Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Morning In New Orleans

Breakfast just after 9:00 a.m. at the Commerce Cafe two blocks outside the French Quarter. Quick and simply served eggs, grits and white bread toast. And then we began a tour of some of Kathie's favorites places, which of course, was the reason for our trip.  We walked along Canal Street to The Roosevelt Hotel to see the WPA murals that Paul Nina painted in 1939 for the hotel's Sazerac Bar. That lady in red in the center of this mural looked very much like Helen Mirren. The hotel lobby was quite spectacular in that old time splendid way. Lots of marble and brass and spaciousness. There were alcoves off each side of the block long lobby and in one,  I found a 'wonderfully New Orleans' painting hung over a grand piano. I doubt this painting was a WPA work.Our tour continued back along Canal Street where we passed an all pink store. My grand daughters would have loved it. Not part of the tour, but we had to pause and take a photograph.Kathie led the way into the French Quarter along Decatur Street, the thoroughfare that leads to Cafe Du Monde's, where we did not stop for coffee and beingets. We pressed on to Central Grocery, where we could have ordered a muffuletta, but breakfast was still with us.  I've learned that the sandwich was created at Central Grocery as early as 1906 by it original owner Salvatore Lupo and what makes it great is the Sicilian olive salad served on top of the meat and cheese in soft, round bread. 
I could easily have filled several sackfuls of cans and jars of delicacies like anchovy stuffed olives. Too early in the day to begin lugging heavy purchases. Maybe we will return with the car tomorrow?
Onward to Santa's Quarters where you can buy N.O. Saints and fortune cookie tree ornaments. Again, I passed.The streets in the French Quarter were almost empty of pedestrians and cars. I've never seen it like this and actually it was pleasant for walking.  And many of the antique shops I might have wandered into were closed.  Tuesday mornings must be a day to regroup from the weekend? Again, saved from making any purchases. We headed for Royal Street to see the wrought iron corn stalk fence and then to the Faulkner House Bookstore and by 11:30, we'd settled ourselves in for lunch at Antoine's. The Huitres Bienville were as I remembered. Baked oysters smothered with a white wine sauce seasoned with pimentos, green peppers and onions. I had a hearts of palm salad too. Both dishes tasted so old New Orleans.  I was in a time warp, remembering an early trip to New Orleans just after we moved to Houston. Sometimes, food can take you a long way back.Lots more to write about. When we left Antoine's it was only 12:30. An entire afternoon ahead of us. But it's almost midnight and I am off to bed up on the third floor. This house is just wonderful. I am getting very attached to it.

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