Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back door at the New Orleans Healing Center
We were all over town yesterday, for some reason.  Frau Schmitt wanted to get something healthy at the health food store while your humble narrator had business at the botanica.  We had a cup at coffee at Fatoush without leaving the New Orleans Healing Center Building on St. Claude Avenue.  On the way out, we noticed that the other buildings on the block are being painted the same bright colors.

We were on Magazine Street, later.  
The facade of La Boulangerie
They make a delicious loaf shaped like a pretzel and studded with olives.  They call it something fancy that I can't be bothered to remember, but I think we should serve it for breakfast.  It really is delicious.
Gone but not forgotten
The current owners saved the ghost sign on the side of the former Ruth's Cozy Corner on the corner of Ursulines and North Robertson.
The corner of Ursulines and North Robertson.
I was wandering around Treme thinking about what is interesting about this part of the city.  I find our neighborhood endlessly fascinating.  I am trying to work up a bicycle tour of Bayou Road, so I was doing all this wandering around on the clock.  

I noticed that there are a lot of colorful houses along Esplanade Ridge.  

The chair caught my eye
One block up from Claiborne

Ours is a beautiful part of New Orleans to live in.  It is also a fascinating part to visit.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Living in New Orleans

November 11, 2011
When you live in New Orleans, it is nice to come home.  New Orleans, which was already good to start with, is getting better.  Some things look the same while some other things are brighter.  Everything is better.  The best things in life are free.   

I was talking with a neighbor yesterday for an hour.  She's lived in her house forty years.  We've only been open for business for a year next month.  She said, "This is the nicest this neighborhood has been in forty years.  Everything is looking up on Esplanade Avenue.  Did you hear Whole Foods is coming back to our side of town?"
Laverne and Shirley
A lot of things are brighter on our block.  The seasons change and the time goes by.  Everything just keeps getting better and better.  It is very nice to live in New Orleans.  It is nice to come home in New Orleans.

There is something in the air in our neighborhood.  It is hard to put your finger on it, but something is going on.  It is something good.  It is like a kiss.
Lots H, P, and L on Esplanade Avenue
We don't know whose car that is, but whoever you are, you are welcome.  Good guests make good company in a colorful city. 
August 26, 2013
In August, it rains for at least a few minutes every day in New Orleans.  When it stops, there are rainbows.  That is one of the things that make it nice to call New Orleans home.  The other reason is the sunshine.  

A votre santé,
La Belle Esplande bed and breakfast.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Much ado about Westwego

November, 2011
Salaville is the old historic part of Westwego.  Westwego is pronounced West-We-Go, and that is why it is named what it is.  Westwego is a city on the West Bank of the Mississippi River.  It is like visiting another world, but it is really just across the river from Audubon Park, uptown.

When people travel Europe, they like to visit where their families came from.  Some of the people who visit New Orleans do that, too.  For whatever reason, very few travelers to New Orleans also visit Westwego.

Your humble narrator rarely visits Westwego.  The first time I was there, my camera broke.  The second time I was there, I didn't bring my phone because there isn't any reception.  I don't have any pictures of Westwego, only memories.  Here are the parts that I remember:

The whole way to Westwego is on an elevated highway.  You get to see all of Gretna and Harvey from about 40 feet in the air.  It is a stunning view for miles.  The whole road must have cost a fortune.  My guess is that it is built this way in case of a flood on the West Bank.

The money must have run out around Westwego because the multi-lane elevated highway becomes a two-lane stretch of asphalt that hugs the ground between two drainage ditches that go on as far as the eye can see.  

They eat a lot of fresh fish in Westwego.  That means fin fish, crawfish, oysters and crabs.  There are fishmongers up and down both sides of the road that sell fresh live shrimp by the bucketful at a buck-fifty a pound.  Selling fish looks like Westwego's most profitable industry.

There's a farmers market in Westwego.  We went out there once when it was supposed to be open.  It seemed like driving to another part of the world on our motor scooters, especially after taking the Harvey Tunnel.  It was the second time we were in Westwego.  Unfortunately, it was the last time we were ever really there.  

I don't have any pictures of Westwego and I have always regretted that.  Frau Schmitt can confirm this.  She remembers everything I tell her.

Luckily, I stumbled across someone who did take some pictures of where the farmers market is held in Westwego.  It seems to be the last blog post this chap ever made.  Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us.

Salaville is the part of Westwego where farmers hold the farmers market when the farmers show up.  The most recognizable part of the neighborhood is an empty park, one that looks to have cost a pretty penny.

I do remember Salaville looking like the pictures, but, if I recall correctly, most of the buildings are pastel painted facades complete with working balconies.  I may be mistaken, but I distinctly remember thinking that it would be an ideal location for someone looking to shoot a candy-colored civics film. 

Who isn't a sucker for a colorful place?
Tammie, the housekeeper
I asked Tammie, the housekeeper, where she lives.  "I've told you a hundred times, I live in Westwego," she said.  I recalled she had told me that.  I must have forgotten.  

"Why can't you be more like Frau Schmitt?" Tammie, the housekeeper, asked me.  

When Tammie, the housekeeper, gets like this, I picture her smoking a pipe.  I take her more seriously that way.  

