, onto my chest. So, obviously, I'm sure you know what I'll tell you: go to Cafe Du Monde for me, as well!!! And if you want a souvenier that just keeps on giving, treat yourself to a blue or yellow cannister of their coffee grounds. If you do, I'll know to expect a "thank you!"
HAVE FUN AND TAKE PLENTY OF PICTURES TO SHARE WITH US!!!

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

I have only driven through New Orleans on my way to Texas, so that doesn't really count. We didn't do anything there other than look at the scenery. I am not much help. You will have a wonderful time, I'm sure. Thse beignets look amazing!! I'll take a dozen. Love & blessings from NC!

Lou Cinda said...

I am so excited you are getting to go! I have been wanting to go back to New Orleans myself!

When I went, many MANY years ago, I was MUCH MUCH younger and foolish and was more into the party part! lol I did love Jackson Square and the Famers Market though! We stayed on Bourbon Street at the Royal Sonesta and you can just imagine. It was New Years Eve....come to think of it, that trip is a bit of a blur....

HOWEVER, now that I am older and MUCH wiser I have wanted to go back and do it right! So I will look to you to tell me where I should go when I go back!!

Have fun and ENJOY!!

Lou Cinda :)

April said...

hi laura!
you are coming to Louisiana!?!? my best friend is FROM N.O.--she will, no doubt, have some recommendations i can pass along to you.

hope you enjoy your visit to our little swampy state!

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

i have never been, but a friend just got back and truly loved this place http://ilovedirtylaundry.blogspot.com/2010/01/i-am-finally-on-last-day-of-my-amazing.html

i am glad u are finally making it there...how fun! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Audra Lynn said...

If I were going, I'd have to ride the cable car and eat at Mulate's. They have great cajun food and live music.

fairfieldhouse said...

Laura,

Lucky you -- playing hookie to go to New Orleans! I have never been but look forward to your 'must sees' when I do!

Deborah

Karena said...

Laura,In my many travels, I have not been to New Orleans yet, would love to go!! cannot wait to more and hear more about your visit.
Karena

Destiny said...

Laura... I was born and (for the most part) raised in New Orleans. It was very different then from what I see of it now after Katrina. The crime levels are higher so carry some pepper spray...Ok, so yes, definitely go to the French Quarter and Cafe du Monde! (I carry their products in my shop each February to celebrate Mardi Gras!) The Riverwalk is a fun little shopping plaza and there's also a casino ship docked nearby the Riverwalk. Some of this may have changed by now...but Oh...go to Oak Alley Plantation, it's a short drive from New Orleans but where some of the Gone With the Wind Shots were taken - BEAUTIFUL!!! Beware of the voodoo shop on Bourbon street...I've seen strange things happen there! (example...my friend was joking around and rubbed a fertility paddle on her belly...she was NOT trying to get pregnant and was on the pill and voila! 2 weeks later, she had a positive test! I could go on for days....I'm so jealous!!! I would love to go back for a visit! I hope you have a blast!!!

Olivia and Me said...

Laura.. why not step back prior to the Louisiana Purchase.. when the area was claimed by the French then purchased by Spain, sold back, resold again and then purchased by the US from France.

Deep dark history is here for you to explore and discover why the City runs today. Here are a few links for you to view and hopefully gain some insight for tours and the best places to dine and shop. I can't wait to read about what you're plans will be!

http://www.hnoc.org/?p=665

http://www.neworleansonline.com/neworleans

with love,
Olivia

Blondie's Journal said...

How ironic, Laura. I am going to New Orleans in the spring for my birthday trip! I too, am wondering what I can cram in to a week!! In any case, it's going to be fun!!

xoxo
Janie

Karen said...

Laura - you must go visit Jodie at Everything Vintage. She is on my blogroll. But NOT until after the SuperBowl. :) She lives close to New Orleans, and has been featured in some of the Somerset magazines because of her photography of the city. She can for SURE tell you what are "do not miss" places!
I am so jealous! You are going to have an absolutely marvelous time!
HAGD! Karen

FROGGITY! said...

YOU'RE COMING HERE?!?! YAYYY!

go to gallatoire's to eat, or commander's palace in uptown for a treat.

and tour the garden district, visit museum of art if you have a chance, or just hey, do the Quarter!

uptown is one of my favorite places. our church is on St. Chas, and it's a treat to go there each sunday.

welcome to n'awlins dahlin'! and...laissez les bons temps rouler!! (oh, p.s. there's an uptown mardi gras parade on sat afternoon at 2, we'll be there!)

FROGGITY! said...

oh wait, just realized you won't be here THIS weekend, but another one!

here's a few more restaurants:
napoleon house- F. Quarter
mandina's in midcity (gumbo)
7 on fulton - warehouse dist.
central grocery is our favorite muffuletta - F. Quarter

if you want a fun funky jazzy drink go to Pat O's - Quarter

i love this town!

