I am slightly going through Vacation withdrawals! I want to be sipping Mai-Tai’s on a beach in the Caribbean, or shopping in the streets of New York. Unfortunately I cannot do that, so instead I reminence about Vacations past.
Four years ago, wow was it really four? My husband and I went to New Orleans for our first and only time with two other couples. It was a short weekend trip in which we stayed at a condo of one of our friends families, but it was great.
It was of course Mardi Gras! We had a fabulous time at the Mardi Gras parades, downing Hand Grenades on Bourbon, eating Oyster Po’Boys at Domilise’s, and strolling through the outdoor market and shops in the French Quarter. Being immersed into what seemed like a different culture was fascinating to me, and the architecture was beautiful. The only problem was the trip was too short to do everything we wanted to do, and to eat everything we wanted to eat. We have wanted to go back ever since but traveling is not such an easy thing to do. Ideally if you are planning a trip to New Orleans, you need to go to a Mardi Gras Parade, party on Bourbon Street, shop in the French Quarter, and eat a lot!
Mardi Gras Parades: If you have never been to a Mardi Gras parade, you haven’t lived yet. There is something about them that makes me go a little crazy. I have to get ALL of the beads! I scream, beg, and even run after floats in an attempt to get the biggest and best beads; and not just the regular strands. While this is pretty crazy, it pays off, because I always get the beads I want. I have even received, without wanting them, stuffed animals, squeaky toys, and a pair of underwear. Ha!
Bourbon Street: During Mardi Gras a stroll down Bourbon Street can be both frightening and fun. The buildings, built in the Greek Revival Style, are similar to the French Quarter. On the balconies are locals drinking with friends and family members, gawking at the drunks below. While those walking along the streets are going in and out of bars with Hand Grenades and Frozen Hurricanes in hand. We had so much fun when we were there that a friend of ours actually wandered off and ended up taking a nap in an alley, lol.
French Quarter: If you are looking for a bit of culture and history in a town, the French Quarter is the place to go. The wonderful buildings and cobblestone streets are filled with art galleries and cafes.
Food: When I think of New Orleans cuisine I think of beignets and a cup of coffee from Cafe Du Monde for breakfast, an Oyster Po’Boy for lunch, and either a John Besh restaurant or Etouffee and Gumbo for dinner. Unfortunately of all of these, I only had the Po’ Boy on my trip.
So in the spirit of New Orleans I have spent the past month trying to soak-up as much ‘culture’ as I can here in North Texas.
It all started a few weeks ago when we went to visit my sister-in-law and her husband in their new home in Shreveport. While Shreveport doesn’t even come close to being like New Orleans, it did have qualities that reminded me of some good memories I had further South. Including a very fun, and freezing-cold, Mardi Gras parade.
Being in Louisiana and going crazy for beads just wasn’t enough; I still needed the food. So, upon our return home I made a delicious and light John Besh Shrimp Boil. No hand grenades were included, but an ice-cold beer was good enough for me.
I won’t be making a trek down to New Orleans for another few years I am sure; but that does not mean I can’t create my own New Orleans at home.