New Orleans Vacay 2014. Cast of characters: My husband and me, both early 50’s, Daughter, 26, married but traveling solo, son, 23, whose life will never be the same, and son’s girlfriend, 23, who is the reason for his life-changing experience. ;)
We arrived at MSY from DFW around 10:45 am, which was about 45 minutes later than expected due to weather delays but no worries; we’re on vacation! We went out to get in a taxi but before we got to the TAXI sign we were greeted by a van driver with no immediate passengers who said he’d take us all for $14 each, the same as a cab, so off we went! It was nice and roomy and our driver was chatty and lots of fun. It was obvious he loves his city. He got us to the French Market Inn on Decatur and offered to pick us up for our return flight for the same rate so we agreed and set the time.
This was our first stay in the French Market Inn so we weren’t sure what to expect. I knew they’d recently renovated and I’d made sure to reserve updated rooms, so I wasn’t too concerned. The husband is a bit of a worrier though. No need for worries, the hotel is wonderful! Super-friendly staff, clean, and nicely appointed rooms and public spaces. Our rooms weren’t ready so they stored our luggage and we were off to lunch. Now, son’s girlfriend had never been to NOLA and was trying hard to take it all in as we made our way down Decatur, so we slowed the pace and walked through Jackson Square as she took pictures of the buildings, the statue, the fountain, the artists, etc. She was like a little kid at Disneyland and we all felt like first-timers again as well.
We finally made it to Gumbo Shop and enjoyed an assortment of gumbos, sausage, etc. and bread pudding for dessert. Everybody was full and happy!
We spent the next hour or so wandering in and out of shops and just taking in the sights and sounds till we finally made it to the French Market area to check out the Creole Tomato Festival. First, a stop at Southern Candymakers so Son’s gf could try her first NOLA praline and we couldn’t let her eat alone, could we? Of course not – that would be rude! ;) Original for husband and gf, rum for son and I, and sweet potato for daughter. High marks of approval all around and we’re off again. We grab our first hurricane of the trip at the Gazebo and head into the festival. Wow, it was small! Last year it was combined with the Cajun Zydeco Fest so there was a lot more to see and hear. Oh well. We still managed to sample some tasty treats, not all of which were tomato based, but all were very good. The crawfish beignets were the stand-outs. I could have made a meal on those.
We get a message from the hotel that our rooms are now ready so we head back to rest a bit and freshen up. All of us were very happy with our rooms and highly recommend the French Market Inn. After a short nap and a quick shower, we’re ready for dinner!
We had planned to make Acme our first dinner but really none of us wanted to wait in that line when Felix is so good and right across the street with no line. Excellent choice! We introduced gf to char grilled oysters and made a life-long fan of her. Seriously, how could anyone not like them? Anything with that much butter and garlic has to be good, right? We all got our fill of oysters, blackened redfish, shrimp, and french bread and waddled out the door.
We had a little time before we had to meet for our ghost tour with Witch’s Brew Tours, so we strolled Royal Street for a bit, looking into the galleries and listening to the street musicians. I love Royal Street! I could spend hours just walking up and down and never even enter a shop.
We met with our group on the steps of the courthouse. This was our first tour with Witch’s Brew. We chose them due to a two for one deal on groupon. We’ve taken several tours with other groups and always thought they were okay depending on the guide, some good some not so. And let me just say right now that I don’t go into these things looking for “the truth” or really care about authenticity – I just want to have fun and hear a good story teller. Well, we got both! Cindy was so much fun. Not theatrical or cheesy; just a fun person and a great story teller. We made a lot of the usual stops and a few that were new to me. Great time – highly recommend!
Our last stop of day one was Café Du Monde! Beignets were wonderful as always. I’ve yet to be disappointed here. Son’s gf is now convinced that everything we’ve been telling her for the last few months is true. Yep, she’s a NOLA lover! Success!