Friday, July 16, 2010

Getting crazy in New Orleans...

by Brittany Geragotelis

Okay, so I'm not really getting crazy, but I am here in New Orleans right now. I'm in town for a business trip and figured that while I was here, I'd try to soak up as much of the Louisiana culture as possible. And because exploring just isn't as much fun alone, I invited one of my BFF's (Tammy) to come along with me (I asked Matt, too, but he's holding down the fort back home). So, when I was done doing a few things for work, Tammy and I headed out to sight-see around the French Quarter.

First, we went to this famous restaurant down here named Muriel's. Besides offering a gluten-free menu, the place itself was beautiful. After sitting down and ordering, we found out that the building had a rich history, including that the place was haunted! Apparently, one of the original house owners had lost the house gambling and before he had to hand it over to the winner, he committed suicide in one of the upstairs room (talk about drama queen!). Now, people see the owner throughout the restaurant and they've even created a seance room made of velvet and is red from floor to ceiling. More pics of this to come later.

Then, we walked around and window shopped...but not for clothes. The funny thing about this area is that voodoo shops are more popular than Starbucks down here! Because voodoo is such a huge part of the culture in New Orleans, Tammy and I jumped on board, stopped in some stores, going to the voodoo museum and visiting the shop of a high voodoo priestess to schedule a cleansing. Though we only made appointments today, Tammy and I are both excited to head back there in the next few days.

After that, we headed over to Cafe Du Monde, the original french coffee stand in this area, for some coffee and beignets (fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar). Of course, being that the French treat is full of gluten, I didn't get a chance to take a taste, but Tammy did and she said it was awesome!

We headed home in the evening, to take showers, change and do a little work before heading back out for dinner. This time we sat down for a luxurious meal at Nola, Emeril's first restaurant EVER. Our waiter was super nice (and according to Tammy, really cute!), and the food was incredible. Speaking of, I have been blown away by the food here. Everything has so much's truly incredible. And Nola was no exception: I had the pork chops!

When we'd filled our bellies, we walked it off on famous Bourbon Street...where you always see people throwing beads to girls during Mardi Gras. I've gotta say, I was surprised at what I saw there! First off, people can drink in the streets there, there's smoking in the bars, everybody's just walking around like it's a carnaval and there's plenty of depravity going on. Tammy and I wandered into one bar where a group of guys were singing all of the best 80s songs: Living on a Prayer, Jesse's Girl, Don't Stop Believing, etc. So we sat there for a half hour and just belted out the tunes at the top of our lungs. It was a blast.

It was such a full day, but one that I'll remember for years to come. Has anyone else been to New Orleans? Anything we should see while we're here?