Mark and I took a quick weekend trip to New Orleans, a southern city I've always wanted to visit.
We had some flight troubles. Mark's flight was canceled, so his connection was routed through Minnesota, where he almost got stranded in a snowstorm. Meanwhile, I made it in on my scheduled flights over some very stormy skies. When I arrived, there were reports of rotations and tornado warnings and bridges closing--my own mini-Katrina. Here's the view from room #4444 in the Astor.
But I ventured out for an umbrella and toured the French Quarter.
These balconies are amazing. I love the spilling flowers.
The windows were so inviting, especially on a stormy day.
And I was in heaven with all the art galleries on la Rue Royale.
Fortunately, my date showed up Thursday evening. We had fried oysters & Italian fare at Absinthe House.
I discovered the Cafe du Monde, home of the original beignet. They were so cheap and oh-so-decadent. I had to bring my date here for dessert.
For breakfast, we munched on the world-famous croissants at Cafe D'Or. While Mark went off conferencing, I stayed behind to write just here, tucked beside the window. Heaven.
I could go on and on about the food. Here are fish tacos and red beans in the Garden District. But our absolute favorite meal was the Acme House's broiled oysters (I didn't bring my camera--such a shame).
I met up with Arlene, the passenger next to me on a very bumpy flight. Just saw her walking by on Bourbon Street. We bonded, as people tend to do thinking they're about to die.
A bit more of NOLA--the French Quarter.
I love touring cathedrals. Here is St. Louis Cathedral, and all around it were artists and jazz musicians for the famous Quarter Festival. It was the perfect time to take in the culture of this great city.
Mark and I took the Green Trolley to the Garden District. Here we are at the famous Lafayette Cemetery.
It was interesting at both cemeteries we visited to notice signs of voodoo still alive in New Orleans--people writing "xxx" on graves for wishes to be granted, or leaving sugar packets to ward off evil spirits. The earth is so swampy that graves here are above ground.
They fit several bodies in a grave at a time. Once the freshest of the dead decomposes, whatever's left is slid to the bottom to make room for the next knocker at death's door.
I'll admit, with all the ramshackle graves half tilted into the ground, crumbling so that even parts of their inner chambers are exposed, I felt a bit creeped out when I got separated from Mark. It's a maze in there.
We ended our trip with a tour of the Garden District, which had a distinct flavor of our old home, Charleston, SC. I love the patios & gas lanterns.
This is so southern--tree roots bulging through the earth, pushing up cobbles.
No room to grow.
And the courtyards were divine. Even Mark, not so the chaser of beauty I tend to be, had to stop me to take in this beauty.
All in all, it was a lovely, short trip to one of America's most flavorful, charming, invigorating cities.