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.
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.
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.
On Saturday, we took Heidi for her first drive-through Daiquiri experience. Then we gave her the “Katrina” tour of the 9th ward.
She was surprised by the amount of devastation still present, even 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.”
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.
There are some quintessential New Orleans sites a visitor has to see – here’s one – The Lucky Dog Stand!!
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.
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.
After dinner, we ventured back into the French Quarter for more sightseeing with Mom and Clay.
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.
It was such a nice ride and our guide, John, was most accommodating.
Here’s a picture of Heidi with the family, in Jackson Square.
We ended the evening with beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Yum!
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…
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.
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.
Here is 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.
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!
Perhaps, dear reader, you will one day be my guest too.
Until next time…