N'awlins ... revisited

The last time I saw New Orleans it was the end of March 2005. Since then the city has in many ways resurrected itself. Although most of 'downtown' is as it was pre-Katrina the overall population has dropped and many shops and restaurants have not come back
because the owners moved having lost their homes.

The Lower Ninth Ward almost 3 years after Katrina remains pretty much a disaster .. while the houses 'had water' (this was a oft repeated remark during a tour we took of the city) and are now totally unredeemable due to black mold and rotted foundations they have not all been razed so we saw the devastation first hand. We also got to see Lakeview which literally sits on the levees along Lake Pontchartrain where homes 'had water' but also had what the Ninth Ward didn't .. insurance .. so they are rebuilding right on top of the levees hoping I imagine that they hold if there is another hurricane.

But I digress ... go .. get something to nosh .. hit the loo .. this is another LONG post ...

I had a 7 a.m. JetBlue flight to N'awlins on Monday morning ... the streets of New York are eerily deserted at 5 a.m. when the car arrived to take me to JFK ... a contrast to the scene in 

JetBlue's terminal
MANY MANY people waiting to jet off on holidays or business trips ... the line for security was very long but moved very quickly. 

And once through the check point I wandered the shops .. 

saw these
and thought of BearNaked immediately ..

The flight was uneventful and pleasant ..  New Orleans temps were in the mid 70s .. that was at 6 a.m. ... by the time we landed it was into the 90s where it stayed most of the week.  Whoever it was that mentioned MOSQUITOS? .. I never saw any ... and I am a bug biting magnet.

My nemesis were the broken streets of the Quarter .. I promise I stepped into each and every one .. luckily I didn't break my ankle.


at Toulouse & Bourbon .. once the

and retains that old world charm ... the rooms are modern with free WiFi ... housekeeping leaves a bit to be desired .. but over all its a nice place in the best possible location for eating and shopping ..  lets face it that is what holidays are about, no?

After dropping luggage with the concierge we took off to wander the Quarter and get some lunch .. first stop Acme Oyster House on Iberville St where we had a Fried Peacemaker Po Boy (oysters AND shrimp)

Po Boy all gone

followed by the house special
fried in butter parmesan covered oysters

... ooooh my .. then we wandered to walk off lunch and see some galleries ... we also found a wonderful gift shop that we scoped out and made plans to return to ...

Back to the hotel to check in .. unpack .. and decide on where to go to dinner. We had gotten recommendations from bogger and 'real life' friends .. we Googled them and decided on The Palace Cafe on Canal.

After dinner we walked back to the hotel .. the sky was amazing ..

Being the party animals we are .. we spent the rest of the evening in the room talking and planning the rest of the week activities.

Tuesday morning we woke to the sunshine streaming in the windows of our 'courtyard' facing room

as you can see from this photo didnt actually face the courtyard .. in fact this was not at all a problem since a room is a place to sleep and refresh its not about - to me anyway - the view. We planned on taking a tour of the city .. but first we walked to Decatur to Cafe du Monde and had

cawfee and beignets ...
under whirrling fans hanging from the exquisite planked ceiling
sipped iced latte

deeee-vine ..
then we walked off the beignets by shopping and taking photos ..
Jackson Square and the Cathedral
sometimes you can't lead the mule to water ... you must bring it to 'em
giving new meaning to hanging plants

and then went to The Court of the Two Sisters on Royal for brunch ... to sustain us before the tour.

The tour left our hotel at 1:30 and took us through downtown

and out to the Lower Ninth Ward ... it was heartbreaking to see what was left of this area ...

not even seeing what Habitat for Humanity was doing to restore some of the area takes away from the impact of seeing what is left ... Harry Connick Jr is responsible for bringing Habitat to the Lower Ninth .. and Brad Pitt has contributed over $5 million to kick start more rebuilding. The two of them have done more than any level of our wonderful government.

We also stopped at an above ground cemetery,

the City Park, and Lakeview before heading back into town ..

After some more shopping .. photo taking

.. we went back to the hotel, dropped off our loot, freshened up and headed out to dinner .. the tour guide had recommended The Bistro Maison de Ville on Toulouse and we'd looked over the menu earlier and decided it was the place to go ..

sipping a lovely Malbec
that was a really yummy crab salad

We did try to get a reservation at Galatoire's which Lizzie raved about but they were booked! Next trip.

Dinner and the lovely Malbec we had were perfect ... and again we headed back to the hotel to relax ... plans were made for Wednesday .. and we were feeling sad that the trip was wrapping up so quickly...

We had a cold breakfast in the hotel

.. a 20% off coupon seemed like the way to go .. it wasnt .. the buffet offered 'hot' food but it was all pretty much room temp .. and in N'awlins room temp is ICY cold .. after eating we hopped a taxi to Magazine Street intending to wander the antique shops and boutiques we'd heard so much about ... we walked about 2 blocks before the rain hit .. Hurricane Dolly had passed over the city on its way to Texas but before it left completely it dropped a LOT of wet ... we took refuge in a neat shop and spent about an hour waiting out the rain .. when it didnt look as if it would end any time soon we called a cab and headed back to the Quarter .. we had the driver drop us at a Walgreens .. bought two umbrellas and continued our day side stepping major puddles and enjoying the cooler temps .. that didnt last long .. as soon as the rain ended the humidity returned but by then we'd shopped The French Market and wandered some of the smaller side streets of the Quarter getting some nice photos .. and wandering in/out of shops ..

then back to the hotel to drop off the loot again .. freshen up and head out to dinner .. our last meal was another obscenely early meal at Ralph & Kacoo's where the waiter convinced me to have a Hurricane Katrina .. a combo of many juices and some nice vodka ..

By now I am sure you know the drill .. yup, we went back to the hotel to pack ... I know it sounds dull but we had not seen one another for a long long time and getting to spend face time with a dear friend is far more fun than sitting in a club .. not that music isnt wonderful but that wasnt what we wanted to do ...

Anyway .. Thursday morning came all too soon and we had to head home ... I know we will go back again .. and maybe next time we'll take in some music .. but I have to tell you I had a wonderful time and I hope you enjoyed the recap and the photos.