To miss New Orleans. I'll probably have a 5 month hiatus what with the move. But here's the "for now" Last Hurrah weekend summed up:
Pic Link first... :) (let me know if it doesn't work...)
I arrived on Friday, mid-day. Dropped off my stuff at my friends' house in the Irish Channel. Drove over and met my groovy friend Roberta at my hosts' restaurant "J'Anita's". My friends were sadly not on duty, so the guy cooking did something w/the lamb chops that rendered them looking like they were glazed in Dimetapp. The cheese grits were good, though. (the lamb wasn't bad, just nowhere in the realm of as dreamy when Craig makes them)
I then went back to the house, freshened up and walked up to the St. Charles streetcar. Once I hit the French Quarter, I went to my friend Peter's shop on Jackson Square. I walked up to the Riverwalk and looked at the decidedly swollen Mighty Mississip' and watched as the steamboat "Natchez" headed back upriver. Then I see the "Creole Queen" initially on "Natchez"'s heels...but then as she hits the eddies mid-river...apparently started sliding sideways!?! Once she got across them she started moving forward but w/great effort.
Just as I was about to head back down the steps towards Jackson Square again, I see the Algiers Ferry leave from the West Bank. It (I kid you not) SHOOTS downriver like it is jet propelled! But, no - it's just caught in the current. As it hits the bend, struggles across the eddies like the "Creole Queen" but the captain is steering for all he/she is worth, because the vessel makes a HARD left and then slowly pulsed upriver towards the New Orleans dock.
From there, I went on through the French Quarter, taking pictures. I stopped in at Molly's At The Market for a much needed "Frozen Irish Coffee" and sip it on my way over to Buffa's. Now, my main destination was to be at the Pitot House around 5 for the "Vino on the Bayou" event and I didn't have much time to hang out at Buffa's. So, I sipped a rum & Coke while watching the last 15 minutes of "Purple Rain" and said my farewells and wandered up Esplanade across Rampart to wait for the bus.
And "wait" I did...I thought the thing would never show. Finally, it lumbered into view and I boarded. I got out at Grand Route St. John and walked over to Bayou St. John and up to the Pitot House. That house is so amazing, despite the heat of late afternoon, the way the old house is designed, it caught the air and it cooled us w/o any electricity and definitely no HVAC. I didn't get pics, but I have some snagged some from one of my trips earlier this year. I sampled the wines on offer, fell into a funny conversation w/a lady named Ronda and we talked the evening away.
As it wound down, I drifted down the Bayou to my friend Roberta's house. As it faces the bayou, we attempted to sit on the porch, but the streetlight that was in front of the place was attracting every blankety-blank Formosan termite it could. We kept getting swarmed and bolted inside.
We talked about MUSES stuff, general stuff and my impending move to California. Then she was a sweetie and offered me a ride back to Kimmie & Craig's house. I happily accepted.
Saturday, I treated myself to a somewhat lavish breakfast at Gott Gourmet over on Magazine Street. I had the "Chicken & Biscuits" offering. Chicken breast on homemade biscuits w/a gravy made w/Portobello mushrooms, caramalized onions and Creole Country sausage - and topped w/2 fried eggs! It was far too much food for me, despite my appetite. It was very good. From there I hit a few shops for things I wanted to have from NOLA. Then I went to the streetcar again and went back to the French Quarter.
I splurged at the Louisiana Music Factory. Then I went to check on the river again. And as I was approaching, the calliope on the "Natchez" was going full-tilt. It was so neat and it made me teary-eyed w/the utter NOLA-ness of the moment. I listened awhile, took pics and then headed to the Square again. As I crossed Decatur, I hear St. Louis' carillon in a celebrational arrangement and I went into the park and saw a wedding group getting pics done - but not some fussy-type group - just some stylin' folks and the bride in a white funky dress and SHRIMP BOOTS! SO New Orleans! The bells weren't for her, though - there was a very large wedding that had just wrapped up and was exiting the cathedral. I'm a geek for church bells despite my not-big-on-organized-religion-self, so hearing them was really cool, I got all emo again. (What can I say, I'm SUCH a Cancerian)
I went in to the Presbytere that's to the right of the cathedral (as you face it) - they had an exhibit about the flooding and Hurricane Katrina. It was heart-rending and yet from an exhibit-design standpoint - it was beautifully and touchingly executed.
From there I be-bopped around and sadly realized my other friend's restaurant the Louisiana Bistro didn't open until dinner service...at which time I already had plans to be w/my friends at the Geek Dinner. So, I walked over to ACME Oyster House for some chargrilled oysters and some "Boo Fries" and an Abita.
I grabbed the very crowded streetcar back to Third Street and freshened up again and went and picked up my friend Julie to head to the Geek Dinner. Now, the "Geek Dinner" is an event my friends started a few years back that was for the various New Orleans bloggers to get together in real life to have fun. This was my first one to attend, as usually they are on a weekend I'm not here.
My offering for the dinner was sugar cookies I made in the shape of a fleur de lis and decorated w/fondant and royal icing. All manner of really delicious food was brought. Lots of socializing and laughter going on. Some folks were meeting in person for the first time. And yet, it was like 'old home week'. :)
Having walked around all day and that I was driving I had one Abita Amber early and drank water the rest of the night. I ran Julie home and came here and crashed for the night.
Sunday morning, I finally got moving around 10 and drove around to Prytania Street and Seventh and parked my car. I walked about 7 blocks to a restaurant named "Coulis" and had some really upscale French toast. I walked back past my car and up to St. Charles and Jackson Street to wait for the "Divine Ladies" Social Aid & Pleasure Club's Second Line. I had never participated in a proper Sunday Second Line. A small-framed guy in baggy, sport-type clothing was snaking past me and politely whispered, "I have some good weed...?"! LOL! I politely declined.
The Second Line got started and the Hot 8 Brass Band was playing for the Ladies. They were attired in turquoise & white and there were gorgeous giant feathered fans in matching turquoise. The whole mass moved down St. Charles and we were all dancing to the beat. I tried to make sure my purse didn't go astray (finally went 'bandolero' w/it and didn't have to worry about it whacking anyone anymore) and I was trying to capture the Second Line feeling on my camera, but I was dancing, too. One of my friends, Darryl Young, actually teaches an exercise class that is derived from Second Line dancing - I'm so going to take that class in the future!
I had to break out of the happy and gyrating crowd about 6 or 7 blocks in in order to get to the Krewe of Muses theme/design meeting. I could have easily gone on w/the Second Line - it was so neat.
I arrived at Virginia's way cool home on Napoleon right on time. She's one of the founders of the Krewe. There were tea sandwiches and wine and daiquiris aplenty. After everyone arrived, she announced the theme and we broke into brainstorming groups. I am so tickled - lots of folks loved my ideas, and I think at least one of them will end up being a float! :) The theme is still a secret, so I can't divulge my ideas.
From there I went back to J'Anita's to have a late lunch/early dinner of the lamb chops & grits again - this time Craig was in the kitchen and they were divine.
Back at the house, we watched "Treme'" - another stellar episode!
Now, I'm about to go pack up and head back to Houston.
I'm really going to miss being w/in a 5 hour drive of New Orleans...but, I'll be able to see my Boo on a daily basis and I'll put some NOLA in the apartment, so until we can move to New Orleans in the net year, I will happily deal.