The week of Christmas, I had the opportunity to visit New Orleans, one of my favorite (if not THE favorite) city on the planet. I absolutely love everything about NOLA: the mix of energy and dirt mixed with the elegance and relaxed pace. I had never been there during the holiday season, though, and this was a fabulous chance to see the city all dolled up. Even Bourbon didn’t have quite its normal stench at this time of year!
The first day was only really a half day after spending most of the day in airports. For whatever reason, there are no direct flights from Little Rock so I had to backtrack to Dallas and then fly down. Of course, being the weekend before Christmas, the airports were busy and delays were the norm. By the time I got into town and took the long cab ride over, I was pretty exhausted. The hotel was AMAZING. It had the most relaxing courtyard, a fabulous respite right in the middle of the French Quarter and the staff was about the friendliest group of folks you could find.
After taking some time to tour around the hotel and then settle in a bit, it was time to find some food. Not willing to wait in line, I bypassed all the fancier restaurants and just went for good old fashioned diner food. I had heard they had opened a Camellia Grill in the Quarter and, having been to the original locations many times before, I was excited to try it out. It was as homey as always with the waiters acting like they knew everyone and the chef special omelet as yummy and tummy pleasing as the original.
Once a year (usually the Sunday before Christmas) a non-profit group sponsors Caroling in Jackson Square. I was excited to see this but the crowds were massive. It was impossible to get in the gates. Not one for crowds, I decided I’d avoid that and just listen from afar. Fortunately, an hour or so into the event the throng of crowds had dwindled and I was able to go into the Square and walk around and join in the caroling. Families were everywhere, having staked out their spots on the lawn early on (hence the rush of crowds earlier, I guess). People had thermos of cocoa and were holding lit candles as everyone joined and sang holiday classics. It was haunting, ethereal…timeless. You could have been in almost any century, it was such a wonderful magical place.
Leaving just before the crowds did, I headed back to the hotel via Bourbon (I really really don’t like that street) for some much needed sleep.