Sigi and Paul stayed in a hotel their first two nights in New Orleans as they arrived earlier than they had planned and we only have two bedrooms. The positive side of this was that they were able to spend time with Peggy as noted in the last blog. We first met Sigi and Paul at their home in Richmond, a suburb of London, during the summer of 2018. Since that time we have spent innumerable days together in
Richmond, Sevilla, Madrid and now New Orleans. They are such easy houseguests as Sigi goes shopping and prepares many meals and they are such educated travelers and have so many ideas of things to do and see. They have been to New Orleans in the past and are quite familiar with the city, they are also great walkers so we can explore together during our long walks. Paul is the tour leader on our long walks.
After saying goodbye to Peggy we went for a long walk down St Charles Street to see the mansions, Tulane Campus, Audubon Park and then return via Magazine Street. Our first stop was drinks at the Columns Hotel Bar. The Columns was built in 1883 as a private restaurant and then converted into a boarding house during WWI. In 1953 it turned into a hotel and bar. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We have been here for drinks previously in December.
After several miles of walking we stopped for a rest on the Campus of Tulane University.
We returned to the Columns that evening for a musical performance but found they wanted a cover charge of $25 so we opted to sit out on the porch for drinks and dinner as it was a lovely evening.
Festive Mardi Gras decor on a building along St Charles Street which is the main route of the parades just a few blocks from our home.
We are fortunate to have a lovely outdoor space to relax in the evening and the weather has been perfect for this.
Sigi decided to test out our pool as it was a very warm day.
He did go in but the pool is not heated so it was just a quick dip. “The coldest swim I have ever had” he said.
We took them to Bacchanal which is a wine and cheese shop in Bywater with a backyard patio that has a variety of live music. You pick out your wine and cheese in the store and they plate it with other munchies and then deliver it to your table as you enjoy the performance. We will definitely return here with upcoming guests.
Our entertainment this afternoon was David Sigler who is a student at Tulane studying classical guitar. We enjoyed talking to him after his performance.
We gave Sigi and Paul our neighborhood tour. This is the New Orleans home of actor Sandra Bullock which is just a few blocks away from us.
This is the home where they filmed The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons, starring Brad Pitt which we watched on our TV that night.
Typical Mardi Gras home decor which they call house floats. New Orleanian”s love to decorate their homes. Christmas decor comes down and Mardi Gras decor goes up. Many homes keep their Christmas tree up and redecorate it with the colors of Mardi Gras which are purple to represent justice, green for faith and gold for power.
We love all the wonderful colorful murals in the various neighborhoods.
King Cake of Mardi Gras
King Cake is traditionally available to eat on January 6 in honor of the Epiphany or Twelfth night which historically marks the arrival of the three wise men/kings in Bethlehem who delivered gifts to the baby Jesus. Baked inside the cake is a small plastic baby and the person who gets that slice is declared king for a day and is bound by tradition to host the next years party and cake. Paul got that slice so it looks like next year we will head to London. I am sure Sigi will be able to make the cake.
These are the city views from the Hotel Pontchartrain rooftop bar called Hot Tin Roof. We were there for sunset drinks.
It was too cloudy for any sunset.
On their last day we had Brunch at the famous Commander’s Palace Restaurant which has been a New Orleans landmark since 1893. It has won seven James Beard Foundation Awards. The food was delicious and the service exceptional. Jim knocked over his wine glass which landed in his meal. The waitress promptly took it away and returned a new meal to him and another glass of wine, then offered him a napkin soaked in soda water to remove any stain on his pants. Now that’s service.
The balloons are always part of the festive decor of the restaurant.
They thought it was Sigi’s Birthday for some unknown reason and gave him a Birthday chef’s hat with his dessert. We corrected them to make sure someone was not being deprived of their treat. It was so appropriate though as Sigi is an amazing cook and makes everything from scratch, even growing his own ingredients in his garden. He brought us an assortment of homemade jams and cooked us two wonderful meals while they were here. He also assembled a fruit salad for every breakfast and a simple lunch salad every day.
Their last stop was to see Lafayette cemetery which is closed to the public due to lack of upkeep and need for repairs.
Thank you Sigi and Paul for your visit, as always it is such a delight hosting you and we are looking forward to May when we will spend more time together in the Isles of Scilly.