So…Eric jokes that every time we go on vacation he sees the sights 3 steps at a time. Take 3 steps, Katie stops to take a picture, 3 more steps, another picture…and so on. Yes it’s true. But on this trip I didn’t do as much shooting as I had planned. I’ve been so stressed lately and I really just wanted to enjoy the time with Eric, enjoy the city, and NOT follow a schedule. So on this trip I spent one day wandering around taking pics, but the rest of the time I was too busy eating, drinking and socializing to really focus on it. Now that I’m home I wish I had taken more but…oh well…we’ll be back soon. Last time we were in NOLA it was Eric’s first time, and I felt all this pressure (that I put on myself mind you) to show him EVERYTHING and make sure he liked the city – because if he didn’t we might have to rethink this whole relationship thing. ha. Anyhoo, the great thing about Eric is this: schedule or no schedule, taking it easy or rushing around, rain or shine, stressed out Katie or chilled out Katie, walkin’ it or cabbin’ it, luxury hotel or cheap crappy hotel…he is constant and calm and happy…and this has the most calming effect on me. This makes me look at life differently and take things in and not really care so much anymore about things that don’t matter or things I can’t change. But THAT, as I like to say, is another blog altogether!
Moving on. So I made the decision that, due to the fact that our last trip was successful and Eric pretty much had an idea of what NOLA had to offer, we would take it easy, make no plans, and go where the wind blew. If we slept late, oh well, if I got up and ran 3 miles, great, if I was hungover and couldn’t move til noon, great too! ha! We did a little bit of it all.
I don’t want to bore everyone with the day-to-day details of what we did while on the trip. I do, however, have to share about a couple of significant things …things I hope you will check out next time you’re in town!!!
First off, the last time we were in town we kept hearing about this great new restaurant called EAT. It’s small, reasonably priced, casual/fine dining that is BYOB and set back far enough in the quarter that it’s not a tourist trap. It attracts mostly locals or regular visitors that are “foodies” and want a new experience in the quarter. We went friday night and had an incredible meal. They were more than accommodating to my crazy dietary needs and didn’t even bat an eye when I then broke down and had a bite (or 5) of Eric’s dessert – which sent me straight back to the hotel in pain. But anyway. I could go on and on about the menu and creativity of the dishes, but I won’t. Just check it out next time you’re in town – at the corner of Dumaine and Dauphine. Oh…and they even put our Miller Lite tall boys on ice for us..cause that’s how we roll yo! Who needs wine? Psh!
The Marigny. Ok I went into this a bit in my blog about last year’s NOLA trip but I just want to reiterate that this is the ONLY way to experience music when you are there. Please review that blog and short explanation about the Marigny. And PLEASE, for the love of Pete, get off Bourbon, take a walk down Decatur, cross over Esplanade and experience all that Frenchman has to offer: Cafe Negril, Spotted Cat, Snug Harbor and d.b.a. are some faves. The vibe over there is very real and different. It’s very NOLA…for lack of a better word. I love that the Spotted Cat stays packed, shoulder to shoulder, for a Swing band called the Cottonmouth Kings, when, unfortunately, you only pack a bar like that in Bham with outplayed cover bands. Love em but you know it’s true. Quality little jazz bands don’t pack bars around here like, say…Trotline does. Ha. So for folks like Eric and I who love discovering new music, supporting local musicians and songwriters, it’s paradise for us!
