In no particular order, ten favorite things from New Orleans:
1) Ellis Marsalis
at Snug Harbor
. Not only was the music astonishing, it was great fun to watch the communication among the trio members.
2) The Green House Inn
may be one of NOLA's best B&Bs, with a "European style" (=clothing optional) pool.
3) We had a massage virtually every day, at Spa Isbell
, across the street from the inn. Fabulous.
4) Ride one of five working steamboats in the U.S., the Natchez
, with a 25-foot paddle wheel. When they blow that whistle, something joyful blooms inside me.
5) We spent over two hours, talking, knitting and needlepointing with the owner and staff of the Quarterstitch
(yes, in the French Quarter, hence the punny name). Lovely people and lovely needle artworks.
6) Just about a block away, are the fabric artists at Louisiana Loom Works
. We spent almost two hours with them, too. They make incredibly beautiful things with their looms, and they play host to five cats in the shop, too.
7) The World War II Museum
was inspiring and sobering and a very good example of how 21st-century museums can be interactive, informative and entertaining all at once. It is a bit intense, of course, but well worth the trip. Less intense, but even more interactive (especially for younger ones) is Odyssey's Shipwreck & Treasure Adventure
8) The food! Beignets at Cafe du Monde
; Bananas Foster at the restaurant where it was invented, Brennan's
; and our favorite, the Red Fish Grill
--be sure to get their Double Chocolate Bread Pudding. It's worth traveling to the Crescent City just for that (and their alligator gumbo, and the Herb-Crusted Yellowfin Tuna, and...).
9) Voodoo. There were lots of voodoo shops and trinkets, but a couple actually seemed to take it seriously.
10) Finally, we ate dinner, had a beer, and did our laundry all at Igor's, a 24-hour pub with pool tables, video poker, and several coin-operated washers and dryers. Igor's BBQ is next door, but the burgers cooked up behind the bar were very good. Igor's is at 2133 St. Charles Avenue.
11) Bonus: the spirit of the city. As Jimmy Buffett said, "she's bent, but she ain't broken." Everywhere were signs of hope and determination. Second only to the shirts making fun of politicians and FEMA were shirts like this: