Day 2 in the whirlwind that is our trip to New Orleans. Tomorrow we’ll board the boat! We had a lot on our plate both literally and figuratively today. We wanted to start out with a little tour on our own before meeting up with a more formal one in the Garden District and that meant loading up on the St. Charles trolley.
Breakfast in the courtyard once again kicked off our day before we made our way to the St. Charles Trolley, catching it on Canal Street. We headed for the Garden District. We took some time to meander on our own a bit, visiting Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 and looking around before meeting our walking tour leader at a cool little bookstore, The Garden District Bookstore (to be exact). As I mentioned, our guide had been the same one from the day prior. He put his architectural and historical knowledge to the test as we walked along the crooked paths in front of gorgeous homes with incredible gardens. (Hence the Garden District. . . it doesn’t take long for me to catch on.)
He nicely blended the historical with the pop culture of the area, as we saw several homes featured in movies or belonging to celebrities. There was the house featured in “Benjamin Button”; one which served as Jim Garrison’s in “JFK”; another belonging to the Manning clan; and Sandra Bullock’s estate along with Ann Rice’s former home and the place where Cokie Roberts grew up. And a house that once was the residence of Nicholas Cage and another that had been owned by Trent Reznor, but is now called home by John Goodman.
Our tour eventually wrapped up right where we’d started. We heeded the suggestion of our guide, and made our way toward Magazine Street where we eventually found a recommended restaurant, Tracy’s. Not wanting to try my weak constitution after a day full of rich and spicey foods, I didn’t opt for the crawfish and potatoes, but I really, really wanted to.
We wandered a bit more on our own and eventually decided to take the trolley out a little further to see the universities (Loyola and Tulane) before boarding a return one which took us back to Canal.
As promised, I hunted down The Quarter Stitch, a yarn shoppe we’d spied the day before. I snagged “souvenir yarn” before we went to the French Market where I hunted, among the tourist stuff, some handmade items and claimed some stained glass earrings and a t-shirt designed and sold by a local artist. Oh, and we also managed a seat in Cafe du Monde and had coffee and beignets (again!).
We still had a lot of daylight to burn as we walked around taking photos, finding undiscovered sights and watching street performers. We found ourselves near Cafe Pontalba for dinner and stopped for red beans and rice. . . and a hurricane before we found ourselves wandering again, walking along Royal Street and coming across perhaps the most moving of performances I have ever seen. A duo, one playing guitar, and a second on the violin. Tanya and Dorise were so unique and so incredible that I couldn’t quit listening. It was beautiful, so much so that I bought a CD, wanting to take home the memory and the feeling with me.
We did visit Bourbon Street again. . . and I must confess, it was a different world than we’d seen during the gentler, kinder previous evening.
I took that memory with me as we headed back to Hotel Mazarin and curled up in bed. Tomorrow will be busy, more touring and heading to the Voyager.