A Night in New Orleans

New Orleans is an incredibly unique city.  Part of what gives NOLa its charm is that the entire city is in a sort of fashionable decay.  This overarching vibe fits the French architecture, the laid back attitude of its citizens, and even the delightful drawl of the Creole dialect.  But as a foodie, I am far more into the Creole cuisine than the dialect.  

One of my first tasks in New Orleans was to find my favorite Cajun dish, jambalaya.  After searching yelp, I settled on Coop’s, which featured rabbit sausage as its differentiating ingredient from other more traditional recipes.  As expected, it was delicious, but unexpectedly small.  So while good, I knew another course would be coming.

My next stop was Preservation Hall, where each evening there are three shows of 45 minutes headlined by a well-known New Orleans jazz celebrity.  Being a Monday, I was thrilled to find Leroy Jones as the band leader.  Now I am a huge fan of Harry Connick, Jr., and for those in the know, Leroy was the lead trumpet player in Harry’s band for many years, so needless to say, I was stoked!

The setting is very intimate and fit the six piece band snugly.  Trumpet, trombone, tenor saxophone, keys, bass, and piano; the sound was unamplified and glorious!  Each traditional New Orleans jazz song adhered to a similar structure as the solos were passed down the line.  But it is important to understand and appreciate the tradition that led to this structure.  Jazz is the only genre of music truly created in America, and to see where it all started is a thing of beauty.

After the show, I headed back in the direction of the hotel before remembering my nagging hunger.  Luckily, I had my phone and yelp helped me find Erin Rose for a po’ boy.  Don, my partner in crime for the day, and I decided to split a couple of options: shrimp with sriracha remoulade and pork belly with a soy ginger marinade.  The pork belly was not crisped, giving it a very fatty texture, but the spice with the shrimp was just right.  By the time these were gone, I figured I had taken in enough calories for one evening and called it a night.  

Now while the Internet can help you figure out where to eat and what to see, I have always found my favorite things as a tourist by just getting out and walking.  New Orleans is a perfect city to tackle this way; the streets are very pedestrian friendly and when you get off the main drags, the French architecture is truly a star.  Between the beauty of the buildings, the food, and the jazz, I know this is a destination Emily and I will soon have to visit together.  ’Til then, my NOLa!