Before we get to the rest of our New Orleans scrapbook, a bit of housekeeping for those of you who receive the blog via email: Our email delivery service stopped working a week ago, so you've missed a few posts. We think it's back up and running as of today (fingers crossed). Come visit the blog to read all about the posts you've missed, including Fluffy Diner-Style Omelets, Chicken and Walnut Stew, Our Five Favorite Meals in New Orleans, and New England Style Baked Beans.
And now, to photos!
When we weren't mainlining pork, oysters and other fried goodness, we actually saw a fair amount of the city. After all, we had walk off some of that food.
We took two self-guided tours from Frommer's. The first was a morning we spent in the Garden District, seeing the historic homes in that neighborhood. After looking at the houses, we ended up at Lafayette Cemetery #1. It's one of NOLA's famed above-ground cemeteries (which, contrary to popular belief, have nothing to do with the swampland water table and everything to do with Spanish funeral traditions).
We took a second self-guided tour of the French Quarter. This was particularly useful, because it got us off of Bourbon Street and into some further reaches of the Quarter. If you have any interest in architecture or historic homes, it's worth the time.
We spent another afternoon just walking down Magazine Street, exploring the shops and boutiques from Napoleon Street down to Felicity. This included a slight detour at Cafe Atchafalya (what a great name!) for a bloody mary to go. Their make-your-own Bloody Mary bar is amazing. Here's a glimpse at the bar:
Tell the bartender you want a bloody in a "go cup" and then make your own bloody at the bar filled with pickled items, hot sauces and just about any accoutrement you'd want in your drink. Then continue your saunter down Magazine, cup in hand.
We didn't spend too much time in museums (the weather was too nice to stay indoors), but we did hit a few while we were there. The two standouts were the Contemporary Art Museum and the next-door Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Everyone recommended that we visited the WWII museum, but we didn't make it there.
Because of the story Zach was in New Orleans to write, we spent a morning in the Lower 9th Ward. If you do rent a car for the weekend, consider visiting the neighborhood to see the post-Katrina progress. You don't need to do a guided bus tour -- in fact, it's probably better on your own (just map 1900 Tennessee street and you'll find it). Essentially, all the work being done is by Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation. The houses are architecturally striking and all located within about a 10-block area. (And since they are literally -- sadly -- the only buildings in the Lower 9th, you can't miss them.)
Our favorite bar that we visited was for a pre-dinner cocktail (or two) at Bar Tonique on Rampart at the north edge of the French Quarter. It's relatively new but it's excellent evidence for why New Orleans was the birthplace of the cocktail. We sampled classic cocktails like Vieux Carré & Ramos Gin Fizz. Tonique is tiny but one of our favorite bars we've been to in a very long time.
Post dinner, if you want good jazz, skip Bourbon St. and walk along Frenchman St. on the eastern edge of the Quarter. It's essentially the locals' Bourbon St. Lots of jazz clubs and little bars and cafes. It's worth walking through even if you're not interested in visiting one of the establishments there.
And finally, if you're looking for housing, we stayed at the Terrell House, a B&B on Magazine in the (lower) Garden District and we highly recommend it. (Coincidentally, the Terrell House was featured in a New York Times travel story a couple weeks after we stayed there.)
In a small world moment, the mother of one of Zach's coworkers happened to also be staying at the B&B, and we met her on the first morning over the spectacular breakfast. (Starting the day with grits is not something we're accustomed to.) It was a short walk from the St. Charles streetcar line, so it was easy to get around town.
We can't say enough about how much we enjoyed a long weekend in New Orleans. We can't wait to visit again!