Peaches Records! While standing in line for a fabulous, excellently priced LUNCH at K. Paul’s, I was checking into Four Square and saw that “Kent” was “mayor” of K. Paul’s (sorry if you don’t know what 4 sq is…just keep reading). Anyway, I immediately asked the nice gentleman behind me in line, named Kent, with whom I’d been chatting if he was the Kent on 4 sq …and it turns out they are one in the same! Kent had been telling me how he’d taken refuge in Birmingham during Katrina, how he loved the vibe downtown and the music scene here, and the food, and THE NICK! and Zydeco, and the people…it made me swoon because I love Birmingham for so many of the same reasons. We got to talking about music and vinyl and come to find out, Kent has “a little record store” on Decatur. So we decided we’d head over after lunch and check it out. Turns out, Kent’s little record store has been in New Orleans since the 70’s and is one of the few surviving, family owned record stores left. Check out this really cool article I found about it! And here’s their FB page! We stayed in there way too long and Kent told us stories about music and artists from the area…even showed us a picture of Troy “Trombone” Shorty when he was about 4 years old playing in a street parade! He told me about how devastating Katrina was for them, how their store was trashed and their merchandise stolen (because when people don’t have food and water what they REALLY need are CD’s – ugh – tangent – sorry), and what it took for them to reopen finally after being closed for 2 years. It was such a neat experience. Go there. Please. Here are some of my favorite shots from Peaches!
Troy. Troy is an artist we met last time we were in town, selling his artwork in Jackson Square as many local artists do. From a $400 painting to a $20 painting, many reputable, well-known local artists sell their work on the square because it’s a sure-fire way to meet customers who might not stroll into the fancy shmancy galleries on Royal street…those who might be too intimidated by the prices of some of the work in those galleries. These artists have a permit to sell their work on the street and usually are displaying said permit proudly. Look for it. Anyway…back to Troy. We saw Troy’s work last year and loved it. It was colorful and cheerful and very much my taste. We had talked with him about custom painting something for our house and we were going to contact him when we got back…but we got busy and you know how that goes. So this time we promised ourselves we’d find him and definitely get a painting! He was there, same spot, and we immediately picked out a piece we loved. He held it for us while we went walking around and we came back to get it that afternoon. We got to talking …as I tend to do with folks…I have an inquisitive nature..ha…anyway, we got to talking and he told us about Katrina and Rita and how he was affected, how he ended up in Texas and was working with kids in the foster care system. Troy began telling me about his work in a residential facility for kids. I know I know…goosebumps right!!! Everything he was saying was an exact depiction my experience working in the foster care system…he shared the same frustrations and disappointments..but also the same joys it brings. He went on to tell me he hoped to open a center for kids to learn about the arts. I hope he does. He seems like a fantastic person and I love his art. Check out his website and read his bio here! Also check out Troy’s nephew, Ashton’s art as well!
This may have been just an everyday thing for Troy, or for Kent at Peaches…talking and sharing stories …but for us it was neat, and special, and gave us a great memory to take home from this trip. That’s what I love about New Orleans…there’s a story around every corner, behind every bar and in every little shop…and when you take the time to get away from the karaoke bars, daiquiri shops, strip clubs and pizza-by-the-slice joints, there’s an amazing, unique culture waiting to be discovered. From the artists to the street musicians, the perfumery to the handmade toy shop …the unique and different and quirky thrive there…there’s no place like it and it’s always abundant with stories to be told and memories to be made.
A couple more things…we also attended a food festival..OMG…on Royal street saturday. You can see pics of that as well as all the others I took in the FB albums. I made two albums: one for my 50D shots and one for my Point and Shoot shots. Check them out and comment PLEASE! Also, there’s this little corner store we always like to go in called Unique Grocery. And even though homeless drunks hang around, it’s pretty badass. It’s at the corner of Iberville and Royal. There is always awesome old school Hip Hop playing in there. They have everything from pop-tarts to beer and right when you walk in they have these huge bins with tall boys iced down. 16 oz’s for 1.50 and 25 oz’s for 2.25. You can’t beat that with a stick. So we buy tall boys and stick em in our koozies when we are walking around the quarter. It’s AWESOME. While we were in there I had a homeless guy say to me… “you’re a goddess…and that’s coming from a drunk, homeless m***f***’er.” LOL! Big shout out to Unique Grocery. It’s quite unique!
Here are a few more favorites!
Fun on Royal…this little boy was something else…
Around the square….