SPLENDEROSA said...

OK, so your cousin will tell you this: all the good shops are on Royal Street, the nightlife/bars on Bourbon Street. Everything, Jackson Square included is near the river where Cafe du Monde is located. You just walk, walk, walk.There are some wonderful fun things to do, including tarot card readings at Jackson Square. Great food, I love Court of Two Sisters, sitting outside. You won't need a car except to get to the French Quarter. Once there, have a Ramos Gin Fizz drink at a great bar like the Royal Orleans Hotel bar. This is a fab time to go because Mardi Gras is not too far away & the Super Bowl parties all over town.
Have fun !! Marsha

LiLi M. said...

Ah bonjour Laura, you lucky girl! Of course I never have been to New Orleans, but you might consult Constance Muller of Rochambeau's, tell her that I recommended her to you, if I remember well she is in New Orleans a few times a year, maybe you can find some tips on her blog, but she is the sweetest person, so take this chance to get to know her!
http://rochambeau.typepad.com/my_weblog/

Liz said...

OH! I'm so jealous! I know you will have awesome pictures to show!

~Liz

P.S.I think I like the pink better than the blue header.... Very pretty!

Terri said...

Jacques-Imo's is a fantastic restaurant in uptown. It's very quirky and attracts an interesting crowd. You literally walk through the kitchen to enter the dining area. Enjoy your trip!

The Boston Lady said...

Unfortunately I have no advice to offer as I've only passed by on the way to CA. But I can say this!!! Have a wonderful time, take it all in, take pictures, blog about it. I'm so glad you are "going for it". I well remember the days of having to put plans on hold because of family crises and obligations. Many a time I felt that any plans I made were a signal for everyone else to get sick or need help. Perhaps if The Maven and I drive out to CA this summer we will stop in NO on your recommendation. Your pictures made me want to go...

Terri and Bob said...

Laura, prior to Katrina, we loved going to a small cafe called Mothers. Best sandwiches ever! I love the beignets. I am not a chicory coffee lover, but Bob thinks it is awesome. I loved the Court of the Two Sisters when we were there last and Emeril's restaurant!

Susie from Bienvenue said...

I cant believe you will be in my neck of the woods...or swamp. New Orleans is such a beautiful place to visit. I live about an hour away. Have fun and enjoy our wonderful state!!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I was going to say make sure to try a beignet, but since someone beat me to it...I say you need to walk the french quarter--and definitely pop into a jazz club or two!

Mimi said...

HI!!!
I have been on 2 trips to that lovely city!!!!! I would visit the Nottoway Plantation!!!! OH to die for!!!!The Mississippi steam boat dinner cruise is fun too!!!! A horse drawn buggy ride is fun too!!!! Tour the garden district, the cemetarys!!!!!Shopping not so great there, except the antique stores!!!!YES, go to Cafe du Monde!!! Buy a box of the mix, I did, and made them twice and it was gone!!!!!love them!!!!
hmmmm.... I'm sure your lovely cousin has it all planned!!!!
Have fun!!!
See you next week at the Play!!!
hugs,
jamie

Lamp Tramp said...

All of the places you mentioned are FAB! Here's a couple of my suggestions: High Tea at the Windsor Court Hotel, the River Road Plantation tour, Galatoire's, Brennan's, and of course Commander's Palace in the beautiful Garden District. The French Market is a must visit. And last and best ~ THE ANTIQUE SHOPS! Royal and Chartres are heaven on earth!
Every step you take, every corner you turn, will be filled with the vibrant excitemnet and charm of N'AWLINS!
And it will be little bit wilder if you are there during the Super Bowl.
WHO DAT!

Jeannine @ Small and Chic said...

I've been to NOLA about half a dozen times and have never shopped. We go for JazzFest.

We get up at noon and a designated person fetches coffee to get everyone up. Then we claw our way up Canal to find a cab to take us to the fairgrounds. Once there, we eat like champs from the vendors. Shrimp Creole, crab stuff mushrooms, po-boys, we can't get enough! We come home around 5 or 6 PM and take a nap. Then we eat somewhere nice in the Quartier and start our musical wanderings for the night. First show's at 10 PM, next show's at midnight, next show is at 2 PM, then we make our way to the Maple Leaf to sit in dark corners, listening to whatever local is playing (Stanton Moore? Big Sam?) until the sun comes up. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It kills me that I have never stepped foot in a Magazine Street boutique during these visits. I know NOLA like the back of my hand, but the only money I spend there is on tickets, food, and beverages.

