We now interrupt our regularly scheduled programming of momma blogarrificness to bring you…..A TRAVEL BLOG POST! I apologize, but when you go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, you must blog about it, right?
Spouse and I, along with another couple, left early last Sunday morning for New Orleans. Note to self – do NOT let him schedule the flights ever again. We sprinted between flights going out and coming back, but more on that later. We flew out through DFW. Of course we landed at a gate in Concourse A. Our next flight departed from Concourse C. Doesn’t sound too bad, but have you been to DFW? We reached the tram stop in great time, endured the short ride to C, and basically walked right onto our next plane. I’m not a great airport person. I don’t mind flying, but I’m that type who likes to be at the airport pretty early, checked-in, through security, and sitting at my gate with a good amount of time to spare. Spouse didn’t plan it that way. But oh well. We made it, and that’s all that matters, right? Oh yeah, we had seats in the back of the plane on all four of our flights. I’m kind of a over-the-wing person. But I digress.
The taxi ride from the airport to our hotel was interesting. Our driver turned on the appropriate music for people in town for their first Mardi Gras. We had to take a roundabout way to the hotel due to the parades. Parades! Yay! We arrived at the Hotel Monteleone half an hour later. Doormen opened the doors for us, and we walked into the grand lobby of the hotel, which was completely decked out fabulously for the event. Soaring ceilings, huge flower arrangements, and a beautiful grandfather clock greeted us. A bellhop took our bags while we checked in. Our rooms weren’t ready immediately, so we wandered into the Carousel Bar for our first Hurricanes. Yes, the hotel has a carousel bar. It looks just like a carousel, and it does turn. Go ahead…look it up…I’ll wait. Hotel Monteleone Carousel Bar. Got it? Great. Our room, when it was ready, wasn’t huge, but it was beautiful, and just what I wanted for a stay in a historic hotel in the French Quarter.
We stayed in the Quarter that first night, with most of our time dedicated to enjoying Bourbon Street. We did some balcony time. It was crowded, but we were warned it was nothing like it would be two nights hence. It was all good fun. Beads were obtained without any flashing. Excellent. We wandered from bar to bar. It was a late night.
Monday was Lundi Gras. We slept in, then made our way out into the cold in search of food. Cafe Beignet was just down the street. With a line out the door, we were skeptical, but oh yeah, it was worth it. The beignets were just right, and absolutely covered in powdered sugar. We ate in a little courtyard off the Cafe. I had the breakfast sandwich, which was great, but Spouse scored with the cajun potatoes. Oh so yummy. Rain was forecasted for later in the day. Do you think we prepared? Nope, not one bit. We wandered across Canal Street to find a spot to watch the Proteus parade. Just towards the end of the parade, the rain started up. So did the wind. My hat was in the hotel room. We hadn’t brought umbrellas. After the parade, we made our way the four blocks back to our hotel in pouring rain and swirling wind. We blew into the hotel lobby, completely drenched, and laughing so hard. The windows of the Carousel Bar were steamed up as we walked in. Many a wet person had made his way inside. Before we headed out to dinner after drying out and cleaning up, we stopped in the gift shop and bought umbrellas. I grabbed my hat too. Now we were prepared, and back out into the elements we went.
Dinner was another awesome affair at Mortons. It was still raining and super windy when we left. We rounded the corner of a building and were slammed with wind. My hat immediately took flight and was half a block away before I could even turn around. I counted it as lost right away. My umbrella was not only inside out, three of the spokes had snapped. But we bravely kept on towards House of Blues to see Molly Ringwalds. By the time we reached the bar, the umbrella was a lost cause. I dumped it. Inside House of Blues, we met up with cousins and their friends. We danced to 80’s music while we waited for the band. But tired from the day, and overindulgence, we decided to call it a night. Thankfully the rain had stopped.
We woke Fat Tuesday to low-30 degree temps, and continuous wind. But the rain was gone! After breakfast, Spouse and I headed out to Bourbon Street. It. Was. Freezing. My hat was gone. I hadn’t brought any gloves. Spouse just had a golf pullover. Oh yeah, we were prepared. Hah! Bourbon Street was awesome. The costumes…I had no idea! We walked up and down just checking all the people out, ducking into stores when the cold became too much. We gathered our friends and went to lunch at Kingfish. Their cocktails are phenomenal. We waited forever for our food, and when it arrived, it was cold. The manager quickly sent it back and had it all newly-prepared. She then comped our entire food order. The wait-staff there is amazing. The food was great too.
You can’t do Mardi Gras without spending Fat Tuesday on Bourbon Street. We wandered from Pat O’Briens to the Cat’s Meow. There were so many people, but everyone was there to have a good time. Ages ranged from early-twenties to upwards of 70. No one cared. We didn’t see any drama. We didn’t even see anyone get sick on the street (seen it before), although some appeared close. It was just fun. More beads were obtained (again, no flashing necessary). We just had a good time.
Wednesday was pretty quiet. Lots of people were checking out when we went downstairs to go out and about. We wandered towards Jackson Square. We stood in the much-shorter line at Cafe du Mond, but ended up deserting to get a more substantial breakfast. We took a tour of the Louisiana State Museum at the Cabildo. We walked along the river for a bit, although it was still really cold. We met up with our friends and went for a horse-drawn carriage ride through the Quarter. Our driver was obsessed with ghosts, and he told us where pretty much every ghost was in every building, and why. This was my favorite photo of the week:
Now, I knew before Wednesday our hotel was supposedly haunted. It hadn’t bothered me one bit all week, until we took that carriage ride and heard all about the ghosts. I didn’t sleep that night. Anyhoo, I digress. We meandered through French Market, then stopped in a place on Frenchmen Street, hoping to get a local vibe. We missed the live music by an hour. We hit Irene’s Cuisine for dinner. If you’re ever in the Quarter, go eat there. Beautiful place. Food and service are amazing. Great wine selections. Interesting layout. We ended our night, and our Mardi Gras adventure, back in the Carousel Bar at the hotel.
I was a little nervous about this trip. I’ve seen pictures and video before of Bourbon Street on Mardi Gras. When you put that many people and that much alcohol in one place, there’s every potential for things to go badly. But the New Orleans police officers, and the Louisiana State Police were amazing. And, as I said, everyone was there to have a good time, no matter their age or anything. I would highly recommend going, if only just once in your life.