Day 2 in NOLA…Bonjour, Mon Ami!!!
We were up and going again early Saturday. I asked TJ, our concierge, for a recommendation for breakfast and he pointed us to Mena’s Palace which was walking distance from the hotel. Mena’s is one of those little hole in the wall places that if you didn’t know the place first hand, or had been sent by your concierge or you are brave enough to try it on your own, you would just walk right by on your way to a “better” place. The place was crowded, the selections were limited, the service was genuine New Orleans hospitality and the coffee was hot. Mena’s isn’t a diamond in the rough but it is a gem.
Our Morning and Early Afternoon was spent wandering through the streets of the French Quarter. We stopped here and there; an antique book store and a dress shop. We visited a toy store, a candy shop, dozens of touristy type stores as well as the Vieux Carre open air market. We took pictures of the beautiful balconies and hidden courtyards that are the character of New Orleans. We stopped in for something cold to drink at the Gazebo Cafe and listened to a local band play some old favorites by Fats Domino and Louis Armstrong.
As the clouds began to gather for the almost predictable summer afternoon rain shower we headed back to the Acme Oyster House for lunch. This time the wait was only 20 minutes and the time passed quickly as we made new friends while we waited in line. The hostess seated our party of 8 and as we settled in our waitress took our drink order and returned with it promptly. It did not take long for everyone to make their selections and shortly thereafter the order was placed and we all relaxed and took in the atmosphere of the Acme Oyster House.
After lunch we all took off in separate directions. The city has so much too offer and we were running out of time. My husband and I headed down Rue Royale looking for an antique map of Louisiana. We were disappointed to learn that the map shop we were hoping to browse thru had not reopened after Hurricane Katrina. Each antique store we browsed led us to another and still another. Until we ended up at The Historic New Orleans Collection. The Collection is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South region . They ladies were very helpful and showed us several options and we may still find exactly what we are looking for with their help.
As we were heading back to the hotel we stopped in the art studio of Artist Joe Dunn. He is a local gulf coast artist who paints and photographs New Orleans. I was intrigued by several of his pieces. He has an eye for the city and has captured its character and beauty at all times of the day and night. He has photographed the beautiful balconies, the intriguing alleyways and mystery of the streets. However, it was the photograph of the wine cellar at Antoine’s Restaurant that caught our eye. Antoine’s is the oldest restaurant in New Orleans and few people will ever have the privilege of seeing their incredible wine cellar. Joe captured it!! This is the piece we chose and I am looking forward to telling the story behind this photograph and how it came to hang in our home.
The rest of our evening was spent watching my Superbowl Saints dominate my adopted Texans, a quick visit to Harrah’s Casino and a final stop at the Canal Street Sheraton Hotel for a late night snack of warm New Orleans Bread Pudding soaked in vanilla sauce. The rest of our group were out doing the same just at different places and different times. But everyone was out in New Orleans…Eatin’, Shoppin’ and Carry-n-On!!! Merci NOLA!!! Au Revoir!!!