Jan’s Notebook

NOLA

The French Quarter
Jim and I have gone to New Orleans since we were in college for short and long weekends. We celebrated our anniversary there in April of 2005, just six months before Katrina. We had not returned since then. I think we simply couldn’t bear to see a beloved city, with such a rich history in turmoil. Even though there are still areas that have never come back, the New Orleans that we knew and loved is better than ever, and many people who left after Katrina have returned.
Entrance to The Soniat House
Our very favorite place to stay in NOLA is The Soniat House, owned by two of the loveliest people you will ever meet, Frances and Rodney Smith. They opened Soniat in 1982---it seems impossible, but we have been staying there ever since. It is on Chartres Street in the French Quarter with only 24 rooms.
Entrance to our suite at The Soniat House
Entrance to our suite at The Soniat House
Our suite at The Soniat House
Breakfast on the Veranda
I haven’t mentioned this yet----my entire family met in New Orleans two months before my actual birthday (yes, it’s a big one this year) to celebrate. Jim and I will be in Europe on a buying trip for my antiques business and to visit our factories in Murano on the real date, so the first weekend in March was selected for the early celebration.
Front of Galatoire's
Friday is a big lunch day at Galatoire’s---many people think this is the best restaurant in New Orleans. We sat down to eat at 2 and didn’t leave until close to 5! There were multiple celebrations going on that day---it was quite a scene, but always more fun to sit downstairs----Galatoire's does not take reservations, so be prepared to wait or go early---It's well worth the wait. Food was great, but check out these two waiters after the lunch crowd was clearing…
Waiters at Galatoire's
Not really sure how they do it! Good job! Can’t wait to go back for another Friday afternoon lunch.
Gerrie Brimermann's shop on Magazine Street
It’s fun to shop on Magazine---it’s a long stretch, so you’ll need to hire a car, taxi or take your own car. I always love to stop at Gerrie Brimermann's shop---she has wonderful taste and interesting antiques in her shop. Gerrie is a lovely lady and a designer I admire very much—we had a nice visit.
Lilette Restaurant on Magazine Street
All of the girls went to Magazine, which is Uptown New Orleans---the boys walked around the Quarter. We had lunch at Lilette which is on Magazine and it was wonderful---make a point to eat there for lunch or dinner.
Napoleon House Bar
Palmer, Ben and Matthew
The guys all went to Napoleon House Bar for lunch—they have great sandwiches and po’boys (Matthew and Ben loved this place). We went there for after dinner drinks one night as well. They play wonderful opera music late night. It’s on a corner in the Quarter and quite romantic---the building is 200 years old and has been owned by
the same family since 1914. You must go there to really experience the French Quarter!
Jan, Susanna, Elizabeth and Eliza
BIRTHDAY DINNER AT ANTOINE’S
This was such a fun evening---my daughter, Susanna Moldawer, had it planned to a fare the well! The food is great at Antoine’s, but you need to ask for Charles Carter as your waiter---he is terrific and made sure that we had food that the locals eat.
Baked Alaska at Antoine's
One of their specialties is Baked Alaska----believe me, it’s worth every calorie and every gram of fat! We ended the evening at Napoleon Bar---what a perfect evening.
Jan, Matthew and Ben leaving The Soniat House
LAST DAY
We had a great Sunday---went to Commander's Palace in the Garden District for brunch. I have heard people say that it is not as good as in the past---I completely disagree! We had on of our best meals ever. The Brennan family still owns it and they do a terrific job. Our grandsons loved it.
Jim and Me at Commander's Palace
There are so many real "foodie" restaurants in New Orleans-----Clancy's, Bayona, Gautreau's----I could name at least five more. We decided that since none of our grandchildren had been to NOLA before, we would take them to the traditional, iconic restaurants. Jim and I did have lunch by ourselves the day before everyone else arrived at
Clancy's, and I thought the food was simply amazing. I highly recommend it---it's worth going way uptown.
Their menu changes daily and it's difficult to get a reservation there, so plan ahead.
It was a wonderful birthday trip to fabulous New Orleans---Made even more special by the company of my wonderful family! If you haven't taken a trip to New Orleans, you're in for a treat. It is better than ever.
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