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Trip Report 10/18-10/22: The Curse of Galatoire's

Cincinnati, OH
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Trip Report 10/18-10/22: The Curse of Galatoire's

Just so you know, I have nothing against Galatoire's, I've never even been there, but every time I've planned to go there I've had to cancel due to some stomach ailment or another. The last time it was induced by something I ate on my first day in town, this time it was because of a going-away flu my kids gave me that took me down for half of our trip. My poor wife has now had to postpone eating there twice and it's some place she's really wanted to try.

Still, we were able to do some fun stuff the first half of our trip, which was to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary with the kids being cared for by nana back at home. So here goes.

Cincinnati, OH
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1. Re: Trip Report 10/18-10/22: The Curse of Galatoire's

Arrived on a Thursday and made our usual entry rounds; Pat O's to see Glenn the bartender, Napoleon House for some gumbo and muffaletta, and check-in at the Omni Royal. From there it was to Jackson Square to peruse the artwork, road pops from Sidney's on Decatur, some pop-in shopping, and apparently a 5-minute afternoon nap while sitting outside at Lafitte's. A greasy burger from the Clover Grill fueled us for our walk over to Louis Armstrong Park for performances by Corey Henry and John Boutte, part of their Jazz in the Park series. I'd never been inside the park before and was really pleased with layout of the small festival. There was food and a Nola Brewery beer truck. Corey Henry (of the Rebirth Brass Band) was fantastic, joined on stage by two Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs and Trombone Shorty, who took over drums for a song. John Boutte was also very good, but I've liked him better in his D.B.A. club setting.

Our plan that evening was to cab it to the Bywater to catch Kermit Ruffin's Thursday night gig at Vaughn's. On future trips I'll be more certain to check that the regular gigs are still on, because when we got there we were told Corey Henry (who we'd just seen) would be playing later on. Kermit was apparently deviating from his routine and was going to play at his Speakeasy as a part of the Treme 200 festivities. We diverted to The Joint BBQ restaurant for a quick bite, and then got a cab with the intention of going to the Speakeasy, but decided that at 10pm we were probably better off calling it a night, so it was back to the hotel to rest up for the next day.

Friday was our busy day, starting off with rich flaky pastries to go from Antoine's Annex before meeting up with French Quarter Phantoms Treme Walking Tour. The tour departed from Rampart and circled around a few blocks in Treme with stops at several historic music, civil rights, and religious sights that have made a major contribution to the New Orleans culture. Our guide Luke shared a great deal knowledge and passion about the area and its history and even several local residents walking by stopped to listen in, nodding their approval of his teachings. Previously we'd been tentative to venture into the area, but now having the lay of the land, would feel more comfortable seeking out events and activities in the Treme. The tour was good. I wish it had covered a little more ground, but certainly Luke's insight made it worth our while.

After the tour we got a taxi over to Willie Mae's Scotch House where my wife devoured their fried chicken and I dug into a chicken fried pork chop, green beans, and corn bread. Only a short wait despite arriving after noon on a Friday, and well worth it in the end as service was quick and friendly. This was our first time there, and we were very pleased.

Back to the hotel to freshen up and it was off to the New Orleans School of Cooking for a demonstration class featuring Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Pralines. I'd booked this months ago for my wife, and she wasn't surprised when we were called first to pick our seats, as they seat you on the basis of how soon you've booked. Our class was taught by Anne and I could have listened to her talk for hours. She was funny, had a bunch of stories, and was a true southern character. The only thing that was missing from the experience was the cooking. Everything was in the pot when we arrived and aside from a quick demonstration of how to fast cook a roux, there wasn't much to it. That and the food was okay. The gumbo was decent, but the rice in the jambalaya wasn't fully cooked, so it was crunchy. The Pralines were of course good. Overall I'd say we enjoyed it, but go more for the show than the food.

After getting ready for dinner we grabbed a pre-dinner drink at Irvin Mayfield's lounge at the Sonesta where a wedding party was assembling. We then stopped in at Arnaud's french 75 before dinner to get their signature drink and a plate of souffle'd potatoes. The bar was nicely decked out in Halloween decorations. This is one of my favorite bars in the quarter. Our anniversary dinner was in Arnaud's jazz bistro, where we were serenaded with Louis Armstrong's 'What a Wonderful World'. The food was fantastic as usual, and as on every previous meal there, we were too stuffed for dessert, but the seafood gumbo, shrimp remoulade, and filet is just too good to save room.

