I’ll start by saying that this is entirely done from my iPad, so please excuse any errors or image issues. Still getting used to operating from a tablet.
This morning, we set off on the first leg of our four-day trip from Atlanta to Vegas. Last night’s sleep was delayed by the unsettling thought that I would forget to pack something important, or that I had completely neglected to make a reservation or book a flight. But this morning, Sara, Bobby and I woke up, packed the car and headed down I-85 south toward New Orleans. The drive was relatively uneventful, save for our singalongs to road trip music (especially the amaaaaazing 2-CD mix that our friend Chris put together for us.)
We got in to town and headed to the Lower Ninth Ward where we stayed with Sara’s long-time friends. I’ve never actually spent any time in the Lower Ninth on my previous trips to the city, mostly because I didn’t want to feel like I was participating in some kind of disaster tourism.
Sara’s friends bought a house here, and while they noted that it took some frustrating renovations, the neighborhood has become more lively over the past few years with fewer abandoned homes (like the one pictured, located across the street). They were so gracious to set up space for us all, and after we dropped off some of our things, we headed out for dinner and drinks.
The first stop was to the French Quarter where we found parking on an unusually dead Thursday night (it is 50 degrees…) and walked to the Hotel Monteleone. The carousel bar has been expanded, but it was still packed, so we went around the corner to Arnaud’s French 75.
Bobby is a bartender in Vegas, so we wanted to check out some spots known for classic and inventive cocktails. I broke my three-month break from alcohol earlier in the week, so I had the Caibiscus with cachaca, falernum, hibiscus tea, grenadine and lime juice. We finished a round and then went upstairs, upon the recommendation of the bartender, to check out the Mardi Gras museum.
The small but impressive museum houses a collection of gowns, worn over the decades, in the famous New Orleans Mardi Gras parades. The queen and king costumes go back as far as 1941 and are beautiful, elaborately beaded works of art.
We ran late to meet Suzy at Maurepas Foods, which where she took us last time we were in New Orleans. I asked Bobby to order me a drink and received a Mexicano, made of mescal, fernet and amaro. While it was delicious, it was a little too much for me and I chilled out with water for the rest of the night. The dirty farro (I had farro earlier in the week as well, can’t get enough) and the arugula with chicken cracklings were amaaaazing. I tried Sara’s gnochetti and Bobby’s (brisket?) mole and they were delicious as well.
I drove us to Pravda, where they all had another nightcap and then decided it was time to call it a night. Over seven hours of driving and 470 miles later, we’re all pretty wiped out. But not too tired for this: