Previous New Orleans Post: PoBoys, Strippers, Huge Ass Beers and History: All in Day’s Walk in the French Quarter
Despite reports that New Orleans was set to get two days of heavy rain, we decided to set out early on our second day and do a little sightseeing before the forecasted rains moved in that afternoon.
Beignets at Café du Monde – As I said in my last post, when you are a tourist in New Orleans, there are a couple of things that you just have to do, a few local landmarks that it’s only right to pay homage to and Café du Monde is one of them. We got dressed and set out down Canal Street then down the river towards the famed Café du Monde. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (except Christmas), tourists and locals alike can be found sitting in the open air coffee shop sipping on Café au Lait (pardon my French) and munching on Louisiana’s official state doughnut, French-style beignets. Operating since 1862 in a building that was once a meat market, it stands as the oldest tenant in the city’s oldest market.
Serena and I both ordered three Beignets and a cup of coffee. They were excellent, soft and covered in a mound of powdered sugar. It was our first time having Beignets and I am sure I looked like Al Pacino in Scarface with powdered sugar all over my face and shirt. So now that we have bowed our heads to the mecca of Beignets, I think we both felt a little underwhelmed by the overall experience. We loved Hack Bartholomew standing outside the open air café laying down some smooth trumpet and vocals. Both of us being history buffs, we loved eating in a place that has stood for so long. The Beignets were great but the atmosphere was something to be desired in my opinion. I almost sensed a “YOU EAT, YOU GO!” impersonal atmosphere from the army of Asian ladies scurrying in and out of the kitchen. One lady scolded me like an overworked lunch lady when I went to the counter to ask for a to-go coffee cup “YOU SIT DOWN….LADY COME YOU”. Regardless of my opinion of the service, the place deserves a stop alone on the fact that it’s been in the game for over 150 years only stopping to shelter from hurricanes and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ himself.
WHAT TO SEE
Talented People around Jackson Square
Jackson Square is a French Style Park about the size of a city block encased between Chartres, St. Peters and St. Ann Street. Built in 1721 the square has seen its share of history. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was used for public executions of disobedient slaves. In 1873, it was the site of the Battle of Jackson Square which took place on the heels of a disputed Gubernatorial race when Governor wanna-be John McEnery beat back the New Orleans Militia to take control of state buildings until the Feds came and sent him packing. The aforementioned streets around the square were closed to make a pedestrian area and you can find local artists and musicians occupying the mall and entertaining people with their craft.
We stopped for a few minutes and watched an artist on the corner of St. Ann and Chartres Steet painting a picture of Muriel’s Bistro across the street. Around the corner a man was blowing life into a sousaphone and when I came closer with the baby (now strapped to my chest) he broke into Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Devin gazed at his battle-tested instrument that had duct tape circling the base and the bell was adorned with stickers making it clear what city the owner hailed from.
We made our way back through the French Quarter towards our hotel to take cover from clouds that were threatening to open the sky up.
A QUICK LUNCH
Muffaletta at Serio’s Deli – By lunchtime it was still raining but lucky for us Serio’s Deli was about 50 feet from the front door of our hotel. The Serio brothers beat Bobby Flay like a red headed stepchild in a muffaletta throw down a few years back and I had a chance to stop in three years ago before a bachelor (NOTE: muffaletta’s are a great base for pre-bachelor party drinking).
So what is a Muffaletta? It’s a huge sandwich that was invented by Italian immigrants in the French quarter at Central Market around the start of the 20th century. A large round loaf of bread by the same name holds ham, salami, mortadella, mozzarella, provolone and a marinated olive salad. A half of a sandwich is enough for two people unless you are that man vs food guy.
Next post, we ride the street car then visit the birthplace of African American music in the Delta.