Hello again New Orleans!


So we hadn’t been back to New Orleans for a couple of years and have just recently returned from a quick weekend visit. While New Orleans is mostly about the food, there is lots of shopping, people watching, wedding parties strolling down the Quarter, street music and atmosphere to be enjoyed. We stayed at our favorite Hotel Monteleone located in the French Quarter on Royal Street. The location is great for accessing shopping and restaurants. We also visited Harrah’s Casino, which is much nicer now that it is a non-smoking casino. Yes … I said non-smoking! I learned lots watching hubby play craps and perhaps next time I might even be persuaded to join him at the pass line to throw the dice!

BREAKFAST OPTIONS – We had some interesting restaurant experiences that I just have to share. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, especially when I don’t have to conjure it up. Be sure and check out the Ruby Slipper Café located at 200 Magazine Street, just outside the Quarter. It was recommended by several FaceBook friends and I can see why. The café has several locations and open seven days a week. Their motto is “there is no place like home” and it shows. The staff are the friendliest we encountered during our visit. Hubby had the Eggs Blackstone, which is two perfectly poached eggs over bacon, grilled tomato and open-faced buttermilk biscuit finished with hollandaise sauce and served with breakfast potatoes. Yum! We also had an interesting breakfast after attending Mass at St. Louis Cathedral on Sunday. I had noticed The Grill, 540 Chartres Street, as we walked past it from our hotel. It certainly meets all the criteria of a “dive,” but from the window, had a healthy number of people with smiles on their faces. After Mass, we entered into a world fresh out of the past. The interesting counter configuration with seating stools looked ancient like something out of the 1950’s, or older. I couldn’t help but notice most everyone had an omelet on their plate. OMG … best omelet ever! I had the Vegetable Omelette with delish grits! Eggs were light and fluffy and with over 10 different kinds on the menu how can you go wrong.

OTHER DINING OPTIONS – Dinner in New Orleans is a bit of a challenge, unless you dine at a place that accepts reservations. Wanting to be spontaneous is not recommended. That being said, we had a lovely dinner at King Fish on Chartres Street. They have an interesting menu (crab lollipop appetizer was a huge hit) and the service was great. We also stopped into Kubi’s Bar & Café located at 109 Tchoupitoulas on our way to Harrah’s. Now while I’d definitely call it a dive, hubby and I shared an excellent burger, the Kentucky, brushed with BBQ sauce, topped with bacon, cheese and fried onion rings. Our worst meal was at the Gumbo Shop on St. Peter Street. The line was long, the service too fast, and the food … put fast food to shame. We talked about getting bread pudding for dessert, but skipped it because the food was so bland and well, old-looking. We won’t be going back.

A LITTLE SHOPPING Laura’s Candies has two locations in the French Quarter and has been around since 1913. We couldn’t resist the pralines and promised to come back for more. Unfortunately, we ran out of time! One regret I had two years ago was not making time to check out The Quarter Stitch, a needlepoint and yarn shop, on Chartres Street right down the street from Jackson Square. The place has been open for 43 years and the ladies are so nice. They offered to teach me how to needlepoint, but I declined. These eyes are too old. They have amazing canvases all ready to needlepoint. I lingered through their lovely yarn and chose two skeins of ruby red Merino Superwash made in Peru. Bonus … PJ’s Coffee Shop is right across the street. Hubby had the best time hanging out there while I yarn shopped!

I already can’t wait to go back!

Mimi and Bobby McGee

bowling off a rampMy husband was playing tunes off his iPad last night while I was helping Mimi finish her dinner. Mimi usually watches Vanna “turn” letters on “Wheel of Fortune” while she chows down … but not tonight.

“Do you remember years ago we’d crank up the record player and dance around the room with the kids,” Rick said.

I nodded. All our kids are grown now. Mimi, our special needs daughter, is the only one home.

I remember way back then we’d get Mimi in the act when a particular song called for twirling and dipping. Rick would gather Mimi up into his arms and twirl away. Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and “Rhythm of the Saints” albums were her favorites. I can still hear Mimi cackle as Rick, sweat dripping down his face, would finally deposit her back into her wheelchair. Then another song she loved would start up. Mimi would reach for her dad and say, “again.” Some of the great old music brings back those growing-up days.

The song Rick played next on his iPad got Mimi’s attention. It was “Me and Bobby McGee” written by Kris Kristofferson and over the years sung by lots of artists. The version we were currently swaying to was by Janis Joplin recorded way back in 1970. I think the only word Mimi heard in the song was “Bobby.”

There is a Mr. Bobby at the day center Mimi attends during the week. Every Tuesday he drives the bus to bowling for Mimi’s class. It’s her absolute favorite day of the week … as with probably every special needs adult at the day center. Each Tuesday afternoon when Mimi returns home are met with lots of high fives.

“Did you beat the boys at bowling?” I ask.

She raises one hand to deposit a very high five. Life should be so simple that a game like bowling can cause so much joy … and a song about Bobby McGee reminds us of how we got there.

Life is like a symphony … and sometimes a bridge over troubled waters!

Favorite Album of all time! We went to see a performance of the Houston Symphony last weekend. First time ever and it was so fun. They performed songs of Simon and Garfunkel like “Sounds of Silence” and “I Am a Rock” and my absolute personal favorite … closed my eyes and swayed back and forth ever so slightly on this one … “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Don’t certain songs bring you back to a great moment in your life?

The symphony tickets were a Christmas present from our oldest child and her newbie husband. Did I mention that Katie and Chad made us work before we got to open the present? They are just a little mischievous in that way. Hope they never change. They had this page of blanks with a code for letters and we had to figure the whole thing out. Turned out to be titles to Simon and Garfunkel songs but I still didn’t get their point. News flash … to my knowledge S&G hadn’t gotten back together. That also meant they were not hangin’ on our front porch waiting to serenade the family or anything.

We hadn’t been to a concert in years and never to a symphony performance. Kids … all three of ours … and now a daughter-in-law and new son-in-law … have absolutely been one of the greatest things that have happened in our lives.

Did I mention hubby and I were married in 1972? It was classic Simon and Garfunkel music era. For the twenty or so minutes before I walked down the aisle we had a bunch of songs from that time period played. One was “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” The title might sound kinda morbid for a wedding but it fit. Listen to the words and be sure to close your eyes. Can’t you just hear Paul sing “I’m on your side, when times get rough, and friends just can’t be found, like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down, like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.”

I mean who doesn’t expect to need a bridge to cross those unexpected troubled waters experienced throughout your life. Forty-one years ago in May I’ve been privileged to have someone to cross with to the other side! Thanks Simon and Garfunkel … you guys are great!