Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New Orleans Road Trip Adventure (Day Three)

Today's post marks the end of our Spring Break adventure to New Orleans. Day One shared how I screwed up our original plans to hit the beaches of Florida by booking a house the wrong week (oops!), I recounted our attempts to see the boys of Duck Dynasty and shared how we started our Big Easy adventure with oysters on the half-shell. Day Two featured beignets, albino alligators, hurricanes and hot tubs and more French Quarter fun. And now, my story continues...

Courtyard of The Court of Two Sisters

Day Three:  Our last day in New Orleans began at The Court of Two Sisters. Emma and Bertha Camors (real sisters) belonged to a proud, aristocratic Creole family; their “rabais,” or notions, outfitted many of New Orleans’ high society women in formal gowns, lace, and perfumes imported from Paris. With a larger courtyard than its neighbors, the residence lent itself to visitors, and the sisters’ shop received many. Marriage, reversals of fortune, widowhood--nothing could separate the two sisters. Indeed, as the Picayune was to report, the sisters died within two months of each other in the winter of 1944. They lie side by side at St. Louis Cemetery No. 3, united in death as in life.

The Court of Two Sisters is still owned and operated by the original family and is world-famous for it's jazz brunch, held daily. In the center of the courtyard sits a 200 year-old Wisteria tree that only blooms for a couple of weeks each year. We were lucky enough to see the first of its blooms when we dined. We enjoyed a leisurely brunch that included at least three trips to the buffet for traditional cajun foods like Turtle Soup, Eggs Benedict, Jambalaya, Bananas Foster and Bread Pudding.  A wonderful jazz band provided delightful background music to our brunch conversation.  I could have sat there all day soaking up that wonderful atmosphere.



We had decided to pay a visit to the new World War II Museum that just opened this past January. My son had the genius idea to take a bicycle cab instead of walking. After all those trips to the buffet I was waddling, not walking!  Bicycle cabs are big in Austin and beginning to make a splash in New Orleans. It's faster than a horse and buggy carriage and you get all the benefits of an open-air experience.  When we got to the museum, we were delighted to find a NFL exhibit on the first floor. It had been created for the Super Bowl and is still there for a few months. That was a bonus. It showed a great array of old uniforms and mementos from football's early years. There were interactive things to do, like to participate in play-by-play scenarios and see what the refs do when they have to a review on a play.

One of the highlights of the WWII Museum is a 4D movie called "Beyond All Boundaries" narrated by Tom Hanks. It was very emotional and moving, showing old footage and news clips from the war. I highly recommend paying the extra money for this show. However, I would recommend that you skip the "Final Mission" submarine experience. Totally lame and not worth the ticket price. The museum itself is 3-stories and filled with amazing photographs, artifacts, and interactive displays that take you through the story of the war throughout Europe and the Pacific.

Preservation Jazz Hall Band
By this time it was late afternoon and we headed back to the hotel for another dip in the pool at The Roosevelt. Once we had freshened up, we hit the French Quarter for our last night's hurrah and stopped into Irene's Cuisine for dinner.

Irene's serves a mix of Cajun Italian dishes and after days of eating po-boys and gumbo, it sounded like a nice change of pace.  While there was nothing wrong with the restaurant, I found the interior to be a little tired and dated and the menu limited. Didn't hate it but didn't love it either.

Our last stop of the night was to be a concert at Preservation Jazz Hall. We had a bit of time to kill so we holed up next door at Pat O'Brien's and I sipped on one of their world-famous Hurricanes while we enjoyed a parade passing down Bourbon. Jackson ran out and collected beads they were throwing off the floats and then we hit the Hall for some jazz.

Preservation Jazz Hall was established in 1961 to preserve, perpetuate, and protect one of America’s truest artforms – traditional New Orleans Jazz.  They perform all-ages shows nightly and while they do not serve alcohol, you are welcome to bring a drink in.  Don't be intimidated by the long line, each group clears out after each 45-minute set allowing for a new gaggle of folks to get in on the fun. This was one of the highlights of our trip. I was kind of afraid to go, because I'm not a huge fan of jazz, but I am so glad that I did. They played several tunes I was familiar with like "When the Saints come marching in" and "Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans" and the other songs they played were catchy and upbeat. We all LOVED the show and I would recommend it to anyone.

Breakfast crowd at Mother's

On our last morning in New Orleans, we hit up Mother's on Poydras Street. Mother's has been famous for it's authentic New Orleans homestyle cooking since 1938. They are best known for the "Ferdi Special". Mr. Ferdi, a local merchant and regular Mother’s patron, probably had nothing more than a meaty sandwich in mind when he asked that some ham be added to his roast beef po’ boy (or vice versa, the legend is hazy). But word got out and the combo was soon a hit. Voila! – the Ferdi Special was born. Ever picked the shavings off a freshly carved roast?  Another legendary Mother's favorite is their debris.  When a customer asked Simon Landry to add the bits of roast beef that had fallen into the gravy while he was carving it to his sandwich, he replied “you mean some of the debris?” And just like that, another definitive Mother’s term was coined.  Crowds line up around the block for breakfast, lunch and dinner to eat at Mother's and it's worth the wait!

After a hearty breakfast at Mother's we hit the road and said, "Adieu" to the Big Easy. I am thrilled to discover that New Orleans can be just as much fun with kids as it can be on a romanic weekend with your partner boozing it up around the French Quarter.  I have a whole new appreciation for N'Awlins and can' wait to return!

Court of Two Sisters, 613 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, (504) 522-7261
The National WWII Museum, 945 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130, (504) 528-1944
Irene's Cuisine, 539 St Philip St, New Orleans, LA 70116, (504) 529-8811
Pat O'Brien's, 624 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, (504) 525-4823
Preservation Jazz Hall, 726 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70130, (504) 522-2841
Mother's, 401 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130, (504) 523-9656


This post was sponsored in part by The New Orleans CVB. For more information on New Orleans attractions, lodging and dining, visit http://www.neworleanscvb.com/.  While I did receive compensation for authoring this post; product selections, descriptions, and opinions are 100% my own. Interested in a sponsored post or product review? Contact me for rates and details.


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