I Took My Love to
is a freelance television producer based in Toronto,
Canada. When she's not travelling with her work,
she's goes in search of adventure around the world.
To Kelly, New Orleans was the most exotic place
she could think of visiting in the United States.
In May, I took
my boyfriend to New Orleans as a treat for his birthday.
Spicy seafood. Icy drinks. Hot jazz. Sizzling temperatures.
Just perfect for what I wanted! It was our first
trip away so we both packed some sexy new lingerie
and headed to Louisiana.
tryst began on Bourbon Street...
and I began our tryst on the infamous Bourbon
Street. Even in the daylight hours, this French
Quarter phenomenon has an energy fueled in
part by the frosted margaritas everyone mistakenly
inhales to combat the hot, hot, hot temperatures.
The first afternoon there we needed no prompting
to retire for an afternoon siesta. We absolutely
needed the air conditioning and a chance to
sleep off the first round of Pat
O'Brien's legendary Hurricanes
-- a drink that has become synonymous with
good times in the French Quarter. These drinks
pack quite a punch. We didn't do "that"
day we wandered for miles through the city
always seeking out the ideal adventure for
couples. At the top of our list was sharing
a lesson at the Cookin'
Cajun Cooking School. Our
instructor, Chef Bang, was talented, local,
and hilarious. We laughed our way through
some excellent instruction on the secrets
of the great food we'd been eating. This was
demonstration cooking, but we looked forward
to getting home and experimenting with the
recipes ourselves. To further our education,
we dropped in to Bookstar
(411 N. Peters Street) to pick up some locally
written, regional cookbooks. (Tel:1-800 -786-0941)
Laveau, the Voodoo Princess...
are also big in New Orleans, and the Historic
New Orleans Walking Tours company
(Tel: 947-2120) offers some of the best. On
the cemetery/voodoo tour, you learn about
slave history, the birth of jazz and the area's
signature burial style (absolutely fascinating!)
You also visit a Voodoo temple as well as
the tomb of the legendary Marie Laveau, the
Voodoo Princess. P.S.
I'd been advised to stick with organized
tours of the cemeteries. They have become
the favorite place for local thugs to mug
tourists wandering unescorted.
course, the Garden District with its beautiful
streets and plantation-style houses is an
essential experience. This is truly the south.
It evokes images of Anne Rice's novels, even
as you walk past the author's own home. Our
guide was a former police officer, and found
it necessary to embellish his tour with every
gross murder scene he'd ever investigated
in the area. But we figured it was just extra
bang for the buck, so to speak.
eat and flirt...
evening we started with dinner at one of the
dozens of exceptional restaurants in the French
Quarter. Here's a rundown of our culinary
tour; places we loved and one that we won't
Patout's: is a wonderful newer
restaurant off the beaten track. They emphasize
traditional New Orleans cooking and it's a
great place to try your first shrimp etouffée
or their incredible seafood pasta. It had
an intimate atmosphere and the waiters were
absent until required, giving us an opportunity
to flirt and talk and talk and talk about
matters of the heart.
A New Orleans tradition, but more expensive
and less impressive. We found signature dishes
such as the Shrimp Arnaud underwhelming, and
went out to a cafe afterward because the portions
were so small our stomachs were rumbling an
The Gumbo Shop:
This laid-back place is hopping! And it's
easy to see why. Traditional dishes are generous,
delicious, reasonably priced, and you don't
have to get dressed up to eat before a night
on the town. Because it's that good, be prepared
for lineups ladies. (630 St. Peter Street).
must-do food experience was breakfast at Brennan's.
It's one of the best treats you could give
yourself in New Orleans. Breakfast is $35
per person for the Prix Fixe menu, but worth
every decadent bite. Starters like the Southern
Baked Apple with Double Cream only perk up
your taste buds to experience savory entrees
like Shrimp Sardou or Eggs Shannon, poached
eggs with trout on a bed of creamed spinach.
Top it off with the restaurant's signature
Bananas Foster, a dessert they created which
is now served in the best restaurants around
the world (sliced bananas doused in rum and
banana liqueur -- add brown sugar and flambé).
It's mind blowing. (417 Royal St).
move to the music...
the evenings, we wandered through the main
streets and were touched by music at every
corner. In this town visitors can enjoy real
top quality street performances -- just keep
your pocket full of dollar bills to show your
appreciation. Have a chilled drink at outside
cafes where musicians fill the air with Dixieland
jazz played for tips. Or hit Bourbon Street
with the crowds. The bars each break their
sets at about the same time. This means the
audience can pick up its' drinks (there are
no laws against open liquor on the street)
and move to the next bar between breaks, taking
in 4 or 5 kinds of music in a single evening.
You'll want to washboard with the zydeco bands,
sway to rhythm and blues, and hear incredibly
good jazz played the way it was meant to be
an extra little tidbit. Music fans will really
appreciate the website called www.satchmo.com
where you'll find everything you ever wanted
to know about Louisiana music.
New Orleans discovery...