We first met Donna Quirk in the bar of 75 Chestnut street at a get together of runners and we had to pay her tab because she did not have cash or credit cards. She and Sandy ran in a road race together the next weekend and have been close friends ever since. Donna has visited us in Paris, San Francisco,
Mexico City, London, Madrid and now New Orleans. She has come with her husband Tom once and with her brother Mark twice.
Donna arrived Jan 26 for a short 5 day visit. She is such an easy friend to host and we always look forward to our time with her. We were sorry that neither her brother Mark or husband Tom could come with her as they have in the past.
We went to lunch at Basin Seafood which is nearby and it was quite good and the server was a bit eccentric. Typically we like to eat our main meal mid afternoon and just have a light snack if anything at all in the evening and fortunately Donna is good with that.
After eating we went across the street to Breaux Mart and did some grocery shopping. Donna got a kick out of our back pack grocery toting method, We are quite the pack mules and this is mostly how we roll as we have adopted the European grocery shopping custom of buy only what you are going to eat each day. We also avoid using store provided shopping bags.
After dropping off the groceries we gave her a tour of our neighborhood. She took more pictures of us on the tour than we did of her!
We are not eating here again with Donna but this iconic restaurant is part of our Neighborhood tour with guests.
She really enjoyed seeing the mansions decorated for Mardi Gras.
This home is across the street from us and is on the New Orleans Haunted House Bus Tour. It is called Ghost manor and is the number one house to see in New Orleans during Halloween. If you click the link above you can see the amazing show the owners put on of flying ghosts and dancing skeletons. The Christmas decorations this year were also great and now they are decorated for Mardi Gras.
As we mentioned, we met Donna through running so it was great to run with her again and Jim even joined in. We all ran our own pace with Donna leading the pack. These pictures were taken after a 5k run in our neighborhood along the streetcar tracks.
Jim snapped this photo of Donna and Sandy after they checked out Ghost Manor.
Voila, the awesome NOLA murals.
Pat Obrien’s Door Greeter was funny as Donna did a video of him.
Preservation Hall which we will return to with her as she snagged front row tickets for us later in the week. This will be our third time at this venue and we have never had seats, always standing only tickets.
Donna’s daughter’s fiancé Tom recommended we check this bar out. Cafe Lafitte in the French Quarter has operated continuously since 1933. It claims to be one of the oldest gay bars in the USA along with another in California. It is named after Jean Lafitte who was a French pirate, privateer, spy, naval artillery officer and slave trader. He and his fleet helped General Andrew Jackson during the battle of New Orleans against the British. We enjoyed a great Bloody Mary here before Donna visited the Gallier Mansion house Museum.
We had lunch at Ruth Chris Steak House in the French Quarter. Despite the restaurant being empty it took about 20 minutes for us to be seated even though we had reservations. Jim had to call the manager as there was no receptionist at the desk. They did compliment us a free appetizer and the service and food ended up being very good.
We took caution and wore masks on the crowded street cars. Jim took this picture because of the overhead sign saying these seats are reserved for the elderly.
Donna at the NOLA Museum of Art.
We did a tour of the Botanical Garden which did not have much in bloom but the sculpture garden was lovely.
The sculptures here were done by a Mexican born artist Enrique Alferez who lived in New Orleans. He led an interesting life as he ran away from home at the age of 12 because he “messed up at school” and knew his Dad also a sculptor “would get after him”. He joined Pancho Villa’s rebel army as he was given the choice of either joining them or getting shot. He lived a long life but not as long as his Dad who at the age of 117 committed suicide by throwing himself off a mountain.His son said he had had enough.
Adam and Eve.
The greenhouse had some nice color.
More of the Botanical Garden.
The Spanish moss draping the live oaks here are so named because they reminded the French settlers of the beards of the Spanish conquistadors. On the other hand the Spaniards called it French Hair. It is not a parasite and does not damage the trees.
We had dinner at The Italian Barrel Restaurant on Decatur Street in the French Quarter as it was on the parade route that was happening that evening. We could only get outdoor seating and they had no heat lamps. It was a bit chilly as you can tell from the photo. The food was excellent though.
The Krewe of Chewbacchus is a popular sci-fi themed parade.
Their floats consist of about 100 contraptions which are pushed, pedaled or pulled and are built on to bikes, homemade trailers, and shopping carts as they believe green parades are the future of revelry. These mad scientists have found clever ways to build their floats that require no petroleum products. Enjoy the photos and videos below to get a taste for Carnival that leads up to Mardi Gras week.
We were surprised to see so many children in and at the parade as there are some pretty raucous, lewd and raunchy sights which I will spare you from seeing. We are finding that this city is truly accepting and non judgmental. They say what happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans (thank God)!
Donna along the Mississippi River with the Crescent City Connection Bridge in the background.
Donna opted for a tour of the Mardi Gras World instead of the World War ll Museum.
We had fun posing with the various float characters which are made of either styrofoam or fiberglass.
This is a great picture especially since it looks like her hair is being blown by the wind but there was no wind inside the building??????
We were excited to see a second line parade of a wedding. This is a quintessential New Orleans tradition and is done for jazz funerals and also weddings. In a funeral the family and hearse are part of the first line or in a wedding it is the bride and groom ( the ones with the umbrellas in this video) who take a position up front followed by family. The second line refers to any random person that wants to join in the revelry. They need to apply for a police escort. Enjoy this video.
A perfect wrap up to her visit included an afternoon of jazz at Preservation Hall
Will Smith and his Legacy Band performed for us and they were great. We especially liked when he sang and played What a Wonderful World.
After the performance we had an early dinner on the balcony of a restaurant overlooking Bourbon street.
Out of Donna’s 5 day visit we did three days of running. The sidewalks here are a mess because of the massive tree roots displacing them so everyone runs on the street car track as it is nice and flat. You run in the direction of the trolly and hop off onto the grassy area as it approaches. Kind of fun and can make for a daring run if you want to mess with the conductors head and not jump off until the last minute.
So sorry to send you back to the cold weather in Boston but your visit brought us much sunshine here in NOLA, thanks for coming and also thank you for your overly generous treats to expensive meals. We will always have a room for you friend.