NOLA Day 7 & 8
It’s in the 60s and the skies are threatening rain, but it’s mostly been just periodic sprinkles. There’s just so much to take in, but we resolve not to ruin the chill vibe that’s enveloping us. We sleep in, chill in the hot tub and eventually work our way to the two museums we wanted to check out.
At the Mardi Gras Museum of Costume and Culture we marvel at the intricate design details along with the beadwork and sequins. It hardly seems possible that people walk around all day wearing these enormous headpieces and dresses. The museum has an enormous dress-up closet where you can try on capes, dresses, masks, and headpieces until you have had your fill of glitter and glam!
The museum is also home to an exhibit of Mischief Dolls created by local artist Connie Born. These whimsical dolls are highly sought after by collectors and are reflective of the spirit of New Orleans. Connie was working away during our visit, and I found in her a gentle yet resilient spirit full of peace and hope, reminding me of the importance of doing work you truly love. She crafts each doll individually with exquisite details. The hair is made of feathers, leaves, or twigs; and, they’re accessorized with shiny baubles, charms, and decorative buttons. Each one is truly unique, and I couldn’t resist bringing one home with me! (She’s carefully packed away in the back of the rental car, but I’ll do an “unboxing” post later, to introduce her.)
Arnauds claims to have an “unforgettable” Mardi Gras Museum, so of course that was on our to do list too. Sadly, we found it perfectly forgettable, and thankfully perfectly free of charge. The museum is a small collection of costumes from the Arnaud family’s 20+ year history with Carnival. The displays could have been phenomenal, but instead they were dusty and deteriorating in a dark, humid upstairs room above the restaurant. After we poked around upstairs and around the corner from the museum, we found a beautiful 1930s art deco ballroom with very nice restrooms that redeemed the experience.
As for our food experiences over these two days — gone are the Reveillon dinners, but instead we found some great casual fare, no doubt tipping the scales (should we even bother to look).
1). The Camellia Grill: If you’re an old-fashioned diner fan, this is a “don’t miss”. A late night hunt for grub led us to this icon built in 1946. A barstool at the counter is the perfect way to enjoy the vintage vibe here. The waiters are friendly and sport clean white jackets with bow ties. The breakfast po’ boy is enough to feed two, but be sure to leave room for a piece of homemade pie. Afterwards, drive the surrounding streets and marvel at the beautiful private homes.
2). Olde New Orleans Cookery: This popular restaurant on Bourbon Street always has a line, so be prepared. The Fried Shrimp and Louisiana Oyster po’ boys were stuffed with seafood and had a nice, spicy sauce. For dessert we recommend the bread pudding filled with plump raisins and covered in rum sauce, or the bananas foster ice cream cake — it’s bananas foster, need I say more?!
3). Steins Market & Deli : Two days later and I’m still thinking about their reuben sandwich piled high with thick slices of perfectly seasoned corned beef. Add in the crowds and surly customer service and BOOM! you have the closest thing you’ll find to a genuine New York deli in New Orleans. It’s a hole in the wall with windows layered with local music and event flyers. Don’t come here unless you’re prepared to push your way inn. This is the place for a great sandwich not southern hospitality!
4). District Donuts, Sliders and Brew: Right next door to Stein’s, this eatery makes donuts from scratch all day. These are not just any donuts… these are enormous, light, fluffy pastries, free of artificial flavors, and full of all the good stuff! You’ll find the classics (glazed, cinnamon -sugar, chocolate, etc), as well as yummy daily and seasonal offerings. The Eggnog donut was light and fluffy, filled with egg-noggy deliciousness and a topped with a crumbled, soft molasses cookie. The Cuccidati (Italian Fig Cookie) donut was filled with a tasty combination of fig, nuts and cream, topped with white icing and homemade rainbow sprinkles. Yum, yum, yum.
5). Cafe Beignet: Skip the ridiculous lines at Cafe Du Monde and visit Cafe Beignet at one of their three locations in the French Quarter. We shared the ham and cheese croissant and an order of beignets with coffee. The beignets will melt in your mouth! A family at a table nearby had their Fodor’s travel guide out and were busy planning routes to all the places they wanted to see, while their 9-10 year old boy offered a suggestion, “Let’s just stay here and eat beignets.” Young man, we couldn’t agree more!
Sadly, we’ve reached the end of our NOLA Christmas vacation. Our reservation at the Green House Inn is already booked for Christmas 2019, and we’re back in the rental car for a quick 1,200 mile trip to see family in Pennsylvania.
Wherever you may find yourself, please be safe and take time to treasure all of life’s offerings!
Sharon and the Hero Dog