The Big Easy

New OrleansNew Orleans is nicknamed The Big Easy and after spending a couple of evenings at the French Quarter I think I get it….it’s all about taking it easy, having a good time.  Hey man, life’s short.  Enjoy it while you can.

French Quarter
The spray painted guy is a “street performer”. He’ll pose for photos for a donation. He and the cop are conversing like buddies…..talking about a football game.

Well enjoy we did!  New Orleans is the largest city in Louisiana and the 46th largest city in the United States.  It’s a multi-cultural city with strong French and Spanish influences.  On average, the land sits at an elevation between two feet below sea level to 20 feet above sea level.  Most of New Orleans sits AT sea level.  The humid, subtropical climate can feel quite warm hot.

Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street….another ‘street performer’ on the left. This time spray painted silver. Plenty of opportunities for a horse and carriage ride.
Bourbon Street
I shall spare you the image of this MAN from the front!!!

The French Quarter is well-known for its notorious nightlife, festivals, Mardi Gras, and the birth place of jazz.  Car traffic down Bourbon Street is cut-off via barrier sometime around 6:00 p.m.  I’m convinced it’s to keep the wasted partying folks from getting hit by a car, or better yet, save the cars from potential damage from wild revelers.  As the night unfolds, so does the craziness.  Eclectic might be a good choice of words to describe the Quarter….everything from red light district activities to upscale Jazz halls.

This is our second evening strolling the Quarter.  We start with a delicious spiked Slurpee (i.e. frozen daiquiri) in hand….come on, it’s hot out.  We then return to the same restaurant where we ate last night …. Bourbon Heat.  The food was so good and we really enjoyed sitting in the courtyard.  Logan eats more alligator!

There are tons and tons of restaurant choices.  Many of the places have live entertainment and at some the music can be excessively loud.  The talent is obvious as music French Quarterwafts the air.  It’s easy to get caught up in this place.

Please note; with the completion of one frozen daiquiri and the start of a second, the music and overall experience was greatly enhanced and thus highly recommended.  In other words, the French Quarter is a lot more fun when one is buzzed, like everyone else.

We visited the Quarter on a Tuesday and Wednesday night and were back at the hotel by 9:00 p.m. (party poopers)   We saw plenty of craziness during these two week nights.  A sampling of some of Logan’s comments;  “You got to be kicking”.  “What the heck is that?” “Really?”  “WTF”  “OMG”. “Hum, lingerie night?”  “Peep show?”  “Did you see that”.

French Quarter
Logan experiencing the French Quarter
French Quarter
Street Performer. Bucket for tips!

We people watched, watched street performers, and stopped to listen to music.  In the photo to the left, is a ‘street performer’, I use the term lightly.  I guess his talent is climbing a free-standing ladder….a ladder to nowhere.  The ladder is NOT up against anything.  He just climbs and balances on the ladder.

Okay, moving on.  Later in the evening, down the street, we watched two guys street dance and they were pretty entertaining.  Michael Jackson would be proud of the unique moon walk.

Never once did we feel unsafe.  New Orleans finest were plentiful, patrolling by car, on motorcycle, and on foot.  These officers were regularly engaged in conversation with locals…..very friendly and civil.

There were times it was all Logan and I could do not to stare or open our mouth in shock.  We can’t fathom what it’s like on a weekend or let alone Mardi Gras.  Party Central is putting it mildly.  Everyone should experience New Orleans’ French Quarter, at least once.  I’m glad we did, even though my behavior, in comparison to others, could more easily be associated with a nun…..not so bad, considering this is Catholic country after all…..St. Louis Cathedral

Can you say Yum?

It’s been a long day.  We drove from Shreveport, Louisiana, to New Orleans.  We took a short break settling into our hotel room  before walking down Decatur Street.  We visited the historic St. Louis Cathedral and viewed the Mississippi River.  I think it’s high time for dinner and drinks.Bourbon Street

What better place to enjoy a yummy New Orleans meal than the French Quarter….Bourbon Street to be exact!  From Decatur Street, we take a little side street and walk slowly over to Bourbon Street.  We take in all the sites, sounds, history, architecture, and atmosphere.

French QuarterLogan has never seen such narrow streets or such old buildings.  We round a corner and there’s no doubt when we reach Bourbon Street.  Neon lights, music, and activity abound.  As we continue down the street, the sound of music becomes a main component.  It’s still early….perhaps 5:30 p.m. and we’re hungry.  We read some posted menus to see what we’re in the mood for.

Logan reads “alligator sausage” and immediately says, “I gotta try alligator”.  So alligator it is.  The name of the place is Bourbon Heat.  It’s more bar than restaurant but a walk- way toward the rear of the building reveals a courtyard.  We grab a table and order the house French Quarterdrink.  When I say house drink, I believe it’s more of the popular drink here in the French Quarter…….frozen daiquiri’s.  These “ice-e” machines are everywhere making frozen daiquiri’s and margaritas served in ‘to go’ cups.  My kids and I are huge Slurpee fans.  So these frozen strawberry daiquiri‘s hit the spot.

I’m not sure how big the portions will be, therefore we decide to split an entrée, especially since Logan orders the appetizer alligator sausage on a stick.  For our entrée, we order Catfish Lafayette.  This entrée consists of a large piece of catfish, lightly breaded, Cajun seasoned, deep-fried and served over a bed of rice in a cream, Cajun sauce.  My mouth is watering as I write this.  It

French Quarter
Catfish Lafayette

was simply delicious.  The atmosphere was exactly what we needed….simple, casual, laid back.

The food is served on paper plates with plastic utensils.  Our daiquiri’s are served in large styrofoam cups, making it very convenient for drinking ‘on the go’.  We are quickly reminded to slow down while slurping this yummy concoction…..brain freeze!

After devouring our meal, we slowly meander our way back to the hotel while drinking our spiked slurpees.

Logan getting ready to try alligator sausage

The French Quarter………I’m speechless!  I thought I saw it all while living in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I’m not kidding when I say “I’m speechless”.  I need to think about putting our short visit to the French Quarter into words…….

French Quarter
French Quarter