Wednesday, April 9, 2014

new orleans :: part 2

sunday (2/19) :: day 2
After exploring The Quarter in great detail the day before, we had plans to take things a bit easier and visit the Garden District for a different New Orleans experience. Before leaving home I had done extensive research on restaurants, shops, and attractions to visit, so I had our day pretty much mapped out before we left the hotel room. Basically I had divided the city in to two parts, The Quarter and nearby areas, and everything from the Garden District to the end of St. Charles. 

[[ good morning new orleans! ]]

It took us a while to wake up and get going, but we eventually made it out in to the sun and headed for the street car. The street car in New Orleans is pretty awesome, it runs 24 hours, costs only $3 for an all day pass, and is supposedly the oldest mode of public transportation still running in the US with charming wooden bench seats and an open air feel. After a short wait we were on board and enjoying the views of the city accompanied by a nice breeze from the open window. After about a 10 minute ride, we hopped off up the street from a restaurant my sister had told me about called Coquette. This brunch was definitely one of our better meals. I ordered the catfish (my second try) which was lightly breaded in corn meal and served over salad and veggies, and Pat got a super fancy ham sandwich with frites. Both were delicious. We stuck around for a while and ordered a few drinks including my first Pimm's Cup, which was the bartenders personal recipe. I wish I knew how to recreate what he made at home, it was so fresh tasting! The restaurant itself was in an old building (not so different from most places there) and had a lot of charming details. I would recommend it for those traveling down Magazine Street. 

[[ riding in the awesome street car. lunch at coquette. building details. ]]

The restaurant sits smack dab in the middle of one of the swanky Garden District neighborhoods, so once we were full (and a little tipsy), we wandered down the cracked sidewalks admiring the curbside homes. One of the most unique things about the older homes in New Orleans is that many of them actually still use flame lanterns instead of electric porch lights, which is something I had never seen before. This just adds to the already charming cast iron fences, railings, and epic porches. I was actually a bit jealous of some of the dogs lazily lounging on the front porches of these historic homes.

[[ historic garden district homes. cast iron railings. sidewalks labeled with street names. commanders palace (a super fancy restaurant). ]]

Next we walked down the street to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, which I had read was one of the best in the city. Checking out one of the mausoleum filled cemeteries was definitely a highlight of my trip and I took a TON of pictures. 

[[ exploring the cemetery, one of my favorite parts of the trip. ]]

Down the street is the Milton H. Latter Memorial Library which was converted from an old Southern estate donated by the Latter family in honor of their son. Oddly enough it was my cab driver from the airport who told me to check it out, so we heeded her advice and rode the street car over to it next. The ground floor was pretty interesting since it had been primarily unspoiled and still contained vintage furnishings and murals, but they had "modernized" the upstairs floors which I thought was a total bummer. It was still worth checking out though.

[[ the library. interior vintage furnishings. more beautiful historic homes in the neighborhood. mardi gras decorations going up. ]] 

After a quick stop at the library, we continued our way down Magazine Street on foot towards Audubon Park. This ended up being more of an undertaking than I had originally suspected since my map made it look a LOT closer to us. I had seen so many beautiful pictures of the Spanish moss that grows in the South, so I knew we had to check out at least one of the parks. Once we finally arrived I was admittedly a little bit taken back by the lack of parkness... The trees were pretty sparse, the grass was pretty dead... In retrospect I would say skip it if you are short on time, but we were able to find a few denser areas so that I could still get my pretty moss pics. One cool thing was that the branches of the trees grow super low to the ground, almost as if they were an extension of the roots, which I had not seen before.

[[ exploring audubon park. ]]