A Visit to New Orleans

Jackson Square
Washboard Chaz Blues Trio

Kem had business to do in New Orleans that lasted most of the week after Thanksgiving. Seemed like it would make a great time to meet up with her at the end of the week and take in the sights in New Orleans. Hadn’t been there for years and when I had, it was certainly long before Katrina created havoc there in 2005.

For me, going to New Orleans is largely about the food, the music and finding interesting art and galleries. We found plenty of all of that. On Friday, we ended up going to dinner at Coop’s Place. It came recommeded. Billed as ‘Where the not so elite meet to eat’ by Zagat, it’s not a fancy place but has New Orleans staples like Jambalaya and Gumbo. I had the ‘Jambalaya Supreme‘. Tasty. The place was definitely popular. We probably had a 20 min+ wait, queued up outdoors with several other people. From there it was a short walk back over to Frenchman Street. Multiple locals had steered us over to this area and we found music up and down the street. We’d originally attempted to do dinner at the Three Muses but a band was about to start and the place was jammed. But we headed back over that way after dinner at Coop’s. We pulled in first to “d.b.a” and listened to a little of The Hot Club of New Orleans. These guys do swing music. Fun to listen to but they were just finishing their set and it didn’t last long. So, we wandered right across the street to The Spotted Cat Music Club. Here we found the Washboard Chaz Blues Trio playing. Click thru to listen to some music. We stuck around there for awhile. You can see a picture of the trio in the photos here.

On Saturday, we tooled around the French Quarter on a couple cruiser bikes the B&B we were staying at allowed us to borrow. It’s a great way to get around the Quarter. First stop was Jackson Square. That’s me in the pic at the park at Jackson Square with St Louis cathedral in the background. We locked the bikes and wandered around the square. There are artists that show their stuff all around the square.

Ordinarily it’s fun to stop in to Cafe Du Monde for some coffee and beignets when you’re at Jackson Square but the line of people waiting was outrageous. Instead, we found a really great alternative on Royal street at Cafe Beignet. The nice thing here was there was a cello player that had found a spot on the sidewalk just outside the cafe and he was really pretty good.

For several hours after that, we wandered up and down the streets of the Quarter but spent most of our time on Royal Street. There are lots of galleries to pull into on Royal. All kinds. Painting, photography, sculpture… all kinds of stuff. Kem found a framed photo she liked and while we looked around at other places that day, we eventually returned on Sunday to get it.

After wandering around for a few hours, we had been told about an interesting wine shop and also a BBQ place out in Bywater. So, we mounted the cruisers and took the bikes for a longer ride out to there. The wine shop, Bacchanal, was having a wine tasting at 3 and we were a little early for that so we went up the street a couple blocks and hit the BBQ place called the Joint. Totally a hole in the wall. For 2:15 in the afternoon, the place was still jammed though. Obviously popular. I’d hoped to try the brisket but unfortunately they were out of that. So I got the pulled pork and ribs. Wow! Fantastic BBQ. Check this place out if you get to New Orleans. We did eventually get back to the wine tasting. Nice folks and casual place. They had the LSU game on at the tasting.

As Kem said, we were eating our way across New Orleans and we weren’t finished. Later that evening the BBQ was wearing off and we couldn’t help seeking out another recommended place called The Green Goddess. This place was down a little alley and had some very funky choices. Honestly, we weren’t terribly hungry, so we just opted for the chef’s choice cheese board and I got the ‘wedge salad’. Interesting cheeses, and some good wine choices to go along. The salad – with green goddess dressing of course – was excellent. (We liked this place so much we went back again for lunch the next day.)

The next day we spent more time on the bikes and headed toward Audubon park. Kind of a long trek out there on cruiser bikes but it was still a fun way to spend the time. Later we pulled into a very cool gallery called the Big Bunny Fine Art gallery. The artist there, Steve Lohman, was a really personable guy and he chatted with us for awhile. He does some fairly large sized metal/wire sculptures. But, he’ll also do similar sculptures just using copper wire. We especially liked the one he did of the ‘bike lady‘ and he offered to do both a man and a woman on bikes. He did them in about 30 minutes! Both small enough to go in a cigar box and with us back on the plane.

Awesome BBQ at The Joint