Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#1803 NOLA day 1 in pics

What am I waiting for? Let's go to New Orleans, y'all!

My sister, Lizzie, and I left cold, snowy Salt Lake City on November 17 and headed southeast to New Orleans, Louisiana. Neither of us had been there before, so we were dang excited about our adventure.

We arrived in the early afternoon, got a shuttle to the hotel and it was go time! 

The hotel we chose was the Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street in the French Quarter. If you ever find yourself in NOLA, give yourself a treat and stay at this beautiful hotel. I felt like a fancy lady, even in my jeans and sneakers. From the doormen to the housekeeping staff, everyone was friendly and smiling. The lobby, which I'm sure is splendid at all times, was especially gorgeous all decked out in Christmas finery. It was magical.

Christmas trees in Hotel Monteleone lobby
After we unpacked and got our bearings a little, we went to Napoleon House for a cocktail and a late lunch. I'm going to do an entire post of the food and drinks that we had in New Orleans, but I'll tell you that I enjoyed a Pimm's Cup and some jambalaya for my first meal. And it was delightful. We sat in the courtyard and listened to a fountain burbling away while we soaked up the sub-tropical temperature and congratulated ourselves on making the trip happen.

Entry to Napoleon House
After dining, we strolled along the narrow French Quarter streets until we ended up at St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square.

St. Louis Cathedral
As we walked through Jackson Square, we heard a jazz band playing and followed the music. The band was playing on the other side of Decatur Street. We noticed there were lots of people standing around, looking across the road. We finally heard someone say that the tree lighting ceremony was about to start, so we stayed there and waited. After some time - not too long, but not that short either - there were speeches and a countdown and the tree was lit.

note the fleur de lis on top
 It was fun and I'm glad we waited for the lighting.

That night we went on a ghost tour with French Quarter Phantoms. You might not believe in ghosts - I don't think that's really the point of these tours. Mostly you hear some history of the area and the buildings and if you've got a guide who is a good storyteller, it's totally worthwhile. Our guide, Miss Angela, was an excellent storyteller, so I had lots of fun. You know what else is fun about New Orleans? You can walk around with an adult beverage in your hand as long as the beverage is not in a glass container. We started the tour at a bar, the Voodoo Lounge, and had a halfway stop at another bar,  Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar.

such a cool place!
Along the way we heard stories of spirits and vampires and even zombies. We stood outside voodoo shops and saw the outside of the LaLaurie mansion.

one of many voodoo shops I saw

the LaLaurie mansion
I thought the ghost tour was great and I was glad we jumped right in and did it on our first night there. It kind of set the tone of the trip for me, to just go for it and have a good time. I was feeling pretty tired, but I'm glad we powered through. But still we weren't done with the evening.

After the tour we walked back to Decatur Street and went to Cafe du Monde. EVERYONE says that is THE place to go for cafe au lait and beignets, so who are we to argue? I skipped the coffee and went straight for the beignets. Yeah, they are good. Fried dough covered with powdered sugar? Yes please. I know I said I'd post food pics later, but you gotta see this:

Lizzie and I shared an order; we split the third beignet. I don't truly know if I could have eaten all three. I might have tried, though, but I was full of beer and water.

We went back to the hotel, but we weren't quite ready to go up to our room, so we went into the Carousel Bar. You will hear much more about the Carousel Bar in a later post, but I'll just say that it is the bar in the Hotel Monteleone and there is in fact a carousel in there. There's also a lot of other very nice posh seating. A jazz combo was playing and the place was bustling on a Thursday night. I don't know how, beginner's luck, I think, because we found a table and ordered a Sazerac cocktail. The drink is made with Sazerac rye whisky and some other stuff. I didn't like it at all, but my sweet little sister thought it was A-OK. She finished hers and mine. We chatted with a nice couple from Houston (lots of Texans in NOLA) and chowed down on the fine bar snacks (similar to Gardettos but with a slightly different flavor and lots more peanuts). I wanted to ask for a to-go cup of the snacks, but I didn't. They were sure were tasty!

Inside the Carousel Bar
After our drink and snack, we were ready to go up to our room. We shared the room; it had two double beds that were extremely comfortable. Very high thread count on those sheets. There was a lovely bathroom with kind of an industrial toilet - not like the kind you have in your house, but the kind that is in an airport or a rest stop, you know, with the lever flusher. I should have taken a photo. It seemed out of place in such a lovely bathroom. That's my only slightly negative thought about the room: the toilet. It worked well though.

We had only been in New Orleans for half a day and we totally crushed it! We ticked off everything on our itinerary for the day and we still had three full days in front of us. I just knew we were in for a great time because the first day was completely wonderful.

Want to hear about our second day in New Orleans? Check back on Friday...well, you won't see if if you check too early, so better to wait until Saturday because I'll write Friday night.

Until then...

1 comment:

Kteach said...

1st class all the way!!! What a fun time :)