Nola 2012

Steve and I are ringing the new year down in New Orleans. Here, a quick highlight reel from our first two days.

One of the first things we did was get coffee at The Orange Couch, right down the street from us in the Marigny. Steve claims it is his best americano ever. I am happily downing a latte.

001 Orange Couch coffee

I figured that, since Steve had never seen New Orleans, he should warm up for the awfulness of Bourbon with the only slightly less awful Decatur. But of course, Central Grocery is not awful because it has mufulettas. I went over to get a picture of the sign for Henry and was caught on film myself. Such is the peril of modern life.

008 Central Gro

We headed through the Quarter to meet with blogging buddy and excellent NoLa photographer Arthur Smith. Cool little dive bar on Burgundy and Gov. Nicholls. Arthur is awesome. Then we walked through New Orleans at night, which is pretty magical.

019 French Q night

We ended up at the Spotted Cat on Frenchmen Street and listened to Cajun klezmer (not officially, but that’s how it sounded to me) by a band called Panorama.

In the morning, it was time to head to St. Augustine for church in the Treme. To get there, you walk up Esplanade. Plenty of houses to gawp at.

020 Esplanade

Then we ate a L’il Dizzy’s, which is both yummy and delightful.

022 Lil dizzy

Here is Steve, all happy and peaceful knowing his French toast is on its way.

023 Lil dizzy Steve

At church, I fell in love with the gleam in this angel’s eye. (Close up and then farther back for context.)

027 angel
028 creche

As usual, the phenomenal St. Augustine’s choir made joyful and glorious noise.

030 more choir

The last time I was here, with Henry in 2011, Louis Armstrong Park was completely boarded up. Now it’s gorgeous.

033 us at armstrong

We entered from the Treme side, but here’s the entrance from the Quarter side.

034 armstrong arch

Now, we headed up to the Garden District in search of a second line parade, this one for the Lady Rollers. We were an hour late, so we wandered around in vain. Then I heard a guy in front of us on Louisiana Str. say, “I’m here to catch up to ’em,” and the guys he was talking to said, “They just went by,” so Steve and I employed our tallness weapon and strode on up and this is what we found.

035 second line

036 second line queen

037 second line star

Ok, seriously? Joining a second line parade is about one of the top 3 coolest things I’ve ever done. You just follow along and dance behind the main parade people, and they keep stopping at different bars, but these aren’t famous bars, these are total neighborhood joints. There are people right there with you with big coolers of drinks and you can just reach in and grab one. Everyone’s in an awesomely good mood and you just dance and smile.

038 second line ladies

039 second float

At the next bar stop, we broke off and headed through the very upper upper garden district, which gets nicer the lower you get. But we did pass this amazing house, covered with throws, which are the beads they throw from the Mardi Gras floats.

041 upper garden house

Then we stopped and got a drink at The Columns, where Pretty Baby was filmed, a beautiful if extremely expensive and sort of blandly populated bar.

045 columns entrance

046 columns bar

We strolled around in the Garden District because we weren’t really hungry enough for dinner. We ended up at Lafayette Cemetery. This is the smallest New Orleans cemetery, which made it great to explore.

048 lafayette 1

I found this batch of names quite hilarious. Because sometimes, I am six.

049 lafayette names

I also love the way the marble gets all moldy. Spooky!

050 lafayette tomb

And I liked this orange tomb as well.

054 lafayette orange

Down Prytania street we headed, to see mansion after gorgeous mansion. We were pretty impressed by this cornstalk fence, rumored to be the most expensive and we could see why. I mean, LOOK at all that freaking corn.

058 corn!

We were going to eat at Commander’s Palace, but would have had to wait until 9:30, which was not an option. The very nice maitre d’ sent us down to Coquette on Magazine Street, a beautiful, very Parisian feeling brasserie. We each had one of these fresh salads….

061 coquette salad

Steve ate duck….

062 coquette duck

And I ate shrimp.

063 coquette shrimp

The journey continues tomorrow.

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