I got a new camera! I'm so excited about it too! I have been eyeing SLR cameras for quite some time now, but I always just felt like they were so expensive! And anyone who has one will tell you that it is "totally worth it". And you're like, "Yeah, OK, I still have a perfectly functioning camera and I have other things I could do with $1,000". But, one thing I've been trying to do more lately is re-purpose. Because, afterall, that is the greenest thing you can do. So, I started looking online for used SLR cameras that might suit my needs. Lo and behold, I found a college kid in Westerville who was selling his Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT for a fraction of what it originally cost him 3 years ago. He's trying to finance a cross country bike trip and he sold me the camera, a nice lens, extra battery, and 3G worth of memory cards for under $500. So excited! He also gave me an hour or so tutorial on cameras and how to work mine. How could I say no? So I am now the owner of a new <to me> digitial SLR camera. And then I was off to New Orleans to learn how to use it (sort of).
So, the next day I left at 6:00am for New Orleans. Charlie and I had been planning the trip for months, and it seemed like it was so far away, then, all of a sudden, it was March! We left early, early last Thursday morning (St. Patrick's Day) and came home on Sunday (yesterday).
We got in at about 9:30 or so Thursday morning. We left our bags at the concierge and took off to find some food. The lady at the hotel suggested a place called The Court of the Two Sisters. They had a brunch buffet that was to die for! So many choices and all so good! And all the seating was on this adorable courtyard that had beautiful flowers growing overhead. It was so nice, it was worth the occasional bee that came along. I also learned something useful about my new camera while I was sitting there. I bought a lens off the previous owner. It is a 55mm 1:1.8 lens. He explained to me what that meant, but I really learned what it meant then. 55mm means it's single focus, which I didn't think was such a big deal until I realized how magnified everything was. And I new the aperature was big (up to 1.8) but I didn't realize how overexposed my pictures would look. Since I don't have the other lens yet (he's sending it to me in the mail) a lot of my day time pics in New Orleans look a bit over exposed. However, the night time images are awesome.
So, after that we went on a little walking tour of the French Quarter that was suggested in our Lonely Planet book (which almost everyone else there seemed to have as well). However, on the way we ran into this street band called The Smoking Time Jazz Band. LOVED them! Sat and watched them for a good half an hour before we bought a CD for $10 and moved on.
So, just a few highlights from our walking tour. Our first stop was the St. Louis cathedral. It was originally built in the 1700's and has been rebuilt and repaired many times over the years due to hurricane damage. It was really very pretty though.
Next stop was the Faulker House Bookstore. The tiniest cutest little bookstore that I have ever seen. It was named after William Faulker who supposedly lived there for a brief stint during his lifetime. It literally could barely hold more than a handfull of people, but it was full of character and cute touches all around.
All along the way there were signs like this one, reminding you of the city's history. Funny to think that it belonged to France and Spain for quite awhile before it belonged to the US.
Another cool stop was the Cornstalk Hotel. The fence out front looked like corn:) You can't see it that well here, but I've got another picture I'll put in later.
Last stop was James H. Cohen and Son's gun and antique coin shop. They also had little soldier figurines like these here. This used to be Peychaud's Apothecary, where the cocktail was supposedly invented oh so many years ago.
After that we headed back to the hotel. And ran into some more musicians on the way. They were really playing this wash basin hard. I thought maybe he had invented this instrument and almost bought a CD just to support his creativity, but later realized that there were others with the same thing. Oh well, it was still a cool idea.
After that we headed back to the hotel for a nap before the evening festivities began. That night, at the suggestion of my friend Portia from UofR, we ate at the Crescent City Brewery. It was right on Decatur St, where the "parade" would later be, so we decided it was a good choice. And it was. Delicious food and an awesome atmosphere.
Soon after dinner the parade began. It started with a few police cars and motor bikes. Everyone was just milling around in the street. Then car after car, some were more floats than other. All were giving out beads like it was their job. Most requested a kiss on the cheek. One rather forward man kissed me on the lips which I was so incredulous about I could barely make a response before he danced off in his kilt. Either way, it was a parade like none I had ever seen. Lots of drinking and laughing and dancing. Dancing in the parade. The people watching were as much a part of the parade as the parade was. Everyone was dancing in the streets, it was really pretty cool. We ended up at a karaoke bar where we danced the night away until probably 2 or 3 in the morning before finally heading home. Definitely a good St. Patty's Day!
The next morning we woke up earlier than we thought we would, got some breakfast and headed to the Garden Neighborhood. So many pretty houses. We really spent most of the day just walking around. Got a Po Boy for lunch (basically just a sandwhich) and headed back to the hotel for an afternoon nap before hitting up the night life again.
|This is a closer up view of the cornstalk fence. Cool, huh?|
That night we went to Herbsaint for dinner. I had the duck confit, which was to die for. It was just so good.
Then Charlie did not feel well. So we went back to the hotel.
On our last full day there, we decided to take the street car up to City Park, also on Portia's recommendation. It is a huge park, with a botanical garden and all sorts of pretty things.
|In the sculpture garden outside the Museum of Art|
After City Park, we walked about 2 miles to the Metairie Cemetery. People in New Orleans are buried above ground since they are located below sea level. That means they get to be a little more creative...
We headed back for our nap, and then for real this time, went out for one more night on the town.
We ate dinner down by the Mississippi, and then headed to the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood to listen to some live music. The first place we went was Blue Nile, they had a guy playing a washboard.
Then to another place where the band was not very good. After that to the Spotted Cat...
|Abita is brewed in Louisiana... the amber is quite good I think.|
And finally paid $5 to get into d.b.a. This place was very cool and the music was very good. We stayed for quite awhile until it got too crowded for us.
After we had had enough jazz, we went to Cafe Du Monde. This place was seriously packed. All the time. No matter what time of day. Except for at 3am, when you could get a table right away and get some piping hot biegnet's. Seriously all they had were biegnets and coffee. Biegnets are like fried dough basically. So, delicious. After a few of those were ready to call it a night.
Sunday we went for a run, ate breakfast and then just walked around the French Quarter for a bit until it was time to go. Believe it or not we ran into our old friend's The Smoking Time Jazz Club and listened to them a bit more before saying goodbye to New Orleans and heading home.
All in all, a good weekend. It was a fun city to visit for a few days. Definitely an experience:) Now back to reality...
But first - when I got home - MY HERBS ARE GROWING!!! YAY!