New Orleans Day 2: Home Envy

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Despite our crazy first night on Bourbon Street, Ben and I were both up, bright eyed and bushy tailed, early the next morning! We had a street car to catch! :D

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The St. Charles Streetcars, like many buildings and landmarks in New Orleans, have been deemed national historic landmarks and have been running along St. Charles Ave for over 165 years. Wowza!

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For $1.25, you can ride on St. Charles Ave from it’s first stop in the French Quarter, through the Garden District, and into an area called Uptown.

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When Ben and I told people that we were heading to New Orleans, the word we heard over and over again was “you’ve GOT to go to the Garden District!” So, to the Garden District we went. :)

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We rode the streetcar for about 15 minutes before we started seeing Victorian mansions line the street. We had arrived!

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The New Orleans Garden District is a neighborhood with one of the best preserved collections of historic southern mansions in the US. We’re talking MANSIONS, here, people. Not large houses…mansions.

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The area was once filled with plantations, but the land was sold off to wealthy Americans who did not want to live in the French Quarter with the Creoles (we learned on our plantation tour that there was/is a distinct difference between Americans & Creoles!)

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Originally, there were fewer lots with large homes surrounded by sprawling gardens, hence the name Garden District, but over the years, the lots were broken up so more homes could be built – and they are simply breathtaking!

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We’re talking massive Victorian homes soaring skyward, wrapped in beautiful porches, covered in ivy – straight out of a fairy tale!

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We walked and gawked. And just when we thought the homes couldn’t get bigger or more elaborate…they did!

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We saw homes that were 3, 4 and even 5 stories high!  

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The flowers in the gardens were just beginning to bloom too – they were dazzling.

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The cool things about these home – among the iron work, columns and balconies – is that, not only are they massive in the front, but they extend extreeeemly far in the back. I seriously saw one house that was it least 30 yards long!!! 8O

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This home thought it was in Miami. ;)

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We weren’t the only gawkers. There are organized tour groups that make their way through the Garden District everyday. I wonder how I would feel with so many people wandering around my neighborhood, taking pictures of my house?! 

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Just when we thought the homes couldn’t get more stunning, more charming or more…HUGE…they did. We stumbled onto this property and literally turned green with envy. This was hands down the coolest house I’ve ever seen. Ben had a few choice words for these people. Everyone should be able to live in a home like this – it least for a day!! :D

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Oh, did I mention that beads are not just for Bourbon Street? Even way out here in the Garden District, amongst these aristocratic homes, the trees were still covered in beads. Hilarious.

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We had a perfectly, perfect day. :)

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Just the two of us.

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Oh look – a fellow Iowan!!!

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As we were waiting to board the streetcar back to the French Quarter, we looked down and saw seashells. We agreed they could only have been washed all this way by Hurricane Katrina. Absolutely crazy!!!

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By the time we got back, we were famished from all that walking and jealousy. ;) Mother’s Restaurant was right by our hotel, so that’s where we headed for lunch!

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Mother’s has been open since 1938 and was one of the most highly recommended restaurants from readers like you, and Ben’s Dad!

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Per their website, in a single year, Mother’s serves up:

  • No less than 175,000 pounds of ham and roast beef.
  • More than 40,000 pounds of turkey.
  • A staggering 30,000 pounds of homemade sausage.
  • Quarter of a million biscuits (and even more eggs!)
  • A whopping 90,000 pounds of jambalaya.
  • Some 25,000 soft-shell crabs and even more shrimp.
  • An incredible 150,000 loaves of French bread.
  • A spicy 1,500 gallons of Creole mustard.
  • And an honest ton of hot pepper sauce.

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The inside is no frills, and the walls are covered with famous people that have eaten there. You stand in line, order your food and they bring it right out to you. Although, you don’t give them your name when you order and we, for the life of us, could not figure out how they knew who ordered what and where they were sitting?!?!? We just ordered and hoped for the best. :)

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Mmmm, Mother’s.

