New Orleans Casts Her Spell Once Again


Since we will move to Massachusetts soon, we began talking about the things we still wanted to do in the South before we leave. We’ve visited Amarillo, Dallas/Fort Worth, Natchez, Eureka Springs and even been to Southfork Ranch in Parker, Texas. But one place we haven’t been is New Orleans. This weekend, that changes.

Once we arrived in the Crescent City, we checked into our hotel on Charles Street, just steps from the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. The hotel itself is stunning! Not only is the Hilton New Orleans close to everything, but it is a historic property as well. A Masonic Lodge in the 1920s, Hilton restored the structure so that it retains the elegant architecture, gorgeous chandeliers, marble floors and handcrafted inlay tile ceilings of the original design. It is truly lovely!

We freshened up a bit and then headed toward Bourbon Street for dinner. We visited one of my favorite NOLA landmarks, Pat O’Brien’s. While some folks may think that the restaurant has always been here, it isn’t the case. It’s only been in its present location since 1942. The structure was originally built as a private home in 1791, so the aged brick interior is truly quite old, at least by American standards.

The last time I’d been here was in 1993, but the French Quarter always looks the same. As we sat down for dinner, I ordered Heather her first hurricane, a fruity drink O’Brien’s made famous in the 1940s. Back then, there was a shortage of distilled spirits and the restaurant’s bartenders had to figure out what to do with the large quantities of rum that they had to order in order to get one case of whiskey.

“Wow, that’s stout,” Heather exclaimed after taking her first sip. But then she grinned and drank some more.

Still, we decided it would probably be best to get something to eat before the drink made us too tipsy. Heather had shrimp remoulade while I dined on the shrimp and grits. Both meals were inexpensive but gave us our first yummy taste of New Orleans cuisine. But this is only the beginning of our culinary adventure in NOLA.

Following dinner, we walked around, window shopping, people watching, and taking in the sights and sounds of the city at night. We saw street dancers perform amazing footwork in the middle of Bourbon, then listened to the soulful wail of a saxophone on Royal before heading back to the hotel, but not before walking past numerous galleries packed with delicious art including sculptures and three-dimensional oil paintings that begged to be touched.

Tomorrow we will discover even more of the city I’ve loved ever since I first visited as a teen. I’m just thrilled that Heather is falling under the city’s spell too!

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

One Response to New Orleans Casts Her Spell Once Again

  1. Trudy says:

    I see a lot of interesting articles on your blog. You have to spend a lot of time writing!

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