Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Orleans Anniversary Trip: Sunday December 16, 2007

Sunday morning was check out day.
It was a very cold morning too; the wind was blowing, and the temperature was in the low 40's.
The hotel was overwhelmed with everyone checking out at once.

We headed to the Coffee Pot restaurant for breakfast. When we are in NO in nice weather we usually try to eat breakfast there in their patio.
Bernie's Bloody Mary has the traditional hot pickled green beans as garnish. I had biscuits with eggs and chicken livers in a spicy sauce. And grits. Gotta have grits in New Orleans!
While we were eating, one of the waitresses greeted some old friends with hugs and kisses.
After the friends were seated, the waitress clasped her hands to her chest and began to sing a soul/blues/gospel song right in the middle of the restaurant.
The rest of the wait staff kept on doing what they were doing, some of the guests stopped to listen, others kept on talking.
I mean really: how wonderful is that?
We window shopped a bit, killing time until the Patio Planter Christmas Open House tour began at 2:00.

Beignets and coffee au lait over looking the St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square is always a good idea.
That was when the three well heeled dogs swung by.
Sara commented on the first post that the dog has a red manicure. Too cute....I can't believe I had missed that little detail!

Just walking around the Quarters was a treat.
Loved this balcony in New Orleans Saints football team's colors.
(They were playing that afternoon; they won!)
This balcony is draped with bead looped on the railing, ready to be tossed as the situation warrants.
I discovered the Patio Planter's tour when I did some research about what was planned for the weekend in New Orleans.
The Patio Planters is a club. Members must live in the French Quarters and have either a patio or balcony garden. The French Quarters, AKA Vieux Carre is by definition an 8 block by 13 block area.
By the by...my favorite street is Royal Street, from end to end. Just in case you have a chance to go...
The tour tickets were $15 apiece, and the tour included five houses in the French Quarters. I figured it was a great chance to mingle with the locals.
The first house was the Rectory of the St. Louis Cathedral. It consisted of three adjoining town houses built in the 1830's. Probably the most interesting thing there to me was the Monsignors "crook" (there is a name for these...anyone out there who is a Catholic... can you help me out?)

The second stop on the tour was the home of children's picture book author. Her entire house was covered in walled in bookcases filled with children's picture books. Christmas trees filled up the rest of the space. She sat in the kitchen and chatted with each person arriving, telling stories non-stop.

The property dated back to 1722, and the present structure was build in 1860. Of course the inside has been remodeled. The owner had hosted a party for the American Library Association when they met in New Orleans a few years back. She had dozens of children's book authors sign the mouldings around her inside doorways!

The current owner was a very creative lady. Get a load of the cockle burr nativity set pictured above..

Doesn't that just beat all???
I loved how the houses had charming courtyards out back.
This little "shot gun" cottage was constructed in 1898, was and completely renovated after being bought in April 2007.
If you walk past the cottage at 729 Dumaine Street when the shuttered doors are closed, you could have little clue as to what was inside.

Inside....very up beat! A darling husband and wife own this house, along with four other houses.

We had a lovely chat with the husband outside amidst the wife's bonsai collection.

We had to walk between the five houses and had a chance to admire how various people had decorated their balconies for Christmas.
Aren't the diamond shaped windows charming?
The little house looked so southern and welcoming, although it was not one of the houses on the tour.
I'm still enamored with the blue paint on the undersides of eaves.
I also like that they painted the scroll work in contrast to make the design stand out more.

I had never seen this kind of tree before.
Such an elegant flower; it is about the size of a small tea cup.

The last house at 716 Esplanade Ave. was the best.
The owner was a lively lady, a recent widow just oozing with personality.
She was impressed that I complimented her on her chocolate pot; most people don't know what identifies a tea pot vs. a coffee pot vs a chocolate pot. We antique loving hat wearers just "click" when we get the chance!
She had incredible antiques, including a large mirror that originally came from a former brothel on Canal Street.

The owner had this picture of herself in the bedroom. What a hoot! Isn't she fun???
The house had a reception room, dining room, kitchen, and a study/family room. In the back of the family room the owner had a two story doll house with probably twenty rooms, each furnished in minute detail. I quickly snapped a picture of this room with a doll "bride". It's worth it to enlarge this picture. EVERY room in the doll has was this elegant. This doll house room was about the size of half a shoe box.
The owner had hung this perfect little touch of Christmas cheer on the side door leading to a side garden, which in turn lead to a patio garden and a small swimming pool.
During Katrina the area had experienced "micro bursts" AKA tornados; the winds separated the back half of the house from the rest of the building.
The owner had done a remarkable job making the property perfect again.

Some of the places did not allow photos, and I didn't take a lot of pictures because of that.
Boy, do I wish I could have though!

The railing in front of the property's small front garden.
The Patio Planter's tour funds a yearly event in New Orleans: The Annual Caroling by Candlelight in Jackson Square, which was held at 7 pm that evening.

Drat....we had to fly out at six.

Next year....there is always next year.
How lovely it must be to have everyone in the city crowd into Jackson Square to carol by candlelight!

I just love New Orleans.
This iron fence is a perfect example of the romance of the town.

Sometimes when I need a break, I dream about New Orleans.

Love you NOLA.
We'll be back real soon!
(For recipes and another blogger's take on NOLA, click here. Lots of wonderful recipes!)


Sara said...

Thanks for yet another fun New Orleans tour. Wish I could see that house full of children's books!

I like your new red and green blog too. And those hats in the sidebar.

Anonymous said...

I'm not Catholic, but is that staff called a "Crosier?"

This was so much fun! I've never been to NOLA (I've only driven through) and this just fuels my desire to visit!

Anonymous said...

great post. I closed my eyes and felt the entire trip all over again. When I opened my eyes, I had powdered sugar all over me...how can that be?. Did you see the comment from Dod's granddaughter? Awsum. B

Nikki said...

Great pictures. I have never vacationed in New Orleans - visited only once when in high school to to check out one of the universities.

Nicole and Mon Voyage said...

Jill, The homeowner on Esplanade has some of my hats. Lynette is great. That is one tough lady, too. I'm sure you loved meeting her and seeing her beautiful home!