Jun 19 2011

I Heart NOLA

I recently had the opportunity to visit New Orleans to attend a trade show for work, and I extended my stay to visit some friends who moved there last year. I didn’t know we could pack so much into one extra day—we spent some time in the French Quarter, rode the streetcar, took in a rooftop view of the city, and visited a local farmers’ market.

On Saturday morning, we biked through downtown and along the riverfront to Cafe Du Monde for breakfast. I hadn’t ridden in years, and the bike provided had seen better days (as my friend put it, the brakes were “more of a suggestion”), but nonetheless the trip went smoothly. And it was the perfect way to start the morning. We wove our way through the runners and tourists along the riverfront and reached the cafe just in time to get a table perfect for people-watching, with a view of artists setting up their wares across Decatur Street. Let me just say that the beignets are golden perfection topped off with mountains of powdered sugar, and it’s probably a good thing I don’t live anywhere near this place. I would go every day. Oh, and the coffee is good, too.

Artists across the stree from Cafe du Monde

One of my favorite parts of the trip was visiting Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District. I love cemeteries, and this one was unlike any I had seen. The tombs rise from the ground to create a city of the dead, and as I walked through the weathered crypts, even in broad daylight, I could see why NOLA has been the inspiration for classic vampire novels.

Tombs in Lafayette Cemetery

One drawback for me was that NOLA is definitely not a vegetarian-friendly city. One restaurant we chose for lunch offered a special made with sausage, but had a “vegetarian option available – with smoked duck.” Oh, yeah. But my hosts had exceptional taste, and we had a fantastic dinner at The Green Goddess where I was introduced to huitlacoche in the form of the restaurant’s “Spooky” Blue Corn Crepes.

My brief stay in NOLA was fun, and the city pulses with energy. I saw interesting architecture, listened to great music, and ate some delicious food. I can’t wait to go back.

A rooftop view of New Orleans