While channel surfing, my wife and I stumbled upon “Harry Connick, Jr. In Concert on Broadway” on PBS. Throughout the show he talked about his family’s listening to jazz in the French Quarter, going to Mardi Gras, and eating home-cooked Cajun and Creole dishes. Listening to his music and stories made me eager to get to the French Quarter and experience these things myself. I few weeks later, I was on a plane bound for New Orleans.
My first order of business was to teach my seatmate from Nebraska the proper way to pronounce New Orleans. She kept saying, “New Or-Lee-Ans.” I told that the locals say it as one word, “N’Awlins.” She never got it, but she did offer to buy me a Hurricane when we landed. I declined because I wanted my senses to be sharp as a soaked in the city’s sights and sounds.
I made the obligatory trip to Café du Monde for beignets and café au lait. As usual, the line of people waiting for tables was stretched down the street. I bypassed the crowd and secured a table inside. As a settled into my seat, I noticed a camera crew walking through the service line followed by Emeril Legasse. I managed to get close enough to take a few photos and I may have even gotten a few seconds of camera time.
Of course, no trip to New Orleans is complete without indulging in the succulent cuisine. I dined at two highly touted spots: Oceana Grill and Mother’s Restaurant. At Oceana, I had gumbo, barbecued shrimp, and crab cakes. The service
was good, but I was a bit disappointed by the food. I expected more from an establishment that was right off Bourbon Street. At Mother’s, I stood in line outside the door for 15 minutes before I was able to make it inside to place an order. I got the fried chicken and red beans & rice. The food and service left me unimpressed.
I was, however, impressed by New Orleans’ music scene. I devoured a smorgasbord of jazz, blues, rock, gospel, R&B, funk, and folk. During the day, I encountered an array of street performers. At night, I consumed all of the musical delights Bourbon Street had to offer (I will share more details on my musical experiences in future posts).
I loved seeing all of the artists, magicians, actors and musicians interact with their audiences. There is a creative vibe that permeates the city and could feel the energy stirring my soul. After spending 2-1/2 days in New Orleans I now understand why the residents love their city so much. I can’t wait to go back.
Question: Do you have any New Orleans Memories?