New Orleans, day 1

Hello from New Orleans! So far, I am having an amazing time (except for the jetlag, which is leading me to write this post as I lie awake at 3:30 am – boo!). I’m visiting with K and S, two friends of mine who live a few hours away and are here for a few days too. I’m here until Sunday, when I fly to Dallas for my conference.

Yesterday was a day of food, wandering around in the French Quarter, sunshine (and sunburn, to my shame!), music, and chilling out. We started by heading to Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee. Upon finding that the line at the main cafe stretched almost to their second cafe, we wandered down the river front to that second cafe and bought them there, eating them on a bench by the river.

The Mississippi, New Orleans

Full of delicious sweet fatty food and coffee, we wandered around the Quarter for a while. The French Quarter is where most tourists go in New Orleans, which is fair enough since it’s full of shops and bars and pretty buildings like this:

One thing these photos don’t show is the smell — everywhere you go you get whiffs of either delicious food or flowers or stinky garbage/urine/stale beer. I can only imagine how much more everything would smell in summer!

After our wander, we settled in Jackson Square to read and draw and relax. The view looked a bit like

The statue is of Andrew Jackson, who in 1812 led the American forces against the British in the Battle of New Orleans and won quite decisively — 5000 American soldiers beat 7500 British soldiers, with only 13 american casualties. Unfortunately, he was also pro slavery and ethnic cleansing of native americans. So, not exactly a great guy all around, but a pretty good miltary commander.

After a bit more wandering around and some very sweet lemonade that I had to dilute, we headed out to Elizbeth’s in Bywater for delicious, delicious dinner. I had the liver with onions, which was simple, and simply amazing. (It was also huge and I still have half of it in a takeaway container in my hotel room fridge — by the time I finish it all off, I’ll never have iron deficiency ever again!)

After that, we went back to the Quarter and after an epic quest for parking we made it to Preservation Hall for some live music. The venue is great — it really is just a hall that hasn’t changed much at all in the past decades, with a stage at the front and not much else. No bar, no bathroom facilities, just a hall. It’s quite dark and they don’t allow flash photography, so it’s a bit hard to show what it’s like, but if you ignore the bluriness, it’s like

All in all, a fun day (except perhaps for the sunburn). I’m glad I’m staying out in the Garden District so that I can see a different side to New Orleans, too, but the Quarter is definitely worth spending some time in.


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