Thursday, March 6, 2008


Here is one of my favorite snapshots from New Orleans. It was a sidewalk sign outside a cafe. It's no secret that they love them some fattening food in the south.

OK, so this little lunch spot we happened upon while taking a walk through the Garden District.

The trolley stopped at the end of it's line, and we got off and walked a few blocks before finding Ignatius Eatery (4200 Magazine St., 504-896-2225). I'm not sure if it's considered in the Garden District or not, but it was in that general area though. It had the BEST roast beef Po' Boy sandwich... probably in the entire world! To this day, I think of it and my mouth waters. The bread in NOLA is awesome - that crispy, paper thin crust and delicate chewy inside - and then it just simply had fall apart gooey lean roast beef, pickles, lettuce and mayo. It was probably the best sandwich I have ever had in my entire life. The guy taking the order said, "This sandwich is rad - you'll love it."  And he was right.  

After a lot of walking around in pretty warm weather, the first thing we ordered was a cold beer, for Theo, and a white wine spritzer for me. And the baby had milk :) 

There it is. The Sandwich.

Theo had gumbo, which was also pretty awesome. 

Their shelves were lined with pretty displays of hot sauces and traditional southern spices. It made for some pretty pictures.


This is a shot of the street it was on.

A guy commented to my husband recently about how nasty he thought New Orleans was. They had a conference there last year and he was apparently not impressed. But I wondered, what did he do while he was there? Did he troll Bourbon Street at night in his spare time and hang out at strip clubs? I mean, because if that's all you do, then yes... it's nasty. Not that the French Quarter is bad... it isn't. I think it's beautiful in fact, and we walk around for hours in the FQ everyday when we're there. There is so much more to New Orleans than just Bourbon Street and sitting in a bar getting drunk. And the section of Bourbon that's "nasty" is really only about 3 blocks long. Every city has it's seedy neighborhoods. Why do people give so much attention to the ones in New Orleans? Don't go into the bad neighborhoods and you'll be fine (that statement applies to pretty much everywhere in the world). The French Quarter neighborhood is actually a good place to explore. And for those who enjoy a good cocktail - aka, ME - you can find lots of decent and interesting places to wet your whistle.

They have lots of boutiques and antiques and art galleries. There are so many outstanding restaurants in New Orleans I can't even begin to tell you. Many neighborhoods in the city are just beautiful, and a great way to spend an afternoon is to simply walk through one of them. Check with your hotel concierge, they can give you a walking map that will not only keep you in safe areas, but will allow you to see the best places. I haven't done a cemetery tour (don't go alone, always go with a professional tour guide) but I hear they are really interesting because of the stories behind some of the people buried there, as well as their unique above ground crypts. 

So, get your ass off of that smelly bar stool and take a walk. Hop on the trolley. Make a dinner reservation.

I also highly recommend - and I know this will sound very touristy but just trust me - go on a swamp tour. And if you do, it must be one that goes into the Honey Island forrest (I think that's what they called it?) with all the cypress-tupelo trees that have the moss hanging off of them. It's just stunning.

We saw the neighborhoods damaged by hurricane Katrina about 6 months after the storm hit. Although they are now rebuilding, back then it was almost completely deserted and looked as if a bomb had been dropped. I've never seen anything like it. It's something that will stick with me forever, and it really makes you appreciate the good people of New Orleans. The person bringing you a bowl of gumbo is probably someone who spent a day or two on their roof, and lost everything. Our friendly bartender at Bubba Gump Shrimp was, so was the charismatic young man serving oysters to Theo at the oyster bar .