After dinner, we made our way over to Preservation Hall someplace I've wanted to go for the past twenty years. I was not disappointed. We did their last set (~10:20pm) and my major recommendation if you are considering a show is get Big Shot tickets. Rather than wait in line we were able to grab a beer across the street at Boondock Saint (excellent jukebox) and then head on in just before show time. We sat up front with the band (stage left) and had an awesome view. The set lasts just about the right amount of time and you get a nice Big Shot access pass on a lanyard to take home as a souvenir. Definitely looked better than sitting on matts up front or standing in the back. Loved it, probably the highlight of my trip.

In pursuit of more music, we headed to Frenchman Street where we took in the Stooges Brass Band at Blue Nile. The Stooges are a high energy act generating an equally high energy audience and my wife and I managed to dance off our dinner over the course of two sets. I can still hear the refrains of 'Wind it Up'... After Blue Nile we walked back to the hotel by way of Decatur where a small fire had broken out in one of the stores. This had the street closed with fire trucks and police cars and made for a memorable photo of my wife in front of an NOPD cruiser. After some Cafe du Monde, it was back to the hotel after a long fun day.

Cincinnati, OH
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2. Re: Trip Report 10/18-10/22: The Curse of Galatoire's

Unfortunately, 2 hours later is where my weekend took a turn for the much much worse. Ordinarily I can understand a little gastric distress after a few days in New Orleans with all the food and drink, but right away I knew I was dealing with something worse, a flu passed to me by my daughters who'd brought it home from school. Long story short, I was out for the next 36 hours, missing all of Saturday and surfacing on Sunday only to grab a seat at the bar at Kerry's Irish to watch the Saints game where Tom the bartender took pity on me and allowed me to drink my gatorade and suffer in silence. At least the Saints made a nice comeback and eeked out a win.

While I was out, my wife did her best to take care of me while also doing some shopping. She reported that the stores in the Quarter keep getting better and better. Her favorites are Fleurty Girl, Razzle Dazzle, and Jackie's on the Square. She also reported seeing a number of wedding Second Lines and something that looked more like a full-blown parade. I could hear the occasional procession go by while I was in-and-out of my flu induced haze.

This meant we missed a lot of our planned activities which included a guided tour of the Rodrigue Studio, an uptown bar crawl, dinner at Delmonico's, the Treme 200 Second Line parade, the meet and greet at EGN, and our much anticipated dinner at Galatoire's. As there was no way I could have managed dinner, my wife grabbed something forgettable at Felix's and we took a short walk through the Quarter, a little bitter about our trip having gone awry.

Still, we had a fantastic first two days, but given the let down, we've decided to do a do-over and have already booked another trip in December with the kids to engage in some pre-Christmas activities.

I'm not sure if we'll make Galatoire's a part of our plans... At this point it would have to be a spontaneous venture, as I'm not daring to put it to paper in fear of the curse...

newport, ri
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3. Re: Trip Report 10/18-10/22: The Curse of Galatoire's

how do you get Big Shot tickets to Preservation Hall?

newport, ri
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4. Re: Trip Report 10/18-10/22: The Curse of Galatoire's

how do you get Big Shot tickets to Preservation Hall?

Orlando, Florida
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for New Orleans
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5. Re: Trip Report 10/18-10/22: The Curse of Galatoire's

Very good reporting as usual....glad you did a review on the Phantoms tour...thats our plans for next time in and too bad you didn't get to try the Bread Pudding Fitzmorris at Arnaud's..truly a classic.....flu bug got me too but it was nice enought to ravage me only on the weekend and clear just in time to head back to work...ughhh.

Cincinnati, OH
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6. Re: Trip Report 10/18-10/22: The Curse of Galatoire's

bugsy, here's a link for big shot tickets for preservation hall. You can book up to a month in advance: http://www.ticketfly.com/calendar/?q=preservation+hall

yank, yeah my flu miraculously cleared up for work too. insult to injury.

Orland Park...
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7. Re: Trip Report 10/18-10/22: The Curse of Galatoire's

I am so happy to hear from you, but so sorry to hear about the flu. That sucks!! I hope you have a better time in Decemeber! I love your reports!

Melissa

Kansas City
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8. Re: Trip Report 10/18-10/22: The Curse of Galatoire's

We bought Big Shot Tickets for Preservation Hall online. Just Google Preservation Hall and you should be able to see their website.

Blenheim, Canada
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9. Re: Trip Report 10/18-10/22: The Curse of Galatoire's

So sorry to hear that the dreaded stomach flu bug got you Drew...and in New Orleans to boot! Hopefully you'll have a much better time in December. We did miss you at the Second Line and at El Gato but we totally understand. Hopefully we'll get a chance to get together next time! Thanks for the trip report that was a lot of fun to read. I agree next time just accidently slink into Galatoire's : )

Missouri
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10. Re: Trip Report 10/18-10/22: The Curse of Galatoire's

Willie Mae's Scotch House Fried Chicken. Yum!