A trip to New Orleans is no less than an exclusive rendezvous with history and culture. The glory of age-old buildings, variety of melodious dialects, sweeter than honey accents make you feel you are not only out of your town or city but out of country and on many events, misplaced in time – ironically however, still right at home! No matter where you come from, peeps from the Crescent City will display one of the best hospitality etiquettes in the world!We went to the crescent city 11 year ago with our boys but Owais and I always wanted to explore Historic French Quarters on our own. When the talk of our 20th anniversary came up, exploring the Quarters seemed like a perfect choice. Luckily we have friends who helped us out with our boys and we were able to arrange our anniversary trip to this fabulous destination! The trip was from 27th – 29th December – squished between Christmas and the New Year; the Nicks game made it even a busier place but boy did we love those 60 hours spent in the heart of past and tradition!
Our home for three days was Roosevelt, one of the oldest hotels in French Quarters. As a tradition Roosevelt is famous for the magical winter lobby decorations. A gracefully aged hotel, it reminded me of scenes from vintage movies. With exception of taking couple of tours, Lafayette Cemetery, Garden District and City Park, we predominantly spent our time in French Quarters. That was the intent – to walk the city and absorb its one of a kind culture and the vibrant past of the famous Vieux Carré.
A home and battlefield to so many cultures, the versatility in just the square footage alone (mere 0.66 sq mi as Wiki tells me) of French Quarters is magnificent – not to even mention the rest of the New Orleans. Each inch opens up annals of history, giving a feel of breathing air from a different era. The decaying humble homes and luxurious Spanish mansions encompassing the charm of this southern splendor are a live video of architectural and cultural evolution themselves. The dwellings, structures, food, culture and ways are more than just the remnants the settlers of Europe and Africa left here.The allure of these cultures has been well guarded and continues to prevail in harmony; Creole food, French pastries, Spanish delicacies, Cajun cuisine and much more all exist side by side happily presenting a great example of multi-ethnicity and its celebration. Themes that linger overall are a pleasant mix of hospitality, warmth, food, colors, free spirit, beauty…
The city is a foodie’s dream. Dining wise, there was no experience that did not measure to its best. Hard to compare one from the other. We had breakfast at Ruby Slipper Cafe the first morning, Davenport Lounge the second morning and at Roosevelt Fountain Lounge the final day. Among places we dined were Oceana Grill, King Fish, Royal House Oyester Bar, Tableau. Each place offered so many entrees to choose from and each dish was flavorfully a piece of art! Here are just some samples…
Café Du Monde of course is a “landmark” and a must visit place. We had met this obligation in our last trip so did not feel like wasting our precious two hours standing in line. We had beignet from Café Beignet instead – which were equally yummy and authentic. We got some in-between snack and treats from Sucre, Laura’s Candies, and The Praline Connection.
Ritz Carlton tea at their Davenport Lounge – the zenith to our trip was an unforgettable experience! There was option of having high table or low tea tables. I am a lover of low tea service and since we already had high tea at Victoria, British Columbia years ago, I preferred the sofa seating. The tea room on one side is shelved and houses fine and charming vintage china pieces – many of them I am proud to own too!! We requested to be seated with the cabinet as our backdrop to complete the experience. Since our trip was planned around our anniversary, we chose to tea there on the day of the occasion. The artisanal hand-crafted three-course tea included petite sandwiches, delicate appetizers, scones, petite pastries and dessert course. Our choice was black tea and flowery earl gray. The staff acknowledged our anniversary by an extra tray of pastries and a beautiful gift of candle. The tea service and the ambiance was just enough classy ~ suitable to the city and complementing the vibe; the lounge atmosphere lent itself as formal but not intimidating, graceful yet very comfortable.
To mark the occasion we had booked Natalie Hains to photograph our anniversary. After the tea, we took the city tour and by 3:30 pm we were back in hotel to meet our amazing photographer. She took the beautiful shots of lobby and around town. She knew the right places and understood what we wanted out of the shoot. I would highly recommend this talented lady to capture your time in the city!! She was wonderful so work with. Here are some of the photographs she took at Roosevelt lobby and around town!
Even months after our trip, just writing about New Orleans is a living experience. When I visited New Orleans last time I told Owais, “I would love to come again here”. Eleven years later while ubering our way to airport from our hotel, I told him the same thing –“I would love to come back!”. I had New Orleans on my bucket list before I came to the US 20 years ago and it will always remain there. It is for sure one of the most beautiful cities that will satisfy your wanderlust – and yes you can quote me on that one!