Friday, February 13, 2015

Walking in New Orleans - Part 1

We've recently returned from a few days in New Orleans. Holly and our friend Stan ran the Rock and Roll New Orleans Marathon while Dave and Pam (Stan's wife) went on another Race Chase adventure. We spent most of our time in New Orleans touring the French Quarter.

Accommodations: We stayed at the Four Points Sheraton French Quarter, which was on the corner of Bourbon and Toulouse (aka Party Central). Upon arrival we realized we were the oldest guests by decades and likely the only guests with less than 7 people sharing a room. We imagined revelers would be disturbing our sleep before marathon morning. Surprisingly the rooms were very quiet (we booked courtyard view vs. street view rooms). Fun fact: The hotel was the first opera house ever in America, built in 1859. The Four Points had a restaurant and a bar with cheap drink prices. The location worked out very well for us and we'd stay there again.


We were all checked-in by 6:30 and ventured out onto Bourbon Street. We decided we needed food sooner-than-later and browsed menus along the way. Not finding anything of interest we ducked into the courtyard bar of Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop to formulate a plan. The bartender suggested that if we were looking for cajun food we should go to Coop's Place. We checked the menu on our phone and decided we should make the several block trip. We poured our beers in to-go cups (a NOLA perk we didn't take advantage of enough) and headed to Decatur.

Coop's had a line out the door. Being impatient folks, we opted to backtrack a block or so to The French Market Restaurant. The location has been an eating establishment since way before the Jackson Administration and specialized in oysters and seafood boils. We had some excellent food including shrimp and grits, gumbo, and pasta jambalaya. Dave had his first new beer of the trip: Andy Gator from Abita.
We decided to pop into Margaritaville since we were so close. We walked into the bar section that had a country guitarist playing to one patron. Bicycle Jones was playing a heavy set of Garth Brooks (thanks Stan for cluing us in) that was actually very pleasant. We enjoyed his voice and his between-song banter. Drinks were cheap for nighttime happy hour so we stayed for two rounds and enjoyed the quality entertainment.
We could not let the night end without a visit to Pat O'Briens. It's the famous bar that serves many hurricanes. The line for the piano bar was out the door (and out the door to the street) so we opted for the chilly patio. We switched tables a few times during the evening to try to keep warm via heat lamps. We all got Hurricanes and spent the rest of the evening talking, catching up, and trying to keep warm.

Just a comment on the temperature: All four of us live in Illinois. If we were at home the 45 degrees would not be a big deal. However, low temperatures in the south always chill us. We hypothesize it's the moister air.

We left Pat O'Brien's late (for us) and took the short walk back to the hotel. 

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