Sunday, June 19, 2011

New Orleans Adventures

Work called me to New Orleans, LA recently, and since it's not often (read: ever) that I get to fly to Louisiana, Lennie and I jumped at the opportunity to take a long weekend and explore a new area. Although it was a long journey to get there (thanks to a 5 hour delay in Denver), I arrived to sticky, humid weather in New Orleans at 3:30 Friday morning. Tired and ready to be done with my 24 hour day (which was not enhanced by my harrowing cab ride!), I checked into the Hotel Intercontinental in downtown New Orleans. Once again, I got a great deal on a very nice hotel room from Even though the bed was super comfortable, sleep came slowly and I finally drifted off around 5 in the morning. Lennie was traveling on mileage, and arrived around 10 on Friday morning.

After sleeping off our jet lag, we strolled down to the waterfront for our first true taste of New Orleans. We enjoyed our first deep fried meal of the long weekend, complete with a delectable shrimp po' boy and the largest salad that I have seen in quite some time. After exploring a little more, we decided to enjoy the rooftop pool at the hotel. (It turns out that Seattleites like ourselves don't really do well with the heat and humidity!)

On Friday night, we decided to walk the few blocks over to Bourbon Street for dinner and some jazz. Thank goodness that we stopped and talked with the concierge before we went over there -- he gave us some sage advice as well as forewarned us that this was not an experience for everyone. Boy, was he right! After enjoying another great meal on the edges of Bourbon Street, we toured the Friday night scene in the heart of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. I suspect that anyone who walked past us could quickly see the wonder in our eyes, for the few blocks that we walked were completely In-describable; it was definitely not in our comfort zone. Fortunately, our concierge pal told us to check out Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Not only did we get a front row seat for some great jazz, it was the laid back atmosphere that we were looking for!

Saturday was a super tourist day for us; we took a 3+ hour city tour, where we we got to see the French Quarter, the 9th Ward, the Garden District, and more. I always like taking a city tour because it gives a great overview of the city -- helping you hit the highlights and identify areas where you'd like to explore even more. Part of the city tour took us through the 9th Ward, which was one of the areas hit hardest by hurricane Katrina. It's hard to believe that that was almost ten years ago now... the devastation left behind by the storm is still very evident, and it broke my heart to see neighborhoods torn apart. Living so far away from New Orleans, it's easy to forget the impact of Hurricane Katrina; however, it is clear to me that we all need to remember that they are still living in the aftermath of the horrific storm, and we should lend a helping hand whenever we can.
Above ground graves at a city cemetery.
Beignets at Cafe du Monde. (Warning: a very messy food!)

On Sunday, we had the opportunity to take a swamp tour. I never would have thought that I'd say that a swamp was beautiful, but this was definitely a highlight of our trip. The greenery was breathtaking, and getting out of the city was exactly what we needed. Lennie and I definitely enjoyed every minute of this tour, and I would highly recommend that you go on one if you ever get the opportunity to do so!
Sitting in the swamp... the green at the bottom of the picture is actually  small plants in the water.
Baiting the alligators to get them closer to the boat. (Yikes!)

Monday brought the reality that Lennie was leaving the fair city of New Orleans, and I had to prepare to work at the trade show. We had a relaxing morning and got to enjoy lunch together before Lennie boarded the bus to the airport and I began setting up for the show.

I'm very grateful that we got to spend the weekend together in New Orleans, and I definitely think that it's a city that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime; it's quite the experience! Check out some of our photos from the weekend here.


Folly Blaine said...

Sounds like a great trip! I missed out on the swamp tour when I was there and I'm still a little sad about it. But then it is a good reason to go back. :)

KermitFan said...

The swamp tour was definitely a highlight for us -- I highly recommend it if you go to New Orleans! :)