For a moment I felt a bit like Ignatius, from John Toole’s novel A Confederacy of Dunces, as I stood in the middle of the French Quarter, of course without the floppy green hat to draw unwanted attention my way. Instead, I joined the several vulture-like tourists shuffling in and out to grab a piece of their holiday memory on film. Yes, I am just like them, proudly feasting away at the intricate architecture, scenes of street cars and horse drawn carriages, fried oyster po’boys, and the most delicious beignets. Because when in New Orleans, you do as the tourists do and eat your fair share of beignets, right?
The atmosphere in New Orleans has its own rhythm and tempo, and a whole lot of jazz. With just two and a half days to explore, we stuck to what we like most—history, architecture, used bookstores, and cafes.
As soon as we checked into our hotel, we headed to Central Grocery for muffulettas, followed shortly with beignets and cafe au lait from Cafe du Monde. After stepping in and out of bookstores, making circles in and around the French Quarter, we waited in line for some really tasty fried oyster po’boys from Acme Oyster House. Before heading back to our hotel to call it in for the night, we filled up on a second helping of beignets and cafe au lait.
Saturday was our full day in New Orleans, so we soaked it up with beignets, explored the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, walked through The Presbytère museum to view their Hurricane Katrina exhibit, briefly walked along the Mississippi River, stepped into a couple more bookstores, took in the sounds of the musicians performing throughout the French Quarter, observed artists as they painted and sketched scenes of New Orleans, and ate some more delicious food.
Before leaving the next day, we made one more stop for beignets, walked through the French Quarter one last time, grabbed a Muffuletta sandwich to go, and then headed into the Garden District. We walked through the neighborhood of grandiose mansions and beautiful homes and then walked along Magazine Street to see if any of the antique stores were open. Since they weren’t yet open, we window shopped instead, and then headed home.
WHERE TO EAT:
- Cafe du Monde – Beignets and Cafe au lait
- Cafe Beignet – Beignets and Cafe au lait
- St. James Cheese Company
- Central Grocery – Original Muffuletta
- Acme – Fried Oyster Po’boy
- Stumptown Coffee Roasters at Ace Hotel