New Orleans {Day One}

Ray and Chris - New Orleans Square

There’s a tenement building in the French Quarter that’s haunted….ok, according to our Ghost tour guide, there are a lot of haunted buildings in the French Quarter. But I’ll get to that later.

Chris and I had all day to wonder around the Quarter, before we planned to meet up with Trisha, Leah, and the rest of the BOBNOLA group, but ended up sleeping in and not leaving our hotel until just before Noon. We blame the time change since we lost two hours. We decided to shoot for Café Du Monde as our mouths began to water for the wonderful beignets they make.

On the way, much to our dismay, we were accosted by a crass local who claimed to be collecting money for needy children. I managed to get around him, but Christine decided to stop and engage him. It cost us $20, but we did get two cool hats out of the transaction and since it was sweltering, the hats came in handy.

When we arrived at Café Du Monde, it was jam packed, but we managed to find a table inside… one that needed to be bussed. I approached the waitress on duty – who appeared to be taking a break. She mumbled something unintelligible, made no move to get up to help us, so we eventually gave up and left. Much to Christine’s dismay, I might add.

Down the block, at the edge of the French Market we literally walked in to a great little outdoor restaurant, called The Gazebo Café, where we were warmly greeted, given a menu before we even sat down and proceeded to have a wonderful po-boy lunch.

Chris at The Gazebo Cafe, New Orleans Ray at The Gazebo Cafe, New Orleans

After our tasty meal, we wondered back to Jackson Square. As we were waiting for one of the many carriage drivers, we bumped in to the Naked Bartender who was shooting a scene for an upcoming show. After observing the shoot for a few minutes we climbed aboard our mule-driven carriage and enjoyed an hour of the driver’s regalia of the history of the Crescent City.

Prostitutes, politicians, voodoo mistresses, priests and saints. We heard about it all. A colorful past New Orleans definitely has.

We heard about famous people who lived in the Quarter, from Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, to famous living people like Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, who used to and still do have homes in the French Quarter, respectively.

Interestingly, the term “jazz” is derived from the music that musicians used to play at the “Jezebel’s” – aka prostitute’s – houses on the outskirts of the city.

Chris and Ray - carriage ride through New Orleans A street in New Orleans

After the carriage ride, it was a quick check in and change before our first official activity with the BOBNOLA group – dinner at Besh, inside Harrah’s casino. The food at Besh was wonderful – melt in your mouth steak, spicy meat pies, and more. At dinner we chatted it up with some of our fellow BOBNOLA peeps, but also had the privilege of sitting with our dinner sponsors – the sponsorship director and social media rep for Harrah’s, both of whom are great people.

We headed over to Jackson Square, after dinner, where we met up with our Ghost tour guide. Turns out that there are a lot of legends inside the French Quarter. Lot’s of ghosts who continue to haunt their old homes, including one story of a couple who did unspeakable experiments on their slaves, unbeknownst to others around town. {shudder}

NOLA ghost tour

I think our tour guide was a little too into the whole thing, but sweaty and thirsty, we managed to get back to the hotel and had cake and cocktails before we parted ways – some going to bed, others going to Bourbon Street.

For the record, Christine and I headed back to our hotel room…with a quick stop at Café Du Monde for a late snack of beinets. Chris finally got her beignets!

A huge thanks to the following BOBNOLA Friday night sponsors::