New Orleans, a feast for the senses

8 12 2013

NO1

I only live 90 miles away, but New Orleans is a world apart. Every time I visit, I love it more. I’ve never been there during Christmas. My sweetie and I just spent the weekend savoring it all. I discovered Christmas in this old city has it’s own feel; it’s not Mardi Gras or festival time or it’s-so-hot-I-can’t-breathe-I-must-find-a-cold-bar-summertime. It’s beautiful and sparkly, people aren’t in a hurry, there’s more children with their families in the grand hotels all dressed up in their holiday best. There’s the odd mix of evergreen and palm trees and the illusion in hotel lobbies that it’s cold and wintery yet everyone is wearing short sleeves. The city feels more ancient at Christmas, maybe it’s the carolers dressed in vintage clothes sitting in the bars taking a break from singing their carols. Or maybe it’s the old spirits of those who have walked it’s streets, have once again come back for a visit.

I love the aromas of New Orleans
New Orleans has it’s own smell that’s like no other city. It’s the wet, humid, tropical, heavy air mixed with french bread, coffee, frying foods, beignets, alcohol and car exhaust. You sense the decay and the decadence and the history. It fills your senses the moment you arrive. For me it breathes welcome back.

I love the sights and sounds of New Orleans
Car horns, people talking, laughing, arguing, but mostly I hear music and as the sound of one musician fades you hear another. A trio of men singing Temptations-style wearing matching suits and standing in the middle of the street; musicians playing instruments I’ve never seen; crowds dancing and clapping; young street people with matted hair making up for their lack of talent with their great enthusiasm.

I love the tastes of New Orleans
Almost immediately upon arrival, we go to have a drink at my favorite spot in the Quarter. The balcony at Muriel’s overlooking Jackson Square in the shadow of the Cathedral.  Muriel’s is a favorite place for a memorable meal; their crawfish and goat cheese crepes will remain a sense memory that stays with you for the rest of your life. But this is also a haunted restaurant. It was once a private home and the owner gambled it away in a poker game one night long, long ago. He came home and hung himself so the home wouldn’t be taken away from his widow. If you meander through the back hallway on the way to the balcony, you’ll see the table set every day with bread and wine for his ghost.

Great food is so much the heart and soul of this city. And whatever restaurant you stumble upon will quickly become your favorite until you stumble upon another. Even the bread and coffee are better here. Herbsaint is a little bistro that we’ve been hearing about. I love to watch cooking shows and am always intrigued by the food combinations that I never thought could be put together. The magic that occurs when tastes blend and marry in your mouth with the perfect pairing of wine.  We had one of their signature dishes Housemade Spaghetti with Guanciale and Fried-Poached Farm Egg. I do not know how you can fry a poached egg with a crust and keep the yoke buttery. But they did it. When you cut that egg and it drizzles into the pasta, well, my eyes rolled back in my head, as I tasted total deliciousness.

A toast to New Orleans
When I win the lottery, I’ll buy a French Quarter home with a courtyard and a balcony. I’ll call to you from the street and invite you up for a drink, maybe a Pimm’s Cup or a Sazarac. And you’ll join me on the balcony and we’ll wish everyone below a Merry Christmas.

NO

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17 responses

8 12 2013
Lisa Garon Froman

I’ve never been to Muriels. I’m gonna have to check it out for sure.

8 12 2013
conniemcleod

Lisa, we need to go!

8 12 2013
apleasanthouse

Love me some New Orleans Xmas! Love Murial’s, just had cocktails at herbsaint Friday night, and can’t wait for hot coco and Kahlua for the caroling at Jackson Sq on Xmas Eve! Merry Christmas my friend!

8 12 2013
conniemcleod

Same to you Cheryl. Cheers!

8 12 2013
Estelle Sobel Erasmus

I love New Orleans. I haven’t been back since Katrina but have many fond memories of trips, there. I was even on the Mardi Gras parade float once–a story for another time.

8 12 2013
conniemcleod

Estelle, I have never been on a Mardi Gras float! You should come back! it’s a different city in some ways post Katrina, but still wonderful.

9 12 2013
Carpool Goddess

I love New Orleans! It’s been 30 years, I need to go back.

9 12 2013
conniemcleod

Let me know when you come back!

9 12 2013
Walker Thornton

I love New Orleans..would love to be there around the holidays. Haven’t been there since maybe 2007? I always spend my money on good dining with the obligatory Sunday morning Cafe Du Monde experience.

10 12 2013
conniemcleod

Walker, there’s nothing better than a steaming cup of cafe au lait and a plate of beignets covered in powdered sugar!

10 12 2013
Helene Bludman

It looks so wonderful. New Orleans is at the top of my travel bucket list.

10 12 2013
conniemcleod

Helene, I could think of nothing better that having a great meal with you in the Cresent City.

10 12 2013
Sheryl

Yes, New Orleans is a very special place. My whole family loves it!

10 12 2013
conniemcleod

You’re right, NO is a very special place.

11 12 2013
CaptCruncher

I love this post and that you are engaging with your senses so deeply and personally! You are an every day brain health rock star my friend!

11 12 2013
conniemcleod

Thanks Ruth! I have to give New Orleans the credit. It’s a city that fills your senses like no other.

3 02 2014
What Gives You Joy | Connie McLeod

[…] •  Sitting on a New Orleans balcony […]

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