We just got back from four days in New Orleans. It was my first trip there, and it can be summed up with one of our breakfasts. We ate at a place in the French Quarter called Petunia's. It's in a hundred and fifty year old Creole house, and famous for their crepes. When we entered the waiting area, a hostess immediately appears.
"Good morning! Would you guys like a cocktail while you wait?" she chirps. It was 8:30am.
"No thanks", my husband replies. "But can I get a coffee?"
"No." she abruptly answers, slamming her menu shut and returning back to the kitchen.
NOLA was very, very cool. Although cocktails are apparently their breakfast drink of choice, there's much more to the city than most people think. I have never been there before, yet somehow- it has made the very, very short list of places we are considering calling home. Everytime I tell someone this- I get one of 2 reactions. Either someone will say:
"Are you Freaking serious? The crime rate? The hurricanes? The flooding?"
or I'll hear:
"Ooooh- one of the best cities on Earth!"
I'm caught in between. They put us up at a swanky hotel- and had cookies and milk for the kids and cheese for hubby and I in our room when we arrived. The next morning, Matt took off on his interview. I trotted the kids down to the French Quarter for some beignets and chickory coffee, and Annie danced her first of many dances to Dixieland Jazz. The French Quarter does kind of look like the Haunted Mansion stuff at Disneyland (my only reference), but a tad sleazier and with the lingering odor of some hard partying going on the night before.
After porking out on beignets, we boarded a real live steam boat for a two hour cruise down the Mississippi river. I called Annie Huck Finn, and Lucy was Tom Sawyer- and it was so neat to go down the river the same way Mark Twain did when he piloted his own steamship down the very same water. I learned a bunch of cool history, none of which I will bore you with- but it made my Cliff-Clavin heart warm and happy to hear some random facts I can toss to my Dad. I will tell you that a lot of folks are sporting bumper stickers that reference the Louisiana Purchase- they say:
Please France: Buy Us Back.
That evening, the hospital arranged for a babysitter to arrive at our hotel so Matt and I could go to dinner with a few folks. First, we had drinks at someone's house. It was gorgeous- built a hundred years ago, and the only damage it suffered during the hurricane was from the National Guard kicking the door in to look for bodies.
We had dinner uptown, in a cozy little place called La Petite Grocerie. Afterwards, they drove us around. Parts of the city look exactly like San DIego- uptown looks like a cross between Berkeley, San Francisco and Santa Monica. Matt and I were amazed at how much it reminded us of California.
The next day we spent four hours with a realtor, looking at houses. If and when we do live there, we have decided to live in the uptown area. Any home that's lasted there for over a hundred years has a pretty good track record for future storms. One house we looked at was built in 1865, and needed a ton of renovation- but it had 15 foot ceilings and guillotine windows (the coolest!) and marble fireplaces that didn't work and most likely a ghost or two that probably came with the escrow.
So anywhoo... nothing finalized yet- but we're getting close. Stay tuned!