New Orleans: Part 1

There was so much that the Boyfriend and I saw and did in New Orleans that I couldn’t condense it down to one post.  So, I’m breaking up our four-day trip into two parts.  Part 1 concerns our first night and day there, leaving our second day and last morning for Part 2.

Friday night:
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Sign on the edge of Faubourg Marigny

We arrived at our hotel just off the French Quarter in the Faubourg Marigny in the early evening.  At least, it was early for New Orleans.  We were staying in a historic hotel, meaning everything was original, or replica antebellum-style furnishings and the interior hadn’t been renovated to fit modern tastes (with the exception of electricity and other important technology of course).  The staircase railing was so old, it was held by strategically placed metal bracings to keep it up and safely useable.

A word of caution: If you’re planning on staying in a historic hotel, be prepared for some slightly less modern levels of cleanliness.  The women who came in to clean the room mopped the carpet and picked up debris with an ancient roller-style vacuum.  Walking around barefoot left my soles black with dirt.  Needless to say, I started wearing my sandals around the room so I wouldn’t have to worry about tracking dirt into the sheets.

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One of the buildings of the hotel, and a view of our private balcony.

The first thing we did after getting the car into the hotel’s tiny, cramped parking area ($30 a night to park, and that’s considered cheap) and getting our stuff up to our room, was to head to Café du Monde for some dinner sugary goodness.  On the way, we came across a parasol shop, so of course I had to buy my inner goth a fancy black parasol.

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By the time we got back from eating beignets, the long drive, and then the walk to the cafe and back caught up with us, and we crashed for the night.  Or at least I did.  The Boyfriend wasn’t so lucky.

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View from the side of our balcony.

 

Another word of caution: The hotel happened to be across from a Blues bar, which didn’t shut down until around 3 or 4 am.  I love Blues music, but the house band seemed only to know how to play a couple songs well, and the later it got, the worse they played.  If you require quiet to sleep, don’t think that earplugs will do the trick, and don’t get a room facing the street.

Saturday:
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We both got Rose Benedict.

 

Few places are open for business prior to 11 am, but the hotel desk clerk gave us a couple suggestions for a great breakfast.  One was the Cafe Rose Nicaud, and the other was Cafe Envie.  We chose to try out Cafe Rose Nicaud first.
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After breakfast, we headed back to our room to rest a bit before we needed to head into the French Quarter to meet up for a cemetery tour.  We left early since we weren’t sure where the place was, and then we waited and people watched.  There were tourists everywhere, a jazz band playing in the street, street performers scattered around the corners, and homeless people with handmade signs asking for help.  Forget about having a conversation while in the heart of the French Quarter.  However, I did get several compliments about my parasol.

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The sign on the building where Tennessee Williams wrote A Streetcar Named Desire. It’s now a t-shirt shop.

 

Our tour guide was a few minutes late, and our meet up point was in one of the busiest parts of the French Quarter.  The information about the tour failed to mention it was actually two hours long, and the hour it was supposed to be was only for once we arrived at St. Louis Cemetery.

 

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Allison “Tootie” Montana Mardi Gras Indian statue on the edge of Congo Square.

 

 

 

Because of this lack of information, we had only brought a couple bottles of water with us.  I don’t know what kind of arrangement the tour company has with the people selling water along the way to the cemetery, but we felt we were deliberately not told how long the tour would really be.  Though we learned a lot about the French Quarter, we were so hot, tired, and irritable we only took a couple of photos.

We chose not to take photos in the cemetery because that whole portion of the tour felt disrespectful.  Our tour guide seemed to be more interested in telling us about the superstitions concerning Marie Laveau and made a spectacle out of the whole experience.  Also, I felt deeply sad for all the people buried there who hadn’t been able to afford to pay the Catholic Church for perpetual care or no longer had any family to care for their tombs.  Many of them were crumbling into a pile of rubble, the name markers completely gone or damaged to the point that I couldn’t read the names or the dates.  Many more had been vandalized.  All I could think was how little respect for the dead do people have to let any of this happen?

After the tour, we stumbled our heat exhausted, sunburnt, and dehydrated selves to Acme Oyster House, but they had a ridiculously long line.  I absolutely needed to sit down and drink lots of water, and I didn’t want to wait any longer to do so, so we went next door to the Bourbon House, which also had oysters.  I personally think oysters, mussels, and clams are disgusting and akin to eating loogies, but the Boyfriend wanted to have oysters at least once while we were in New Orleans.  There was plenty of other food on the menu, and I just wanted a place to sit more than anything else.  I’m glad we chose to park our butts there because the French bread was fantastic, the shrimp po’boy was delicious, and the crème brûlée was marvelous.  Had it not been a nicer establishment, I would have licked the shallow bowl the crème brûlée came in.

(picture an empty bowl where a serving of crème brûlée used to be)

We made it back to the hotel around 6 pm, but we were so tired we were in bed by 8 pm, figuring we could head back out if we woke a few hours later.  We didn’t, and you’ll find out what happened when we finally did get out of bed in Part 2.

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