As you might know, I was in New Orleans this past weekend for my cousin's wedding. I wrote on Friday about how much my family means to me and how excited I was to be with them. While I knew my time there would be memorable because of the celebration we were there for, I didn't realize the place itself would inspire me as much as it did. It overwhelmed me. This feeling of wonder and excitement mixed with something like awe and slight disbelief kept bubbling up inside me as I listened to a street band playing zydeco music on Royal Street, wandered among the old houses in the Garden District, and danced at Preservation Hall with some of the people I love most in the world.
Even though we were only there for a short time, my parents, boyfriend and I managed to see quite a lot of the city. So here, a tour of my trip from my trusty iPhone camera. I'll post pictures of the architecture and people of New Orleans that I took with my nice, big camera, but I think this is the best way to start. The shot above is the title of a satirical paper we found at a little coffee shop in the French Quarter (MUCH more after the jump).
The whirlwind trip began. Signs for Logan Airport along I90 at 7am.
Hi, I'm Charlottems, nice to meet you.
I draw the man in the aisle across from me.
Shoulders without heads on the most cramped flight ever.
Plane feet. Bensimon sneaks, the only way to travel.
I've never been to a city that takes as much pride in its football team as New Orleans does. This truck was one of the first vehicles we saw as we drove to the hotel from the airport, and a harbinger of the amount of Saints paraphernalia we would encounter.
Within 12 minutes of checking in at the Hotel Monteleone and dropping off our bags, my boyfriend had me sitting at Johnny's PoBoys, waiting for his fried shrimp PoBoy sandwich.
It was, I'll admit, heavenly.
This kid had taped crushed soda cans to his shoes and was tap-dancing with them. His rhythm was enviable.
The rehearsal dinner goody bags. I gave a toast but cried during most of it. Everyone's toasts were beautiful, heartfelt, and funny; It was such a lovely evening (with such fantastic food).
Me at the Carosel Bar of the Monteleone after the rehearsal dinner. I wanted to show you the dress I ended up choosing after the long dress hunt the other day. This is a 3.1 Phillip Lim number I'd forgotten I brought home with me from Barney's, and so didn't even include in the post where I frantically asked you what I should wear. A marathon day of returning the dresses I didn't end up wearing is in my future.
Carosel was wild--the bar slowly spins while you're sitting there. A little trippy if you're a few Pimms Cups/Sazeracs/Sloe Gin Fizzes deep; my cousin's husband (!!!) said that sometimes he'll go there to watch a football game and look up after a few beers to find that the TV has migrated to his left or right. Speaking of drinks, the drinks in Nola were insanely good. I'm going to try to figure out the ingredients/proportions and post some of them. It would be selfish to keep them to myself.
We started the day off with a brunch that my aunt, uncle, and cousins held at the hotel. After seeing Disney's The Princess and the Frog (which you all must watch!), all I wanted while I was in New Orleans was a beignet. The one above, that fried piece of heaven in the lower right corner, did not disappoint. Also, everything at the brunch was grilled. Grapefruit, tomatoes, bananas...all of it. I might try grilling fruit this week. Maybe I'll even "Wilder Recipe" it if it's not a total disaster. Which it very well could be.
The bloody Marys were the best I've ever had. Unfortunately, I couldn't really stomach it at 11am after a night of toasting the bridge and groom, but the sips I could manage were very tasty.
After brunch my parents, boyfriend and I went for a long walk around the city. We strolled through the streets (past graffiti like that above) to the Garden District, where we saw many stunning old houses with wrought-iron grates, lush gardens (duh) and grand columns.
We also spotted this van. My boyfriend and I went to college with Foster Huntington, of A Restless Transplant, who is the founder of the van-life movement. We took this photo for him.
This is the house that Peyton and Eli Manning grew up in. As a Patriots fan I'm not supposed to think this is worth photographing and posting, but I do, and I am.
A grand house in the Garden District.
We then went back to the French Quarter, where we sat and listened to this street band, Yes Ma'am. They played a hybrid of country mixed with jazz and zydeco music (a form of country music founded in Louisiana) so well that they had me laughing helplessly because I loved it so much. I've always had a soft spot for good country music, zydeco especially. Thanks to the internet, I was able to creep around and find one of the band member's livejournal pages (the one on the far right of the photo above). She writes some pretty wild posts that contain a bit of Kerouac, a bit of O'Hara, and a whole lot of hipster. She loves what she does; that comes through the loudest.
We then went back to the hotel and slept for an hour or so. Then it was go-time. Here I am ready for the wedding in the 3.1 Phillip Lim dress I ended up choosing (Phillip won New Orelans, wardrobe-wise), a White and Warren sweater, and my new J.Crew necklace. You may notice the pointer finger of my hand holding my phone is a different color from the rest of my nails and think that I did this to be trendy, because apparently it's a trend right now. What actually happened is that I'm a bit of an idiot and forgot to remove the polish on one finger, didn't have any nail polish remover in my room, and had to deal with one nail not matching the others. Life goes on.
The wedding was lit by hundreds of floating candles at the Montegut House in the French Quarter. Ivy climbed up the courtyard walls and candles hung from the oldest Magnolia tree in the city.
The after-party (after-after party, really, since it took place once the reception, dinner, and dancing at the Montegut House were over) was at Preservation Hall with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. One of our friends described the hall thus: "It looks like jail. Party jail." I've never heard jazz like they played it--soulful and relaxed while remaining upbeat and loud. We danced and danced and danced. I was in heaven.
A cut-out drum.
We got up at 6:30 (after going to bed at 2:30) and headed to the airport. I dealt with my sleep deprivation and tried to take a few pictures as we sped past the business district. Our cab driver, known as Hotel Al, told us about the flooding after Katrina, pointing out buildings that were still boarded up or bridges on which you could see the water-line from the floods.
Speeding by an above ground cemetery that's common in New Orleans because of flooding.
Nothing to do with New Orleans, except that I bought it at the airport and thought the cover story's title was pretty funny.
Home again, home again. What's an iPhone post without the pup?