Saturday, June 30, 2007

Back From Nawlins

As you can see from the pic above, New Orleans is in need of some real visitors. Although the rooms were cheaper than normal and not having the crowds was nice, it still saddened me to see how quiet the town was. (Albeit, we didn't go to the French Quarter at night; so it could still be hopping there as far as I know.)

It took under three hours to get there from Riverside. I think it took more time trying to find the "spa" we were dropping Rootie off at. Lordy, they don't put numbers on buildings here--or at least, not like they should--and we drove round and round back and forth trying to find the place. It took literally an hour to finally find the kennel. Not the way you want to start a trip. I'm used to it though, I'm always lost. We made it through Mississippi and hit Louisiana. You could instantly see the wrath of Katrina. I had never driven into New Orleans by car (only when I was a teenager with my family) and I was amazed at how much water there really is down in those parts. They are still working on getting the roads and the causeways fixed. It really hit home when you get closer to New Orleans and you see the now totally destroyed and abandoned Six Flags amusement park. So very sad. And as you roll into town, to see the Superdome is quite a jolt back to those horrible days and weeks after Katrina hit. It brought tears to my eyes as we passed.

Since I was familiar with the W Hotel, which is where we stayed last time we were there pre-Katrina and it's away from the French Quarter, I chose to stay there with the kids. I absolutely LOVE W Hotels! So much fun, and tres chic as Raphi would say. Here is the entrance--too funny. Yes, this bed is in between the lobby and the entrance. (I had to borrow these pics from their website as I had to delete the "unimportant" photos from my camera as I ran out of room in the swamp!) If you remember my last trip, the hotel also includes a great library you can sit in and relax. Of course, there was no time for that this time with the kids. It was run run run! So much so, I got blisters on my feet--from my Birkies! The ones I wear every day!! Geesh.

As soon as we put our things in the room and got Bella settled, we left for lunch. We were all starving. Oh, to be in NO and hungry. Is there a better place to be? Not many, I tell you! I thought I would introduce the kids to a true NO staple, the muffuletta. We strolled along the Mississippi to the French Market.

Above is the Immigrant Memorial right on the Mississippi River. It was a beautiful day, the clouds were magnificent. And yes, it was hot and humid. Thus the blisters on my feet, I suppose.

We made it over to Central Grocers (circa 1906) is located--the home of the muffuletta. It was well worth the walk. It's literally a small grocery store that also makes muffulettas. You order the sandwich right at the cashier. There are two long narrow booths with stools you can belly up to one you get your sandwich. Like I said, on a pre-Katrina day in NO, there were be lines out the door getting muffulettas and definitely no were to sit. We were able to walk in, order our whole muffuletta (a quarter for each of us--they are that big!), sit down and have a leisurely lunch. The picture above is of a half! Raphi is shown eating a quarter of the mammoth sandwich. Mmmmmm, it was so good. My stomach is growling just thinking about it! Sure wish I had one now! Afterwards, we crossed back over to Cafe du Monde (dating back to 1862), and home of the beignet. Oh yes. How could we not finish our perfect lunch with a perfect sweet? YUM! Teamed up with an iced coffee, I was in heaven. The kids weren't complaining either.

When the bellies were way too full, we mosied on over to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street which Raphi was dying to see. Of course, it was calm in the daytime but the kids still had to shield their eyes from some of the store fronts. (I'm not a prude, but towards Canal on Bourbon is a tad raunchy. I wish they would do away with the stuff and bring Bourbon back to just clubs you can stroll through. Rant off.) The first shop we came to as we turned onto Bourbon was Marie Laveau's Voodoo Shop. Now, take a closer look. Look at the mist!! How strange is that. It's not the camera because the shots before and after are crystal clear. Raphi took one about the same time, perfectly clean. How strange is that??? Mmmmwwwaaaaaahhaaaaaaaa! I didn't go in--Raphi did. (By the way, I had such bad blisters on my feet, we had to cancel the ghost tours--two hours long on foot! Ouch!)

I will post more a little later on the rest of our New Orleans trip. Oh yes, there is more to come.


"Early Bird" said...

~~~shivers~~~ at the mist...I think I'm glad you didn't get to do the ghost walk...
no really it is too bad...get you a good pair of cross trainers for long walks like time... ;)

PEA said...

Sounds like a fun time but I can imagine how terrible it is to still be able to see the devastation that Katrina had caused! Oh yum, that food sounds soooo yummy. I think I would have given that voodoo place a miss too! lol xox

Beth said...

I know that must have been really sad seeing Nawlins after the wrath of Katrina. So sad! But you took some amazing pics and had some great food,,so there were some perks. That mist at the VooDoo shop is kind of freaky ,,had to look at it up close,,strange..
Can't wait to see the rest of the pics!!!

Susie said...

Looks like it was a fun trip. That's one city I've always wanted to see. Bill's mom used to visit it quite often in the 30's and 40's.

MarkMcL said...

We've been to NO twice for the Jazz Fest and really want to go back and spend some tourist dollars - or should I say Pounds! It is a fabulous city. We stayed right in the French Quarter and it was great to be able to stroll everywhere. The swamp tours are good fun. We also did the NO School of Cooking both times and learned how to cook some of that good ole southern vittals (sp?).

Toodle Pip!



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