I told Tammie, the housekeeper, "If we were more alike, the lady of the house and I couldn't possibly be the perfect team we have turned out to be."  

I knew Frau Schmitt was shaking out the curtains off the balcony, and that she could hear everything I said.  "He's right this time, again," Frau Schmitt called over her shoulder.  She is usually right about these things.

A votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Morning Call Review

City Park, New Orleans
I know that I have recently said some nice things about the Morning Call coffee stand in City Park.  I meant them.  We stopped by Morning Call the  other day in late morning for a cup of coffee.  I still like Morning Call very much.  They serve a real cup of coffee.

It was busy the other day, but not crowded.  It's a very lively place where whole tables talk to each other.  I have never seen anyone frown there.  There are people there of all ages, and from all walks of life.  Sometimes you'll see people typing or looking at their phones, but not too much.  It is a nice place to be.

It is so much nicer since Morning Call took over the building.  The building has a spark now.  Before Morning Call, it was just a lonely placed manned by surly girls minded by an impatient matron.  It's a real professional operation now, and it looks better, too.  

If you are in New Orleans, we recommend a stop at Morning Call.

A votre sante,
La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Doves Don't Cry

Morning Call in City Park
It is heresy to say it to some people, but I'm going to tell you that I prefer Morning Call over Cafe du Monde.  They sell the same stuff: coffee and beignets.  As far as I can tell they all wear the same uniforms.  One is really pretty much as good as the other, but I like Morning Call better.  There isn't powdered sugar all over everything.  The view is better in City Park, too.  

We were walking the dog around the back of the building when all three of us decided to cross over the bridge to mysterious Dovecote Island.
Dovecote Island in City Park
If you've ever gone on a plantation tour, you know what a dovecote is.  Those Creoles sure ate a lot of squab.  You don't see it on many menus nowadays, only at places like Antoine's or Commander's Palace.  It's like getting sweetbreads at Clancy's.  Back in the days when gentlemen wore swallowtail coats, everyone who was anyone owned at least one dovecote.   

The dovecote on Dovecote Island was worked by inmates from the New Orleans Home for the Indigent prior to the federal levee failures during Hurricane Katrina.
It wasn't an abattoir
Doves still like to live there.  I've never seen anyone stand in the middle.  Everybody just sort of cranes their head barely in to see what is up near the rafters.   

It looks just as impressive from the outside.
City Park Apartments
The sun was so hot that the sky was almost white.  We decided to take the dog home and go out to lunch someplace cool.  You'll never guess why we picked Mandina's.
Air conditioned
Liver is the special on Thursdays.  I had the turtle soup.  Frau Schmitt doesn't like liver.  She had the other special.  It wasn't squab.

For the people who live in New Orleans, or for just people who are interested, I found this column interesting in The Lens today.  

A votre sante,
La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Where Innkeepers Go On Vacation

Italian restaurant, Hot Springs, Arkansas
We ate in the grooviest restaurant in Hot Springs, AR last week.  

If you want to know where innkeepers go on vacation, look no further than the map of Arkansas.  Sometimes, you just want to take a bath.  The City of Hot Springs is, of course, home to Hot Springs National Park.  We stayed in a bed and breakfast.

We took at bath at the Buckstaff Bath House.  I could go there twice a day for the next week.  It was much better than the Quapaw.
The Buckstaff at night
The Buckstaff was one of the best things in Hot Springs.  Something else that was good was Maxwell Blade's magic show.  These are two things you cannot find in New Orleans.  

Want to know something else about Hot Springs, AR?
Hometown of Bill Clinton
 I always say that 6 days and 7 nights is the ideal amount of time to spend on a visit to New Orleans.  You don't see everything, but you see just enough to make you want to come back for more.  

Two days and three nights is about the right amount of time to enjoy Hot Springs without getting bored.  That includes trips to Mt. Ida, Ouachita, and the Garvan Woodland Gardens.   

If you find yourself in Hot Springs, do yourself a favor and have dinner at Angel's in the Park.  The food isn't the best, but the atmosphere is tops.  Like the chef at Angel's on Central Avenue told us, the one in the park is classier.  She was right.
Things to do in Hot Springs, AR
We are back in the Crescent City.  If you can't be at home, you can always stay with us.

A votre sante,
La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Where to vacation

Not sold on Frenchman Street
We will be out of town for the next few days.  Regular updates will resume Monday, August 12.  We wish you a nice long weekend.  If you are planning on vacationing in New Orleans soon, or if you are attending a convention, think of us.

A votre sante,
La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Where to eat in Mississippi

Rocket engine testing tower
We went to South Mississippi recently to the Stennis Space Center and the Infinity Science Center.  We enjoyed the bus tour of the space center.  It's about an hour from where we live.  After that we decided to find someplace to eat other than the NASA snack bar.

We went to this place:
The second best catch in town
This is what it looked like on the inside:
Hand painted mural in the main dining room
It was spotlessly clean.
Mural close up
It was next to this place:
The best catch in town
We think they shared the kitchen, which was in the middle.  

It was a nice place to visit, but it good to be back in New Orleans during Satchmo Summerfest.  It's been hot.

A votre sante,
La Belle Esplanade bed and breakfast.   
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