I realized that I had become a real adult the day that visiting New Orleans got me excited about food and not cruising Bourbon Street. The Old Man and I finally made it to New Orleans after a quick driveby earlier in our van life. This time we planned a good 5 days to enjoy all the food. We picked the RV park near the French Quarter which upon looking is not much, but it has the nicest staff, the best showers, and well you can walk to French Quarter so score!
I confess that since it was really the Old Man’s first time “being” in New Orleans and I hadn’t been there since I was in college we figured our first night would be hitting up Bourbon and checking it off the list. It was a Wednesday night so the place was pretty empty but with all the street construction it felt pretty crowded. We stopped in at Musical Legends Park for a beer and to listen to some live music and gear ourselves up for a night in New Orleans. It had been a long day of driving and working so bed was calling, but so was Nola.
With no real plan but walking up and down Bourbon we stopped in at Pat O'Brien's for a hurricane and to toast my last trip to New Orleans so many years ago. We quickly realized that we were too old for Bourbon and started down some other streets. We stopped into Royal House Oyster Bar for some oyster (duh), more beer, and to figure out a better plan than just roaming around.
The Old Man had a few places he really wanted to hit up for some jazz so we decided to head to one of those and see where the music takes us. Our destination was Palm Court Jazz Cafe, but we made a few stops to grab a drink here or there. Passing Jackson Square we decided to walk through get a goofy picture of the Old Man and the statue. A bit of wandering and one cartwheel (what can I say the place was empty) we realized we were locked in. HELP!!! We wandered around checking all the gates twice and they were locked up tight. The Old Man made the comment that the fence was short enough to climb. Thankfully before I had a full on panic attack that we were spending the night in the park and the pups would be all alone we found a groundskeeper who remarked “Oh didn’t even realize you were here. Oh and look there is a person on the bench over there.” He kindly let us out one of the gates and locked it back up. Not sure what happened to the person on the bench, but I am guessing they escaped as well or they were a ghost and didn’t need any help.
Finally freed from Jackson Park we headed down to Palm Court laughing the whole way about how only us would get locked in a park in New Orleans. Palm Court is a bit of an older crowd (whoot) but the house jazz band was great and the gumbo was even better. Calling it an early night we headed back to the RV park to rest up for the rest of our trip.
A day working in New Orleans seemed way better than a day working anywhere else. It almost felt like a wasted day (minus paying those bills) but we had dinner with a HubSpot partner at Muriel’s so it wasn’t a total waste of a day. Sadly I didn’t see any ghost, but the food was good and we learned a lot about New Orleans from a local. I can honestly say I haven’t seen the Old Man this happy in a very long time. He was down right giddy, I guess New Orleans is his spirit city.
The next day we took off work and booked a bus tour around the city. It was an ok tour, our tour guide was great, but I think a walking tour would have been better. We did get out of the French Quarter thanks to being on a bus and traveled to New Orleans City Park, which I had never been too and had a few beignets at Morning Call. We got to see some of the Katrina rebuilds and levee action which was neat and educational.
After our tour we napped a bit to prepare for a big night on the town, did I mention we are 90? Pups walked and fed we headed into the French Quarter with our mind on getting to Frenchman Street. One our bartenders suggested it as a good place to go little more mellow than Bourbon. Our tour guide said the same thing and also noted that only live jazz can be played in clubs on Frenchman. The Old Man was sold! The Spotted Cat was suggested to us by a few so we headed there, but realized we needed some food so we stopped in to Masion for some grub and live music.
The Old Man on a mission to find a sax player ate fast, tipped the band and we headed to the Spotted Cat where the band was just finishing up and a new one set up. We hung around for a few songs, but the place got crowded and no sax. We stumbled by Bamboula’s on our way from Masion to Spotted Cat and we saw a sax but no band. So we decided to head back and see what was up. The doorman was more than happy to tell us they had the best sax player in New Orleans. Not quite sure he was telling the truth we headed in anyway.
The review on Swarm I received when checking in (so I remember all these places) was that is was highly underrated even by Frenchman standards and both the Old Man I agree! The band was great, we forgave the sax for being Tenor, but man could that man play. We stayed there for quite a while until we realize it was getting way way past our bedtime and we may have been overserved just a wee bit.
Our last full day in New Orleans we headed to Mother’s for breakfast per the Old Man’s request and because it was the only place we made it too when we breezed in and out in March. Still yummy and I felt like a pro among tourists in how I ordered and remembering to keep my receipt.
On the walk back to the van we stopped into a bar for a bloody mary at 9:30am just because well New Orleans! The bartender was great and had just got back from Fiji so she was giving us the downlow on that. We really need to figure out how to make Luna float.
The Old Man had never been to the Bayou so he was super excited to go on the airboat tour. We had a 10th generation Cajun as our captain and he was great. Perfect mix of real knowledge and goofy humor. We rode around with a couple from Boston which was made for most of the jokes. Hard to pick on Floridians about gators.
Saw way too many gators for this Seminoles taste, but that is what we paid for I guess. I did learn how snails grow in the bayou which still didn’t make me want to try escargot.
When our bayou tour ended the Old Man and I were a bit sad as it meant it was almost time to t leave New Orleans. Our bus ride home was a bit of a downer. The Old Man scheduled a shave and haircut since our next destination was a conference for him. I wandered down to the riverwalk and sat at a sports bar to watch football and enjoy a pint or two while he got all gussied up.
On our way back to the RV park we stumbled upon a parade, guessing for halloween, which was just amazing and so New Orleans. We watched the parade for awhile just enjoying all the fun that is New Orleans. But again it was an early night. Having chosen to stay a full extra day we had a full 8 hours of driving to get us to Austin in time for the Old Man to work.
It is was sad to leave New Orleans for so many reasons, most of them food related, but it really was the most relaxed and happy I have seen the Old Man in a while and I knew it would be back to grumpy logical Old Man the second we crossed the city limits. Oh well I guess that is life, but don’t think we didn’t check out Zillow New Orleans the whole way to Austin.