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New Orleans Jazzed

Posted Jun 13 2009 12:39am
As an introduction, I'll say that the weekend was awesome. One of our best ever. It was great to get away for lots of grown up fun. We ate, we drank, we walked, we shopped, and some yada, yada, yada, too!

I will probably include too much detail about our trip. If this sorta thing doesn't interest you, feel free to move along.

Eating Our Way Across Town

I don't think there is a bad restaurant in the town. Whether it be a small dive or world class restaurant, the food is all good. I had decided that I wasn't going to worry too much about the diet this weekend and I followed through.

I wanted to take Deb to some of the places that I had enjoyed several years ago when I was down there with work doing post-Katrina recovery work.

On Thursday, we went to one of those places: Tujague's (pronounced two jack's.) The offer a pre - fixe meal that includes a shrimp appetizer, soup, brisket, a choice of four main courses and bread pudding with caramel sauce. The restaurant is almost 100 years old and I think some of the servers have been there that long. The meal is prepared creole style -- lots of sauces, a bit of spice, but not too much. The food was very good, but it's the experience there and you get to taste lots of different things. Desert? Oh, yeah, I more than tasted. Then I finished Deb's bread pudding.

On Friday, we took a trolley ride (picture of us on the trolley) up to the New Orleans Museum of Art. We figured out that in 13 years from dating to now, we had never been to an art museum. Well, it was about time.

After our visit to NOMA, we taxied to one of my favorite spots: Port of Call. This place is the perfect dive, but it serves the best burger I've ever had. One anomaly, too, no fries, just baked potatoes. (See picture of the uneaten meal above.)

As you can see, I enjoyed my burger. There was nothing left on the plate when we were done.

On Saturday, we hit Cafe duMonde for coffee and beignets. What's a beignet? It's fried dough with powdered sugar on top. Now what's bad about that? Nothing! I'm not sure I could eat too many of these, but the one and a half I had were delicious.

The rest of the weekend, we continued to dine well. Saturday dinner at Brightsen's was an awesome meal exceeded only by the best service we've ever had. I had the seafood platter that included one of just about every kind of seafood prepared in a different way. Couldn't resist desert of creme brulee. What a meal.

Sunday was highlighted with brunch at Commander's Palace. Another epicurean delight of a meal as we tasted all of their amazing soups, followed by eggs and finished up with their famous bread pudding casserole. The guitar player at the right played a song for us along with his trio right at our table. Very cool!

Did we really eat all of that? Yes, we did!

Running Round the Quarter

The running plan for the weekend was to get in a 4 mile short run and 12 long. We had built our schedule around the Saturday run and I figured to get the short in on Thursday afternoon or Friday.

Checking out the weather on Friday, it looked perfect for a run around the quarter. Mid-60's with lots of humidity. About 8:30, I headed out of the hotel toward the riverfront. There is a 1 mile paved path which was great for running. Lots of others out and about on the path. Once the path ran out, I headed north into the French Quarter. I'm pretty sure this was my first run through city streets. Very different animal than paved paths or even suburbia sidewalks. Lot of ups and downs, dodging people, dogs, cats, roadkill, potholes, beer trucks, bums, drunks, more potholes, cracks in the sidewalks, crack heads, more drunks, well, you get the idea. This was new to me. But it was one of the most enjoyable runs I've had. Traveling down Bourbon Street was cool. Jackson Square has four concentric circles that I ran through. I know some of the tourists walking though the square thought I was nuts running around these circles, but hey, it was there, had to be done. I finished up running round Harrah'scasino searching for the dough I had lost on Thursday. No luck on that one.

In the end, 4 miles in an 11:53 average time. Not bad considering the terrain. You can see the split changes as I get further into the quarter.

