I'm in love with the City of New Orleans....

Mike and I traveled to New Orleans last week to celebrate the wedding of our friends Matt and Kimberly. The weather was nice and balmy, and the city welcomed us with open arms. Mike and I took the first flight out of RDU at 6am to arrive in NOLA by about 9:30 in the morning on Thursday. First observation - the airport in New Orleans was empty. The place was like a ghost town. Even though it was early, our taxi driver informed us that we were only his second run of the day. Before Katrina, we would have been his 15th or 20th. We made our way to the Hotel Chateau Dupre, our hotel for the stay. We booked a combo hotel/air package on expedia, and it made the hotel only about $80/night. It was not extravagant by any means, but it was fine for us. We didn't plan on spending too much time in the room anyway.

As soon as we dropped our bags, we headed directly for Cafe du Monde, right down the street from the hotel. We grabbed a table and shared a plate of beignets and each had a cafe au lait. If you haven't had a beignet before, just think funnel cake :-)


After that, Mike and I spent the afternoon wandering all through the quarter. We went to art galleries, thrift stores and upscale clothing stores. Everyone was amazingly friendly and chatty - we had a great time on our explorations. We also had to hit a few requisite places along the way. About noon, we went to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop and each had a Pimms. I hadn't had Pimms since I was at Oxford, so that was a welcome treat. We sat in the window at the best table in the place. We watched the people go by and enjoyed the treat of a cool breeze.

Mike enjoying the French Quarter

Reflecting at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop

That evening, after the rest of our crew arrived at the hotel, we all got dressed up and grabbed a drink prior to the rehearsal dinner. We stopped by a local brewery and had a decent $8 beer.

The Duke Boys: Mike, Dave, Stefan and Brendan

Mike and I

After that, off to the rehearsal dinner - I didn't take any pics AT the dinner, but it was fantastic. We made some great new friends and enjoyed all the toasts and cheers to the couple. I know some people get bored with the various toasts, but I always find it moving and entertaining hearing from other people's perspectives about the couple. As none of us were ready to call it a night after the dinner, we went back to the hotel and changed to go out. It was recommended we check out a place on Frenchman Street called "d.b.a.", so we took the advice. AMAZING. The live music was beyond great.

Live music at d.b.a.

We headed out of there after 2am I think, and we crashed out for the evening. Well, I take that back - one brave group headed to Bourbon Street in search of food. Mike and I went to sleep! Next day, we were up and ready to wander some more. Brendan found a place called Petunia's that is supposed to have a great brunch/breakfast. We found the place and actually waited in line outside to get in, but it was well worth it. Saucy waiters (I ordered has browns with my omelette and the waiter told me no - I said please - he said no - I got no hashbrowns, and thankfully. The portion was so huge, I wouldn't have been able to touch the hashbrowns.)

Waiting for a table at Petunia's

After breakfast, more wandering. We went here and there, but the best stop was the hat store. I found THE hat. Oh, I love this hat. I had people stop me on the street and compliment me on this hat. I love you, awesome hat :-)


We of course had to make a stop at Pat O'Brien's for Hurricanes. Yumm.

Mike's Hurricane

After that, we took a breather for a bit as the big wedding was coming up that evening. Everyone rested for a while, then we got dressed up for the wedding.

Enjoying the wedding

The wedding was lovely, the reception was lovely, and we had a great time.

The full group of Duke boys (L to R):
Brendan, Dan, Dave, Matt, Mike and Stefan

The lovely couple, Matt and Kimberly

Leaving the reception at the New Orleans Country Club!

After we all made it back to the hotels, it was time to start the after party. Someone recommended taking over a table at the W Hotel's courtyard, so that's what we did. We brought drinks and snacks, and we hung out for a decent amount of time.

At the W (thanks for the photo, Winter!)

Several folks were ready to crash out after that, but many of us were not. So, we rallied the troops and headed off to Bourbon Street. I was having so much fun walking around and talking with friends that I didn't capture too much on film. But I did get a few things.

My other new hat and my new friend Megan

I think we finally made it back to the hotel about 3am. It was a loooooong evening. Mike and I promptly collapsed in bed, only to wake up the next morning to find Mike with the hangover from hell. Poor guy - it was the damn "Hand Grenade" at the end of the night that did him in. Dan, Brendan, Dave, Stefan and I headed off to breakfast and sadly left Mike behind to sleep a bit more and gain his strength. We put together a community doggy bag breakfast for him, but he wanted nothing to do with it when we presented it to him. Understandably so. We ended up spending a few hours just doing this:

High School Musical, Glengarry Glenross and Hilton songs - lovely

Eventually we roused ourselves to enjoy our last day in NOLA. We all jumped on the ferry to go over to Algiers, LA. It's a free boat trip, and the wind is welcome when dealing with hot New Orleans air. "Mardi Gras World" is in Algiers, and we sought it out. We found it, but they charge $17.95 admission. No thank you. We got popsicles instead and walked back to the boat.

Entrance to Mardi Gras World

By that time, Mike, Dave and I had to head to the airport. We said our goodbyes and left the city. It was a FANTASTIC trip. We met new people, we got to spend quality time with friends we hadn't seen in too long, and like so many weddings, we received a good dose of reaffirmation in love. It was a great 2.5 days - it seemed like a week. I am seriously in love with this city, and I look forward to going back as soon as possible!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My favorite part of that was the "moderate prices" on the "topless/bottomless dancers" sign. You know, for the perv on a budget. ;)