After our last little, ahem, mishap at the airport in Minneapolis, we got to Austin airport in plenty of time and there was no last minute trashy magazine shopping on my part. The flight was short and straight forward, although we did have to stop in Houston. Not even a hint of Hurricane Ike was about as I had feared, and we were soon on our way to New Orleans.
Things changed once we got off the plane here. It started with me organising a shuttle to our hotel. The woman behind the counter was tooth-achingly nice, but I noticed that in every sentence, she called me "honey" or "baby". And she called everyone that. Normally I wouldn't go in for those kinds of names from a stranger, but it seemed so consistent with my preconceived ideas about Louisiana that it was kinda enjoyable.
We were staying in the French Quarter at the Place d'Armes Hotel. It was a little scary checking in, as the woman was not being at all nice to the couple in front of us. For some reason though, she was super helpful to me, with big beaming smiles all round. It was a nice little hotel, with a swimming pool in the courtyard filled with plants and creeping vines. Best of all, it was quite, even though it was just a few blocks over from the infamous Bourbon Street.
Like two bears stumbling out of a cave after hibernation (our room didn't have a window, which we knew going in, but it kind of made time stand still), we went out in search of food and architecture. I wasn't such a big fan of Canal Street and the like, but the French Quarter I love love loved. Street after narrow street of two story buildings with wrought iron balconies and hanging baskets. It was everything I had hoped for and more.
Food was also exactly what I had thought it would be: non-existent for vegans. Eventually we found a place that would adapt their two vegetarian options to be vegan - both involved deep fried eggplant and were tasty, but completely unhealthy. A peach martini helped take the edge off things for me, and T enjoyed a locally brewed beer. I was keen to continue this on to one of the many margarita bars I had seen advertised on the way into the French Quarter, but as it turned out, they were hole in the walls selling pre-mixed drinks (like slushies). I wasn't sure about that after our enormous pre-mixed cocktails in Las Vegas, so we wandered along Bourbon Street to satisfy my curiosity as to what it is all about. T wasn't so keen, as he had experienced Bourbon Street before, ie college guys on the upstairs balconies of bars yahooing at woman walking past and yelling at them to show them their breasts. If the women complied (which apparently they did in spades), the guys would throw down some cheap $1 beads as some sort of badge of honour. I'm happy to say that I did not witness this, but it goes some way to explaining why T is not exactly a fan of New Orleans in general.
Me? I'm a fan of the architecture in the French Quarter, but I don't think I need to go back anytime soon.