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Dancing the Night Away in New Orleans!

Bonjour Mes Amis!

Picture this: I’m sitting on the floor, playing with my nephews when I receive a text, asking if I have plans over the upcoming weekend. Other than having a margarita to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and tentative plans to attend the Dynamo vs LA Galaxy game, nada (and by tentative, I mean, the game was sold out, and my long reach of soccer connections was not proving fruitful). So, I was available for adventure!

D received two VIP tickets to the Jazz Fest for May 5th and 6th and wanted a drama free companion (I guess I passed that test over the trek to Havasu! *pats self on the back*). Many shout outs and thanks to K2 for enjoying their Honeymoon so much, they decided to share it with us (and by share, I mean give us the tickets while they leisurely drove towards home, with a detour through Dallas)!

Jazz. Fest. New. Orleans. Could the weekend be set up for any more fun? Fortunately, for us, yes! D was told by J (again, thank you, Havasu trip), to meet up with a couple who also had Jazz Fest tix. K&J were an excellent addition to our party.
The music was excellent, the entertainment top notch, and the food, oh. my. goodness! the food was absolutely delicious and we made sure to try a lot of it! Prepare your mouth to start watering:

Oceana GrillWe were meeting up with K2 later, so we shared the “Jazzy” crab cake platter and of course dessert was a must. Tried their Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie with ice cream (duh). Fabulous. Go there just for the pie!

Emerils NOLA Restaurant: Met up with K2 at Emerils Nola Restaurant. D and I shared the tostada special then sampled some of K's Bread Pudding. Mmm.

 Brennans: Brennan’s: Eggs Benedict for D and Chicken and Waffles for me. The flavor, the seasoning, the cornbread waffles. Oh, yum, it was absolutely delicious. Fun twist: our bartender, Trent, was awesome. It being Cinco de Mayo, D was wearing his rather large sombrero and asked to drink a Mexican beer (they only had Corona, which saddened D, but he persevered and drank a few!). I ordered hot black tea. Trent, helping me celebrate, put a lime on the side of my cup. Hah. Perfect! 

Deanies: D and I shared the half seafood platter, which was filled with delicious (and yes, fried! No remorse) oysters, shrimp, catfish, soft-shelled crabs, and crawfish balls. Our bartender here was amazing as well. She gave me a beer-Rita to continue the celebration and talked us into the Taste of Deanie’s (crawfish bisque, chicken andouille gumbo, and crawfish etouffee). Yum. Yum. Yum. Everything was absolutely delicious (minus the steak that J ordered!).

Mothers: We were told by multiple sources to try Mother’s so we made it our last meal of the trip. The sausage and green beans were on point (the service not so much).  

Other food experience: our hotel delightfully provided beignets in the lobby each morning, which saved us a trip to Café du Monde (if you’ve never been, make the effort but we’ve both been on previous trips). 

What I learned about New Orleans food:
1. There’s no way you can eat everywhere (there are over 1,400 restaurants in the city!), unless you move to NOLA, and consistently eat out once a day for almost 4 years. Talk about a commitment to food!
2. The good news! No matter where you eat or what you spend, you will experience rich, flavorful food.
3. New Orleans offers all stars of restaurants: hole in the walls, fast food chains (please don’t eat here), as well as fancy restaurants where you can propose to your girlfriend.
4. Lots of restaurants have waits, except in the bar area. Eat in the bar. You experience better, quicker, and more consistent service.  

Our awesome tickets came with a secluded tent for use by only those with the Grand Marshall VIP Pass. The best part: private bathrooms that never had a line! They provided complimentary local bagged chips, fruit, lemonade and iced tea, as well as a sweet of the day. My favorite was the strawberry banana sorbetto, with sugar cone. Mmm. (are you starting to think I need a sugar intervention? You may be right.)

D bought his beer here (because, again, no lines!) and sitting at tables in the tent, away from the sun was a perk as well. But the BEST part of the passes was the area sectioned off for us. We could show up late to a performance, pass thousands of people, and stand in the front. Excellent. For the Aerosmith concert, they built the stage out so that it extended into our standing section, which allowed us to be extra close. A-mazing. Superb. Great show.

A listing of some of the bands we listened to: Aerosmith, Anita Baker, The Revivalists, Better Than Ezra (my favorite entertainer!), Boyfriend, Jack White, Steve Miller Band, Smokey Robinson, The Radiators @ 40, Buddy Guy, Galactic, The Gospel Soul of Irma Thomas, Mia Borders, plus so many more as we would walk into tents, listen for 5-10 minutes, then leave, plus all the stages we walked by. It was overwhelming, so many stages and talented musicians. How to choose?

French Quarter:
We ventured to the French Quarter each evening for dinner and then danced the night away, walking from bar to bar on Bourbon Street and surrounding areas. The people watching alone provided free entertainment. Took K2 for a palm reading in Jackson Square, then took K&J, and D back the next night, looking for the same lady. She was absent, so we chose a typical New Orleans lady who played the part of gypsy to a T. Apparently, I needed to be extra vigilant and watch my wallet, watch my drink, as something bad was going to happen that night. *gulp!* I told the other three to keep a close eye on me. They lost me within 5 minutes. Hah! But all was good for the night (aka I survived with nothing happening. But was it due to the warning to be vigilant or just because nothing was going to happen anyways? Dun Dun duhhhh).

Overall, New Orleans was a fun city. Lots to see, lots to do, and so many wonderful places to eat. According to one Uber driver, they have festivals every week, so no matter when you go, there will be celebrations happening all around you (not to mention the bachelor and bachelorette parties that seem to be everywhere).  

Last recommendation: use Priceline for your hotels! You can stay in a 4 star hotel but only pay half the price (and who doesn't love to find a deal while traveling?).

Off to Miami and Key West!!

Au revoir!


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