adventures food french quarter

New Orleans: Part One - Frenchmen Street, The Garden District, The French Quarter and more

10:03 AMKathryn Curling


 How can I begin to describe my trip to New Orleans? Gee. It was completely different from what I expected it to be.  Bare with me, this is a lengthy post.  The drive there on the major highways was pretty dull. It wasn't the lush swampiness that I had in my mind. We made a stop off in Lafayette for lunch and had our first Po Boy experience. It did not disappoint.

When we finally got into the city itself we headed straight for our amazing little cottage in the mid-city part of town. It was pretty perfect for us because the decor was all from the 70's and earlier (Our hostess owns an antique store! Go figure.) We decided to just drive around a bit to explore before deciding to hit up Frenchmen Street for some music, drinks and to see how the locals of New Orleans enjoyed the city. Our first impression was a group of jazz street musicians performing for a large crowd of people of every age, race and class. The first thing that stood out to me was the sense of community. It was sort of like everyone was all in it together.  

We browsed the French Art Market where we saw lots of of handcrafted jewelry, oils, sculptures, wooden bow ties, art and photography.  We checked out a pretty incredible band called Bon Bon Vivant at The Maison (second video above) and tried fried alligator. We then were drawn into a Japanese bar called Yuki by authentic French music by Norbert Slama & Raphael Bas (second video above). We had sake and enjoyed the French accordion and guitar all while crazy Japanese indie films were projected on the wall. I had an interesting conversation with Norbert and I feel like I marked a small accomplishment off my list by being kissed on the hand by a true Frenchman haha. It was an experience I'll never forget.

We had breakfast and coffee the next morning at a neat place called Fair Grinds before exploring the Garden District mansions. Walking about the beautiful homes in perfect weather was probably one of the most pleasant things I've ever done. We saw Buckner Mansion (AKA the coven house from American Horror Story), we saw the house that Jefferson Davis died in and so many other incredible works of architecture. My Favorite was the Joseph-Carroll House where Mark Twain "hung out" and Anne Rice's homes of course.  We saw Lafayette cemetery and Commander's Palace which were on my to do list.

We had damn good burgers at this cool little place off the Mississippi River on Oak Street called the Cowbell.  Their homemade ketchup and dipping sauce was one of the best things I've ever had. I want it bottled in my fridge. For real. Off the same street were a lot of neat vintage stores, book stores, antiques and comic book stores. RetroActive had some incredible dresses and jewelry and even a whole second floor of menswear.

The french quarter was a lovely adventure of seeing places and streets I've only dreamed about seeing. It's pretty cool to see street signs and places that you've read about. We sat in Jackson Square a few minutes to take in the beauty of St. Louis Cathedral and  browsed the art and vendors surrounding the square. We walked by the house of Dalphine Lalaurie  and the Hermann-Grima House. We had a beer at the oldest bar in operation, Jean Lafitte's. They were playing Brand New when we walked in so it couldn't have been a better experience. At sunset we went for a ferry ride on the Mississippi River where we got a pretty spectacular view of the city. On the other side of the river we wound up wandering into The Crown And Anchor where we made friends with some sweet boxers (as in the dogs).

We finally caught the ferry back and went back to the French Quarter to hit up Bourbon Street and its reputation did not exceed itself to say the least. We caught a drag show and a burlesque show, which to my surprise was hilariously entertaining. We had dinner at the Court of Two Sisters, stopped in The Olde Absinthe House where it was impossible to get a drink.  We ended the night with Cafe Au Lait and Beignets at Cafe Du Monde ,  while overlooking St.Louis Cathedral of course. At night it was beautiful and magical. Of course, I imagined Lestat people watching from here.

Covered in powdered sugar and wired on coffee we headed back to the cottage. I was so happy to be in New Orleans at this point and amazed and how safe and at home I felt. Like every major city, New Orleans had its rough parts but I couldn't help but feeling comfortable. I didn't get a condescending vibe from anyone in the richer parts or scary vibes from anyone in the rougher neighborhoods. Maybe because of what happened during Katrina people were just there for each other and looked out for each other. People walked everywhere, even at 12 a.m. like it was the safest place in the world. When I say people, I mean even little old grannies with walkers! Literally!

 I didn't take as many photos on the trip as I had planned, but I think I was just having too much fun to think about it or didn't want to drag my camera into a bunch of bars. At a few points we knew we couldn't linger for too long because we were only in town for two days. I could've stayed all day taking pictures in the French Quarter though.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these even a smidgen as much I did taking them!


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  1. Your photos are beautiful!
    I found your post on Pinterest while looking for NoLa stuff...I'm going in October and I'm so excited! I'm glad to read that you found it safe while you were there, as the crime there has been one thing hanging out in the back of my mind. I'll be saving your recommendations for my trip!


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