Sunday, October 2, 2016

New Orleans Sights and Food

The world mystery conference, Bouchercon, was a few weeks ago, and took us to New Orleans. That was my third trip to that city, and I loved it more than ever. There is so much to see and do- and I'm not talking about Bourbon Street, a foul, cut-rate Potterville for drunken morons who want a taste of ersatz SIN.

No, the real New Orleans is the people who live there and love the history and culture. Everyone was so nice, and eager to share the good things of their city. They always ask, "where Y'all from?"

And the FOOD! So good, and we sampled so many of the native tastes. First lunch, shortly after arrival: catfish, jambalaya, gumbo, Po-Boy. Then we strolled down Royal Street, admiring the architecture and decorative railings.

And there are lovely courtyards, hidden down alleyways, opening to secret worlds.


There's a company that makes old-style lights, and NO has lots of these in restaurants and on the streets.

Have to admit, it was hot and swampy-muggy. We weren't used to it, with our Northern blood. Don't know how anyone could stand it year round- and some don't have air-conditioning! Most stores do, though, and you get blasted with refreshing cold air walking through every door. My wife had to refresh herself by sampling the pralines available in so many places, until she found the best.

Of course we walked to Jackson Square

And saw the magnificent interior of the church

Then we stopped by the world-famous Cafe Du Monde, for their tasty beignets and some iced cafe au lait, just the thing on a hot day.

And across the way, saw some jesters:

We took a pedicab back to the hotel, and skipped supper- still too full. We got drinks and headed to the pool deck on the hotel roof, for a beautiful panorama and sunset.

On our first full day, we went to the World War II Museum- one of the best museums in the country. All the details of the war (from the U.S. viewpoint), and so many stories of bravery and sacrifice. All citizens of this country, from schoolkids to the older folk, should go through these exhibits and understand what price was paid so that they might have a measure of freedom.

Then to the St. Lawrence for lunch: tomato bisque soup, then red snapper-like fish and awesome fried chicken, with the NO ubiquitous dish of bread pudding for dessert.

Then it was time for our cruise on the Creole Queen paddlewheeler, which tools up the Mississippi to Chalmette Plantation, where the Battle of New Orleans was fought. Few know that if the British had won that battle, they would have kept New Orleans, controlled trade on the river, and history would have changed for us. The boat featured a knowledgeable tour guide, and we had a lovely breeze to cool us.

 And saw more jesters...

And a cool fountain

After we'd done that, we walked through the downtown casino to watch others throw away their money. Guess they don't have to work too hard for it.

Then I went to register for the conference, and saw Ray Daniel, a friendly face from up our way. We ate at the Olde N'awlins Cookery: the ever-present beans & rice, etoufee, gumbo, and garlic bread. That did us in for the day.

Next day, we took the cemetery tour, and saw the tombs of Marie LeVeau, and of Nic Cage (yeah, he's  not quite dead, but his tomb is ready)

We hit Killer Po-Boys for lunch, with terrific sandwiches. The back to Jackson Square for a little shopping, and took a carriage tour through the French Quarter. At the end of that, we did happy hour at Vacherie, where a couple of inexpensive drinks and appetizers were enough for dinner. And that was enough for another day.

After that, it was all conference for me, which you can read about in the previous post. But my wife got to the Mardi Gras Museum, where they make and store the floats for the huge celebration.

Had a special free night of shrimp and grits at the conference, which again served as dinner. So we did a load of tourist stuff, had a wonderful time, and still made it worthwhile for me as a writer, meeting so many other great writers, and learning more about the publishing world.

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