Laissez les bons temps rouler! (New Orleans: 11.24-11.29, Part 1)

My twin sister Chantel, friend Cynthia, and I took a little vacation after Thanksgiving.  For a couple of years now Cynthia had been trying to convince me to agree to a trip to New Orleans, but I kept resisting.  I finally agreed to it early this year and we’d been making plans ever since.  Chantel and I drove up to Cynthia’s place in San Antonio on Black Friday, and we headed out early Saturday morning after a few minor snags.

The drive was long and fairly uneventful, but we did enjoy some nice scenery.  By the time we got to Baton Rouge we were starving, so we stopped at Raising Cane’s and ate chicken strips with some pretty awesome secret dipping sauce.

I think we all felt a huge amount of relief when we finally entered New Orleans.  After being on the road for over nine hours, you just want to be there already.  As we made our way toward our “hotel” I started to think I may have made a poor choice regarding where to stay.  I didn’t want to stay at a hostel, but I wanted to keep the room relatively cheap, so I found the Creole Inn.  But, it turned out we had nothing to worry about.  The Creole Inn operates out of an old house and is run by incredibly nice Innkeepers.  Kim greeted us and gave us a map and a brief rundown of what was where and how to get there.  Our suite was downstairs and made up of a front room with a queen bed, a bathroom, and a back room with two twin beds.  There wasn’t much space to put our suitcases and other bags, but we figured something out that worked for the duration of our trip.  And the rooms were cozy and nice despite being old and not-so-spacious.

After a bit of rest, we got ready to head to Celebration in the Oaks at New Orleans City Park.  We spent a few hours walking around the park enjoying the Christmas lights and other displays, including a huge Christmas tree constructed out of poinsettias.  We also ate dinner at the event.  We each ordered something different so we could share: jambalaya, gumbo, and crawfish pasta.  We also partook of some delightful hot buttered rum.  There were a lot of people at the event, which also featured rides and other attractions.  It was a nice way to spend our first evening in the city, but I think we were all glad to get back to the room and crash for the night.

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We woke up early Sunday morning.  Cynthia wanted to go to church, so Chantel and I joined her.  We walked from the inn to St. Louis Cathedral, which is absolutely beautiful.  I so badly wanted to take pictures, but they don’t allow people to photograph the inside of the church.  Boo.

After that, we walked to Café Adelaide for brunch.  Wearing a hat to brunch can score you up to three complimentary hatinis.  I ordered the Blue Bonnet, which was, unfortunately, so strong I couldn’t taste anything but alcohol.  I didn’t take advantage of the offer for additional hatinis.  I did, however, have delicious Shrimp Courtbouillon.

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On the way to Café Adelaide, we realized how close the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Audubon Insectarium were, so we changed our previously decided schedule and decided to cross both attractions off our list on Sunday.  The aquarium was lovely.  It also featured an area where you could buy little food sticks and go into this room with dozens upon dozens of parakeets.  SO MANY PARAKEETS.  And you can entice the parakeets onto your food stick and hold them while they snack.  Cynthia has a bit of a fear of birds, so she got to conquer a bit of that fear too.  The insectarium was cool too, but bugs give me the creeps so I wasn’t quite as excited about it.  However, despite bugs giving me the creeps, I ate a wax worm fried in taco seasoning.  It wasn’t bad, but not something I’ve willingly do again.  And Cynthia had to show Chantel and I up by eating the wax worm and a BBQ cricket.  Bleh.

Following our adventures at the aquarium and insectarium, we stopped by Southern Candymakers for some Divinity.  It was good, but quite sweet.  After that, we went back to the inn for some rest.  When we started to get hungry we weren’t sure where to go or what to eat.  We ended up walking to this little grocery store called Verti Marte, which has a counter in the back with a fairly large selection of foods.  They don’t have seating, so we ordered with the plan to take our food to Jackson Square and eat in front of the cathedral.  I ordered a BBQ beef sandwich and onion rings.  It was pretty good, but nothing particularly special.  However, Cynthia’s macaroni and cheese made with spaghetti noodles was scrumptious.  While we ate we were approached by a homeless guy who wanted some of my onion rings and later another homeless guy who claimed our giggling had woken him up.  He hung around far longer than we would have liked, even after a local guy who knew him told him he should leave us alone.  We wanted to stay in the area until it was time for our ghost tour, but we decided it might be best to escape for a while.  We ducked into the Corner Oyster Bar for an Irish coffee, which warmed us right up!

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When we finished, we headed back out to meet our tour guide in front of the cathedral.  Our ghost tour was booked through Free Tours by Foot, which offers tip-based tours.  The tour was good and our guide seemed to know her stuff.  She told us a lot of interesting and creepy stories, including one that encouraged us to visit the Pharmacy Museum later in our trip.

The tour was followed by another walk back to the inn.

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This would be way too long if I shared the entire trip in one post, so I’ll have the rest broken into one or two other parts depending on how much I type.  So, more later!

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