Jazz and Voodoo

There is live music on the street at all hours of the day, food, food, food, and t-shirts as far as the eye can see, usually 5 for $20. Best one so far – “Shuck me, suck me, eat me raw.” With the logo of a New Orleans oyster bar.
A fellow Scrabble widow and I toured the St. Louis cemetery yesterday. This is the tomb of Marie Laveau, reputed to be a voodoo priestess.
People leave offerings year-round, although our guide claims that at the “high holidays” the offerings often form a much, much bigger pile. Yesterday, the offerings included everything from roses and candles to a half-eaten apple and a calculator.

Just for Dina

small gator
This afternoon we saw many alligators, and held a wee, foot-long gator in our hands.
This evening, I ate alligator in a creole sauce. And no, it does not taste like chicken. More like beef. I also had crawfish etouffee, which was really, really good.
We broke down and went for a buggy ride, which was a lot of fun – but we did do the $10 group ride, rather than spring for the whole shebang. Our mule’s name was J-Lo, because, as Colin the Driver explained, she has a fat ass. Nice.
Now we’re off to the Lobby Bar, to check out the competition. The National Scrabble tournament starts on Sunday, with registration tomorrow, so the lobby is currently filled with Scrabblers. Wheeeee.

Day 2

Field report with more pictures
Yesterday, we walked all over the Quarter. We lunched on muffelattas at Napoleon House, walked the length of Bourbon Street, and shopped at the Riverwalk Centre.
We were disappointed to learn that the buggy rides are not $10, but in fact $50, which is way more expensive than the Montreal caleches. The $10 ride was per person, and required either a large party or a wait while the driver recruited six other passengers. So we passed.
We returned to the hotel, weary of foot and sweaty of body, showered and lounged for a while, then made our way to Bayona for a mouth-watering romantic dinner. I had peppered lamb with goat cheese, while Dr. T. had a wild mushroom quiche. Dessert was homemade white grasshopper pie ice cream, which should be x-rated.
Over dinner we managed to consume a cocktail each, a shared half-bottle of pinot noir, and a digestif. So we were already pretty tipsy by the time we got to Bourbon Street, which is a totally different place after dark. We bought a pair of hurricanes, and staggered back to the hotel somehow.
Yada, yada, yada.
Now we’re off to tour the swamps.

N’awlins, Day 1

Report of activities, with pictures
I’ve been wandering around the Quarter while Dr. T sleeps in – we’re off to lunch at Napoleon’s now. Hot, hot, hot so far, with a predictable spot of rain that didn’t do a thing for the humidity. On the plus side, my hair is doing nice things.
Oh, and according to the road crew on Decatur Street, I’m lookin’ fine, baby.
Dr. T, meanwhile, has just encountered the massive, well-lit hotel bathroom mirror, and isn’t sure which is worse – discovering that he has noticeable nose hair, or that it’s gray.

Yes, there was more catfish

Strolled along Canal Street to the river.
Got on a genuine steamboat, cruised the mighty Mississip for a couple of hours, eating good food, having a beer or two, and drinking in the Dukes of Dixieland.
As Dr. T observed, this may only be the touristy New Orleans, but it feels damn good.

The Big Easy

Nous voila.
We’re in New Orleans, praising the gods of technology and cursing the checkin person at P.E.T. this morning, who gave us misinformation that made us way too close to late for the connecting flight at Pearson.
Impressions so far (after two hours) – kickass cocktail sauce, and melt-in-your-mouth catfish at the restaurant around the corner from the hotel… lush greenery juxtaposed against industrial steel roadways… a certain seedy sultry feeling, in the architecture, the heat, the abandoned buildings not a block from our fancy-schmancy hotel…
More later, with pictures.