For young people, looking to party? Great place!
But, I am older now and prefer to drink in the privacy of my home. I don't like crowds and I don't like touristy areas. So, New Orleans is not the place for us.
We thought we would be here during a slow season, but ...
1. We were here over New Year's. New Orleans was rated the #1 place to be for New Year's Eve.
2. After New Year's came the Sugar bowl. How was I to know? I don't follow football.
3. THEN, after Sugar Bowl was the college game of Louisiana Saints against Alabama Crimson Tide.
So the campground has been busy off & on with lots of purple and tigers everywhere.
NEW ORLEANS: On Tues, 1/3/12 we took the Algier's Ferry into New Orleans. That's the way to go. Free for passengers, $1. for cars. So, why take the car into New Orleans and try to find parking?
First thing we noticed were how small the streets are. We expected a wide avenue to enable all the Mardi Gras celebrations. Bourbon St. is just a narrow long street, overcrowded with bars, touristy stuff, strip clubs, prostitutes. Many clubs had live music which was a tempting draw. Great for people watching if you can stand the crowds.
2nd thing we noticed was all the tour guide shops. They try to look like they are a New Orleans Tourist Info center when really, they are just pushy salesman trying to take you on a tour. We did find a very nice Nat'l Forest info center in town. There, they had a free street map, history of New Orleans, a movie about the Mississippi River, etc.
3rd was all the restaurants claiming authentic creole cuisine & New Orleans Pecan Pralines. Just too overwhelming. Couldn't tell which would be a good place to eat or which was just hype. As far as Pralines, I'm not impressed, especially at $2.49 per praline.
We did try to go to CAFE DU MONDE for the famous beignets, but there was a line around the corner. Not worth it for fried bread.
They had horse drawn carriage rides around town for $15.00 each. I heard quite a few people saying it was a great tour. I'm just not comfortable using the horses, not knowing how they are cared for or how long they are worked. They looked in good condition, but what do I know. My knowledge is from the show, Animal Cops in Houston.
We walked to the French Market and was overwhelmed by all the produce and food, but did not purchase anything. There were outdoor seating cafe's with live music. That was really nice.
Scott was hungry for lunch, so we stopped at Montrel's (1000 N. Peters). Although looking at Yelp & Urban Spoon, it is not rated well, we were very happy with our food & service. We ate a light lunch here. The service was outstanding, the bloody mary's perfect with added touch of olives and pickled string beans, and the food delicious. Scott had File Gumbo and I had bread pudding with praline sauce.
There are quite a few massage parlors in town, one of which I was very tempted. There is a mall type group of stores right on the waterfront. A 30 minute foot massage was $36.00. I was tempted. If it was a 20 minute food massage for $26.00 I would have had my shoes and socks off immediately. Also, we had to make the ferry. While in this mall, lo & behold was a satellite Cafe Du Monde store. So I was able to order my 3 hot beignets. Delicious, but I think funnel cake is just as good.
The New Orleans area always seem foggy. Between the regular fog in the morning, there is also the fog of misty smoke from all the marsh fires.
We won't be making our home in the New Orleans area.
RECREATION/FOOD: We made a return visit to Mickey and her A&B adopted setter, Indy. We returned the EMPTY containers that Mickey had filled on the previous visit with her delicious authentic creole meals. We did not expect another meal, but Mickey again over fed us and we really enjoyed and appreciated the experience. This time she made Pasta Gumbo, which is made with pasta instead of rice. And also sauteed/fried cabbage with andouille. The cabbage soaked up all the flavors, unlike the boiled cabbage the we make in NJ.
She again loaded us up with many containers of delicious meals.
We said next time we visit, she'll have to conduct a cooking class. With that she showed us some of the needed ingredients for authentic New Orleans cuisine. Creole seasoning is a must as is gumbo file (fee-lay) & gumbo roux
From Wikipedia: Filé powder, also called gumbo filé, is a spicy herb made from the dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree (Sassafras albidum), native to eastern North America. It is used in the making of some types of gumbo, a Creole and Cajun soup/stew often served over rice; other versions of gumbo use okra or roux as a thickener instead. Sprinkled sparingly over gumbo as a seasoning and a thickening agent, it adds a distinctive, earthy flavor and texture. Filé can provide thickening when okra is not in season. Filé translates to "string", suggestive of the powder's thickening ability. "Filé gumbo" is famously mentioned in the classic country song by Hank Williams Sr., Jambalaya (On The Bayou), as it is considered a staple of Cajun cuisine.
Mickey told us where to purchase the best (in her opinion) adouille. So off to LaPlace, LA we went to JACOB'S. This is where her family has purchased adouille since she was a little girl. We picked up Andouille: (AWN-DOO-EE) Our signature product, is a type of smoked sausage in which choice lean pork is cubed rather than ground, seasoned with a little more salt, red pepper, black pepper and garlic, then stuffed into a larger beef casing. It is then allowed to hang in the cooler over night to cure, then it is heavily smoked over aged pecan wood for a unique tasting, fully cooked sausage. It is excellent to use for seasoning gumbos, jambalayas, beans, and many other dishes.
Tasso: (TAH-SO) 95% lean pork roast, sliced then seasoned and smoked. Great as a seasoning meat in many dishes, or as a ready to eat snack.,
Boudin: (BOO-DAN) A sausage where lean pork, liver, rice, salt, black pepper, red pepper and green onions are cooked, mixed together, then stuffed into a casing. This creates a delicious pork and rice dressing ready to heat up and eat.
So, all in all, I could have skipped the actual city of New Orleans. But, best to have seen and not been impressed than to have never went and always wondered.
CRAFTS: Finished the COMBINATION SUMMER HAT made with Ryley & Pillsbury's spun fur. I really like it. Just an light every day hat to be a little different.
BOOKS: Finished Genuine Lies by Nora Roberts. For me, I rated it 5 out of 5. I believe this is a girly book. Murder, mystery, romance, living the life of the rich.
Currently reading Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown. This author has never let me down and this book continues her winning streak with me. I picked the book up at the laundry room here at the campground. Very cool to be reading a book set in New Orleans, while I'm in New Orleans and have learned some of the terminology used in the book.
AUDIO: Finished Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. I rated 4 out of 5. This starts out so odd about a serial murderer, who is made out to be a "good guy" and his every "normal" day life. Once I sort of accepted & got past that contradiction, I really started to enjoy the book & the suspense.
Currently listening to How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper. Narrator is perky and really massacres the male voices, but this is a completely entertaining story.
DOGS: I've been able to see quite a lot of beautiful sunrises, thanks to Devin's insistence on going out to see what going on at first light. I don't mind too much. Scott & I have made a deal. I wake up at the crack of dawn and take care of the dogs, while Scott gets to sleep in. But Scott has to stay up to at least 10pm to take the dogs for their last walk. It works out beautifully. Scott hates getting up early in the morning, but I don't mind. And at night, I want to go to bed when I want. I hate having to stay up, especially on the cooler nights and go outside. I'd much rather be snug as a bug in a rug under the covers in bed.
NJ: We have a contract on the house. We got the price we were hoping for. Of course there hasn't been the inspection or the CO applied for yet. Wish us smooth selling! The house has only been on the market for 2 months.