New Orleans Day 3 -- A Pound of Butta & Napoleon

On our last day in New Orleans, we welcomed another perfectly sunny and warm day.

Kathryn had been talking, talking, and talking about the omeletes at Camillia Grill in the Garden District. Since the St. Charles Streetcar is still not running its full route, we hopped on the bus at Canal and rode it all the way down St. Charles Ave. to Carrollton. The Camillia Grill did not disappoint! All seating is classic lunch counter-style and you can expect a bit of a wait … but it's well worth it. Giant omelets made with lots of butter, french fries and shakes and waffles, and pie, to boot. The cooks and wait staff were friendly and efficient. This is a great diner-style breakfast stop well worth a short jaunt from the French Quarter, and you can hop the bus (or I image the St. Charles Streetcar which I'm sure will be up and running to Carrollton soon).

To get to the restrooms, you have to walk through the kitchen prep area. We discovered that you can also sit back there at a large prep table specially designated for dining! I know it sounds strange, but it seemed pretty cool and would be worth doing especially if you have a large-ish party with you.

Upon rolling ourselves out of the Camillia Grill, we decided to walk down through the Garden District and look at the many great homes dating back to the 1800s.

The Garden District itself dates to about 1806 and was laid out as a system of parks. The area was settled by the then-nouveau riche during the mid-1800s and offers some of the earliest Greek Revival architecture in New Orleans.

Some of the most common styles also include Italianate and Queen Anne Victorian. Apparently, after the Louisiana Purchase, Americans came pouring into New Orleans looking to cash in on trade.

Due to the friction with the current Creole residents, the snubbed Americans moved uptown and created their own neighborhood, the Garden District. A large number of the homes are still owned by descendents of the original owners, which I thought was quite interesting and unique considering how much Americans move around these days!

We walked through part of Audubon Park to see the giant live oaks growing in crazy directions everywhere. These are really amazing and oddly beautiful trees, and the park is worth a casual stroll or picnic for any visitor.

Do not ask how, but we somehow found ourselves back at Café du Monde eating again.

Beignets and iced café au lait this time around. I think we were already feeling nostalgic for New Orleans, knowing we would be leaving in a few hours.

I took more photos of the French Quarter and we made a point of wandering some new streets.

That's definitely something many visitors don't realize about the French Quarter: it's big!

You can always find a new street to explore, a hidden shop you never noticed, and great photo just waiting to be taken.

Dwelling markings from --->
Hurricane Katrina.

Our weekend trip to New Orleans had the most perfect ending with a little nibble and a drink at Napoleon House. Naturally, I had to have some red beans and rice, Sarah had some gumbo, and Kathryn tried the "other" muffuletta (this one is served warm versus the cold version at Central Grocery). While I had a glass of wine, Sarah and Kathryn had Pimm's Cups, which is one of the things for which Napoleon House is famous.

This is perhaps the most inviting, warmest establishments in all of the French Quarter. Its rough walls give it a sense of purpose and history -- which dates back 200 years.

New Orleans is much more than just a place to party. It's a wonderful place for friends and lovers, with excellent cuisine, good drinks, and plenty of parks, museums, and shopping.

Perhaps the single best thing you can do for New Orleans and its great citizens is to visit this special city. This was the first trip on which I really paid attention to the people who call Nola home.

They work hard every day, with a smile and a kind word, always on the ready to make recommendations and answer questions.

New Orleans relies on tourist dollars and since Hurricane Katrina, tourism is drastically down. The city derives a huge percent of its revenue for rebuilding, schools, infrastructure, social services and more, from what you spend at hotels, restaurants, and shops.

Come for a visit, pick up some local artwork, try a southern Creole dish you've never had, chat with shopowners, and listen to local musicians play in the clubs. You won't regret it!

*** P.S. *** Before heading on this trip, I was seriously considering taking a city tour that included stops to still-devasted areas, but I changed my mind. I recognize that while my tour ticket price ($60!!) supported the tour company (good), I doubted the residents of these areas would appreciate me coming through gawking at much of what appears to be slow or failing efforts by the government to rebuild.

Instead, I randomly came across the New Orleans Kid Camera Project, which is a program that puts cameras in to the hands of the city's children. The Project blossomed out of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with the premise that art can help! I found many of these childrens' photographs very special and moving -- they're of everyday life and are frank and some are quite poignant. I chose to send what I would have spent on a tour ticket to this ongoing Project instead. And, I'm getting an 8"x10" print out of it, too!!

If you are interested in making a worthwhile donation to a fantastic little organization that is helping the kids of New Orleans, I'd like to recommend the New Orleans Kid Camera Project. For a $50 donation (you can also donate in any amount), you can select from one of four 8"x10" photographs. Currently, these are the only images available (I asked!), but they hope to have others in the future. Even if you don't make a donation, check out some of the incredible images taken by these kids. At the home page, click on 'Group Galleries' to see the many archives.

We say goodbye for now!


Jilly said...

I can't believe you have no comments on this glorious three day tour of New Orleans. I've just loved it and wanted to say (in response to your message on Menton DP) that I will visit New Orleans one day and I'll follow you around, via this blog - perfect!

Many thanks, Waldo Oiseau xxx

Lynette said...

I'm a bit choked up now, remembering how much Katrina hurt and thinking about how many have worked so HARD to make things work again. Thank you so very much for sharing yours and your two friends' trip.

Waldo Oiseau said...

Thank you both for your comments about my lil' trip to New Orleans last November.

It's a very special city, and I really wanted to share that it's full of so many more things than Bourbon Street.