|Collonade at City Park|
It was my second venture to Louisiana and my first experience in New Orleans. I traveled here around 1988 to attend an Ad Club conference in Baton Rouge.
This week, by the grace of God, I had the privilege to attend a research directors conference.
I left home in the wee hours and drove around seven hours, stopping in Eutaw, Alabama and stopping again in Hattiesburg, MS.
The most glorious moment of my journey was to behold the vast beauty of Lake Pontchartrain. While I had heard it mentioned and seen television footage of it, it was much more beautiful and massive than my imagination allowed for. Unfortunately, I could only peek at it while I was behind the steering wheel and therefore could not stop and take it all in.
My drive to the Crescent City was smooth and the arrival at the Hilton Riverside undeterred. Upon checking in, I immediately took in the Riverwalk and basked in the mighty Mississippi River. I was headed toward the GRAYLINE TOUR BUS for a 2 p.m. Super City Tour.
On the tour we were shown the French Quarter and told lots of details about architecture and historical sites. We learned the history of the area and some key people instrumental in founding the city. She even explained where the concept of “Cresent City” originated from.
We stopped at the St. Louis Cemetery and the tour guide explained above-ground-burial as well as the “recycling” of tombs. Another stop included City Park. A vast greenspace. My favorite part was the sculpture garden which was striking altough I was there for only a few minutes. I stopped in Morning Call for a sampling of beignets as well as cafe a’lait.
After the tour I returned to the hotel and readied for dinner. Our group met downstairs in the lobby and we carpooled over to Bornge. A venue owned by renown chef John Besh. It was exquisite. My favorite appetizer was the pork empanadas followed by the duck poppers. My soup choice was the duck and andouille gumbo. My entree choice was the black drum topped with lump crab meat. There were several side choices … my favorite was the onion rings and also the potatoes. After dinner there was a round robin of desserts: key lime pie, brownie sundae, blackout cake, peach/blackberry cobbler, rootbeer float. Applause goes to the pastry chef, niece of our host, Billy. It was an unforgettable evening sweetened by the delightful conversation with M. Blanshaw.
On Wednesday, it was all business. We spent the day being educated on and being inspired by best research practices. Afterwards, back at the hotel, I was on a mission to find some local fare. Walking down Canal Street, headed in the direction of Cafe du Monde, I stumbled upon Market Cafe. There I found al fresco dining matched with extremely talented live musicians. Glancing at the menu, I found that they served a sampler entree so I could try everything I wanted, including gumbo and red beans and rice. I moved closer to the band and learned that they were called Vernon Seven Quartet, led by vocalist/trumpeter Kid Merv.
My next mission was to find some local [fresh] pralines. I stopped in several stores and saw the boxed variety. Yesterday, at Morning Call, I’d seen fresh on display, but regrettably bypassed them. I kept moving, this time, on the opposite side of the street. I happened upon Laura’s Candies. Not only did they have fresh made pralines in the display window, they had a table of samples. I selected Traditional, Chewy and Coconut. Delicious Choice! So thankful God led me there.
My photo ops included Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, Horse Carriages, Joan of Arc (fondly called joanie on the pony). Nightfall began creeping in after my praline find so I headed back to the hotel. So thankful for the privilege of experiencing New Orleans.
|Collonade at City Park|