Holidays 2017, Explained (Part Two)
"What'd you do with all my blues, girl?" —Otis Junior & Dr. Dundiff, The 1
We arrived in New Orleans on Christmas Day, after a two-hour layover in Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport. My mother-in-law joined us for the journey. She doesn't like air travel but seemed to have few challenges on this trip.
The single best thing I did for myself in 2017 beyond writing a regular series of posts expressing gratitude is to acquire TSA pre-check. If you've got 85 dollars and aren't wanted by The Man, it pays for itself in your first eligible flight. Keep your shoes on! Take the short line! Reclaim your time!
The entire family stayed at the Roosevelt New Orleans. It's also where Tiffany and I stayed during our wedding week. They do it up in the lobby for the holidays. It's become a favorite Instagram destination in the city. Great for pictures. Terrible to navigate if you're a guest trying to get to an elevator or the gym.
We had lunch at the Legacy Oyster Counter + Tap Room. The staff was hilarious. The food was better than expected. The drinks were strong.
Christmas Dinner was at Domenica. We discussed the complications of eating at restaurants where the owner/creator has been exposed as a sexual harasser but the Christmas meal was delicious, and our bill was half what we expected. Lagniappe.
On the second day, we visited Cochon Butcher, probably my favorite place to eat in NOLA. It's still great. We walked but seriously considered registering for the city's bike-share program. We walked back to the hotel via Lee Circle and marveled at the statue that's no longer on its perch. We talked with a man who was homeless and spending his day in the Circle. He gave us a lot to think about regarding the cost of removing the Confederate monuments, the people who clamored to bring them down (and who didn't), and what he would have rathered them spend the money on (i.e., helping people like him who by necessity consider these public spaces home).
"That statue never did anything to me, but the city still makes money off of plantation tours every day."
We made it to Snug Harber Jazz Bistro to see Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra. My dad sat in on the second set. Someone at our table who shall remain nameless had eyes for Terrance "Hollywood" Taplin. The band has an album called Make America Great Again. It's their first.
"I think some of us may have different definitions of what 'Make America Great Again' means. I imagine America was greatest in 1492, the day before Columbus showed up!"
I love New Orleans.
The best meal of the week was at Peche. Go there. Order all the snacks. Don't be scared of the whole fish.
On our last day in the city, we hit up the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. We also had brunch at Atchafalaya. My mom has fond memories of this place from our wedding week. My dad and sister don't seem to remember it at all. I imagine my family will debate these conflicting recollections to our graves. I had a Po'Boy here that more than made up for my previous disappointment.
Shout-out to Lyft drivers in the Crescent City. Y'all all drive great cars, have the best conversations, and were delightful. Five Stars.
On the plane ride back, I watched Bright. It's not good. In fact, it's ridiculous, has an inconsistent tone, and never explains anything satisfactorily. But, I found it watchable. I am a sucker, though, for an LA cop story even if it involves fairies, elves, and orcs.
I watched the pilot of Ozark which was good but also seems very much like someone at Netflix said, "we need our own Breaking Bad," and this is what they got. I'm not sure yet if the quality of that first episode will get me past how derivative it feels to consume more.
I'm home now, and I'm still dreaming about N'awlins.