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A Perfect Weekend in New Orleans

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It’s been years since my last visit and with just 48-hours to spend, we had to make the most of our time. The compact New Orleans airport, just 16 miles from the city, is easy to navigate with the pick-up stop for Uber clearly marked, allowing us to conserve transport time. Just three blocks from the French Quarter, The InterContinental Hotel located in the central business district was a sound choice. The rate of $248.00 per night was considerably less (almost $100.00 per night) over a number of the properties directly in the Quarter.

We had drinks and a bite to eat with friends on our first evening at the Cellar Door which serves Southern cuisine and classic cocktails in one of the oldest buildings—the Swoop-Duggins House—located in the National Historic District of downtown New Orleans. In its former life, the house operated as one of the longest standing brothels in the city.

Rising early Saturday morning, we headed out for a walk to the French Quarter looking for an interesting breakfast location. The Criollo Restaurant in the charming French inspired Hotel Monteleone provided an elegant atmosphere as we savored New Orleans beignets with praline sauce and strawberries along with chicory coffee.

Continuing our sightseeing walk after breakfast, we headed to Jackson Square. The 1720 St. Louis Cathedral building, with its prominent position overlooking the square, is one of the most iconic symbols of the city. This Catholic Basilica is the oldest Cathedral in the United States.  From there it was an easy walk to the waterfront. Adjacent to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the lush 16-acre Woldenberg Riverfront Park is set along the banks of the Mississippi with riverside jogging paths, green spaces, and shaded areas to relax.  Sitting on a bench, we listened to the street musicians and performers before shopping at The Outlet Collection. With purchases in hand, we wondered along bustling Canal Street making our way back to our hotel.

 




 

One of the city’s must-see attractions is the National World War II Museum. Exhibits include  moving personal accounts of the brave men and women who served in the war, interactive displays, and historic artifacts. The artifacts range from letters, posters, weapons, models and planes; each capturing a part of the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world. We discovered one afternoon was not enough time to devote and appreciate the vast collections and displays of the museum.

After a full- day of sightseeing, we were looking for Louisiana specialty foods and decided to try the original cajun restaurant Mulates. With an extensive menu, including signature favorites gumbo, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya and catfish, it was hard to make just one selection.

After attending Mass the following morning at the Catholic Basilica, we had brunch reservations at Brennan’s. With its old world charm, ornate décor and impeccable service, this is a “dining must” when visiting New Orleans. The menu is a masterpiece of Creole cuisine and should be read cover-to-cover. After much debate we settled on black truffle, soft scrambled eggs, and eggs cardinal with crispy lobster, and shrimp boudin, spinach and Creole mustard hollandaise. Following our delightful two-hour brunch, we continued our exploration along Royal Street in the French Quarter admiring the charming architecture and intricate grillwork of the buildings.

A late afternoon Mississippi River steamboat cruise aboard The Natchez was a pleasant and relaxing way to experience the lovely New Orleans skyline while listening to a live jazz band before we said goodbye to The Crescent City with its unique pulse, vibe and character.

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