New Orleans was a lot of fun. Though I’m sure Mardi Gras would be amazing I’m glad I got to visit New Orleans when it wasn’t unbelievably busy. Between a Cemetery Tour, Plantation Tour, and of course some Burlesque shows we took in as much as we could in a short amount of time. Julie (a great friend from Alaska) and I barely scratched the surface of this fascinating city.
Even though I’ve traveled a lot I rarely have someone at the airport to pick me up. This time I had someone waiting for me at luggage claim, was holding up a sign with my name on it, and was dressed up in a suit and tie. It’s the little things in this life that I love. Stanley is amazing. I recommend everyone book Stanley as their driver when they visit New Orleans. Besides being an amazing driver, he knows everyone at the airport, has a wonderful personality, and knows a lot about his city.
Stanley gave us a mini tour of New Orleans and lots of wonderful suggestions before dropping us off at The Banana Courtyard Bed and Breakfast. I love Bed & Breakfasts for so many reasons. They are usually run by amazing people that are inviting you into their home, the B&B’s have a fascinating history, the Innkeepers know their city inside and out, and you are oftentimes treated you more like family than a guest. I would know a good B&B as I have stayed in many and I used to manage one. Which means I can also sympathize with the challenges that come with inviting strangers into your home.
The Banana Courtyard is just as amazing as you’d think a B&B could be. It was built in the 1870’s, used to be a bordello (brothel), is a few blocks from the French Quarter, and has a courtyard with a 40 foot Banana Tree (hence the name of the B & B). I’m staying in the servant quarters…of course they have been refurbished and remodeled. Julie is staying in one of the old parlors. Take a look.
Everywhere in this city there is a lot of charm and lots of friendly people. Julie and I’s first stop of the day was at Lafayette’s. It had a disco ball and Bloody Mary’s…hence why we stopped in. It was our first stop on our first full day and our last stop on our final day in New Orleans. Our Bartender was eager to talk to us about the history of the bar and New Orleans.
Below are some of my highlights.
We were able to meet up with a great friend of mine, Robin for dinner and a drink. She suggested that we meet at a wonderful restaurant called the Orleans Grapevine. We sat in the outside courtyard. If you are ever in the French Quarter check it out. I don’t know if there is such a thing as bad food in this city. Then we headed to the Black Penny for a drink. I enjoyed Bourbon Street during the daytime during the week. On the weekends and the evenings it was just to busy for me so the Orleans Grapevine and the Black Penny were more my style. We had a lot of laughter and a lot of fun.
We went on a tour to the St. Louis Cemetery where we learned all about some of the characters that are buried there, we saw Nicolas Cages future tomb and learned about his bad luck, and learned that Caterpillars can kill.
We went to the Whitney Plantation. Everyone should visit the Whitney Plantation. This plantation tour is given with a focus on slavery. It is definitely an emotional rollercoaster. However, it’s a story that needs to be told. Thanks Stanley and Robin for the Recommendation.
Cafe Du Monde for Beignets. We did try Beignets however we skipped over Cafe Du Monde due to the size of the line. We did learn about a sort of secret window. If you walk thru the cafe to the back on the left there is a to go window with no wait time. The window only takes cash. However, if you want to skip the main line and a long wait then head over to the To Go Window. We told some other guests at the B&B about our discovery. They told us later that day that they went to the To Go window and they were so happy we told them about it.
We saw two burlesque shows: Whiskey & Rhinestone’s and Sobe’s Burlesque Brunch where Bella Blue performed. If you are a Burlesque person you know that Bella Blue is in the top 50 performers in the world. She is an amazing artist, designer, and dancer. Who has ever heard of a Burlesque Brunch? It was amazing.
When our adventure came to an end, Stanley was there to pick Julie and I up and drive us back to the airport. He’s a Football fan; however, he was still willing to skip out on part of a playoff game. New Orleans Saints were playing the Minnesota Vikings in what turned out to be a very exciting game. He actually texted me a few days before and said “ Who Dat”. I said it was Haley. Apparently I don’t know Football chants all that well. So we had a good chuckle about that on the way to the airport. He was sporting his football gear and told us his whole family was home watching the game so we didnt want to take up to much of his time. We made sure he was home in time to see the last half. Sorry that we had to win Stanley. As I parted and gave him a hug I promised that I would give him a call if I ever found myself back in New Orleans.