Sunday, December 8, 2013

NOLA Day Five (and Goodbye)

Today was my last full day in New Orleans.  There was nothing in particular that I wanted to do.  It had been a great trip.  I wandered the neighborhoods for a bit in the morning after breakfast, but my beloved Steelers were on TV in the afternoon.  I decided to just watch the game.  But where?  It didn’t take much thinking to realize that my best option was to go back to Cajun Seafood, order some yummy takeout, and just go back to my room to enjoy the game.  Gumbo, spicy crawfish, boiled shrimp, fried rice, and beer…all delicious and all for a rock bottom price.  Sadly the Steelers lost, but my stomach was still happy.  Note to everyone: there ain’t no fancy place anywhere that will beat CS’s yummy gumbo!

I spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on work and email.  For dinner, I decided to try Café Amelie.  The place was nice enough, but the set up was more designed for a couple on a romantic date than for a solo traveler.  In other words, I think people like the place more for the ambiance than for the food on the plate.  The meal was nice enough, but not especially memorable.

As I wandered around the Quarter after dinner, I reflected on this trip.  I had come to New Orleans unsure of the city's recovery from Katrina.  I discovered a town full of life, fantastic music, and amazing food, but still feeling the scars from that storm.  I discovered that as famous as the French Quarter might be, New Orleans has much more to offer visitors who dared venture a bit, just a bit, off the common beaten path.  This trip confirmed what I had long felt: New Orleans is a city with a unique culture and vibe that can’t be found anywhere else.

I must have taken a thousand photos on this trip.  It would take a long time to go through them, but each of them would bring back some sort of memory.  As I wandered the Quarter for the last time snapping photos, I felt sorry for the visitors who never saw the city beyond this neighborhood.

I decided to head on over to Frenchman’s Street for my last nightcap.  As I walked over, Armstrong Park’s sign called to me, as if to remind me to come back to the Big Easy soon.  I didn't hear any music playing on the street just then, but looking at the sign, I felt as if some kind of soft jazz sound track should be playing in the background.

I spent most of that last evening at the Blue Nile, listening to an oh-so-cool female lead singer take the audience on a mellow trip with a Sade-like grace.  It felt like a right way to end my trip.

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