Once a year, Carlos and I spend a weekend in the New Orleans French Quarter, doing all the activities that tourists do. We’re tourists in our home town.
Our theme this year was “Eat, Drink, Be Merry…and Shop”. I researched many choices in all those categories. Once our weekend began, we virtually ignored my list.
We arrived at The Little Yellow House Bed and Breakfast (next door to my parent’s house) around 1 pm, and promptly walked past Port of Call. Our plan was to eat there, but the line was too long. (That ended up being that restaurant’s theme all weekend.) We ate at The Gumbo Shop. We each had Gumbo as our appetizer (though different types of Gumbo). I had the Catfish St. Peter – a special of the day. It was catfish with some kind of rich sauce that included shrimp. (I’ll have to hunt around for the recipe.) Carlos also had a catfish dish, though his was not nearly as good.
We then wandered through the Quarter, stopping in many shops and finally the French Market. I saw some local themed trivets that I wanted to buy but didn’t want to carry around. I should have bought them then: The booth disappeared after Friday.
After a quick rest at the B&B, we ate dinner with my parents at Marigny Brasserie. The service was slow and the food was underwhelming. My friend Cherie tells me – in the blog post here that she and my friend Steve run – that the place has gone down over the years. I can attest to that.
Our parents went to a fundraiser for Uganda (a random reason for a fundraiser, we thought) at Café Rose Nicaud, between Marigny Brasserie and Snug Harbor, while Carlos and I wandered down Frenchman Street. We stopped in the Faubourg Marigny Art and Books store, browsed through the porn and both bought Superman Fleur de Lis t-shirts. After looking in on a few other clubs down Frenchman, we ended up at Balcony Music Club for a drink.
Then home to bed.
Saturday morning, I was up early, letting Carlos sleep in. My mom and dad were in the driveway. My dad was going to work for awhile and my mom was walking down to Café Rose Nicaud for coffee, as she does every Saturday morning. She and I first walked to the French Market (again in search of trivets). Then met some more locals for coffee. Carlos joined us.
Laury, the friend of my parents who lives in the south of France and who we visited during our October 2007 trip, was there. We caught up with her and her adventures. She works in New Orleans two months a year and lives in France the other 10 months. I want her job!
Carlos and I then took the Riverfront Streetcar all the way down to near the World War II museum. (If we ever end up living down in Marigny, I could take that to work every day. Ahhhh, to dream. I don’t think I could convince Carlos to live in that area of town.) We had already seen the actual museum; we were there to see the new movie – Beyond Boundaries. The movie was interactive in that it was projected on a huge screen, our seats shook, smoke and mist came at us, and objects were raised and lowered at appropriate times. It was amazing!
I picked up a WWII t-shirt at the gift shop (more spending!) and then we raced over to our 2 pm reservation at the New Orleans School of Cooking for a cooking class. The highlight of last year’s Tourist Weekend was the cooking class. We had found out the previous day that there were actually two classes offered. We immediately signed up!
This year’s class consisted of more New Orleans history woven through the cooking of Shrimp and Artichoke Soup, Crawfish Etouffee, and more Pralines. (The school demonstrates Pralines during every class.) If you are ever looking for something to do in New Orleans, I highly recommend these cooking classes. They’re $22, last about two hours, and you get to eat your results.
I will post the recipes for both main dishes in my next post.
With our bellies full, we wandered around the Quarter a bit, ending up at Canal Place Cinema – now called The Theatres at Canal Place. We saw the 6:10 showing of The Town, but were going really just to experience the updated set up.
The overall experience was very elegant. Since we arrived almost an hour early, Carlos and I bought our reserved seats (for $12 each), had a drink at the bar, and chatted with the very friendly staff. Once the time came for the movie, we leisurely bought our popcorn from the counter and took our seats. We could have ordered our popcorn - or anything from the extensive menu - from our seats merely by pushing a button between us, but we wanted to save the automatic 18% service charge.
The lights in the theatre were on the entire time. I thought because the servers needed to see the patrons. When relating this to others who have been to this theatre, they told me that they think that someone forgot to turn the lights off. During the course of the movie, there were at least 20 trips by servers into the theatre. I don't think it was an accident. If you want to actually watch the movie you are paying for without any distractions, The Theatres at Canal Place are NOT the place to go.
Walking down Decatur back to our B&B, we saw Ami – of “Travis & Ami”, who got married in my parent’s backyard back in 2002 (?) – walking to a bar on Decatur to “do her show called Fire and Ice”. Apparently she is a fire twirler in her spare time.
We ended up getting some late night food at La Peniche and eating it in our B&B.
Then to bed.
Sunday, I again awoke early and again walked down to the French Market. Still no trivets, but I did buy some very nice smelling candles. When I returned, Carlos and I had breakfast with my mom and dad, recapping our weekend.
My co-worker Karen asked me about my favorite meal during the weekend. I guess it was the Catfish St. Peter, but no meal really stood out for me. For a city known for food, we must not have covered the correct restaurants. We’ll have to concentrate on that more next year.
Details on 2007 trip
Details on 2008 trip
Details on 2009 trip