Saturday morning, I did my traditional patio-knitting til everyone got up. Once we were all assembled, we piled in the car and headed to City Park to the second-most famous coffee-and-beignet stand, Morning Call. It was raining while we drove, but let up a little in time for us to walk there and get a table.
There was a jazz band playing, and service was unbelievably quick. I think we had our beignets within 5 minutes of ordering them, right at our table. I liked the fact that you could dispense your own powdered sugar, too.
It started raining again while we sat there, with varying degrees of heaviness. Even the ducks gave up and decided to head indoors.
We waited for the rain to stop again, and walked across the street to the sculpture garden. It was dry for a bit, but really gloomy-looking.
We walked around a bit, and it started sprinkling. We all had umbrellas, though, and the stroller had a raincover, so we didn’t mind that much.
Then it started raining harder, to the point where it was hard to walk around. We kind of huddled together to get out of it.
Then it started pouring again. Matt and I took up shelter under a giant tree. The rain was coming in huge waves across the lake.
We gave up on seeing the rest of the park, and headed to the car. Of course by the time we got there, it had pretty much stopped raining.
Though we’d had breakfast less than an hour ago, it seemed like a good time for lunch. We went about a half-mile up the road to Mo-Pho. Though it was in a strip mall with a Burger King and a Subway, it was actually really nice inside. Plus they had small-batch soy sauce on the table, so of course we had to sample it.
I had a BBQ tofu po-boy (it was actually a banh mi, but who cares)? It was excellent, and so were the chips that went with it. Matt had the world’s largest bowl of pho.
Even though we were way more than full from lunch, we had to walk next door for a sno-ball. I wasn’t planning to get one until I saw that they had sugar-free flavors, and then I had to try one. The sugar-free pineapple was pretty good, despite having to ignore the warning about not eating yellow snow. Steve won the flavor contest, though: his was called Silver Fox.
We got back in the car and drove up to the southern edge of Lake Pontchartrain, because none of us had seen it before, apart from crossing the bridge toward Mississippi. I couldn’t believe how big it was (you can’t see the other side, so it might as well be the ocean). The rich-people houses butting up to the levees were pretty interesting, too.
From there, we headed back into the business district to go to Rousse’s, an actual grocery store than didn’t just have booze and Zapps. We only needed a few things, but of course ended up spending almost an hour there shopping for stuff. Steve and Matt both got t-shirts, and we got more coffee and snacks than we could possibly consume. We piled all our stuff in the car, and went back to the house for some hot tub time.
We spent about an hour in there, and then went to clean up. By the time Matt and I were ready to go, the babysitter had arrived for Steve and Colleen’s daughter. She was a kind of odd little old lady, but she seemed really nice. We said goodbye, and headed off on foot to Frenchmen Street.
Finally, we were able to go to 13 for dinner. (After trying twice, we were determined.) We got a table in the back, and Matt and Steve ordered frozen Irish coffees, which looked AMAZING. We split an order of totchos, and I had a mushroom Philly (which meant “Motown Philly” was stuck in my head forever).
After dinner, we walked over to the French Quarter. Since they had never been to New Orleans before, Matt and I had compiled an essential Bourbon Street list for them, things that you have to do no matter how stupid and touristy (and some of them are just awesome.)
The first stop on that list was Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, because it is a bar with no lights. Sure, there’s electricity for the fridges and a new flatscreen TV showing sports on the wall, but at night it’s still totally dark with only candles on the table. I love it a lot.
Right outside the bar, we encountered a giant man with a tiny, tiny horse. I almost had a stroke, I was so excited about it. I wanted to get a picture, but I’m sure I’d have had to pay for it.
After the men finished their drinks there, we walked down to Pat O’Brien’s, because everyone needs to try a hurricane there. Matt and Steve got theirs in gigantic plastic go-cups, and Colleen and I both got Cool Breezes. I won’t even be embarrassed about it, because they were seriously delicious.
From there, we wandered slowly down to the other end of Bourbon Street. Matt noted that the strip clubs had become WAY more graphic than last time we were there, because we could see some legitimately hardcore stuff from the street. It wasn’t too much of a disaster yet otherwise… I definitely didn’t see anyone falling down yet, nor was I hating everyone because I was totally sober.
Our next stop was an abrupt change: Arnaud’s French 75. I was very surprised to find it nearly empty.
We felt very fancy there, and the guys ordered the bar’s namesake cocktail. Bally got his photo taken on one of the animal-print chairs. I pondered how such a nice, historic place could be around the corner from one of the biggest potential shitshows in the country. That is exactly why New Orleans is one of my favorite cities on earth.
We had limited time with the sitter at the house, so we decided to head back that direction. Matt and I insisted upon one last drink for Steve, though: the notorious HAND GRENADE.
We headed back toward the house on Royal Street again, and Matt and Steve noticed that there were at least six different haunted New Orleans tours going on. They decided they should probably start their own tour company, just making stuff up as they went. They reasoned that if they did the tour in that Ken Burns reenactment voice, everyone would think they were legit.
When we got back to the house, the babysitter told Colleen she was worried about us walking back, because it was such a bad neighborhood. Uh, what? That was confusing. We hopped in the hot tub in our terrible, dangerous neighborhood, and hung out there until midnight.