My Cousin’s Visit to New Orleans – June 18-23, 2009


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6-21-09 Jackson Square at sunset

6-21-09 Jackson Square, New Orleans at Sunset

Friends:

My cousin, Heidi, flew in from Arizona on Thursday, June 18, 2009. I haven’t seen her in 30 years so it was a momentous occasion. After picking her, we took her to Zea for dinner and then she saw the rest of the family – my mom, Clay, my brother, and his children.

6-19-09 My cousin, Heidi

6-19-09 My cousin, Heidi

She settled into her roomwhere I had fresh flowers, a candle, and a welcome basket waiting for her. Her bed was turned down every night with chocolates on the pillow and made up every morning. There was fresh coffee and continental breakfast in the morning.

6-18-09 The guest room for Heidi

6-18-09 The guest room for Heidi

On Friday, she had lunch with another friend. That evening, we went to my mom’s house for a Filipino Fiesta! Mom made lumpia, fried rice, pancit, chicken adobo, and pork adobo.

6-19-09 Filipino Fiesta! Ma sarap - talaga!

6-19-09 Filipino Fiesta! Ma sarap - talaga!

On Saturday, we took Heidi for her first drive-through Daiquiri experience. Then we gave her the “Katrina” tour of the 9th ward.

6-20-09 Flood Street intersecting Dorgenois in the 9th Ward, where my seamstress, Michelle, used to live

6-20-09 Flood Street intersecting Dorgenois in the 9th Ward, where my seamstress, Michelle, used to live

She was surprised by the amount of devastation still present, even 4 years later.

6-20-09 The 9th ward, still devastated 4 years later

6-20-09 The 9th ward, still devastated 4 years later

There was some significant rebuilding, most notably, the Make It Right homes spearheaded by Brad Pitt. The houses are eco-friendly, hurricane friendlier, and made from recycled and reused materials. While beautiful, they are oddities in the neighborhood because their architecture is not “New Orleans.”

6-20-09 Make it Right House

6-20-09 Make it Right House

After touring the 9th Ward, it was time to hit the town. I planned dinner at Muriel’s on Jackson Square and a night on Bourbon Street. Every first time visitor to New Orleans has to experience Bourbon at least once.

6-20-09 Tropical Isle on Bourbon Street, home of the famous Hand Grenade

6-20-09 Tropical Isle on Bourbon Street, home of the famous Hand Grenade

There are some quintessential New Orleans sites a visitor has to see – here’s one – The Lucky Dog Stand!!

6-20-09 Lucky Dog Cart

We stayed at the Hotel St. Ann Marie Antoinette on Conti Street, a half block from Bourbon. The building was old and the air conditioning did not work properly but the hotel staff (Thank you, Lloyd) took care of us. Here is a picture of Heidi and I before dinner at Muriel’s.

6-20-09 Dianne & Heidi going to Muriel's for dinner

6-20-09 Dianne & Heidi going to Muriel's for dinner

Sunday was Father’s Day so we spent the day with my family. For breakfast, we ate at Carlos Mencia’s Suave restaurant. It was delicioso! Later, we met Mom and the krewe at Outback Steakhouse for Father’s Day dinner.

6-21-09 Heidi with my stepdad, Clay (left) and my brother,  Gary (right)

6-21-09 Heidi with my stepdad, Clay (left) and my brother, Gary (right)

After dinner, we ventured back into the French Quarter for more sightseeing with Mom and Clay.

6-21-09 Heidi in front of Jackson Square

6-21-09 Heidi in front of Jackson Square

Heidi oohed and ahhed over the architecture the day before, so I decided that we should go on a carriage ride through the Quarter. I took this next picture from the carriage – the statue of Joan of Arc, donated to New Orleans from our sister city of Orleans, France.

6-21-09 Joan of Arc Statue on Decatur Street

6-21-09 Joan of Arc Statue on Decatur Street

It was such a nice ride and our guide, John, was most accommodating.

6-21-09 Eliana with Ada the Mule from our carriage ride

6-21-09 Eliana with Ada the Mule from our carriage ride

Here’s a picture of Heidi with the family, in Jackson Square.

6-21-09 Clay, Mom, Eliana, Soleil and Heidi in the back

6-21-09 Clay, Mom, Eliana, Soleil and Heidi in the back

We ended the evening with beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Yum!

6-21-09 Cafe' Du Monde - Beignets & Cafe Ole'!

6-21-09 Cafe' Du Monde - Beignets & Cafe Ole'!

On Monday, we ate lunch at Grand Isle Restaurant on Fulton Street. It was a fabulous meal. Heidi had shrimp remoulade over fried green tomatoes. We stopped at the Piazza di Italia for a Kodak moment…

6-22-09 Eliana & Dianne at the gorgeous Piazza di Italia

6-22-09 Eliana & Dianne at the gorgeous Piazza di Italia

While Heidi had a meeting with a client, I took Eliana to the Louisiana Children’s Museum. You can see Eliana’s pictures on her blog, ElianaCooks.com. Then we took Heidi on a tour of the Garden District, riding down the historic St. Charles Avenue.

6-22-09 St. Charles Streetcar

6-22-09 St. Charles Streetcar

Heidi was amazed that two such different universities (Loyola and Tulane) stood beside each other. That’s New Orleans – everyone is a neighbor. Everyone is a friend.

6-22-09 Loyola University on St. Charles Avenue

6-22-09 Loyola University on St. Charles Avenue

Here is Heidi in front of a classic New Orleans shotgun house.

6-22-09 Heidi in front of a classic New Orleans shotgun house

6-22-09 Heidi in front of a classic New Orleans shotgun house

On Monday night, we ate at my mom’s for some New Orleans classics – jambalaya, red beans & rice, crawfish & corn bisque, blackened chicken pasta, shrimp pasta, french bread, and bananas foster.

6-22-09 Louisiana Feast

6-22-09 Louisiana Feast

So in Heidi’s four days in New Orleans, this is what she did:

1. Toured the French Quarter

2. Ate a shrimp po boy

2. Rode a carriage through the Quarter

3. Ate beignets at Cafe’ Du Monde

4. Saw Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral

5. Saw the famous “Cities of the Dead” cemeteries

6. Rode down St. Charles Avenue

7. Saw the St. Charles streetcar

8. Ate jambalaya, red beans & rice, crawfish & corn bisque, blackened chicken pasta, shrimp pasta, french bread, bananas foster and creole cream cheese icecream (all in one meal!)

9. Ate gumbo

10. Saw the Piazza di Italia

11. Saw the line at Mother’s (and decided not to eat there!) LOL

12. Experienced Bourbon Street

13. Toured the Katrina-devastated 9th Ward

14. Saw the Mississippi River and the Creole Queen, a paddle wheel boat

15. Ate at Muriel’s on Jackson Square

And in between all that, she hung out with my fabulous family! Heidi, I hope you had a good time, despite needing gills to breathe in our sultry city. Laissez les bon temps rouler – let the good times roll! Hugs, Heidi!

6-23-09 Heidi at the New Orleans Airport on her last morning in New Orleans. Farewell, Heidi!

6-23-09 Heidi at the New Orleans Airport on her last morning in New Orleans. Farewell, Heidi!

Perhaps, dear reader, you will one day be my guest too.

Until next time…

Warmly, Dianne