Went to Louisiana for Ruth’s cousin’s wedding, and we stopped in New Orleans for a night on the town. Stayed at the Place D’Armes Hotel, right in the French Quarter. Had planned to go to Acme Oyster Bar, but went to the local spot Felix’s across the street on a tip from the concierge. Fewer tourists, oysters for less than a dollar, and cheap cold Abita. That’s service.
After stuffing ourselves with oysters (apparently unaffected by the BP spill), crawfish étouffée, and blackened gator, we waddled to Napoleon’s Bar. Sat down next to a nice old gent named Uriah, a name I thought went out of style with Dickens, and enjoyed his stories and Pimm’s cups, the signature cocktail of the establishment. I eventually ordered a vieux carre, but apparently that’s reserved for another bar, and the bartender wouldn’t serve it out of deference to its inventor down the street. Fair enough, a French 75 (champaign and gin) was a fine substitute.
Later we wandered to Cafe du Monde, where we enjoyed beignets that Ruth thought were insufficiently fresh, but I thought were still delicious. Our final stop of the evening was at a pirate bar, where they served absinthe that was good, but paled in comparison to Faith’s delicious concoction.
We discussed hurtful stereotypes of southerners over the breakfast buffet, but eventually declared a truce and walked to the old mint to buy Confederate currency for our coffee table. The mint itself doesn’t sell replicas, or much of anything any more, but they did direct us to an antique store where we could buy the real thing. I’ve been burned before by fakes, but the Georgia $20 we bought for only twice face value seems real enough. I don’t think the guys at the Sword and the Pen would cheat a nice yankee boy like me. We drove to the lower ninth ward to see how the cleaning and reconstruction had progressed since Ruth had last been there in 2005. The bleak pictures of empty lots speak for themselves.
On our way out of town we stopped at Crabby Jacks for overstuffed po’ boys. Ruth got the shrimp and oyster combo, and I had the duck; both were excellent, but we agreed to disagree on whose was better. We also spotted Cooter Brown’s bar, which was a must-stop for fans of Urban Cowboy.
We crossed Lake Pontchartrain (which I wanted to pronounce the French way, pon-shar-tran, but Ruth says is ponT-shur-trane), via the causeway, which is long enough that you can’t see the end of it from the beginning. Or maybe there just isn’t any thing on the other end to see. We made it to the Abita brewery after the official tour but in time for their open tap, which was good enough for us.
Then we got on the road for three hours of driving through the Bayou to Lake Charles, where family, gambling, and matrimony awaited. The wedding was dry, which made the sight of a sign to Whisky Bay bittersweet. Luckily, the Auberge du Lac Casino had no such restrictions. Laissez les bons temps rouler!