New Orleans Day 1 -- Daiquiris, Muffulettas, & Shopping

ExpressJet ROCKS. You can get a direct flight to Nola from KC for about $150 RT. Beautiful, sunny weather … okay, so it was hot … in November … in the morning.

I still have a little party in me (I'm not THAT old), so after we (me, and my friends, Kathryn and Sarah) dropped off our bags at the Pere Marquette, we stopped in at one of the many Mango Mango shops and grabbed a to-go daiquiri to cool us off as we walked to Central Grocery.

There are a few requirements to be met when visiting New Orleans and one of them is to eat a muffuletta from Central Grocery. Introduced to me by an old friend many years ago, I discovered that the muffuletta is also best enjoyed with a Root Beer (I don't know what it is, but it's guaranteed delicious!).

We grabbed our sandwiches and drinks, and then headed across the street to sit by the river. You can watch paddlewheelers go by, see the comings and goings of the Riverfront Streetcar, and throw menacing glances at the dirty pigeons waiting for you to drop something. Due to the high salt concentration of muffulettas, we began swelling immediately, but managed to push through and do some shopping.

Magazine Street claimed to offer "six miles of antiques, gifts, jewelry, and more." What more could three women with some spending cash desire? A car.

I had requested a Magazine Street Merchants booklet in advance and we identified shops we wanted to visit, because you will kill yourself trying to see six miles of shops, right?

Hazelnut was our first stop, as it is known for its New Orleans Toile. I got a yard of blue New Orleans Toile and while I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, I figure I can come up with something more creative than the toile-covered tissue box they were selling for $45.

Other shops we liked included Scriptura, Objets Trouvés, and Aux Belles Choses. This last shop was full of wonderful provençal linens, including the French kitchen towels I fell in love with when I was in Provence a few years ago. I picked up several of the Provence-style fabric napkins.

Here I demonstrate how to wait for the local bus. --->

When we were finally burnt out on the Magazine Street shopping experience, we caught the local bus and headed back to the French Quarter. We were ready to relax for a bit and then head out for dinner. At the hotel, we had a slight fiasco with the lock system on our hotel room door … it wasn't working at all. "Engineers" finally had to break the door in order to get into the room and retrieve our luggage for us (many hours later). In the meantime, we were put in a new room and got to lounge a bit before heading out for the evening.

Due to tiredness and lack of access to our luggage, we determined we wanted something easy and reliable for dinner the first night. What better place than Acme Oyster House on Iberville St. Inexpensive and reliable menu items of po' boys, hushpuppies, red beans & rice, and seafood gumbo, Acme's is a noisy and fun eatery.

Post-dinner drinks were had at Pat O'Brien's for its famous Hurricanes on "The Patio" by the flaming fountain. Okay, it sounds kitsch, but it's pretty great. The Patio is like a little oasis off Bourbon Street.

We knew we didn't want souvenir mugs (thank you, Kathryn!), so we were told we could just turn in our glasses at the bar on the way out and we'd get a cash refund of $3 per glass (knocking down the Hurricane price from $10 to $7).

Only after we left, did we realize what a great money-making scheme it would be to just go around collecting glasses off of peoples' tables … because the staff doesn't tell you can turn in your glasses usually! Arrg. We thought of all the money we could have recouped from the day's early shopping frenzy.

Since Sarah had never been to New Orleans, we naturally had to do the requisite walk down Bourbon. It was the same as ever with people being drunk, people fighting, people laughing, couples holding hands, people trying to touch you. I'd like to add something about seeing boobies, but weirdly enough, I only saw a few men flash for beads. Maybe with so many celebrities these days 'accidentally' flashing their melons (or lack thereof), ginnys, and more, the novelty of it all has worn off. It seems that gone are the days when you couldn't turn around on Bourbon without being slapped with a perky or low-slung set.

<--- Here Kathryn demonstrates the proper way to drink Huge A** Beer on Bourbon.

The evening ended with beers at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, a rural shanty right out of 1700s France. Legend has it that Jean Lafitte's brothers operated, what else, a blacksmith's shop here. Who knows. I can, however, tell you some very factual things about the place: it's so dark you practically need a flashlight (cool!) and no matter who's playing at the piano that night, he/she will make your ears bleed (but that's part of the fun).

Back to Main New Orleans Page / Or go to Day 2

1 comment:

Lynette said...

Barq's in a bottle! Oh, you lucky gal!