Friday, November 13, 2009

Vacation, Day 2, 10/22/2009, Part 1

If you looked at yesterday's blog, more than likely you guessed where we planned to go this morning, first thing--Cafe Du Monde.

Well, I have to tell you that I never figured out the thermostat in our beautiful room, but we did have the ceiling fan and those fabulous high ceilings, so we all managed to get a good night's rest despite the humidity.

I felt so much better that I decided to get out my little laptop Honk and try to connect to the wireless. Hooray! I checked e-mail, cleaned out the junk, then downloaded the photos I'd taken on 10/21/2009 to the computer. Mama still had some energy although her arms and shoulders were sore from holding onto her walker for that long walk the night before. We three talked about our much shorter walk from the Place D'Armes Hotel on St. Ann to the Cafe Du Monde on Decatur--a mere tenth of a mile. That right there tells you why I picked that hotel. My main goal for our overnight in New Orleans was for Mama to be able to walk to the Cafe Du Monde and get herself some beignets and coffee without feeling like she was being a burden to anyone.

Well, OK, I'll 'fess up--I wanted some beignets, too! My dearly departed husband LeRoy and I used to order the beignet mix and the coffee shipped to us in Kansas City. He'd been to New Orleans with several buddies back in the late '60's or early '70's. He fell hard for those two staples of the Cafe Du Monde. Sometimes on Sundays we'd load up our little LUV truck with our electric skillet, a bottle of Crisco or Wesson oil, his Chemex coffeemaker, some filters, the beignet mix and the coffee in the gold can. We were brunch-on-wheels for our best buds in KC. What good memories I'm having as a result of our being in New Orleans!

Check-out time at the Place D'Armes is 11 a.m., so we had to get a move on once we'd all finished our daily ablutions. As we walked through the courtyard I again marveled at the lush plants. I mean I see plenty of them up here in Portland, but these in New Orleans were so lovely. And the two climates are so different--it makes it all so interesting when you can witness for yourself those difference and then enjoy the similar outcomes.

Another portion of the courtyard

Look at these ferns!

While we walked and talked and watched out for uneven surfaces for each other, I planned to peel off when we came alongside Jackson Square so that I could take a few photos before we made it all the way to Cafe Du Monde.

Here's what I found on the Internet about the building we walked beside on St. Ann.

The Presbytere, taken from St. Ann Street, looking towards the cathedral and the Cabildo which is not visible at all in the photo.
Flanking St. Louis Cathedral on either side are identical Spanish Colonial buildings. On the right (facing from Jackson Square) is the Presbytere, on the left the Cabildo. Both are massive, two-story stuccoed brick structures. The lower stories have wide porticos with semi-circular arches. They were designed by Gilberto Guillemard, a French architect serving in the Spanish military. Rear wings were added in 1840, and the French mansard roof (the third story) was added in 1847. Construction of both buildings, as well as the cathedral itself, was financed by Don Andres Almonester y Roxas.

Andrew Jackson in the center of Jackson Square--it looks like his hat is touching that crane. The building is the Cabildo which also houses part of the Louisiana State Museum.

Construction of the Presbytere began first, in 1791. It was located on the site of the residence of the Capuchin monks, and was to become the Casa Curial (Ecclesiastical House), or Rectory, for St. Louis Cathedral. Construction stopped in 1798 and wasn’t completed until it was taken over by the wardens of St Louis Cathedral in 1813. The building never served its intended purpose – the diocese first rented the building as a courthouse, then finally sold it to the city in 1833. The city continued to use it as a courthouse, until 1911 when it was given to the state for use as a museum in conjunction with the Cabildo. The Presbytere became the natural science museum to complement the Cabildo’s role as a history museum.

Wow! That's some big looking sky! I quickly turned around and walked through the gate, out onto the sidewalk along Decatur where you can always find carriages for hire.

I quickly turned around and walked through the gate, out onto the sidewalk along Decatur where you can always find carriages for hire. I'm guessing here's one on its way back to where it began.

We're close now! I can smell the beignets!

Cafe Du Monde, from their Web site:
The Original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. The Cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It closes only on Christmas Day and on the day an occasional Hurricane passes too close to New Orleans.

The Original Cafe Du Monde is a traditional coffee shop. Its menu consists of dark roasted Coffee and Chicory, Beignets, White and Chocolate Milk, and fresh squeezed Orange Juice. The coffee is served Black or Au Lait. Au Lait means that it is mixed half and half with hot milk. Beignets are square French -style doughnuts, lavishly covered with powdered sugar. In 1988 Iced Coffee was introduced to the cafe. Soft drinks also made their debut that year.

I drank fresh-squeezed orange juice, well after I'd finished my three beignets. I didn't want any clash of tastes going on in my mouth, nope.

Beignets were also brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. These were fried fritters, sometimes filled with fruit. Today, the beignet is a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. They are served in orders of three.

Before we crossed the street, I turned around and took this shot. I like it because I can almost see women and men from yesteryear, strolling along. Since it was about 9 a.m., not much was happening right then, but I still like the perspective on the photo.

Here's that same carriage, just after it passed us at the intersection. Some day I'll go back to New Orleans and ride in one of these--that's good goal to have. Plus my friend Michelle e-mailed today to tell me about the Carousel Bar and Lounge in the Hotel Monteleone (there's a photo of it in yesterday's post). The bar revolves and overlooks Royal. That's another good goal to have, to don my motion sickness bracelets and have a seat at the bar!

Here we are, pre-beignet-clean. If you've never eanted one of them, you don't know what I'm talking about--sorry. Every time you take a bite, powdered sugar flies. Naturally it lands all over the place. I put the camera away before I took the first bite.


This man entertained everyone, singing and playing his trumpet and testifying for the Lord. I made sure to leave him a tip--he was pretty good.

While Mama finished her last beignet, Kay walked down Decatur, in search of fresh fruit at the market. I walked up onto the levee to take photos.

The Mississippi River curves here. I don't know if you can tell it or not in this quickly snapped shot. Back when my sons were in elementary school we rode a paddle wheeler on the river--it was a memorable but short trip. The calliope was so loud!

That might be the very boat, there with the two black smokestacks and the Natchez on its side. That green roof is on the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, another great place to visit in New Orleans. The gift shop there is where I believe I saw George Clinton shopping the rubber sharks. If it wasn't him, it was his double!

We walked back to the hotel. I got Mama to wait in the lobby and got one of the hotel's nice employees to come get our luggage. Kay came back, disappointed in the fruit selection and ready to hit the road for her home in south Mississippi.

Last, two sort of iconic French Quarter photos.

The wrought iron, the narrow street.

Finally a blue sky to add to the beauty of St. Louis Cathedral.

1 comment:

Jim K said...

I wish I was there. I would love to make a mess with the powdered sugar. Your St. Louis Cathedral picture is awesome.