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Last November, my two best buds and I flew from L.A. to LA to attend a friend’s wedding.

Yup, that’s Los Angeles to Louisiana.

New Orleans, to be exact.

It’s a fascinating city, to say the least. The city has an eclectic mix of modern sights and old world charm. NOLA’s French, African, & Caribbean influence is apparent in its food, music, culture—and souvenirs.

November 18, 2011, Friday

Thanks to Lena, we all got to hang out at the Delta Sky Lounge before our flight. We had our fill of unending snacks, and drinks. I can understand how businessmen and women who have to fly regularly become Sky Lounge members. The lounge was a wonderful experience, and a great place to relax and wait for our flight.

Delta Sky Lounge snacks

We took the redeye flight Thursday night so we could have the whole Friday to explore a little bit of New Orleans.

The first order of the day was to try out New Orleans’ famous beignets. Beignets are fried donut holes sprinkled with powdered sugar.  We went to the famous Cafe du Monde. It took us several minutes to find a seat as the place was crowded.

Cafe du Monde

The customer service there wasn’t so great. There were a lot of servers just sitting around taking breaks instead of clearing out much needed tables–but the beignets were good, at least.

After a late breakfast of beignets and hot chocolate, we took a walk around the French Quarter.

Jackson Square, and the St. Louis Cathedral in the distance

We stopped for a few minutes to watch a street performer near Jackson Square.  He was pretty entertaining–very funny and skilled at riding a tall monocycle and juggling knives!

Street performer juggling knives

We made our way to the St. Louis Cathedral shortly afterward.  The St. Louis Cathedral is New Orleans’ most notable landmark, and has the honor of being the oldest cathedral in the whole United States.

Inside the St. Louis Cathedral

The St. Louis Cathedral was just as beautiful inside, as it was outside.  Being Roman Catholic myself, I made sure I said a little prayer before we left to explore the rest of the French Quarter.

Jackson Square was alive with music and people when we visited that day. Street psychics had set up tables and chairs right in front of the cathedral, offering to read passing people’s fortunes.

Street psychics

We saw street musicians and performers at almost every corner we passed.

The white lady haunting the streets of New Orleans

Street musicians

We even bumped into the old devil himself. He welcomed us to New Orleans and even posed for a picture. Of course, we had to give him a small donation for his time, but the picture was worth it.

A devil walking the streets of New Orleans

Pirates Alley is a small alley beside the Cathedral where one can find small shops to visit. Of course, I didn’t go there for the shopping. I went there to find Faulkner House. Nobel Laureate William Faulkner rented rooms on the ground floor of the building in 1925. It’s the exact same space that houses the bookstore today.

Faulkner House, Pirates’ Alley

Bourbon Street is one of the most popular and historic streets in New Orleans.  People who’ve experienced Bourbon Street at night swear that its 10x crazier than Sin City Las Vegas. Strippers, hookers, booze and bras are a common sight at night, and the streets smell like beer even in the daytime. We decided to take a walk through it, while it was still relatively safe.

Posing by a sign on Bourbon Street

I’m so glad we did, because we came upon Cafe Beignet.  Cafe Beignet is known for its beignets, of course.

Statues in front of Cafe Beignet

They were even featured on Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate Show. We sat down there to have a late lunch and to enjoy a little jazz music. The singer Elaina and her band were very good and we couldn’t help but bob our head to their music.

Jazz singer Elaina and her band

At Cafe Beignet, we had our 2nd beignet for the day. Surprisingly, iIt was much better than Cafe du Monde.

We continued our tour of the French Quarter after lunch. We entered an interesting shop which sold all kinds of masks, and bought some masks which were on sale.

Shop selling masks of all kinds

In every new city I visit, I always make it a point to visit a local bookstore to buy a book as a souvenir. I especially love bookstores that sell a lot of old leather bound volumes. Crescent City Books on Chartres Street, was one such bookstore. I bought a special edition of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight there. (Of course, two days later, I found out that she had passed away.)

Crescent City Bookstore and its resident cat

We headed back to our hotel to take a nap before continuing our tour of the city. (That’s what we get for taking a red eye flight!)

As soon as we woke and freshened up, we headed for Drago’s Seafood Restaurant.  We ordered stuffed lobster, veal cutlets and charbroiled oysters to share.

I have to say, I became an instant fan of their charbroiled oysters!

Drago’s famous charbroiled oysters

After a very filling (and very yummy) dinner, we headed toward the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Canal Street. Maiko is a big jazz fan and she wanted to take us to the Davenport Lounge so we could listen to some good jazz.

The lounge was filled with people listening to Jeremy Davenport and his band. Some people were actually dancing up front to the music.

Jeremy Davenport and his band

At the lounge, we gave in to temptation and had our 3rd beignet for the day. We were so full, but we were very glad to have ordered them. They came with three dipping sauces (chocolate, caramel and vanilla cream) and were just the best beignets we had had that day.

Best Beignets ever at the Davenport Lounge

We headed back to the hotel around 11pm to get some much needed rest. We needed to get ready for our friends’ wedding the next day, and for more adventures in New Orleans.


Tune in again on Friday for Day 2-3 of our New Orleans trip

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10 Responses to “New Orleans, Louisiana Part 1 – French Quarter Adventures & 3 Beignets in One Day!”

  1. Leni says:

    mmm.. beignets and charboiled oysters :) sooo good! what a great trip, thanks to you and Maiko 😀

  2. deniz says:

    Lovely! I’ve never been to New Orleans. Love the resident cat [g]

  3. I had a chance to go to New Orleans last summer. I loved the city…and the beignets.

  4. LA to LA! Great photo, especially the food. Always wanted to go there.

  5. Maiko says:

    Ah the beignets… Time to go work out!!! Or hide the plumpy cheeks with the purchased masks. One or the other!

  6. krystal says:

    Dude! i wanna live there!

  7. New Orleans sounds like an interesting place–loved seeing the pictures!

  8. Great post today, nice photos and descriptions.
    Don’t forget to get a Muffalleta (pronounced – Moo fa latta) on Decatur street (Central grocery)

  9. Oh my gosh, those beignets look amazing! I loved reading about your trip and seeing your great photos. I visited New Orleans several years ago and it is such a unique and fun place, this was a great trip down memory lane. :)

  10. You always have the best pics. I hope you didn’t have any friends or family affected by the floods in your homeland. I will keep them all in my prayers. Don’t you just love weddings? To go all th eway to N.O. WOW! Hope you had a grand time. I also realized today, I never added your site to my website. I am doing that now. Keep up the great work with your site. Always fun visiting. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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