New Orleans was our final destination on our Southern States road-trip. I'd been here a few times on business and brought the family over for Jazz Fest post Katrina … amazing how they put on the Fest so quickly. This time, we were here for a week … just the two of us … bliss!
DAY 17 - Wed 24 April
We dropped our rental off at the airport and grabbed a cab to the Marriott. I hadn't stayed at the Marriott on Canal before so wasn't sure what to expect. (Post Katrina, we stayed at the JW.) From the time we arrived to the moment we left, the Marriott team looked after us so well. We weren't happy with the first room and were promptly moved to a room that worked for us.
I let the concierge team to look after our bags and we headed to the lobby bar for a glass of wine … great service and reasonably priced wine. Then we headed to the CL for canapés which were great and the staff there were amazing. The canapés were followed with some excellent gumbo and we just chilled in the CL and had an early night. It was nice to finally arrive somewhere and not have to worry about moving on.
More to come on our visit to NO ...
DAY 18 - Thu 25 April
Walked down to the Mississippi and walked along to the Cafe du Monde. It always amazes me that some people complain about this cafe … it is just beignets and coffee and music … service is 'casual'. We just love it! A NO institution.
We decided to have a fairly casual day as Friday would be our first day of Jazz Fest, so would need an early start. A nice wander around the French Quarter and then back to the CL for some snacks (the food in the CL was so good that it became dinner). Then off down to the French Quarter again in search of music. We found a bar called the Tropical Isle Bayou Club … great Cajun music!
NO street band … Yes Ma'am … music was great
Tropical Isle Bayou Club
DAY 19 - Fri 26 April
Our first day of Jazz Fest. Took the bus transfer from outside the Sheraton … they were using school buses … I am over 6 feet tall … kids have small seats … 'cramped' is the word that comes to mind!
However, Jazz Fest was great … Harry Gray, Guitar Slim Jnr & Allen Toussaint, Bruce Daigrepont, Wayne Toups, Dr John, John Mayer and Band of Horses … amazing day. We decided to try the House of Blues for dinner in the evening … surprisingly good meal and service.
DAY 20 - Sat 27 April
Day 2 of Jazz Fest … school bus again … ouch! A lot of good performers at the Fest but it was mega busy with quite a lot of rude people. Very unlike our previous visit in 2006. I guess that the event has become too popular. we saw quite a few great performers … Deacon John, Allen Toussaint and Billy Joel. However, by the end of the day we were very tired and just headed for the Marriott CL … as usual, the food was very good.
DAY 21 - Sun 28 April
Final day of Jazz Fest but it was raining pretty heavily … when it rains in NO, it really rains!
We decided to go to the House of Blues Gospel Brunch before heading for the Fest … the brunch was absolutely brilliant! The gospel music was provided by a local church group called the Mighty Supremes. They got the whole room 'stamping out the devil' … very interactive and enjoyable lunch … food was good too.
After the brunch we headed for the Fest. Based on how soggy most of the attendees were, we realised our choice of a Gospel Brunch was very wise! We saw a number of great performers again … C J Chenier, The Nevilles, Juan Luis Guerra but it was a little too wet to linger long. We went round a few of the stalls and found some great prints of the Fest to buy for our grandchildren by a local artist … Bruce Brice.
We did plan to venture down to the French Quarter again but the rain persisted … so Marriott CL again.
DAY 22 - Mon 29 April
Walked down to Jackson Square and hopped on the sightseeing bus tour … great value and info. Stopped in at Marguaritaville to check out a certain cocktail … ooops! Stopped off at Hob Nobbers for lunch … big plate of local speciality food … excellent value. Continued with our sightseeing … excellent day.
We had a dinner booking at the Court of Two Sisters … one of my NO favourites. Unfortunately, we were disappointed on this occasion … food and service were both very average and not worth the prices they charged. We decided to round off our evening by going back to the Tropical Isle and had a great finale to our day. Ann Marie even played the washboard!
DAY 23 - Tue 30 April
Our final day in NO. We had booked into a cookery demonstration at the New Orleans School of Cooking. The demo was outstanding and there was plenty of food to try … gumbo, jambalya, banana foster … and recipes to take away. We made sure that we bought the appropriate spices to bring back to the UK.
Ann Marie had decided that she wanted some more of Bruce Brice's prints to bring home. We found an address for his studio and set out in search … the address was on Chartres Street … however, we didn't realise how long this street was! Whilst we were searching, it started to rain yet again … we had water running in and out of our light-weight shoes. Eventually, we gave up searching and called the number that we had been given. Bruce and his wife then told us that the studio was no more but that we could visit them in their home. This proved to be a lovely pair of shotgun houses that had been knocked together. What an hospitable couple they were! They didn't have any prints at the house but showed us some original paintings and agreed to send the prints to the UK. A great outcome … they arrived here safely.
After our adventurous day, we chilled out in the Marriott.
I am having trouble adding pics to my postings, so will add them all in a separate note ...
DAY 20 … Billy Joel gave a very animated performance ...
DAY 21 … The Native American Indian dancers were amazing … it made us tired just watching!
… Juan Luis Guerra was very popular … our first time hearing him
DAY 22 … The Katrina Memorial
… That well-known queen of cajun music ...
DAY 23 … our instructor at the School of Cooking
… when it rains in NO, it really rains!
… a very wet Chris with Bruce Brice and his wife Jackie