Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good Old New Orleans

View from Dauphine Hotel balcony

New Orleans is one of those places I've always wanted to visit, but never had a good enough reason to go. That is until this past January when my best friend turned 30 and decided to celebrate there. It was fantastic to see Nicole and her family, as well as meet some of the people that are a part of her life now that she lives in DC. We definitely don't get to see each other often given how far away we live.

Staying in the French Quarter there was plenty to do in the immediate vicinity. We did the cocktail tour together to get the party started on Saturday night - the big celebration. Along the way we went to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, which was by far my favorite bar. It's the oldest bar in the country.

It was a great place to have fun, while avoiding the really disgusting bars further down the road on Bourbon Street. It's also really dark, so lots of movie stars hang out there to avoid being seen, although I think it's because they love the Voodoo drink. Beyond that, we enjoyed the Krazy Korner because the upstairs area was not too crazy, had pool, people dressed in hot dog costumes and 3 for 1 beers - 'nuff said.

We had plenty of beignets and coffee from Cafe Du Monde, and the Taste of New Orleans pretty much everywhere else. My favorite red beans and rice were at Oceana. But enough about food.

Is there any good shopping in New Orleans? Yes, but you have to look for it. The French Market was pretty cool, but it would be easy to buy lots of touristy items and feel regret later on. However, they had adorable voodoo dolls for only $1 and I simply couldn't resist. Interestingly enough, my voodoo doll had two white pins in it - which apparently means I can only use it for good.

Beyond that there were some cool vintage handkerchiefs. Further down Decatur street, past the crowds, I found an antique store called Rare Finds. I bought a one-of-a-kind club charm bracelet from a Mardi Gras ball in 1959, with a real pearl and jade. It's fantastic!

I didn't stop there. On Monday I had some time alone, walked to the art district galleries, hopped on the trolley, walked through Audubon Park and down Magazine street. It was fun, but I wish I had worn more comfortable shoes!

St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square


Photography by me and Nicole Pelfrey