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 Our food! :D  

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The menu was so huge that I got flustered and ordered a Ham & Cheese Omelet. I know…what was I thinking…but, Mother’s is famous for their ham!

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SO glad I did!!! The cheese was thick, luscious and creamy – and that HAM. Salty and thick. Oh, and it came with grits!!! I had never had grits and I’m not sure I will again. I just don’t “get” them. Oh well, it was fun to try. :)

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My meal also came with two, freshly baked biscuits. Love. You understand.

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Clearly, by now, you can guess what Ben got…another Po’ Boy! A Po’ Boy is a Louisiana sub sandwich made on bread with a crusty outside and a super soft inside. Per your recommendations, he ordered the Ralph, which is the Famous Ferdi Special with cheese. A Famous Ferdi contains baked ham, roast beef, debris and gravy.

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You read that right – debris. Debris consists of the drippings and bits of roast beef that have fallen off of the bigger roast while cooking. Check out the “vat” on the left hand side! Debris is highly coveted at Mother’s. Totally normal.

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And totally delish! This Po’ Boy was covered in debris and more “sauce” and was out.of.this.world. Soft, chewy and incredibly flavorful. What a sandwich!

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These red beans and rice rivaled The Royal Sonesta’s too. Good Lord, I love southern food!

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At this point, after a day of traveling and sightseeing, a night on Bourbon Street and a whole day of house gawking – we were beat. We waved the white flag and settled into our hotel room to watch basketball (RIP UNI national championship), order pizza, and take a vacation from our vacation for the rest of the night. :D

Day 2 = Epic. Southerners know homes and food!!!

Plantation tour and another night on Bourbon Street, comin’ up tonight!

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Comments

  1. Those homes are so gorgeous! I have never been to New Orleans but my hubby goes a bit for work. I’d love to visit.

  2. Sara 03.31.2010

    It’s so weird as a Southerner myself to think that some people don’t eat grits! Of course, I wasn’t into grits myself either until a year ago (I have always liked oatmeal more), but after trying cheese grits, I was IN LOVE. If you ever try grits again, try topping cheese grits w/ a fried egg that has a runny yolk – when you cut the yolk open, everything oozes and becomes DELICIOUS! I also like to mix scrambled eggs and crumbled bacon into cheese grits…mmm :-D

    • Scrambled eggs, grits, and bacon is the BOMB!!! It’s weird for me to think about how most people don’t eat grits either :/ They don’t know what they are missing!

  3. Gosh, those houses are AMAZING. Did they tell you who lives there now? Are they benefactors of the original owners?

  4. I had grits at Mother’s too and didn’t “get” it. Looks like you had beautiful weather too!

  5. Dawn Hutchins 03.31.2010

    Looks like you guys had a great time. Last time I hit Burbon street was on spring break from FSU. Quite a time….

  6. Jess 03.31.2010

    We also have been to Mother’s! It is a great place to eat. I like seeing your descriptions of your trip. It brings back memories.

  7. Holly 03.31.2010

    ahhhh….SO. MUCH. FUN. i have never been to new orleans and have always wanted to go!

  8. Tina 03.31.2010

    I’ve never been to New Orleans and your recaps are definitely making me want to. I love Southern towns like Charleston and Savannah so this one looks great too. And grits. I don’t care for them either. And I’ve lived in GA my entire life!

  9. Katherine 03.31.2010

    New Orleans sounds great!

    I know someone else asked this before but I can’t remember if you answered – you say “it least” where most people say “at least”… is that an Iowa thing?

  10. oHH my gosh, the size of those houses! I dream one day of being able to afford something like that….it WILL happen!!
    I hate omelettes :(

  11. Lisa in Fort Worth 03.31.2010

    Oh, I’m so jealous it’s been forever since I’ve been to N.O. I knew I liked your Dad, his taste in restaurants is identical to mine! The Desire Bar is the best for Roast Beef Po Boys! We always stay at the Royal Sonesta, balcony room one night and then move to another so we don’t have to listen to the noise both nights. They have great specials and it’s a wonderful place to stay in the heart of the quarter.
    Glad to hear you had a good time. There is so much to do there. I still don’t ever feel I’ve seen enough after each visit.

