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Old 02-26-2007, 06:31 AM   #11
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We left 75 degree weather for this????? My last memory of this particular NOLA tour was me being dragged by security officials to the tarmac of the waiting American Airlines jet, NYC bound. I had a python-like grip on the seat in the airport lounge, chanting a mantra over and over - "do you know what it means to miss new orleans?". I was convinced I had a saxophonist accompanying me, too.

This trip was beyond our wildest expectations. While it was our 5th trip to the Quarter, it was our first Mardi Gras. We've not missed a year for the past 5, even visiting just 4 months after Katrina. This city is more than a vacation destination for us, it's a cause.

The semi-official number of tourists in for Mardi Gras was 800,000! The place was rocking! Spirits were soaring and the costumes were fabulous! We got in on Sunday with just enough time to settle into the Hotel Provincial (greatly appreciating our Chartres Street floor to ceiling window/doors that opened for bead tossing). After a quick lunch at Fiorellas of fried chicken (while a brass band played on the banquet in front) we headed back to prepare for the Bacchus parade. This was the parade with James Gandolfini as the king. Jester was more like it...as his float passed, and I was snapping away with the camera, he was no where to be seen. As the float turned the corner, you could see him drunkenly crawling his way back up to his throne, cigar in one hand, septer in the other and a derby perched upon his head. We watched the parade near the end, so the throws were magnificent. Lou and I left seriously weighed down. After a long walk back into the Quarter, we collapsed for the night.

Monday was Lundi Gras and the day was a beautiful 65 degrees. The krewe of Zulu hosted a festival down by the river with live bands on three different stages from 10am till 4pm. The Rebrith Brass Band was as amazing as anticipated and about 4000 people were dancing the entire time the band played. The king of Zulu arrived by river, as did the king of Rex, and after a brief greeting to each other, the mayor gave the keys of the city to Rex, who is the official King of Carnival. Fireworks after that capped the festivities at the river. We had dinner that night at Muriel's on Jackson Square. They keep a table set for the resident ghost and hold seances upstairs. The meal (pecan crusted puppy drum and a succulent roasted chicken with andouille dressing) was wonderful, but service was spotty at times. The evening was spectacular. We took a brief trip up Bourbon street to see the street packed with revelers begging and tossing beads. We stopped in our favourite club Maison Bourbon to hear some traditional dixie jazz and sip some bourbon. We collapsed again shortly after midnight.

Tune in later (because now I have to go clean the snow off my car so I can go back to work) for more recap of the official Mardi Gras Tour.
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:04 AM   #12
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So glad your trip was safe and you had such a good time. Sorry about the weather back home though.

So how many beads did you get
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:29 AM   #13
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I sure hope you had a bowl of "mighty right gumbo" while you were there! Is Felix still there? It was a little hole in the wall that had the best I've ever eaten.
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SizzlininIN
So glad your trip was safe and you had such a good time. Sorry about the weather back home though.

So how many beads did you get
sneaking in here from work.....From three parades we brought home a duffle bag filled with beads that weighed about 65 pounds! We also got 16 cups total from Rex, Zulu and Bacchus....dubloons from Rex, Bacchus, Pete Fountain's Half Fast Walking Krewe and one other group, assorted silk flowers and roses, a bacchus 'grape cluster' football, a cup holder, a couple of yellow balls, a flag, and an extremely coveted golden Zulu coconut!
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
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I sure hope you had a bowl of "mighty right gumbo" while you were there! Is Felix still there? It was a little hole in the wall that had the best I've ever eaten.
The best gumbo comes from Liuzza's By The Track, off Esplanade....which place are you referrring to???

