✈ in case you missed Part 3 you can catch up here…
p.s. click on photos to enlarge them!
Thursday, May 17
Since E’s conference sessions on Thursday ran from 8am-4:30pm again – we decided to cram a little adventure into her 1.5 hr lunch break. Wanting to see more of New Orleans, but not having the time to go by foot, we hopped on the St. Charles Streetcar for a leisurely cruise around the city – more specifically an area known as The Garden District.
During the 90min, $2.50 round trip we saw tree-lined streets, stately mansions, shady parks, and old churches. The route also went past the zoo and Loyola University. It was a pleasant trip and one I’d recommend – we definitely enjoyed sightseeing from the charming wooden benches of the trolley.
Once our trolley ride was over, E had to head back to the conference and I was left to enjoy the final afternoon in New Orleans. I grabbed a quick lunch of red beans+rice from Cafe Beignets (where E and I had our first meal in N’awlins) before wandering down the streets and alleyways of the French Quarter.
It was a gorgeous day and I meandered along slowly taking in the sights and the people (with my little camera clicking away of course!).
I was lucky to be passing by the St.Louis Cathedral during visiting hours. The inside was just stunning!
With a few more hours to kill until dinner, I stopped to watch many street musicians perform.
Like they state in the opening song of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog –
“They got music. It’s always playin’. Start in the daytime, go all through the night. And when you hear that music playin’ – Hear what I’m saying, it make you feel alright.”
From traditional blues to foot-stompin’ jazz to folky fiddle ballads – you can hear it all on the streets of N’awlins.
Doreen’s Jazz Band, pictured in the (above) lower left corner was the first band I stumbled across + I stayed to hear them play for almost 40mins. Doreen played clarinet brilliantly! and was accompanied by a valve trombone, tuba, drums, and guitar.
It’s so fun to find these musicians on the street, be absolutely blown away by their talent, and then to later research them online to find out that damn, they really are as good, if not better, than you first thought.
Below you’ll find a short video of Doreen’s Jazz Band that I shot while watching them in New Orleans – I encourage you to watch the whole thing through – as they scat at the beginning and Doreen knocks it out of the park on her clarinet at the end. (Forgive the camera angle – it turns right side up after a few minutes!)
At around 5pm I headed back to the hotel to meet up with E + other conference goers to head to their “last night of the conference” party/dinner aka Taste of New Orleans Reception.
It was held at Generations Hall, a pretty cool venue, and featured fantastic live music along with various food stations. We enjoyed crispy catfish, shrimp, praline pecan dessert, and E even tried an oyster! They also had jambalaya, gumbo, mufflalettas, and other New Orleans fare.
Once full, we engaged in a little after dinner exercise by shaking ourselves silly on the dance floor for 2 hours. It was a blast! And the party did not stop there because after the reception a group of us hit up Bourbon Street one last time and danced well into the night. It was quite a fitting end to our finale full day in New Orleans!
Friday, May 18
On Friday we packed our bags and said good bye to N’awlins.
E attended her last conference session ’til noon and then we hopped a cab to the airport to catch our 2:45pm flight back to Chicago. While at the airport, E saw RJ and J Paul from the TV show Swamp People which we thought was quite funny – hey o! – celebrity spotting! Ha!
The rest of the trip was uneventful although we did have quite the time finding the bus/shuttle at O’Hare. Easy to find my ass – it was quite confusing. But we finally found it and were on our way back home in no time.
I always find the end of vacations to be bittersweet.
I start to miss home, my own bed, family+friends, and the chance to stop living out of a suitcase. I yearn for routines, for the familiar, for grocery store trips, and evenings curled up watching tv.
But once I step through the door, I immediately wish I was headed out again. Off to find good food + good fun, a chance to experience and explore new spaces, to live simply and without an agenda. The impulse to travel is irresistible + seductive.
oh, wanderlust, like the sea you too are a cruel mistress.
And so wraps up our New Orleans trip.
I hope you enjoyed the recaps as much as I did!
Blogging… what a wonderful excuse to relive great memories!