The BIG EASY


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Published: June 11th 2019
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The final leg of my westward expansion from Pensacola to New Orleans was dry but very HOT. The temp when I started out at 11:00 was 91 degrees and ended up being the low for the day- the high was 96. Thanks to the non-free states of Alabama- Mississippi- and Louisiana, I had to wear helmet #1 (mandatory helmet laws). Those of you that have been following my blogs for the last 10 years have heard my reviews of New Orleans before. Besides stopping in the Big Easy on the Cajun-Parrot Run in 2013 and the Last Corner Ride in 2014, New Orleans is my favorite and one of my most frequented cities in U.S.. If you haven't made it to NO you need to put it on your list. However, I've found that most people either really dig NO or they really don't like it, very few are grey (take it or leave it). It has a rich history as pirate port, NO was later claimed by the French crown in 1682, then became part of the Spanish empire- NO was the capital of Spanish Louisiana (1762-1803). The French briefly regained control before Napoleon sold the entire territory to President Thomas Jefferson and the Americans in 1803.

New Orleans is famous for its historic French Quarter but there are many things to love about the Big Easy- Jazz and Blues (Preservation Hall), the Garden District, arguably the best food variety in the US, the WWII museum, Bourbon Street, THE best oysters on the planet, Historic architecture. I could go on but you need to come to find out if NO is for you. Karen, I, and my son Jason are lovers of NO but my daughter Jennifer is a hater. Like Jennifer some people don't like the oldness and musty smell of the close quarters in the French Quarter (FQ). To this I say: A chacun son propre' (french for "to each its own").

After checking in at The Saint Hotel (Marriott) which is located right on Canal Street and on the edge of the FQ and getting cleaned up from my 95 degree ride across the western edge of Northern Florida and the southern edges of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. I headed straight for my favorite oyster bar in the known universe- The Bourbon House (100 Bourbon Street). Besides having a great restaurant - the Bourbon House has probably the largest oyster bar in NO. The Bourbon House opened about 18 years ago and I'm guessing I've been there a minimum of 10 times since they opened. The blue point oysters you will be eating at the Bourbon house were brought in this morning from the oyster beds outside of NO - if you ask, they will tell you exactly which area they came from. Eating a dozen oysters in NO is equivalent to eating 2 dozen in many other areas of the country because the oysters here are so big. There is usually one shucker on duty who recognizes me from previous visits. They recognize me because of my Packer gear or Badgers gear and as the guy who ate that giant triple oyster awhile back. I rarely if ever eat oysters cooked but the Bourbon House makes a Charbroiled oyster in garlic sauce that is to die for. So I ordered a dozen raw and a dozen Charbroiled- UNBELIEVABLE. The picture of the big one in my dozen is not an optical illusion, it is probably more oyster all by itself then a half dozen back home. After dinner I walked down Bourbon street reminiscing about previous visits. My first NO experience goes back to April of 1975 when I was a senior in high school. My brother just got out of law school and offered to drive me down to Florida to see where I was going to school in the fall. He knew a girl in NO so we decided to make a side trip out of it. We sat down at the Acme oyster bar and ordered 4 dozen oysters and a cup of chowder. The shucker started to work and after a few minutes put up two bowls of chowder and 4 dozen oysters. He could tell Bill and I had a puzzled look our face and said he was sorry but he thought we said 4 dozen oysters - we replied Yes we did but that was a EACH order not combined. He said Oh and shucked us another 4 dozen ! Again, those that have been doing the blogs for awhile have heard that story before but I thought some of the new readers might appreciate hearing it.

My second stop was at my favorite Irish pub in NO The Erin Rose- not necessarily because their Guinness is that outstanding (although last nights was pretty good 9.0) but because the bartenders and crowd are always friendly and I always meet neat people there. Last night was no exception- I met a young lady from Sydney Australia who was on a 5 week tour of the US. Olivia reminded me of my daughter and about the same age -28. She was in NYC and parts of Florida before NO then is going to Vancouver and Banff in Canada. I shared some of my pics of last years Aussie ride-about with her and showed her what she has to look forward to at lake Louise in Banff. I met two couples besides Olivia at the Erin Rose. Mike and Joy who's daughter is attending LSU in the fall. They brought her down for orientation this week. I also met Noreen and Rick who are from Ragged Point, CA. They were here for a wedding but decided to tag on a few extra days. Alex was bar-tending and has been there long enough that we recognized each other when I sat down. Alex makes some killer drinks including Irish coffee like they make it in San Francisco where irish coffee was thought to have been popularized. I also met a group of people at the end of the bar all wearing Hawaiian shirts- when I inquired 'why the shirts' one fellas said: I turned 70 today and these guys thought it would be funny if they all wore Hawaiian shirts because i wear them all the time. I said 'hey they don't realize that in Hawaii these shirts are equivalent to a tuxedo 😊' He said for sure !!! I continued my wondering and stopped at some great live bands playing 70's and 80's music. At the end of the night partly in commemoration of when I brought my son to NO for his 21st birthday and his buddy Danny and I stopped and got a couple of street dogs and partly because I was hungry- I stopped and had a Street Dog with chili, cheese, and onion.

Today I had to do some laundry so I found a place that allowed walk in laundry drop off service. More expensive than doing it myself but WAY cheaper than the hotel laundry service.

If you like Po Boy's and great conversation put Erin Rose on your must hit sites in NO along with the Bourbon House, Preservation Hall, and WWII museum. The street dog is entirely at your own risk!!!

I'm off to _-- you guessed it The Bourbon House for my oyster appetizers and happy hour - Say la vie!

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