New Orleans: Day One

What does it mean when you look at the fluffy white clouds overhead and think, “they look like the delicious powdered-sugar mountains completely obscuring the beignets underneath”? It means you’ve just returned from a trip to New Orleans and spent way to much cash and time at Cafe du Monde. It also means you should only eat clouds for the next week to balance out the gluttony-fest into which NOLA seduces you.

On Saturday afternoon, TP and I arrived in NOLA around 1pm to find that our room would not be ready until later (Big Easy Standard Time translates into 4:30pm). Content to leave our two carry-ons at the Place D’Armes Hotel, we spent the afternoon walking the few feet it took us to get to the Mississippi River and St. Louis Cathedral.

We had lunch at Muriel’s and were charmed by the attentive staff, discussion-provoking decor, and delicious food.

blackened catfish on a bed of spinach in a pool of butter for me

roast beef po-boy with shoestring fries also for me (via tp)

Bellies full, my demand for immediately-after-disembarking-from-the-plane beignets and cafe au lait from Cafe du Monde was not only delayed but nearly denied but we bravely stood in line, took a deep breath, and made room. Thank God for betsubara!

worth every calorie

The constant conversation buzz, waiters milling about, and powdered sugar wafting through the air was overwhelming. Granted, it was a Saturday afternoon and so the abundance of tourists was to be expected but did they all have to sport bleached blond hair, darker-than-me tans, the trashiest outfits and worst voices (nothing makes TP shudder more than “party-girl voice”)? I took a breather by looking at the waiters (pretty sure 95% of the staff is Vietnamese) taking a breather from shuttling precariously balanced towers of treats and drinks.

blondie caught me!

Our room was still not ready when we returned at the agreed upon time but, luckily, the hotel was so centrally located that we easily found pleasure in strolling through the French Quarter and ducking into some of the many art galleries along the way. It’s amazing how much you can see and experience when you aren’t on constant kid-alert. Thank you, Nani and Babu Spring Break Camp! An hour later, we were finally granted admittance to our interior, windowless room (canjoose, yes, but then again, a completely blacked-out and nearly sound-proof room has its perks too). No conditioner (mujahideen hair, zindabad!), no HBO (but luckily AMC), and did I mention the no windows? It did, however, have free wi-fi, a quiet pool, a private (well, private enough that nobody but us ever used it) balcony, and lovely and serene courtyard.

our room with a view ... after you exit the room, go through the corridor, and step out onto the balcony that is.

Foregoing a nap, I was determined to catch the free ferry to Algiers in order to view Crescent City at sunset. We walked along the riverfront and passed several stately steamboats and cruise ships but no ferries. I kept an eye out for signs and docks but did not see anything that would indicate where the ferry was located, what the hours were, or even if one existed. When we reached the end of the path having witnessed two wedding parties (one gora, one desi), a break-dancing competition, and a line around yet another Cafe du Monde with no ferry in sight, I had to admit not planning well enough in advance (see posts below re: new house).

It wasn’t until later that I discovered that we had passed by the ferry terminal TWICE but it was so rusty and dilapidated and sketchy looking that I never would have guessed THAT was it.  Ah well, we needed an activity for the next day anyway. We picked up some refreshing Limonata from a cigar shop (incongruous!) and returned to Jackson Square for some good old fashioned sittin’ and sunnin’ until they kicked us out. Still full from lunch, we sat out on the balcony, witnessed our third wedding party of the day (this one complete with jazz band and marching guests), and called it a night.


4 responses to “New Orleans: Day One

  1. Great photos of the Cafe du Monde staff!

  2. thx! forgot to add this one but will do so now.

    normally, i’m too reluctant/shy/intimidated to take pix of people but i was on vacation! also, it was super crowded and that made it easier/more surreptitious/creepier. it also cracked me up how the boys were playing video games while old lady was checking to see how well she got PAID.

  3. it was a good read – i didn’t finish it all, but the stuff i did read… was good.

  4. glad to hear it! that you read some stuff at least. it’s good to pace yourself. the next installment will be coming eventually.

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