I fully expected to endure humidity in NOLA however, I didn’t expect my root lifter and mega freeze hair spray not to work. Yep I looked like a wet dog the entire time.
Enough of that rambling here is a little recap of my experience and thoughts about traveling to New Orleans for the very first time.
My taxi ride from the airport to the hotel was very quiet. The driver said not one word to me, really an introverted taxi driver. Upon arriving at the Sheraton on Canal street I quickly changed into my workout clothes and got a 30 min cardio session. Yep this was the one and only workout I had while in NOLA attending the AHP conference. After my workout I showered and headed to the conference reception. During the reception it was raining cats and dogs in the city adding to my suffocation from humidity.
Our consultant was kind enough to invite me to dinner.
The Orleans Grapevine Bar and Bistro was the choice for dinner. They picked this particular restaurant so we could enjoy the outdoor courtyard. Unfortunately it was raining off and on so we sat in doors.
The waitress was very knowledgeable and super friendly. The menu had many options which made for a hard decision. I finally decided on the soup of the day – Chicken, artichoke and sun-dried tomato and crab cakes. Both were fabulous!
I opted to have a nice snifter of Grand Mariner for dessert and others at the table shared a beautiful brownie, ice cream and strawberry dessert.
The chef came out and jumped on the piano with a little great balls of fire. What a fun, fabulous place. It’s a definite NOLA keeper!
This is a picture of wet Bourbon street and a plate of Oyster poor boys from the conference lunch. I did not try them. Yep I am not into eating oysters let alone fried ones.
After a long day of classes AHP arranged for everyone to meet up at the famous Carousal Piano bar and lounge. The famous Carousel Bar & Lounge in the Hotel Monteleone is a long-time favorite New Orleans hotspot. The classic New Orleans hotel bar is the city’s only revolving bar. For decades, it has lured guests in to take a spin on the 25-seat, bright circus-clad Merry-Go-Round. The Carousel Bar overlooks famed Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter. Guests can enjoy the view through large fan windows. This New Orleans hotel bar has long been a favorite of both locals and tourists.
I landed on a French 007. Vodka, pomegranate and champagne.
My new found friends and I had one drink and decided to slop thru the rain and find some dinner.
We walked across the street to Mr. Bs.
“Mr. B’s Bistro, a New Orleans restaurant famous for its Creole cuisine with a focus on fresh regional products, is located in the heart of the French Quarter at the intersection of Royal Street and Iberville. This corner is a New Orleans landmark and celebrated food corner. Considered the original New Orleans gourmet bistro, Mr. B’s Bistro is owned and managed by Cindy Brennan, a member of the legendary New Orleans’ Brennan Family.”
One of my colleagues recommended the restaurant and the BBQ shrimp which I ordered. In my mind I visioned shrimp grilled on the barbecue grill and topped with BBQ sauce. This is not the same thing in NOLA.
Here is the menu description
MR. B’S BARBEQUED SHRIMP – A Mr. B’s signature dish! Gulf shrimp barbeque New Orleans style, served in their shells with peppery butter sauce and French bread for dipping $27
The menu states served in their shells and what they REALLY mean is shrimp from head to tail!
After dinner I had to try a piece if Pecan pie. I didn’t care for the crust but the filling was grand!
Mr. B’s was ok. My thoughts for the price it was mediocre.
The next experience in NOLA would be dinner with some PA girls and a walking Ghosts & Spirits tour. When Amanda told me about the tour I thought drinks and ghosts this would be fun. On my way to the lobby of the hotel I read the brochure.
“A Nighttime Walking Tour of the French Quarter
New Orleans has been referred to as “The most haunted city in America.” After this tour, we’ll let you be the judge!
With its colorful history and unique traditions, it is no wonder so many New Orleans homes and taverns have been investigated by paranormal investigators.
You’ll visit several haunted sites and hear about the stories featured on The History Channel and The Discovery Channel.
Hear ghostly stories about our haunted hotels and the courthouse where our state supreme court is based. We even visit a former slave exchange. Each guide has researched these “other spirits” of the Vieux Carre, so no two tours are exactly alike.
Will you see any of the ghosts that inhabit the famous Bourbon Orleans Hotel, formerly a theater, Quadroon Ballroom, orphanage and convent? Staff and guests report regular ghost sightings- maybe you will too.
Take an exciting look at the relics of voodoo ceremonies, a vampire slaying kit, and age old tools of the trade used by mystical and mysterious inhabitants of our city.
Bring your camera. You never know who will want to pose for a picture!”
Ok now I am a little spooked by the “Ghost tour”. I meet up with the girls in the lobby and we start walking to the Jackson Brewery where the tour begins.
On our walk we saw a fun wedding parading down the street singing. NOLA would be a fun place to have a wedding. It kind of reminded me of a gypsy wedding.
We found the Jackson Brewery Bistro to eat dinner prior to our tour.
“Jackson Brewery Bistro Bar is in the oldest and most famous neighborhood in New Orleans, known as the Vieux Carre or French Quarter. Bordered by the majestic Mississippi River and historic Decatur Street, the interior reflects the beautiful New Orleans architecture complete with ironwork balconies (mezzanines) and Victorian Industrial style furnishings.
Once one of the largest breweries in the country, the brewery is no longer active, but Jackson Brewery Bistro Bar offers a great assortment of local craft beers. Our beer sampler is a favorite!
Live entertainment and in house music reflects the beloved New Orleans and Louisiana culture during the restaurant hours and helps preserve our traditions.”
We were early enough to get Happy Hour drinks I decided to try a mojito in NOLA. The only other mojito I’ve ever had, was at a sushi restaurant and it was a totally different kind so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. It was very refreshing!
and some water too!
Now what to order for my meal????
Since I am in NOLA I had to try the Jambalaya…I have to say it was DELICIOUS! When I was in college I worked at a restaurant that offered Jambalaya and it did not taste near as good as this.
So if you find yourself at Jax’s brewery try the Jambalaya!
The girls and I head to find tour start and needed to purchase a beautiful rain poncho before we start walking and listening to Ghosts stories.
The first stop of the tour is at O’Claritys Irish Pub. Whoops my bad that is what I thought the tour guide said the name of the place was but it’s really O’Flaherty’s Irish pub! We stopped for a mojito and a fun ghost story.
Next stop was the Omni Hotel for a very intense story. I guess this hotel was once a military hospital and ghosts have been known to resurface in the hotel. The next intense story was about a couple that moved to NOLA and decided to stay during Katrina. Check out the Addie Hall and Zach Bowen story. Evidently he jumped from the roof of the Omni on to a parking garage to kill himself and his spirit tends to show up now and again.
We then headed to Little Vic’s. What I loved most about this venue is the wonderful court yard, the fun statue and hilarious bathroom sign.
Then our tour guide took us down a dark freaky ally to find the St. Anthony Garden the statue is also known as the “Touch Down Jesus”
And the last ghost story takes place at the Orleans Ball Room! We did not get to see the ballroom as the ghosts were setting up for a wedding the next day.
This tour had some fun history, thank goodness it wasn’t freaky scary like I thought it was going to be.
I promise to be back before the end of the week with more from NOLA!