Wednesday, September 01, 2010

new orleans trip

i finally put my pictures from the new orleans trip up on flickr. i mentioned that i was down there for a conference and then stayed a few extra days. so here's what i did.

i arrived on tuesday afternoon and attended a work conference until thursday evening. i was fortunate to have met some really nice people at the conference who i could go out to dinner with. they had vegetarians and a vegan in their group, so i knew we'd get along food-wise and they loved to eat, just like me! we ate really good indian food at nirvana on magazine street on tuesday night and then had vegetarian jambalaya at scarlette o'hara in the french quarter on thursday night. it was awesome to get a good head start on some amazing food!

late thursday evening my sister flew in so we could hang out until sunday. we both were pretty tired over the weekend, but we managed to walk the heck out of new orleans, listen to some wonderful music, and eat, eat, eat.

we ate beignets for breakfast on friday morning at cafe beignet. and for those "in the know," no worries. we did also have them at cafe du monde as a late night snack on our last evening in town. i thought it was great that we could bookend the trip with beignets from 2 different places so i could compare them.

enjoying a beignet
rachel thought they were "okay," which was not enough enthusiasm for my taste. (my sister doesn't really care for sweets too much. are you sure we're related!?)

after filling up with sugar we spent much of the rest of the day just walking around the quarter, eating more yummy food, and listening to bands on almost every corner.

the smoking time jazz club
this was a particularly good band, the smoking time jazz club. i bought a cd of them for the hubby.

local beer + red beans with rice = yumms!
this red beans and rice from a little cafe was amazing!

rain and fleur de lis
ducking into the cafe was a great way to ride out the storm, too.

defending her fried catfish po boy from the pigeons
rachel got to experience a po-boy while she fended off the pigeons pecking her legs.

after taking a little afternoon nap at the hotel, we went out to dinner at an AMAZING african restaurant on royal street. i'm serious folks, if you're anywhere within a 150 mile radius of new orleans, stop in and have their black-eyed pea stew with coconut milk rice. i didn't take any pictures of the meal because i gobbled it down before the thought even occurred to me. they don't have a website, but i'll link here to their facebook page where you can look at their menu*. bennachin, 1212 royal street. seriously, folks, what're you waiting for!?

bellies full, we strolled on down to preservation hall to hear some cool new orleans jazz music.

sitting right up front

preservation hall jazz band

it rained most of saturday, which was a bummer, because there were a bunch of outside festivals and remembrances for the 5th anniversary of katrina that we wanted to go to. i was disappointed that we they canceled them. but we made the best of the day despite the rain. for the first 1/2 of the day we geeked it out by donning rain gear and walking around.

trampsing through the rain

we ate a pretty good new orleans style breakfast at old coffee pot. though the reviews were right in saying that the service is bad, it was rectified by the fact that the elderly waitress sang an off-the-cuff song to a bride-to-be eating at the table next to us.

after walking around for far too long in the rain, we hopped the streetcar and went to the aquarium of the americas. i was a bit worried about it being too crowded, but it wasn't too bad. i had heard the hubby talk about the aquarium for years and i was really pleased with it.

these are happy rays.

shark teeth!
too bad the hubby wasn't here to see the teeth on THIS guy!


after another late afternoon nap, rachel and i ate dinner at another really good restaurant, the green goddess. this place was very "new orleans." i can't really tell you what that means except that it was unique, quirky and had a very different menu. the people were odd and nice and very attentive. and they had lots of veggie and vegan things. i will say that the food was overpriced, but it had a lot of local stuff so i guess it evened out that way.

rachel enjoying her food at green goddess
rachel enjoyed her eggplant stuffed with crab (the proceeds of which, along with my meal, went to help the fishermen in the gulf.)

that night, for our last night on the town, rachel and i went to the house of blues for a tribute concert to treme'. treme' is a historically rich area of the city that got decimated by the storm 5 years ago. there have been multiple documentaries about the city (one of which i watched on pbs earlier in my week down there) and hbo even made a new series about the area of town. so the concert was thrown together to raise money for the make it right foundation (which was started by brad pitt and is tasked with building environmentally friendly, sustainable houses for people in this neighborhood). the concert was amazing. it brought together new orleans artists of all types to rock the house and the people were going crazy. i'm sad to say i don't remember the name of all the musicians, but the people in the crowd sure knew who they were. they were singing along and dancing to almost everything.

erma thomas
erma thomas being a true diva.

rebirth brass band


this guy was awesome. i think he'd had a bit too much to drink and at the end of the concert they couldn't get him off the stage. he kept doing "one more round" after another. hilarious.

carnival man and indian chiefs
the carnival man and the mardi gras indian tribe dancers.

rebirth band and a bunch of dancers tore the roof off the place. after this, all the rest of the singers/musicians came back on the stage for a final song or two or three.

before this trip i had only been to new orleans one other time. it actually was where the hubby and i got engaged. but during that visit i really didn't get the chance to get a feel of the city. so it was really cool to me to be able to tramps around and get to know it a bit more. it also made me get to know my husband's culture a bit more since he grew up going down there quite often as a kid and young adult.

*so when i looked at bennachin's facebook page when i was in new orleans it had their menu posted there. but now the facebook page doesn't have it up there. i'll leave the link just in case they do anything with the site in the future.


Erica said...

I love this so much! It looks like it was a great trip and very new orleansy.

I am sorry that I had to miss it!

I am daydreaming now about a weekend that the 4 of us can go!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your story and photos, Katie. Looks great!

Love you,