New Orleans had been on my bucket list for a while. Despite living (and not even working) in Georgia for nearly seven months, I never made it over there. I loved Savannah and Charleston, so given NOLA’s French influence and notorious pulsating energy – combined with the southern hospitality, architecture, and cuisine I had already grown to love – I knew I had to check it out someday.
The perfect opportunity arose when my Okinawa friends, Jacq and Dave, separated from the Navy and settled in New Orleans. How wonderful to be able to visit Jacq, who has been a doll staying in touch and maintaining our friendship, and also explore a city that has long tickled my curiosity!
It was just a short trip. I arrived on Friday and left on Sunday, but Jacq and Dave were the perfect hosts. I experienced the most wonderful food, absorbed the energy (and sweat it right back out in the sticky southern heat!), and admired the architecture.
But let’s start with the food. These days, I mostly eat vegan, but I will eat vegetarian when I’m out. However, when I travel, I go pescatarian. It’s a good thing too, because New Orleans wasn’t a particularly vegetarian-friendly city, and definitely not vegan friendly! Seriously though – every single meal was amazing. I’m not sure if all NOLA food is that good, or if the Howies simply knew the very best places to take me, but every dish was simply drool-worthy. Not pictured: my shrimp po’ boy sandwich, and the savory jambalaya served for breakfast at my hotel (I ate around the sausage!)
After a lovely picnic on the Mississippi River at a place called “The Fly”, the Howies took me on a tour of the French Quarter. While I’m too old (and was frankly too hot and sweaty) to enjoy Bourbon Street itself, I loved wandering the other streets. So many cute shops, mysterious nooks n’ crannies, and gorgeous balconies (which, the Howies informed me, are not actually French, but Spanish!)
After dinner on Saturday night, they took me to where the “locals” party, and steered me away from the tourist traps. I thoroughly enjoyed watching live jazz on Frenchman Street!
After Sunday brunch at Coquette, we browsed some shops and strolled the beautiful Lafayette Cemetery, where of course I met a cute little black kitty named Sasha. Apparently she pretty much runs the place 🙂 I also stumbled across my dream home – no big deal.
My hotel was also a total win, which was a pleasant surprise because – due to Life being Life – I waited until the last minute to book it. So many of the others I had been looking at were sold out, and I didn’t want to go too cheap and end up in the wrong part of town… so I splurged only slightly and I am so glad I did! I even met some really interesting people for late night, intellectual discussions over complimentary spirits, which only enhanced my overall New Orleans escape.
But of course, the best thing about my visit was spending time with the Howies. I feel so lucky to have them in my life. They gave me a wonderful introductory tour of their city and left me wanting more. I will surely go back – for ghost tours, swamp tours, gumbo, beignets… and more Howie time!