Saturday morning we got up, got dressed and headed out of the ROOM OF DOOM to find breakfast. We ended up heading to the Ruby Slipper Cafe for breakfast. The cafe is pretty small and it’s got a really interesting bar-like layout. It’s basically a one room cafe, with tall tables lining the walls and a big bar area with bar-seating in the middle. There were TVs in some of the corners so sports lovers could keep tabs on the score(s). We were just in time for the Penn State v. Nebraska game although that wasn’t really our intention at the time. The Ruby Slipper is known for it’s excellent pain perdu, which is a french-toast type dish. Those of you who know my love of french toast know that there was no question as to what I ordered and the bananas foster pain perdu did not disappoint. It. was. delicious. I tried to commit the flavors to memory so I can create it at home sometime. Look for that recipe forthcoming…
After breakfast, we walked through the French Quarter and headed over to the American Bicycle Rental Company to rent cruiser bikes for the day. It didn’t take long to get the bikes set up, sign the paperwork, and head out on what would be an awesome adventure. For those of you who haven’t ridden cruiser bikes before, these bikes were an experience in and of themselves. For starters, they are HEAVY. Think solid steel frames with the widest bike tires I have ever seen. They had to be at least 2 inches wide. We felt totally invincible on them: like we were driving tanks, which was good because the streets of New Orleans are often less than pristine. After a bit of a chaotic ride through the French Quarter, we headed west through the Warehouse District and into the Garden District for the part of the trip I’d been waiting for: the Garden District’s old cemeteries.
I have what I will admit is a slightly strange love of cemeteries that dates back to Memorial Day excursions with my family through the mountains to lay flowers on the graves of about a dozen family members in 4 or 5 different cemeteries. In preparation for the trek, my aunt and grandma used to pick what seemed like hundreds of daffodils, tulips, snapdragons, and early roses from their own gardens, put them in giant buckets with a little water and load the trunk of my aunt’s car. Then my family would pile into our car and we’d caravan through the mountains stopping along the way to lay flowers and reminisce. Our final stop was usually the cemetery where my grandpa is buried. It was always my favorite not only because my grandpa was there, but also because it had the biggest, most beautiful trees I had ever seen. While we were there I’d walk around visiting the tombstones that I thought were the prettiest and the ones that looked like they needed a visitor. When I was really little, I used to think the people who were buried there could hear me so I would always tell them about my day and sing songs to them so they’d know they weren’t alone. I knew my older brothers would have mercilessly teased me about talking to dead people, so I always made sure to whisper when anyone living was around. It is partly because of this love of cemeteries that I wanted to visit New Orleans.
We made our way through the Garden District, stopping at two of the most beautiful cemeteries I’ve ever seen. After photographing the crap out of the cemeteries, we returned the bike rentals and hopped on the streetcar. We rode it all the way to the end of the line at Tulane, where we wandered around a bit and grabbed a snack. Then we hopped back aboard and headed down to the French Quarter. The husband hates Jazz (I know. I know.) so we avoided most of the cooler, more interesting clubs but instead looked for somewhere cozy where we could get a drink and enjoy the evening. We ended up grabbing a couple of drinks in a little tiny bar in the French Quarter whose name I can’t even remember and then we went to Cafe du Monde for obligatory beignets. They were delicious.
New Orleans is an awesome city and three days wasn’t nearly enough time to fully explore it, but we had a great time and are hoping we can get back there in the future.