Whenever I get home today, I'll write more on the rest of the trip!
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:24 PM   #16
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Hope you had a blast!
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Old 02-27-2007, 07:39 PM   #17
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When I ever get these pictures up here, you'll see why getting up on Tuesday morning at 5am was a physical impossibility. The first parade, Zulu, was kicking off at 8am all the way out St. Charles. Since we already saw one parade at the end of the route, we wanted to go 'more where the families are'.....as if. 5am was like the releasing of the banshees in our hotel room. Not only did it scare the #$%@ outta me, I think Lou almost fell out of the bed. I slammed at something and the banshees retreated. Those buggers reappeared 9 minutes later. Simply slamming the thing was no longer an option. In tears, I yanked it out of the wall, killng the banshees and most of their gene pool, too. I assured Lou I'd be up in 10 minutes. My makeup and other accessories were going to take a while...I didn't see the light of day again till 6:30am. Who in their right mind gets up at 5am on vacation, anyway??? We popped into CCs for coffee and pastries and started heading out St. Charles. And we walked.....and we walked.....always looking for the place 'for families'. We'd had enough of the frat boys for a while. Instead, we see families all right....and all their roped off areas for miles and miles. These people weren't about to view a couple of parades for a few hours. They were hunkering down for the next coming of a messiah. They roped off areas for themselves...and proceeded to put chairs, ladders, coolers, ottomans, couches, tents, grills, smokers, tables, private port o' potties and even the kitchen sink into their roped off areas. Finally we saw an unprotected area of real estate and I laid claim to it, assuring Lou that if I walked another step I'd call out the banshees again. (by the way, did you know that banshees were compelled to comb people's hair?) Imagine the wonderful aromas wafting from all these grills and smokers..it was killng us. We were drooling. Zulu got to us about 9am and continued for over 2 solid hours. Rex, the King of Carnival followed, lasting just over an hour. We walked back to the quarter, almost three miles....grimacing because we both needed to tinkle so badly and both refused to even consider the port'o'potty. You had to see us taking sips of water like we were doling out gold.

The quarter was hoping by the time we got back, around 2pm. The Quarter walking krewes were still moving around, and everyone, absolutely everyone in the quarter was in costume. It was fabulous. One of the funniest was of the 4 astronauts in diapers, pulling a shuttle behind them which read 'boldly going nowhere'. All the restaurants were closed, but the bars were bursting. We got a couple of seats at a bar called Chartres House Cafe. They also served food. Like Hansel and Gretel we wanted to eat everything in sight. I was a bit leary about bar fare but this was magnificent. We had eggplant Napoleon - which was fried cutlets with a remoulade sauce and sauteed garlicy shrimp. I had a crawfish platter that had sauteed, fried, cakes and gumbo. It was all going down so easily with the citron martinis. We hung around till about 8pm then headed back for.....(the real stuff has been omitted due to the kiddies in the room) a rest. That led to a bigger rest.....

It's hard to believe that by 7am the next morning almost every trace of the party from the day before was gone. The city has hired a new sanitation contractor. The job they did was remarkable. They even have single man sweepers that look like snow mobiles but get into smaller spaces. They were riding them like cowboys.

Wednesday was a peaceful day, 75 degrees after a brief morning shower. We were standing outside Port of Call for burgers at 10:45am. We'd tried to get in twice so far, this trip. First time the wait was an hour and a half. Second time it was three hours. Three hour wait just 45 minutes after the joint opened!! The burgers are well worth it.

We had dinner at Restaurant August on Wednesday night. John Besh, the chef returned immediately after Katrina and began cooking burgers for anyone in the city who wanted them. Free. For weeks. Then, he revamped his entire menu to reflect the pride and love he feels for the cuisine and culture of New Orleans. The meal was magnificent. Gnocchi with truffles, canneloni with duck confit and lobster tails, and a banana bread pudding with creole cream chese frosting and white chocolate. The service was among the top 5 in the city.

After dinner, we headed back to Bourbon street for more Jazz and to meet up with a friend of ours. Excellent music, excellent company, excellent weather and excellend bourbon.

I promise promise I'll get the pictures up in a day or two. I did manage to do a slide show of the pictures on the TV. They look great.

Tune in again to hear about Audobon Zoo and the gorilla who liked to throw her toys at me.
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Old 02-27-2007, 09:30 PM   #18
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I am glad you all were safe, I heard about the shootings this year, and was hoping that yall were far away from any of that nonsense.

Sounds like a GREAT time!
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:26 PM   #19
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i'm envious. sounds like you had a fantabulous time in the quarter.

one thing mystifies me, though. you don't seem to mention the other three quarters. i'm on tenterhooks to hear about them.
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Old 02-28-2007, 06:36 AM   #20
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(((Vera))) Thanks for the recap of your vacation- I feel as if I could close my eyes and picture it all!!!So glad you had a great time.Love and energy, Vicki
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