Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Orleans

The Boy was scheduled to visit New Orleans for a conference* just before the winter holidays and I decided to tag along. It would have been a nice break from the cold weather, unfortunately the weather gods had other plans. It was breezy, wet and cold for the most of our four day stay. However we did manage to look around and indulge in the sights and smells of New Orleans.

We stayed at the Marriott in the French Quarter - an average hotel with nothing to write home about except the location. Staying in the French Quarter meant that one could just walk out and grab a coffee and beignet in the historic downtown.

Amble through the narrow streets, admire the intricate wrought iron fences and take in the spontaneous outbursts of jazz on street corners.


The Cabildo and the Pontalba Buildings were within walking distance as was the river walk.

The trolley from Canal Street took us all the way through the historic district upto Tulane University.

And then there was Bourbon Street. The streets were empty, the average mixed concoction pedalled in plastic containers by the average bar (which is 90 percent of them) was disastrously unpalatable. The Boy and I settled for a beer to wash out the taste of a radioactively colored hurricane or some such. However, the sight of groups of tropical disease specialists from all over the world walking up and down Bourbon Street, clicking pictures was a sight to behold...most surreal.

Since we were in full tourist mode, we signed up for one of the guided walking tours of the above ground cemeteries. Not a grand idea on damp, freezing afternoon. Atleast our guide, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Jack Black was knowledgable and quite interesting (how can someone who looks like Jack Black be boring?). The tour itself was a little creepy (the average age of the dead was around 24) and the tour of a vodoo temple at the end was plain weird.



Since you cannot talk about New Orleans without mentioning food...here goes. Our meal at Olivier's was probably one of the best. Sorry no pictures of that as it was a semi-official event. There was a totally blah meal somewhere in between at a touristy place on Bourbon Street. The only reason for mentioning that totally blah meal-alligator sausage. Nah!, doesn't taste anything like chicken but it's quite good, in a gamey kind of way. A later meal of shrimp tchefunte and popcorn rice at Palace Cafe was quite satisfying and the bananas foster at the end were blisfful. Just thinking of those gooey, sugary,buttery morsels makes me want to fire up the oven right away and make myself some. Perhaps I will and then I might just have some pictures to post.
* Pssst....this the conference for which Boy put in loads of effort and grew a beard for..lest he be mistaken for a student again!!

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