Last year, Robert and I visited New Orleans for the first time and had such a great time that we decided to do it again this year.
We booked our trip for mid-October, hoping it would still be warm enough for a pool, but not unbearably hot like it was last time we went (in mid-September last year). Instead of highs in the 90s, we had highs in the 80s, but at least overnight it got down to the 70s. Also this time we were a group of 5 (Jason, Paula, Drew, Robert, me), last time we were a group of 8.
We stayed in the Tremé neighborhood. We were walking distance to Frenchman Street and the French Quarter, but far enough away that it was a very quiet area.
We arrived in the late afternoon on Thursday, relaxed in the pool at our place, and then set out for dinner. We ended up at Meauxbar, a bistro that was a few blocks away from where we were staying, and on the edge of the French Quarter. It was a delicious meal and a nice atmosphere. I think afterward we went to Lafitte’s (the oldest bar in New Orleans, also only a few blocks away) for a drink and then back home.
Because all of us had been to New Orleans before, and we were here for a bit longer than last time, we didn’t have a jam-packed itinerary of things we wanted to do, so we took everything at a relaxed pace. We went to St Roch Market (food hall) for breakfast, picked up some groceries (for breakfast, snacks, drinks), and then wandered around the French Quarter.
Last time we were here, Robert saw a painting in Jackson Square that he regretted not purchasing – as luck would have it, that artist was there that day, and had that print on display, so we ordered a print to have shipped home. (The print is of a typical New Orleans French Quarter street, empty after a rain except for a small black kitty crossing the street. I swear Robert picked it out, NOT ME. Of course, I love it too.)
We relaxed in the pool back at the house mid-afternoon, and then went for dinner at New Orleans Creole Cookery. It wasn’t too hot, so we sat in the courtyard and enjoyed the live jazz band.
The only “must do” on anyone’s list for the trip was to go to the gulf. We drove down to Biloxi, and found a beach with jetski rentals. We spent a couple hours swimming, relaxing in the shade, and jetskiing, before heading to dinner at The Reef, a nearby seafood restaurant on the beach.
After relaxing back at the house, we headed over to Frenchman Street to check out the Night Market (I bought some earrings and a necklace, Robert brought a print to have shipped to his sister), listen to some live jazz, and get a late dinner from Dat Dog.
One of the only things on my New Orleans To Do list was the Burlesque Brunch at SoBou Restaurant, staring Bella Blue (along with a live jazz band), one of the top burlesque performers in the world and the owner of the New Orleans School of Burlesque. The performance was great but surprisingly, the food was amazing. I was worried the food would be an afterthought to the novelty of live performance, but the breakfast surf & turf tacos were so good, I would go back just for those.
After brunch, we went to the National WWII Museum. Robert and I went there last year, but we were so impressed with it, and it was so big, that we wanted to go back, and Jason and Paula joined us this time. It’s split up into 3 parts – The US during the war, the Pacific Theater, and the European Theater. Last year, I spent a lot of time in the US part, and by the time I got to the Pacific and European theaters, I was starting to burn out, so this time around I spent more time in those exhibits.
For dinner, we ended up at The Green Room, an Eastern European restaurant/bar a few blocks from where we were staying. It was delicious and relaxed, and definitely a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spot off the beaten (tourist) path. I would definitely go back.
Erica also happened to be in New Orleans at the same time, and we made plans to meet up for a run. It was warm and humid, so we took a leisurely pace around Louie Armstrong Park and through the French Quarter. We met by where I was staying and ran back to her hotel, and I had plans to ride a Blue Bike (bike share) back to our place, stopping for beignets on the way to bring back to my non-runner friends. I didn’t want to deal with a line, so I avoided Cafe du Monde and went to Cafe Beignet.
This was our last full day in New Orleans, and after thumbing through the 101 Things to do in New Orleans coffee table book in our rental condo, I wanted to do something. Half the group didn’t seem up for sightseeing, luckily Drew did, so the two of us decided to take the bus to the New Orleans Hurricane Katrina memorial. The memorial was simple but thoughtful and very somber. I still can’t imagine what it must have been like to go through that experience.
We were starting to get very warm, so we stopped at Sacred Grinds across the street (seemingly nestled in another cemetery) for some iced coffee, and then walked through Mid-City, in the direction of some lunch spots. We stopped at a Vietnamese restaurant, Doson Noodle House. Afterward, it was such a nice day (warm but not too warm), so we got some Blue Bikes and rode back to Tremé along the Lafitte Greenway path. We cooled off in the pool with the rest of the group (who were taking a break from what they ended up doing – day drinking). Drew and I were hungry for dinner and more exploring, so we rode Blue Bikes over to the Bywater neighborhood, and had dinner at Elizabeth’s Restaurant.
For our last half-day in New Orleans, after packing up, we went to Belle’s Diner for breakfast and wandered the French Quarter a little bit more before heading to the airport.