New Orleans-New Year
This New Years Eve I was very lucky to get to ring in 2007 in the great city of New Orleans. I had never been to New Orleans, but had heard great things about it my whole life. For my Mother, New Orleans was one of her first "adult" vacations. She went with some girlfriends and she was about 22 years old. She always spoke fondly of the Drag Queens (maybe I get my drag queen love from my mother) and the whole deviant and delicious feel of New Orleans. The history, the culinary scene, the art, the music, and THE PEOPLE of New Orleans moved me.
I am Southern, so being in the DIRTY SOUTH was fun. I got to eat all the good stuff you just do not find in Chicago-- fried okra, chicken fried steak, grits, white gravy, etc- and MINT JULEPS-- Oh, I know they look pretty and all, but Mint Juleps (made the proper way) are some bad ass little minty bitches! My whole head hurt the next morning. Shout out to the Touche Club! Also the beignets and chicory coffee at Cafe du Monde are to die for!
The food and drink in New Orleans is amazing. We got to eat at NOLA one of Emeril's Restaurants and it was honestly one of the best meals I have ever had.
I met so many fabulous people in New Orleans. They are so friendly and so strong. Despite what their city has gone through, every single person I spoke to was happy and joyous and everyone said THANK YOU to my husband and me for visiting their city. They are proud of their city--and with good reason.
I spoke to many shop owners--and learned a lot about what they are going through. I will profile a couple of them in my next posts. Long story short is: the city of New Orleans would love to have you. Go there and shop, eat, drink and be merry. They need the tourist dollars. I was shocked to find out that their mall on Canal Street just opened back up in November. It was closed for over a year due to damage (natural and man made) and lack of customers/tourists.
On a sidenote I met Jennifer Coolidge at the MAC counter at Saks in New Orleans. I was thrilled because she is one of the TRULY hilarious female improv actresses in the business. She looks just the same in person as she does on TV.
As the clock hit midnight on New Years Eve, I was at a rooftop party at a swank hotel making tons of new drunk friends. One group of ladies I was chatting with were telling me all the things about New Orleans I had not heard on the news during Hurricane Katrina. As the "Gumbo Ball" dropped and fireworks lit up the sky over Jackson Square at the stroke of Midnight, the 3 ladies toasted the New Year then began to cry. It was very moving. They love their city, but proclaimed it "broken". They all gave me hugs and told me to please come back to New Orleans and to tell my friends to please to visit New Orleans. So I am telling all of you now, if you get the chance-visit New Orleans. It is a place with a history, a spirit, and a people like nowhere else in the world.
Have a great day!