Monday, January 25, 2016

Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!

Was it contemptible to laissez les bon temps rouler--let the good times roll!--while our son Richard was covered by 26" of snow in Washington, DC?  Maybe it wasn't contemptible, but it was definitely shabby for us to crow about the sunshine and shirt-sleeve weather we found in New Orleans while he was snowbound.

We arrived in The Crescent City, so named for the bend of the Mississippi River as it flows through the city, last Wednesday and immediately headed to the heart of the French Quarter--Jackson Square--named for the hero of The Battle on New Orleans, Andrew Jackson. 

That's him on his horse in front of Saint Louis Cathedral. 

In need of sustenance, we crossed the street to Cafe du Monde for beignets (French doughnuts smothered with powdered sugar) and a cup of cafe au lait. 

Established here on the banks of the Mississippi River in early 1860s, this cafe is open 24-hours a day all year long to cater to the beignet-loving crowd which now includes the two of us.

Thus fortified, we walked across the square, stopping to listen to a street musician, before exploring the interior of Saint Louis Cathedral. 

The cathedral is flanked by the Presbyt√®re, and the Cabildo, two identical buildings of the Louisiana State Museum. 

There we learned of Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Sieur de Bienville who is called the Father of Louisiana for his efforts to bring French colonists to settle the territory. 

Despite his repeated falls from favor with the king of France, he was appointed governor of Louisiana four times between 1701-1743. 

The War of 1812 produced another hero when Andrew Jackson and his outnumbered troops unexpectedly emerged as the victors of The Battle of New Orleans. 

Pirate Jean Lafitte who supplied Jackson's soldiers with goods and ammunition has been the stuff of legends and Hollywood movies. All these heroes plus much more history made our visit to the Cabildo well worth the museum's inexpensive entrance fee. 

For a museum that is definitely out of the ordinary, visit Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World. Our tour guide emparted much of the history and lore of Mardi Gras as he led us past artists at work on the floats that will be unveiled on Fat Tuesday, February 9th, 2016. 

Could any trip to New Orleans be complete without a taste of Cajun food?  Of course not!  So we signed up for a course at the New Orleans School of Cooking. 

Our instructor Harriett taught us to make gumbo, jambalaya, bread pudding and pralines all while keeping us laughing at her anecdotes and New Orleans trivia. 

We ate it up--sights, sounds and savory foods!  Sorry, Richard!

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