Route:--Elev. Avg:9 ft
Location:Gretna, LAElev. Gain:-3 ft
Time:08:17 AMDifficulty:1.7 / 5.0

Distance:4.03 miles
Speed:5.0 mph
Pace:11' 53 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
110' 59-0' 545.5+0.40 ft
211' 34-0' 195.2+0.1-7 ft
312' 13+0' 204.9-0.1+3 ft
412' 02+0' 095.0-0.10 ft
end12' 30+0' 374.8-0.20 ft
Versus average of 11' 53 min/mile

Posted from

I had originally planned to run 12 on the streets of New Orleans and had mapped out a route. I figured that it would be better to do the treadmill run Saturday and the street run on Friday. The weather was iffy and I was a bit nervous about running far from our base to get the miles in. So this would not be my first long treadmill run.

I hit the treadmill about 10 am and immediately wondered how I'd get in 2 miles, not to mention 12. I started to suffer almost immediately. Seems my legs and the stomach had other plans. Might it have been the late night Friday night? Maybe it was the most unusual diet of high fats and proteins, rather than lots of health carbs. I dunno, but whatever it was, I wasn't feeling the treadmill love. I quickly started to figure out how many miles I'd let myself get away with, even if I had to walk. Four maybe? Oy! Not good.

After a couple of miles, I started to feel some hunger pangs. Hungary? Well, gee, I haven't eaten anything but a banana in more than 12 hours. How about an early gel. That seemed to do the trick. First time I've ever gotten a jolt that I could feel from any mid run nourishment.

Anyway, not to belabor, I finished 8 of the 12 and was happy to get that in.

I'm thinking that the 2-4 miles we walked a day more than made up for any shortage of running.

Rockin' the Quarter

In all the time I had spent in NOLA on business and on our two prior visits, we've seen very little live music. This trip would most definitely be different.

Friday was going to be music night. The concierge at the hotel recommended that we go see Kermit Ruffins. I've never heard of Kermit, but he said we wouldn't be disappointed. So, we had a plan.

We got to the club early. Very early. And waited until the 10:30 show got started at 11:15. The club was not too packed at that point, but as the music got started, the place filled up. We quickly figured out that this was going to be a special show for us. The music was up beat and Kermit added a sax player to jam with them for the evening. After about 15 minutes Deb said "who's idea was it to leave the camera back at the hotel?" She then repeated the question about every 10 minutes from there on. (I don't think she ever did figure out that it was a formerly fat guy guilty of the sin.)

There was an old guy in the crowd that must have been 90 if he was a day, dressed to the nines. He was out there on the dance floor the whole evening just enjoying the music. What luck -- we ran into him in Jackson Square the next day and he was more than receptive to having his picture taken.

During the show, at one point, Kermit brings up James Winfield, "The Sleeping Giant" to sing. What a voice. He sang three songs. Shortly after that, he brought up a woman to sing. No idea what her name was but she was teriffic. Deb was in love with her "Killing Me Softly" rendition.

We stayed through the first set and into the second when us old folks needed to find a bed. What a night.

After brunch on Sunday, we headed off to Bourbon Street for more music and some adult beverages.
It was a really great afternoon. Deb and I spent time in four different bars, imbibing in each and enjoying the musical offerings. Deb is enjoying one of at least one "Hand Grenade" at right. I pretty much stuck to beer.

Other than drink, we heard jazz, rock, more jazz and more rock. Dinner? Well, we weren't too concerned about eating, but a slice of pizza did for me and a gyro for Deb did the trick. Perfect to absorb the alcohol in our bodies.

What else? I'm sure I'm missing a lot, like that we shared our hotel with the Lousiville Cardinals Women's Basketball Team, playing Univ. of NC in the sweet 16, but I've also shared plenty. We had a fantastic trip and will definitely go back. New Orleans is a great town with lots to do. Not exactly kid friendly, but hey, there's plenty of other time for kid stuff.

As we headed back to the airport, we have plenty of great memories and plans to work off the weekend we had enjoyed. Thank's for sticking with me for this ultra long post. Just think, this was just four days worth!


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