New Orleans is kind of like a locational crush (made up term) for my husband. He claims he wants to live there and it is a large part of his personal history. All year we have been trying to get there. For a week, for a weekend, something… but every time our plans were thwarted. So recently the stars aligned and a small window of opportunity opened up… Frenchie and I figured we could squeeze 36 hours of adventure out of the beginning of our week and we decided New Orleans would be the perfect setting. I had not been to New Orleans since before Hurricane Katrina, so it was time to get reacquainted. We went to bed early, hit the airport before the sun rose and by 9am we were in the Bayou embarking on all kinds of terrific!
Adventures: Magazine Street, Seafood Boil with friends, Family History Class with Cousins, Grave Hunting, French Market…
We are fortunate to have some amazing friends, we will call them the Jamberly’s in the spirit of privacy, who live in New Orleans and played local point of contact for most of our visit. Lady Jamberly works at this cute little baby store on Magazine Street called Zuka so we met her and Baby Jamberly down there for a most phenomenal mexican feast at Juan’s Flying Burrito. I know you are wondering why I went to N.O. and my first meal was mexican, but you were forewarned last week that I am random! Magazine Street was a great start. Food choices galore. While I later enjoyed a walk thru the French Quarter, I have to be honest and say you are better off shopping on Magazine Street. The vendors in the market have the same “local finds” as the markets in Charleston or Savannah or even Nassau, Bahamas. Same junk, different latitude & longitude. Ah, but on Magazine Street shopping is everywhere and its mostly local stores carrying vintage goods and jewelry from local artisans, which means an opportunity to find something unique for yourself or the ones you left at home besides magnets or T-shirts made in China… Later that evening the Jameberly clan treated us to an authentic New Orleans style shrimp and crawfish boil with local beer. We had a pretty amazing time catching up with them, laughing all night. I still don’t like beer. And yes, I ate way too much. But in my defense I was trying to soak in as much New Orleans as possible be cause we were only there for 36 hours…
So a while ago Frenchie began working on his genealogy. He had his ancestry traced all the way back to Africa (pre-slavery) with the use of a blood test and he knows his great-grand parents names but that’s about it. He is left with this big gaping hole in the middle. We have this favorite show called “Who Do You Think You Are?”, I wont blame you if you have never seen it, but for us it sparked curiosity about our own personal histories. My husband knows his family was in New Orleans for several generations so we were able to connect with some more mature family members, Lucille and Leonard Jr., who could answer questions that the documents on Ancestry.com just can’t. Lucille’s home was severely damaged during Katrina, but has since been restored and she welcomed us in to talk about family stories, share pictures and fill in some blanks. She even drove us to the home where Frenchie’s grandmother grew up and the graveyard where part of his family is buried. It took a few phone calls and some wandering but we were able to find where his great-grandparents are buried. So he still has some more research left to do but in many ways Frenchie had his own episode of WDYTYA!
I generally favor cities that offer USEFUL public transportation and New Orleans goes on this list. There is a $2 bus coming from the airport into town and the street car and other bus routes were easy to navigate and cost efficient. I would definitely go carless again!
Accommodations: W New Orleans on Poydras Street
Fantastic option in my book. Hotel is cute in classic Starwood fashion. We didn’t need a car from the airport (public transportation is your friend people!) and it was close to several restaurants, the street car and the French Market. When I checked in on Foursquare another user said the lobby smelled like butt (he used a cuss word and I am keeping those to a minimum), however it smelled more like citrus Fantasticness to me! Great customer service and a super helpful concierge named David!
Best Meal: Ruby Slipper (except for that crab boil!)
I had the Banana’s Foster Pain Perdu (french Toast). I fainted. I ate another bite and I almost fainted again. My love’s breakfast was equally divine. He had the BBQ Shrimp & Grits. We of course couldn’t try everything but I will be making this a stop on all future visits to the area. Make sure you try the Brandy Milk Punch, well not if you are lactose intolerant/vegan/etc. or that incredible Peach Bellini.
That about sums it up. Merci Beaucoup to all of our New Orleans family. We will see you soon. Here’s to an extraordinarily happy weekend for you allPin It