New Orleans / “The Crescent City” / “The Big Easy”
There is a reason I was MIA this past weekend – one of my best friends came to visit! She arrived Thursday evening, and the hubs and I drove downtown to pick her up at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. I was as giddy as a kid in a candy store waiting for her to come through the gate! It had been over 3 years since I last saw her! On the way back, the hubs played chauffeur so that she and I could sit in the back together and chat. We made a quick stop by Mellow Mushroom pizza, and then headed home.
She finally got to meet Prince Mario…who was dutifully waiting by the door upon our arrival. And it was love at first sight! He is that darn cute. We popped open some wine, chowed down on pizza, and chatted all night long….literally…chatted for 5 hours. And the best part, the hubs was right there in the conversation making us both laugh!
The next morning, we got up and exposed Miss KT to our daily routine: breakfast, 2 mile walk, workout, shower, errands. Only in this case, the errands turned into the fun tour of Louisiana! We started out early because we had a LOT on the menu for Friday: Oak Alley Plantation, French Quarter Festival, Bourbon Street, Hornets game.
OAK ALLEY PLANTATION
I have secretly been
plotting planning a way to get the hubs to Oak Alley Plantation for over a year now. And what better way to rope him in than with a visit from a friend?! What about this description doesn’t draw you in? “Located on the Mississippi River between the historic Louisiana cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Oak Alley Plantation has been called the “Grande Dame of the Great River Road”. Nowhere else in the south will you find such a spectacular setting! The quarter-mile canopy of giant live oak trees, believed to be nearly 300 years old, forms an impressive avenue leading to the classic Greek-revival style antebellum home.”
Upon our arrival, we immediately took a detour to the “Mint Julep” restaurant as we were starving! It was one of the older houses on the property turned into a restaurant…about 3 or 4 little tables set-up in each room…pretty fast service. Even though I am not a huge Bourbon drinker, I decided to try the drink of the south – the Mint Julep. And it was good. We ordered Alligator Nuggets, Gumbo, & Po Boys. And we topped off the meal with Whiskey Bread Pudding and Pecan Pie. NOM. NOM. NOM! Excellent traditional southern food to welcome our guest!
We left feeling stuffed-to-the-gill and decided to roam the grounds of the plantation. We also took the 45 minute tour, complete with a southern belle tour guide, on the rich history of the 200-year old landmark. After many “towering oaks” photos, we decided to head to New Orleans.
As it was Miss KT’s first time to the city, we took I-10 into the city, with a looming landscape spread before her. We curved around the Superdome and inched our way to the French Quarter. The travel gods were looking out for us, because we hit zero traffic and pulled right into the parking lot a block from the Riverwalk & the French Quarter Festival.
FRENCH QUARTER FESTIVAL
The French Quarter Festival is an annual event held along the Riverwalk and Jackson Square with live music and food and beer and art and celebration! The stages throughout the French Quarter celebrate local music and represent every genre from traditional and contemporary jazz to R&B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, latin, zydeco, classical and international. We walked along the Riverwalk and gave Miss KT her first taste of live jazz music while sippin’ on the local Abita Brewery beer! It was a fabulous 87* outside…sunny…cool breeze from the Mississippi River licking our faces…perfect atmosphere.
BOURBON STREET, PART 1
We then headed over a few blocks to Bourbon Street so we could show Miss KT the difference between day and night in the Big Easy! We popped our heads into a few bars, and then got suckered in to try the famous New Orleans Daiquiri. KT decided to get one with EVERY FLAVOR because it was so colorful and yummy looking! Better yet…we told the bartender it was her first time in NOLA, and they made her take a test-tube shot! Good times. After about an hour of strolling around, we decided to head on over to the New Orleans Arena for the basketball game.
HORNETS VS. SUNS
We have learned from experience that you can pre-game outside of the arena for $1 drafts! Needless to say, there was some double-fisting going on! The hubs and I were lucky to get fabulous seats for the game as a gift! We sat in Row 3 – just two rows behind the players! We could literally high-five them coming out of the locker room! KT was super excited because it was her first NBA experience…and we couldn’t believe how fast the time flew by! We were whooping and hollering and cheering along with the rest of the Hornets fans…and of course…gawking at the 7-foot tall players! And…we won! 109 – 97. All in all…a very cool experience!
BOURBON STREET, PART II
After the game, we headed back down to Bourbon Street. This time, we stopped into every bar with live music…fun music…bouncers…you name it! We stopped along a few souvenir shops and tried on some Mardi Gras masks!
And then…Miss KT experienced her first catch of Balcony Beads. And she was hooked! We ran into some NOLA Police, and they were kind enough to take pictures with our guest. I promised to not black-mail her with any of the above said pictures! hehe.
All in all…a VERY good Friday. More from the calmer side of the weekend coming soon!