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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Awlins Charm

Despite the many challenges we faced during our Weekend to Remember?, the Husband and I DID find New Awlins quite charming. It's a wonderful city, so don't write it off of your Future Vacation Spot list just because a few years ago they entertained an unwanted visitor named Katrina. Even though the residents don't serve Sweet Tea, it's still a Southern City at heart, and the locals are simply too polite to shoo away hurricanes and other undesirables.

What's to love about New Orleans, post-Katrina?

Beignets from Cafe du Monde melted in our mouths ... deliciously saucy po' boys dripped on our hands and down our chins ... praline brittle satisfied our sweet cravings ... creole spices livened up our taste buds. Sorry - I digress - and, yes, the diet begins today tomorrow.

There exists more to New Awlins than the food, although I must confess its Other Attractions do pale in comparison. Let's see...

We loved touring the French Quarter, especially with our native New Awlins guide, who made every stop on the tour sound charming and naughty at the same time. She intertwined historical facts with colorful gossip so often, I sometimes couldn't tell which was which.

Also beautiful to walk through: the Garden District. Even if you aren't an architecture hound, you'll still appreciate the beauty of the buildings and even the famous aboveground tombs of Lafayette Cemetery #1. And if you are an Anne Rice fan, well, then you'll be in heaven.

The people are friendly ... very friendly. It's not simply that they are Southern; they are also Very Grateful for your business. They thank anyone who comes calling because visitors mean a boost to the local economy.

Jazz and blues music fills the air in New Awlins. We couldn't walk two blocks without hearing amazing live music. The Husband especially enjoyed listening to the sounds of the city, since he is an amateur musician himself.

I felt socially responsible the entire weekend ... and proud that The Borg chose New Orleans as the site for this "rewards" trip. It feels good to tip a bit extra on occasion, but it feels like a ministry when you're tipping someone who truly needs the money. We passed enough boarded up buildings to realize that it's still a struggle for most.

Only in New Orleans would you find signs like this:

and possibly also this:

New Orleans is definitely not a city for children ... and it caters to a younger crowd ... but us Old Fogies can still find much to entertain ourselves if we poke around a bit. I could go on and on about the Hidden Charms of New Awlins, but I won't. Because I want you to visit the city to find out for yourself just how truly charming a place it is.

Despite Katrina.