Saturday, July 21, 2012

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

New Orleans, Louisiana

Laissez les bons temps rouler  - A Cajun French saying that literally means let the good times roll.

This travel review is one that I am more than happy to write.  In April of 2002 I traveled to New Orleans Louisiana for the very first time.  I was there to enjoy the annual French Quarter Festival.  Little did I know how much New Orleans would capture my heart forever.

The culture and the architecture of New Orleans makes you feel as if you have left the United States.  Strangely enough while I was in New Orleans I felt as if I was back in Panama.  Colon, Panama where I was born has a very similar look to New Orleans.  On my first day I learned that New Orleans at one time was under Spanish rule.  There are French influences all over the place so one can also feel as if you are in Paris.  I realized that there are similarities between Spanish and French cultures.

Like Troy, New York, New Orleans has some of the most beautiful architecture in the world.  

 Is this Paris France or New Orleans?  It is New Orleans Louisiana

 A common site in the French Quarter and Garden District are these very ornate iron balconies.

I fell in love with the shotgun style homes in the French Quarter.

 These are double shotgun homes.

 Aren't these shotgun homes GORGEOUS???  I love the colors, tall doorways and French windows.

 Here is a dilapidated shotgun house that needs some tender loving care.  I love purchasing old historic homes like these that needs someone to care for her and bring her back to life.

There are shotgun homes all throughout New Orleans.

The food in New Orleans is unbelievably delicious.  At the time that I traveled to New Orleans I was still opened to eating meat, so I had a great sampling of its culinary delights.  During the French Quarter Festival many different foods were being prepared in over-sized stainless steel pots and pans.  It was a true feast for the eyes as well as your stomach.  The food looks colorful and tastes well seasoned. 

 Barbecue Shrimp

 Shrimp Etouffe

Seafood Jambalaya

Po boy Sandwich

Crawfish Etouffe


 Blackened Fish

Beignets at Cafe du Monde


Click Here to order Aunt Sally's delicious pralines.  Aunt Sally's is where I pucrhased mine but you can get pralines from a number of places.

Cafe du Monde' is opened 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  I went there one night late with friends and we feasted on their famous beignets and French coffee.  Beignets are French dougnuts.  It is served with lots of powdered sugar.  

 My friends and I sat outside here at Cafe du Monde'

 Vintage photo of Cafe du Monde'

You can orders from Cafe du Monde' online.

The French Market is another must see when visiting New Orleans.  It is a huge indoor and outdoor market where you can purchase just about anything from food to clothing.  Wear comfortable shoes and give yourself lots of time to meander through the market at a leisurely pace.

Vintage photographs of The French Market 

   The French Market Today

French Market restaurant

I stayed at a beautiful B&B located on St Charles Avenue in the Garden District so I was able to easily catch one of the streetcars into the French Quarter.  Unfortunately I do not remember the name of the B&B.  I do remember how lovely my room was, the friendly people who worked there and the beautiful old Victorian detail of the house. 

 New Orleans Streetcar

I took the Le Monde' Creole walking tour.     Click Here is you are planning a trip to New Orleans and would be interested in this tour.  Unfortunately when I visited the old Pharmacy museum was closed so I did not get a chance to see it.  This walking tour was very enjoyable.  We covered a good portion of the French Quarter so wear comfortable shoes.  Our guide was very knowledgeable and able to answer all questions.  We learned quite a bit of the history as well as legends.  We visited secluded courtyards of private citizens who graciously opened their backyards to us.  We also visited St. Louis cemetary number one.  I wouldn't have minded skipping that part. 

 Here is where we signed up for the Le Monde' Creole walking tour.  It is a part of a courtyard and inside is a gift shop.

       This inside the old Pharmacy that I did not get to see.

 I was amazed at the courtyards in the back of the houses.  They are huge and very private.    At the end of one of the courtyards that I visited were rows of doors such like the ones you see in the back of this photo.  These doors lead to small rooms that were once slave quarters.  It was quite an eye opener to learn about and see such a beautiful courtyard that also boasted at one time its participation in one of America’s most shameful periods. 

The Garden District as I mentioned is where I stayed while in New Orleans.  St Charles Avenue is lined with beautiful mansions that were built when New Orleans was booming in business during the 19th century.  I took the streetcar one afternoon to its last stop just to see everything that is along St. Charles Avenue.  It was a very relaxing and scenic ride.  When the streetcar came to it's last stop I simply stayed on it for the ride back to the B&B. 

  Mansion in the Garden District.

I fell so much in love with New Orleans that I seriously considered moving there.  Even before I left I started to have visions for buying a house in the French Quarter and making New Orleans my home.  In 2005 hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.   Since that first visit I have not been back to New Orleans. I would love to go back.  New Orleans will always occupy a special place in my heart.
 Bourbon Street in the evening.

 Jackson Square in The French Quarter

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