25 April 2013

Walkin' Round New Orleans, or Where NOT To Stand for the Gay Easter Parade

Image found here
Our last full day in New Orleans was beautiful--sunny, high 70s--albeit with ultra high humidity.  I've been living outside the South for so long that it was actually a treat to experience it, but I had no great love of near-100% humidity when I lived in Mississippi. We had started the day with a three-course Easter breakfast at Brennan's. Unfortunately, whilst descending the stairs after eating, I looked a lot like the above gif, except, you know, with less prancing at the start. Bruised dignity and some later soreness aside, I was fine. But I do seem to have a habit of falling in New Orleans after breakfast

I promise: I hadn't had the soup of the day when I fell
AW, Carla, and I went back to the hotel to change into some more comfortable clothing & shoes and hit the town again, popping into any little store, gallery, or boutique that looked interesting and pausing to listen to many of the street musicians.  I made a few photos along the way, keeping my fingers crossed that we might run into Kora Guy before the afternoon was over. 

Your guess is as good as mine
This boutique was giving out tiny cups of some kind of daiquiri
We paused once, mid afternoon, to grab a cold beverage and sample the wares of La Divina Gelateria, which lived up to its name.  An Orangina and some cucumber & mint sorbet were even more refreshing than a turn about the room, and we were happy to sit down for a few minutes in the shade of the buildings that surround the cathedral. Shortly after abandoning our table, we finally saw Kora Guy, where I made a short video and bought one of his CDs for DH, who loves the kora as much as I do.
La Divina Gelateria
Kora Guy
We were also pleased to learn that there were two Easter parades in the Quarter that day, so we planned our afternoon around the latter one, the Gay Easter Parade, which dovetailed with the Easter Bonnet Contest.  We saw the tail end of the first parade when leaving Brennan's that morning, and were looking forward to seeing the Gay Easter Parade as it snaked its way down Bourbon. Unfortunately, I didn't pay quite enough attention to is starting point, so I led Carla & AW astray. We stood for close to an hour on an elevated stoop on Bourbon street that we figured would be the perfect vantage point for the parade.  And it would have been, had we been on the parade route.  As it was, we saw a few people who were on their way to compete for the Easter Bonnet Contest.

We stood on the stoop here for the parade that never was.
But at least this nice woman let me take her picture
Dinner that night was at NOLA, one of Emeril's restaurants in New Orleans and one which came highly recommended from Carla & AW's friend, Kathleen, who said it was her favorite meal of the week.  Our reservation was at 6:15, which is a tad earlier than we would have preferred, but it was either that or a seating at 8:30, which was too late, so we simply made do. 

The restaurant is a converted warehouse and has the industrial decor that seems to be so trendy these days. Our  primary server was a little smarmy and reminded me quite viscerally of the laundry detergent ad director guy at the end of the Calendar Girls movie, especially the way he'd say, "Hello, ladies."  Our bread guy, who told us to call him "Bread Guy," was terrific, though, and we eventually got it out of him that his friends called him Bud. 

Carla & me at NOLA
Once more, there weren't a ton of vegetarian options on the menu, so AW made do with ordering a salad and a couple of sides; there was a vegetarian special that night not on the regular menu, but for some reason that I no longer recall, it didn't appeal to her. Carla ordered a BBQ shrimp & smoky cheese grits dish that I really loved, but it's worth noting here that BBQ shrimp in Nawlins-speak usually means pretty spicy and not at all what most people think of as BBQ. I still remember the fire in my mouth from the first time I ordered a BBQ shrimp po-boy in New Orleans.  I opted for a simple salad, followed by the small plate of duck confit & fried egg pizza.  They were both good but nothing out of the ordinary.  We were pretty full so we opted to take dessert back to the hotel to eat--we chose the pina colada cheesecake dessert special because we thought it would travel well, and it was fine but nothing special. I'm afraid that I mislaid the receipt from NOLA, so I cannot recall what our dinner came to, but I left thinking that our meal was pretty good but nothing approaching extraordinary. 

The BBQ shrimp & smoky cheese grits
The duck confit & fried egg pizza
We got back to the hotel room and Carla presented me with a gift that I LOVED: a t-shirt promoting literacy in the city of Memphis proclaiming, "I like big books and I cannot lie." So true.  Thanks, Carla!

We wanted to make our last night, well, last, so we stayed up talking as late as we could.  It's tremendously difficult being separated from my best friends from high school, especially when they both live in the same city (Memphis) and even work together, so it's vitally important to me to have these get-togethers, come what may.

Coming up next: my last morning in New Orleans, plus some concluding thoughts from our trip.


  1. It sounds like you had a good time in spite of the so-so food and missing the parade!
    I have a bag with the "I like big books and I cannot lie" on it. My five year old has taken to using it for his books. Although it is true for him as well, it probably makes a funny picture.

    1. That would be funny to see your son toting that bag around!

      But yes, it's hard not to have a good time in new orleans.


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