Walking down the streets in the French Quarter transferred me back to the days when I vividly could picture the events masterly described in the Count de Monte Cristo novel. And when a carriage showed up just around the corner, I could no longer distinguish the dreams from reality.
The truth was – I have not felt that relaxed and free, almost lazy in a long time. All what I wanted to do was to eat, drink, listen to jazz and participate in the local events, such as someone’s wedding in the middle of the Jackson Square.
I must admit I’ve never seen such a fun affair as a wedding in New Orleans’ style – a corteo led by a carriage with the newlyweds, followed by the jazz band and guests with white umbrellas and handkerchiefs twisting their bodies to the rhythm of music.
Music is engraved in every building, every window, and every street. It is impossible to imagine the city without the beat – it will lose its charm and extravagance. As it will lose its mystery without the hidden courtyards that mostly offer an amazing food under the big umbrellas.
After walking around the city, I stopped for lunch at Café Amelie located at 912 Royal Street. The service is slow, but food is great with a light twist of mimosas. No matter how much I tried to do “all things New Orleans”, I could not make myself drink bourbon.
Later that evening, I met my friends for drinks at the Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the oldest bar in America that is still lit by candles. Drinks followed by the dinner at Bayona, one of Gourmet’s “Top Tables in America”, located at 430 Duphone St. Reservations are a must as the place is a true hidden jewel of the city. It is almost a sin to visit New Orleans and not to dive into a local jazz club. I found the Spotted Cat (that is now closed) and enjoyed the music of the local artists.
Next day I took a carriage ride in the French Quarter. Just as with any other tourist trap, I could not expect much. I made a mistake sitting in the front row because the buggy lady was spitting all over while sharing some rumors about the city. To wash off such a remarkable experience, I went to the Napoleon’s house for lunch and drinks. The house was indeed built for Napoleon as a hideaway; however, by the time it was finished, the great commander had died. My lunch took longer than I had planned as I kept chatting with other visitors of the city.
I then found some peace and rest at the W’s courtyard with the candlelight and hot fire flames canoodling the fountain in the middle. I wanted to get lost in dreams and forget about the reality all together. On my way to the airport I picked up a tiny mask as a memory to the two days getaway full of mystery and romance.