I’m typically the morning person in the relationship and am usually up well before Maria.
Usually, I’ll just lie in bed and read until she gets up but today I decided to grab my Kindle and walk to a nearby park and read until she woke up, well after my frantic search for a public restroom so I didn’t have to pee on the street, that is.
While sitting there reading, a tour group came through and I heard the guide talking about just how many restaurants there are in New Orleans. He said that there is one restaurant per 200 people. So, after about an hour of reading I headed back to Houdini where Maria was getting ready to start the day i.e., making yerba mate for some morning caffeine. We decided to find one of these many restaurants and have some local food. I had some jambalaya and she had some catfish and both dishes were just incredible. How do they put so much flavor into one dish!!!???
After that we headed over to Brandon’s place. Brandon is the son of our former roommate and the brother of one of Maria’s closest friends. Both his mother and sister are wonderful people, so we were not surprised to see the same qualities-warm, kind, funny, and welcoming, in Brandon. We got there and were excited about being able to take a shower, it had been the longest stretch yet without one, and were pleasantly surprised by the number of dogs that greeted us.
Maria and I are both dog lovers and are always happy to spend time with some and he happened to have four with him at the time (one his, one his roommate’s, one his girlfriend’s and one he was watching for a friend).
Later that night we just hung out with him and his roommates, Ben and Nicole, and some of his friends. Brandon is a professional photographer so we made sure to pick his brain a bit (after marveling after some of his photos). He is super talented and we were surprised at how willing he was to teach us a bit about photography.
After that we all just relaxed getting to know one another and taking some time to work on our blog.
When we decided to go to sleep Maria became terribly jealous because Rue, one of the dogs that looked like a miniature pit bull, decided to get on the couch and sleep with me and not her…not matter how Maria tried to coax her to switch couches.
The next day we still had some chores to take care of but we made sure to make it to the St. Louis Cemetery in New Orleans.
It is an all above ground cemetery. There are a number of reasons given for the tradition of above ground burials, some say it is because of the high water table in New Orleans, others the Spanish history of the town and their custom of above ground burials and still others believe it has to do with saving space and the fact that cremation was banned by the Catholic church until the 60’s.
People would place the bodies in these above ground tombs where they would decompose much faster (in the summer the tombs would heat up and retain the heat essentially turning them into ovens) and then when another family member passed they would open the tomb and sweep the ashes to the bottom and place the new family member in.
Many of these tombs have stood there for centuries including a few that were older than the United States. A number of the tombs are very ornate and intricately carved while others are unfortunately pretty dilapidated and in disrepair.
The next day it was time to say goodbye to our new friends and move on but not before doing a New Orleans must, which is to get Beignets from Café Du Monde. We headed back to the French Quarter and parked Houdini (in the exact same spot as where we spent our first night in New Orleans) and since it was later in the day there was no line at the café. We enjoyed or Beignets, fried dough with confectioners sugar on it, and decided to walk around a bit more to avoid rush hour traffic.
We coincidentally stumbled upon Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. This bar is one of the oldest in the United States and predates the revolution.
Much of the wood and nails in the place are original and the building has also somehow managed to survive multiple fires. This bar also happened to be the bar that Ben, Brandon’s roommate, bartends so we decided to stop in for a round and hang out.
After a nice cold beverage and another brief walk around we kissed the city goodbye and forced ourselves to leave and make our way west. Next stop.. Houston?