Matt came to meet me downtown, and we took the train to the airport for our flight. TSA Pre-Check was fast as always, and we were on our flight in no time. It was a tiny plane, too, one of those with 2×2 seats and maybe 40 passengers. The previous passenger was apparently a spine doctor from Montana, and he was kind enough to leave behind some fascinating reading material.
It was a very fast flight, and we arrived almost half an hour early, around 4:45. We had to stand in the taxi line and then wait in traffic for a while, but we were still at our destination by 5:30. It was a house we’d rented off VRBO in Marigny very close to Bywater, and it was gorgeous.
According to the listing, the shotgun-shack-style house had been featured on a remodeling show, and it showed. The owners were in New York half of the time, so the (really excellent) artwork was all NYC or New Orleans-themed. Everything was very nice, especially the kitchen.
Plus there was a hot tub on the patio, which was one of the main reasons we’d rented the place. It would feature prominently in our plans every day.
We settled in, then walked around the corner to the convenience store, Hank’s. It was a horrendous dive of a place, with far more liquor and smoking-related products than food, but it had everything we needed: local snacks, beer, bread for making toast in the morning, milk, and my new discovery, N.O. Brew iced coffee.
We hung out on our patio drinking iced coffee (me, since I couldn’t drink) and Abita Amber (Matt), and then decided to head over to dinner. We decided on Oxalis, which was less than a mile from our house.
Walking through the neighborhood was fantastic. It was so much nicer being in an actual residential area, than a hotel over in the business district near the French Quarter. It meant we’d have to take transit or walk farther to get to the touristy stuff, but it was worth it. There was a ton to see in our neighborhood, too.
We got a table on the patio at Oxalis, and ordered the cheese plate and bruschetta. Then Matt ordered mussels and frites, and I had a really excellent beet salad. The manager came out and talked for a while, and she knew a lot about Minneapolis. Plus her main references for it were 1) liberals and 2) Prince, so we liked her a lot for it.
From dinner, we walked back the other direction past our house to Frenchmen Street, home of some of the best jazz clubs. We were a bit early for the show at Snug Harbor, so we bought tickets and hung out in the bar for a while. It was pretty quiet there, but started to fill up before the 10pm show.
The doors opened, and we went upstairs and found a table on the railing overlooking the band. It was Delfeayo Marsalis and a really large band that completely filled the stage. They were really entertaining, and invited one of Trombone Shorty’s cousins up on stage to play along for a couple songs.
The most interesting part of the night was when an old lady right up front had obviously recorded one of their pieces on her phone (which was against the rules, obviously), and decided to play it back immediately afterwards. Delfeayo told her “we can’t complete with ourselves!” and tried to joke it off, but it was totally awkward because she just kept playing it and laughing. Finally a lady nearby had to shoosh her. SO WEIRD.
Toward the end of the show, the entire back of the balcony emptied out as a tour group of old people headed to their bus. We walked out shortly afterward, and saw a huge tour bus blocking Frenchmen Street with all of them piling on. We walked the half-mile or so back to our house, and headed to our very comfortable bed.