Lets go back to summer of 2002. I had just turned 21 and my mom insisted we take a girls trip to New Orleans, because I'm legal and all. Um, okay Mom! Off we went... we danced, drank, ate and socialized our way through the French Quarter -- This was the beginning of my love affair with New Orleans.
*This is not from New Orleans... We went well before digital cameras therefore I don't have those pictures on a computer. This picture, however, depicts us nicely. Nance drinking wine. Me drinking whiskey. Singing karake in our pj's to a juke box in my aunts basement... Yep, Christmas in PA rocks!
3 years later, I'm 24 and on the road with Renee. Well I'll be damned if we didn't find ourselves in New Orleans for Easter that year. Yep. We did! We got all gussied up, went to mass at St. Louis Cathedral, admired everyone's Easter bonnets, watched the parade of southern belles on the back of convertibles and had Easter brunch at Brennan's. Easter is my favorite holiday and this is my favorite Easter to date!
I haven't been to New Orleans since I moved east, since Katrina hit OR since I met Bryan!
Fast forward to last week:
As we were working our way to our next event location we received word that our events for the first part of the week had been canceled. Canceled? Really?? You mean we're stuck in New Orleans with 3 days in a row off? Darn.
Okay, so this is one of those moments that I thank my lucky stars for the many blessings our jobs have brought our way... because yes, it's true -- We got paid to go to The Big Easy!
We ate dinner at the Gumbo Shop, walked up Bourban St. and had dessert at Cafe Du Monde. No alcohol for us - we were driving that night!
We enjoyed the morning at our hotel on Lake Ponchartrain and then packed up our suitcases, unhitched our trailer and headed to the Hilton French Quarter.
St. Louis Cathedral
Gumbo Pot - This is the best gumbo in the world!
Bourban St. fun
While I was getting my tarot card reading - true story - two random Mardi Gras floats made their way past us. Bryan and I kind of freaked out in excitement and ran to catch beads from them!
After the float passed, we got our beads and finished my tarot card reading, we headed to the one and only K Paul's. We ate the best meal of our lives, to date, at K Paul's restaurant in the French Quarter this night. My parents have hand written menu's (written by K Paul's wife) from this restaurant framed in their kitchen that they took while in New Orleans in the 90's. When my mom took me to New Orleans for the first time, she took me to K Paul's. As this was Bryan's first time in New Orleans, we, of course, had to make reservations. To carry on the tradition, we took our menu's home with us to frame in our kitchen.
We woke up early and walked over to Cafe Du Monde once more... I needed Beignets and a cafe du leche for breakfast. Needed. This was going to be my last meal in New Orleans and it was pure magic!
Walking back to our hotel we stumbled upon this boat. It saved 400 people in the aftermath of Katrina.
Here it is in the water rescuing people from their homes
It was fascinating talking to the locals about their Katrina experiences
Then we came across this impromptu jazz band. Bryan said that this moment made his entire time in New Orleans complete. I agree.
The very last thing I laid my eyes on before we drove out of the city was this beautiful sight - Christmas decor and palm trees - sure made me feel, for a split second, that I was back home in Orange County... in that short moment, my heart was so very happy!