I've thought about going for a shopping trip, but I can't fathom a visit to NOLA without spending copious amounts of time in places like Tipatina's or the House of Blues.

I'm jealous...have a wonderful time!

April said...

hi laura,
it sounds odd, seeing that i only live about one and a half hours from the Big Easy, but i have not been there since Katrina, myself! that cataclysmic event changed everything in our state, and for some of us it just induced the stronger "nesting" urge, meaning we stay much closer to home these days. I would just say you NEED to go to the Garden District, be sure to have the coffee at CDM as well as the beignets(the cafe au lait is incredible), and hit a PJ's coffee and tea company while you're at it! their Viennese blend is the best, hands-down, EVER.
i hope you have a lovely, fun, relaxing trip! thanks for the sweet comments on my blog. Lainey(my redhead with the cat)APPRECIATES them(she lights up like a little christmas bulb!).
have a happy weekend!!! we are going salvage shopping at the Habitat for Humanity store this morning. i've never been--should be interesting. maybe i'll get some pictures and post about it.(i am assuming you won't post this comment! i went on a tangent!)blessings! ~april

WendyBee said...

Oh, Laura! I am so happy for you! I'm glad you are finally getting your trip! It touches me that you have been so giving when family has needed you. I am with you that I treasure the opportunity to help when I can, but I recognize that sometimes it can be a bit of a sacrifice (however worthwhile!). I wish I had some suggestions, but I have never been to the Big Easy, and it would be like being in a foreign country for me! So, I will wait patiently and live vicariously through your posts when you come back.
Bon voyage! Et a votre sante!
WendyBee

rochambeau said...

Hi Laura,
It is a pleasure to meet you here.
What a kind thing that your cousin is doing for you! A lovely gift.

She is going to know all the best things! If you go to Sunday brunch at Commander's then you can look around the Garden District. If you all shop along Magizine street, there is SO much! But one store that reminds me of the feeling on your site here is Pied Nu (5521 Magazine). There is also the most amazing Bead Shop at 4612 Magazine, The Bead Store. You will find lots of antique ~ junk too on this LONG shopping street.
Besides Cafe Du Monde's beginettes, you should try b.b.q. shrimp, part of a Muffalatta, oyster po~boy, but you can't go wrong with the food. For me it is the BEST. You're going to love driving down St Charles and seeing the neutral ground and the trolley. It's a magical place! Can't wait to see your adventure here!!

If Linda lives in Metairie, be sure to check out Robert's Supermarket on Esplanade. They have the coolest t.shirts in the front of the store! Also, the Goodwill thrift nearby is a good one if you like thrifing~
Bon Voyage~
Constance

Mildred said...

Good for you Laura and what a great gift from your cousin. I've never been so I am looking forward to you sharing your trip via your blog.

TRay said...

Hey! Have a great time in the Big Easy! Definitely go to the Cafe du Monde, as suggested, as well as the Court of Two Sisters. Go to Pat O'Brien's really just to see the architecture, maybe for a "Hurricane" if you're up to it--I didn't care for that drink, though. Especially for me, you HAVE to go to "Sucre" at 3025 Magazine Street (www.shopsucre.com) for some macarons (like the ones from Laduree in Paris) and most definitely for the thyme infused chocolate. Yes! THYME INFUSED! Food-wise, go check out one of John Besh's places, either "August" or his rustic French-inspired "La Provence." Plantations--Nottoway (gorgeous), Oak Alley, Houmas House, LAURA Plantation, or, if you'd like to visit one of the most haunted places in America, venture out to The Myrtles! Laissez les bon temps roulez, ma cherie!

Tricia Samsal said...

Laura, if you do go to a cool shop or spot, take pics and we can do an article in the Blissfully Traveled magazine. It can be all your article. I would love to go with you!!!!! :0
Have a great time, you deserve it!

Centsational Girl said...

Hi Laura, I loved New Orleans, I was there before Katrina and spent three days there. It's really wonderful, especially the French Quarter. Enjoy, and tell us all about it when you get back !
Kate

Sandy said...

Just enjoy everything, the food, shopping and all the wonderful history, but most important, take Lots of pictures. Have a wonderful time! Thanks for stopping by.
Sandy

Destiny said...

Here's the info you asked me for : )
If you go to www.thebarncastlerock.com and click on shop the barn online, you will be able to buy the magazine : ) Hope you LOVE it - I know you will!!

LuLu Kellogg said...

Cafe Du Monde is to die for! Their beignets are the best all around. Make sure to see all the little shops up and down St. Charles street. The Mississippi bridge at night is gorgeous. And...all the old homes...*swoon* I hope you will have a wonderful time!

LuLu♥♥♥

Terri Brush Designs said...

JUST KEEP you TOP ON!! LOL.. HAVE FUN!