  12. Midgetkeeper 03.31.2010

    Beautiful pictures.

  13. AP 03.31.2010

    I love that house with the bright green shutters :) someday when we’re all rich and famous, right?

  14. Kristin 03.31.2010

    LOVE MOTHER’S! I had the red beans & rice there, too, and I also had TURTLE SOUP! It was so good. Being a foodie, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try turtle. ;) I loved it! That was right across the street from our hotel.

    Also, the Garden District and the green streetcar were some of my favorite experiences from my trip. Those homes are out-of-this-world. Can’t wait to see the plantation pics! Thanks for sharing :)

    Kristin C

  15. I took a home tour like that in Charleston and drooled. And southern food is just plain tasty.

  16. How fun!!! I’ve never been to New Orleans, and I’m dying to go!! One of these days…

  17. Yay for Southern food!!!! It’s the best. Biscuits… to DIE for!!!
    Those houses are absolutely gorgeous!!!! If only…

  18. Machelle 03.31.2010

    It all looks & sounds Fab! I have to agree w/you on the plain ole grits…BLAAHH! But my mom makes a wonderful cheesy garlic grits recipe that is to die for! I’ve never made it, but I may have to ask her to dig up that old recipe.

  19. Jill 03.31.2010

    What a great trip! How do you guys decide where and how often you travel?

  20. Jennyj 03.31.2010

    Don’t you just love southern homes?? So beautiful!! Grits are another
    southern thing … You should try them with cheese and hot sauce- sooo good!!

  21. Becca 03.31.2010

    Ah, I’m dying over those houses. Love them! I was born and raised in the south but I’m not a fan of grits, fried chicken, or tea. I know, I don’t get it either! So, I’m with you on not liking the grits – I don’t “get” them either. I love these NOLA posts, I have never been but I can live vicariously though you!

  22. Matt 03.31.2010

    I went to Mother’s when I went to the Sugar Bowl last year. It was epic!

  23. andie 03.31.2010

    my first job out of college- I was a personal assistant for one of the Landrieu’s (they are the famous political family of Louisiana). They had a house on St. Charles Ave. Let’s just say- GORGEOUS HOUSE.

    And the reason why the beads were in the trees is because the Mardi Gras parades actually go down St. Charles Ave! Wasn’t sure if you knew that or not. :)

    This is so fun to read. :)

  24. How Fun! We went to Mother’s this fall when I was there – the shrimp po boy was also amazing!! (In addition to the Ferdi)

  25. kate 03.31.2010

    I love the green shutters on that one house – gorgeous! I love spotting Hawkeye fans in other states. I get really excited when I see Red Sox bumper stickers or Massachusetts plates in Iowa though!

  26. chocolatepickle 03.31.2010

    SO JEALOUS of your trip! Looks like you had a blast:)!

  27. […] Instead I’ll just tell you that 2010 has been filled with the most unexpected & delightful experiences. From the both the sweet slowness and bright lights of New Orleans, […]

  28. Katie 06.15.2011

    The house above the Miami one, that is Sandra Bullock’s house. It’s the former Koch-Mays House.

  29. mellystx 07.19.2011

    Love, love, love the pics. They are making me homesick. My husband would die…he loves a good Ferdi.

    The shell is from when they were used to fill in driveways. Dredging is no longer allowed in Lake Pontchartrain, so you don’t see them around like you used to. They were hell to walk on barefoot!

  30. […] One of the things we enjoyed most about our trip was of course, the food. There’s no shortage of restaurants in NOLA, more packed into a smaller area than a lot of cities I’ve been to, and if there was a line at the door, you knew it was worth waiting for. Especially if it was a Mother’s Po’ Boy smothered in “debris”. […]

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