Tuesday, March 27, 2012

For the Love of NOLA

Well  friends , I am back from the Big Easy.
And I must say , it was everything I expected and a little more.
There were a few things I wanted to do but didn't.
 ( ran out of time and the weather did not cooperate on our last day )
I did not get to say hello to Marie Laveau ( which was just fine with the guys )
and I did not get to tour a plantation.
Maybe next time.

Here are things I did do and my top 6 loves of New Orleans.
# 1 - Shotgun Houses

I instantly fell in love with the little Shotgun Houses.
The were vividly colored ( hard to tell from some of my photos ),
had cute little porches, and some had intricate detail ( notice the iron work on the one at top left).
The pink one in the lower right hand corner is an example of a " Double Shotgun" house.
Shotgun houses are long and narrow, and  a lot of them open right to the sidewalk with very little front yard.
They get their name from the fact that if you open the front door and the back door you can fire a shotgun straight through without damaging any walls.
#2 Courtyards and Balconies
Many homes in the French quarter are built very closely together.
And with the sub tropic climate, people needed cool places to relax.
The top six pictures are the courtyard of the Chateau Hotel  where we stayed.
The Chateau was once an elegant New Orleans home.
The picture middle row , far right shows the covered bar in front of the reconstructed slave quarters.
Our room was in what originally was the stable and the stairway to it was in the grain silo !
As I am a bit of a flower and plant nut , I fell in love with the balconies.
The two pictured were across from our hotel.
The courtyard on the bottom right was behind a gate in the Garden District.

Which brings me to # 3 - the Garden District

The Garden District is a historic neighborhood in New Orleans known more for the beautiful architecture and mansions than for the gardens , although the gardens are beautiful also.
We walked our rears off this day !
That is the best way to see and appreciate the Garden District.

#4 - The Cemeteries

Here's a weird fact about me you may not know ( or want to ),
I love cemeteries.
Weird but true.
And the older , the better.
All the stories of all the people behind those stones...
New Orleans cemeteries are a completely different story.
Because New Orleans is below sea level , the  heavy rains would cause the dearly departed to reappear, they developed the crypt system.
Crypts are generally owned by the same family for generations.
We saw some crypts with up to 25 family members inside.
How can this be you ask?
Well, because of the sub tropic climate in New Orleans , the crypts act as sort of a natural crematorium.
Within one year the body will have turned to ash and there is room for the next one.
Which works great as long as you don't loose more than 2 family members in a year.
( that's all there is room for )
I found this whole systems fascinating, hope it didn't gross anyone out :)

# 5 - Beads and Bourbon Street

First, let me say , I have never experienced anything quite like Bourbon Street IN*MY*LIFE!
Crazy doesn't even come close.
Smelly, yes.
But colorful and energetic and yet historic.
I loved that we would walk by a bar and a shop and then... there was a residence.
 Then we would see a group of people playing drums on buckets in the street.
Or artists painting in a doorway.
The street performers were an odd assortment to say the least !

And what is New Orleans without beads?
They were hanging on balconies, in trees and on power lines.
They don't even bother to get them off !

# 6 - The Food !

One thing I knew I wanted to do while in New Orleans was experience all the tastes and flavors of the city.
Red Beans and Rice, Gumbo , Jumbalya and of course, the seafood.
One of my favorites though was the Muffaletta.

Muffuletta or Muffaletta

It's basically a submarine sandwich on round Italian bread.
What makes the muffuletta special is this

the Olive Salad.
The meat and cheese it topped with this fabulous combination of olives,capers, gardiniera ( which is a combo of pickled cauliflower, carrots , celery and pepperoncini), onions and spices marinated in olive oil.
I brought back the jar from the Central Grocery ( who are famous for their muffulettas).
I must say I am addicted to it.
I haven't attempted to make a muffuletta yet , but the Olive Salad is also great with whole wheat pasta!
I have found several recipes for the famous Olive Salad, when I get the right one , I will post it :)

I fell in love with this city ( the Hubs , not so much ).
I knew I would.
I'm hoping to return - someday ....

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  1. Thanks for the wonderful mini tour of New Orleans! I have always wanted to visit maybe one day. Love those cute little shotgun homes and your hotel looks really nice. I'll have to look it up to see if there are more pictures. Love the pics of the garden district. My sister used to visit all the time and said it was a dirty smelly city but I still want to visit just to look at the architecture.

    I don't think you're weird at all for liking to visit old cemeteries. I love visiting them too, especially the ones we visited in Charleston and Savannah. They were beautiful and eerie all at the same time.

  2. Dawn, your post about your trip makes me want to return to N.O. It's a great place to visit and I've discovered new places each time. One of my favorite time, I took a bus ride over to Magazine Street where there were some terrific shops. All kind of shops...thrift, charity, silver, jewelry, floral, etc. It's time to return..I've ready! Thanks for following me and visiting, too. I love followers and always follow back. Helen


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