We left about 10:30 Saturday morning. It was a later start than I would have preferred but it worked out ok. We stopped in Orange, Tx after about 2 hours on the road. It was raining off and on out of Houston and into Louisiana. Our stop in Orange included a lunch buffet at "The Original" Cajun Cookery, off I-10W. The buffet featured gumbo, frog legs, boudin, catfish, jambalaya and fried okra. I enjoyed a fried oyster plate off the menu while the guys ate from the buffet. The table decor included a plastic bucket with 2 rolls of paper towels in it. It was that kind of joint and the food was fab.
At Lafayette we turned off to Hwy 90. The scenic route. The highway takes the traveler along the coast, up close and personal.
We arrived at our hotel, The W New Orleans - French Quarter, about 6:00 that evening. It's a lovely hotel, especially the luxurious bedding and spa bathrobes. The rooms themselves are on the small side but the bathrooms are huge. Large walk in shower with designer name toiletries. Both the USA Today and The Wall Street Journal are delivered to your room, week days. Since we were there on a weekend I requested a Times-Picayune for Sunday morning.
Saturday night we decided to eat in the hotel's restaurant. It was no ordinary hotel restaurant, I'll tell you. It's called Bacco and it is owned and operated by Ralph Brennan, of the New Orleans legendary restaurant family. Unbelievable food. Italian with a Creole fusion. The lobster ravioli is to die for, as is their own version of the lemon icebox pie for dessert. We also ate there for our son's birthday dinner, Sunday night. He had the 4 course lobster dinner, which included a creme fraiche cheesecake for dessert. The waiter and waitress (all tables have 2 servers assigned to them) made a paper hat for him for a birthday hat! One night I enjoyed a Katrina Rita as a cocktail. Quite an extravagant margarita.
My favorite entree at Bacco was the Louisiana Blue Crabmeat linguine. It was slap yo mama good.
Sunday we walked around the French Quarter and stopped here and there, shopping and exploring art shops. We purchased a ceramic replica of a New Orleans Water Dept street cover, which are famous for their artistic bent. We bought that at Dutch Alley, an Artist's Co-op. I was disappointed that the French Market is closed. I hope they are re-building it and not just abandoning it. The archway entrance is still there but nothing else. And Central Grocery, unfortunately, is closed, too. We purchased the Italian Olive mix at Frank's. Frank's is an old established merchant, too, but just not the same for those of us spoiled by the Central Grocery muffaletto.
I went to cool off and enjoy some down time back at the hotel while the guys went to the Southern Decadence parade. It's a gay pride extravaganza. Our son got a kick out of it. He was born in Lafayette, remember, so drag queens and other gays costumed, as he's seen during Mardi Gras and are nothing new to him. He was ticked off about the protesters there with their placards reading "God hates fags" and the like. He questions the true Christianity of those folks. Just like his parents do. We believe God loves all men, as he created them all, didn't He?
Coming home Monday we got off I-10 and traveled Hwy 90 again this time on through the Rockefeller Nature Center and the Creole Nature Trail. The effects of Hurricane Rita are still quite evident. Lots of wetland damage.
The French Quarter is open and ready for tourists. The crowds were noticeably smaller than normal, especially for a long weekend. The weather was perfect. Only a 5 minute wait in line to get into Cafe du Monde. Very little of street vendors or musicians, though. We were not bothered by panhandlers. It was very clean. Some damage is evident as you go in and out on the expressway but lots has been re-built. We weren't in the 9th ward as we know from tv reports the condition it is still in.
I saw today in the newspaper that Mayor Ray Naquin is about to enter the Governor's race. Unreal. What a foolish egoist. He can't run the city, how does he think he could run the state?
The only drawback to our birthday weekend getaway was the son's summer cold. He picked it up the first week back to school, as will happen. So he was fighting that all weekend. Then the husband came down with it after being cooped up in the car with germ boy. So he's nursing it now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I will avoid it all.
We all agree it was a weekend well spent. My baby boy is 18.