New Orleans

About three weeks ago, my husband and I took advantage of the kindness of grandparents and left our children for three days while we took a just-us vacation. We went to New Orleans–chosen partly because we both love France, and New Orleans was the closest we can afford to get to France right now!

We had a great time. Our itinerary included eating lots of good food, walking around a lot, drinking gallons of water (it was HOT, even without sweaty children to tote), and listening to some jazz. Since we didn’t need to worry about babysitters while there, we also took advantage of the opportunity to (finally–we were afraid it would already be out of theaters) see the new Star Trek movie (very enjoyable, assuming you like Star Trek).

Here are a few pictures and highlights of the trip:

  • Walking around the French Quarter:
Cathedral of St. Louis

Cathedral of St. Louis

Jazz band playing just outside the cathedral.

Jazz band playing just outside the cathedral.

  • Walking around the Garden District, deciding which houses we would like to live in if one of us could right bestselling novels ala J.K. Rowling (and, as an aside, if you haven’t already heard this story, you should go check it out):

    This seemed like a decent place.

    This seemed like a decent place.

  • Eating at some fun restaurants. We had a fancy dinner at this place:
    Court of Two Sisters Restaurant

    Court of Two Sisters Restaurant

    but also enjoyed visiting Cochon and Butcher, two restaurants owned by the same person, the first one fancy, the second more of a sandwich shop (although an upscale sandwich shop). They were recommended by our guidebook, and definitely worthwhile (assuming, in this case, that you aren’t vegetarian). I particularly enjoyed Cochon because we were seated at a bar area that looked into the kitchen, so it was like dinner and a show all at once. Also, we stated from the get-go that we were just ordering appetizers and salads, but we were still welcomed and served extremely gracefully and graciously. I didn’t think to get pictures of either Cochon or Butcher (we ate there twice!), but I would definitely recommend them to anyone visiting New Orleans. One other benefit, for us, was that they were closer to our hotel (in the Warehouse District) than most of the places we visited.

  • Riding the streetcars:

    St. Charles line streetcar--came right by our hotel!

    St. Charles line streetcar–came right by our hotel!

  • Seeing, and getting out on the Mississippi:
    Looking out toward the Mississippi Bridge

    Looking out toward the Mississippi Bridge

    Taking advantage of the free ferry to see the French Quarter from the water.

    Taking advantage of the free ferry to see the French Quarter from the water.

  • Of course, a quintessential New Orleans breakfast at Café du Monde (this was also an activity we repeated!):

    Beignets and café au lait!

    Beignets and café au lait!

  • Following our particular traveling agendas:
    If you travel with my husband, you look for organs...

    If you travel with my husband, you look for organs…

    ...and if you travel with me, you look for libraries.

    …and if you travel with me, you look for libraries.

  • Discovering a neat independent bookstore in rooms that Faulkner used to rent, down an alley that’s literally just next to the Cathedral (no picture, sadly).
  • And, finally, staying in a hotel that has a parrot in the lobby:
    Parrot!

    Parrot!

    The Hotel Modern was really very nice–and we appreciated finding a deal on the Visit New Orleans website. We had two complaints: the housekeeping service was a little spotty (they only came in to clean the room if we put the sign out, and forgot some things like refilling the shower gel container or putting bags in the trash can) and I found the bed uncomfortable, even for a hotel bed. However, the overall cleanliness of the hotel was just fine, the service was exceptional (which more than made up for the housekeeping–we could just call and ask for anything we needed changed/fixed/added), and we liked the fact that we weren’t right in the middle of the Quarter. They had an in-house restaurant, which was also very nice–we just had dessert there one evening, but it was fantastic. I would stay there again if it looked like we were returning to New Orleans anytime soon!

It was a really fun time, and just the right length for our first trip-without-kids (we went from a Wednesday afternoon through a Saturday evening, and by Saturday, we were both ready to get back to the kids). We don’t have any plans to return to New Orleans soon, but we had a lovely introduction to the Crescent City. Who knows, maybe when our kids are grown, we’ll head back that way again.