So grabbed an early start at the hotel breakfast buffet (really don't like eating behind too many people). Pulled myself together and headed out and headed up to Canal Street. I was good to see the city again, like an old familiar friend. I surveyed the street and looked for my landmarks when I spotted a familiar building in distance. Ahh, my old stomping grounds the Marriot. The sun was shining brightly now and I was beginning to relax, I'm thinking this is gonna be a good trip.
I head towards Royal St. and and slow my pace, Still moving swiftly I pass by familiar galleries, only taking a small glance here and there. I figure I'll have more of a chance to browse once I get some "real food" in my system. I get down to Pirate's Alley and turn towards St. Louis Cathedral and continue to move towards N Peters St. Along the way I encounter the various street vendors, horse drawn buggies and hear the familiar jazz/dixie tunes filtering out of doorways.
I glide down N Peters and hit the French Market. I'm hungry now and determined to have something good, so I head over to Meals from the Heart Cafe located 1100 N Petrs St. in booth/stall number 13 in the French Market. Small welcoming cafe with a warm/funny/sharp & attentive staff. This would be my go to place for lunch the duration of my stay. Meals from the Heart Cafe has a selection of breakfast and lunch options, some of which are gluten free and veggie based. They make breakfast anytime and great fish options. I settled on the famous Crab Po Boy with a side of veggies and a honey sweetened Pomogrt. infused ice tea.
Mmmmm. My goodness the crab cake Po Boy was delicious and I was offered two kinds of sauce, on the side (one for the crab & one for the veggies) both of which were tasty and did not overwhelm the food. My side of veggies (califlower, green beans, carrots & brocolli) were crisp and hot! Great way to start my stay.
After lunch I needed something sweet so I headed out, only to be stopped a few short steps from the cafe by a food demo. A small stage is set up at the French Market and various music acts/artists and food vendors create a lively enviromnent for visitors. I'm thinking I can relax, digest my lunch a learn a few things. Well, that plan went south as a young man takes the stage representing Fat Falafel one of the talented neighborhood food trucks. He's given his intro by someone who works for the NO Food Museum? Who Knew. Anyway, "Gavin" along with his partner proceeds to whip up a smoked eggplant dish/dip called Baba Ganoush. We learned about peeling, prepping and seasoning. Welp, once I indulged in the samples (which included bread and was really good) my belly began to stretch again. Okay, I figure, I'll continue to walk and things should get better.
So I'm up on my feet again and head down towards the end of the market intending to check the Old U.S. Mint when I spot a old familiar French Market favorite a "snowball truck". By now the heat has started to kick in and I figure what better way to cool off, but to order up a 16 oz syrup filled snowball cup. The variety of flavors was good, and I went with the Pinneaple with a extra pour of condensed milk. Oh, goodness let the decadence begin. I knew it was bad, when instead of a straw I was given a spoon to tackle this in 90 plus degree heat.
Gripping my snowball, I happily turn towards Barracks St. and come across the Old U.S. Mint. Once I went to the entrance on Esplanade Ave. I was surprised to see that it was open. I was warmly greeted by a guard who told me the "Mint" was open on Sunday but closed on Monday along with Calbildo (another museum/historical site) that I wanted to visit. I had a nice time taking in all of the exhibits and information regarding U.S. Currency and New Orleans role in it.
I took a couple of photos and continued to chat up the guard, who was a wealth of information and gave me a heads up on what was open & what my options were.
I then headed back up to the French Market, but not before pondering what was on other side of Esplanade Ave. I would find the answer to my riddle quite easily in the upcoming days.
I stopped by a store called A Tisket A Tasket (located at 910 Decatur St.) and proceeded to purchase a book for my niece called "My Aunt Came Back from Loiusiana". A colorful, illustrated book, It was a nice suprise to see that I had purchased a copy signed by the author. I'm hoping my little soon to be six year old neice and her little sister will enjoy it.
I continued back towards the "front" of the Market when I came across a jazz brunch at the Market Place Cafe. I stopped and rested in the shade at one of the nearby benches and listened to the sweet sounds of bass & symbals. Eventually I peeled myself off the bench and headed over to Jackson Square to take a few photos and sit quietly under a tree providing shade. The statue of Jackson looms over the square. The beautiful landscaping, fenced off park gave a nice intimate quiet alternative to a buzzing scene happening outside just across from JAX Brewery.
Just outside the gates at intersection of Place John Paul II & Charters I encountered my first random brass band. A cute group of teenagers & young adults, these "kids" were passionate and put on a lively show in front of the magnificent St. Louis Cathedral. I clapped and swayed to the music as artists sold their paintings, psychics read palms and tourist strolled by at an easy pace. The sun lowered in the sky and by now my fast pace had slowed to a saunter. I slowly made my way back to Canal Street via Royal St. Crossed over Canal I was back at the hotel and watching cable just as the sun was setting. It was a great ending to the start of a wonderful trip. **my belly was so full that I skipped dinner and after watching a awards show, fell fast asleep**