Friday, December 2, 2016

#1804 NOLA day 2 in pics

I told you I would show some photos of our second day in New Orleans, so let's go!

Lizzie and I spent about four days in New Orleans. Friday was our second day there, but the first full day. We had lots of stuff planned, so we got right after it.

We started off with breakfast at The Old Coffeepot restaurant. The food was very good, but the service was not very good. We were treated so poorly that we left feeling kind of disappointed because the day before had been so great and all the people we had come in contact with had been really nice and friendly, so it was a bummer.

Our goal for the morning was to go to City Park. From reading my guidebook and looking online, I knew we could get there by taking the streetcar. From our adventure the previous night, I knew there was a streetcar stop right across from the Voodoo Lounge where we had started our tour the night before. We headed that direction, strolling through the French Quarter. Some photos of the Quarter:

A small band jamming on the corner of Royal and St. Phillip

the window of a voodoo shop

wrought iron galleries of the party houses - notice the beads
I think we were walking along Bourbon Street. A quick note on my thoughts of Bourbon Street - it's pretty yucky. In the day you can see it's not nice, except for the architecture. At night, it's just a zoo of people in various states of intoxication. Bourbon Street's main purpose is to take your money and get you drunk and maybe show you some boobies. (Lots of strip clubs.) Not my favorite scene, but it had to be seen.

Back to my story...

We get to the street where the Voodoo Lounge is and we see the streetcar tracks. When the trolley came, we climbed on and asked the driver if the trolley was going to City Park. Nope. We were on the wrong line. Here's the thing: the bus and the trolley symbol in the map program on my beloved iPhone look very similar. The driver told us we would have to head up the road and we would find the right line.  We were grateful for his information, so we hopped off, got a beer at Voodoo Lounge and headed up the road.

Here's the thing: while walking around with a beer in your hand seems pretty normal in the French Quarter, when you get out of the Quarter and you're kind of in between neighborhoods and it's noon, walking around with a beer might not be your best choice. Just a little tip from me. Nothing bad happened and we got where we needed to be, but we felt kind of awkward.

Canal Street
We eventually got on the streetcar headed for City Park. It seemed to be mostly full of local people. There were a couple of other tourists sitting by us who also wanted to go to City Park, but they got off way too early. I was surprised when they got off the trolley. I felt kind of sorry for them standing in the middle of the road looking at their map. (Lizzie and I didn't use a map, but we did use our phone's map program.)

When we got to City Park, we didn't really know what we were going to do. It was hot and humid and we were slightly out of sorts from our weird morning. We found the Morning Call restaurant, got some water and went to get our bearings and figure out what we wanted to see. We decided it would be appropriate to check out the Pavilion of the Two Sisters.  Some photos of City Park:

Spanish moss on a tree along St. Johns Bayou

Look at the size of this tree!

The Pavilion of the Two Sisters and a funky statue

another funky statue in the Sculpture Garden
We looked through the Pavilion and saw a tiny bit of the garden. There weren't many other people around and the garden staff was clearly setting up for a party and we felt kind of out of place, so we decided to leave. City Park is really big, but we didn't really know what we wanted to see or what we should see. We were also hot and tired and getting a little hungry, so we decided to find the restaurant we had chosen in the neighborhood, Parkway Bakery.

I was feeling some pain in my knee and even though it turned out the restaurant was only about a 20 minute walk from the park, we took an Uber. I will be doing a separate post about the food we had on our trip, but I'll tell you that we had po' boy sandwiches for lunch from Parkway, and they were damn good. Lizzie had the sausage sandwich and I had the fried shrimp sandwich and we were both very pleased and content.

It was super easy to find the streetcar station from the restaurant and we had a nice stroll through a nice neighborhood to get there. We also realized that Canal Street (where the streetcar line is) has a stop very near Royal Street, where our hotel was, so we took the line up to Royal and walked a couple of blocks to the hotel. Sheesh! We should have spoken to the concierge before we left. The morning could have been much easier, but we turned it into quite an adventure.

We chilled out at the hotel for a couple of hours, then headed back out on the town. Our destination that evening was the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood for dinner and music, but first, a stop at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar (again) for a beer. We got a little table out on the sidewalk and sipped our drinks and watched the people. Lafitte's is right at the top (or bottom) of Bourbon Street. Apparently it is a favorite of locals, but there were plenty of tourists around too. It was fun to watch what was going on. Since it was early, I think the place might have been the first stop for some folks on a Bourbon Street bar crawl.

The Marigny neighboorhood was quiet and lovely. Lots of cool houses, quiet streets, good vibe. We easily found our destination, the Marigny Brasserie. I will tell you right now that this dinner was my favorite, top to bottom, that we had in New Orleans. Everything was great from the appetizer to the dessert. You'll have to check back for details on the meal :) Also, the service was excellent. Diana was adorable and friendly and took our picture:

After dinner our plan was to go across the street from the restaurant to the Spotted Cat Music Club. Instead, we wandered down Frenchmen Street and took in the sights and sounds. We went to artist's markets that were set back in gardens and were just beautiful.

One of many artist's markets on Frenchmen St.
We had poems written for us instantly by these dudes:

Poets for hire
My poet was the guy on the left. I gave him the word "vacation" and he wrote me an opus. I totally love it!

Frenchmen Street was my favorite street in the city. There are bars along both sides of the road and live bands are playing music in every one of them. Blues, jazz, funk; it's all happening. You can stand outside a place and listen, you can go in and have a drink and enjoy the tunes, you can keep walking down the street and soak it all in. It's fantastic. It was Friday night, so it was pretty packed along the tiny sidewalks and party buses were going down the street and it was a scene. So fun!

We stopped outside several places, but we didn't go in to any of the bars. I was tired after the long night on Thursday and being out in the heat all day Friday. I felt kind of old, to be honest. Fortunately I think Lizzie was feeling the same, so we headed up Frenchmen Street and back to the French Quarter.

As we strolled down Royal Street toward the hotel, we heard a brass band playing and saw a bunch of people standing around taking photos and looking down the street. Of course we had to see what was happening. I'm glad we did! There was a wedding party dancing in the street, complete with the brass band. The bride and groom were in front of the whole parade; the bride with a white parasol and the groom with a black parasol.

Wedding parade!
We stood on the sidewalk and waited for them to pass by. Wouldn't you know it? They turned right up Royal Street, so as the wedding party walked by, we fell in behind them, joining the "Second Line". If you click on the link about second line parades, you'll learn that the parades are a New Orleans tradition. The first line is the main party, in this case, the wedding party, then the second line is people like us who join in as the party passes. The funny thing is that Lizzie had mentioned going to a second line parade on Sunday and we were trying to get more information about where it was and when and those sorts of details when this wedding party popped up organically for us. Timing is everything and we were totally in the right place at the right time. It was cool and fun and sort of amazing. The amount of coordination that has to happen to have a wedding party parade in the French Quarter on a Friday night would be daunting, but there it was. So fun!!

We followed the wedding party until they turned up a street before our hotel. We continued on to the hotel and went on up to our room. It had been a day that started off not great, but ended on a high note for sure.

1 comment:

Kteach said...

Love to hear about your trip :)