Each year, my Darling Husband (DH) and I take a trip to celebrate our anniversary. We had originally planned to vacation in New York City, but my fears of unoperational subways, hotels still without phone service and other damage from the hurricane prompted me to change our plans. New Orleans is one of our favorite cities, so we decided to revisit our old friend. We arrived in New Orleans at the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street to find the most beautifully decorated entrance. These live Christmas trees instantly put a smile on my face!
After a yummy breakfast at Cafe Amelie in the Prince Conti Hotel, we began wandering the streets of the French Quarter. Hopping in and out of some of the most incredible antiques stores in the world can occupy my time for hours upon end! New Orleans antique shops house rare finds from all over the globe, spanning thousands and thousands of years. Most of the pieces are completely out of my price range, but a girl can dream, right? My particular goal in this shopping trip was to purchase a chandelier for either my living room or dining room. After perusing all day, I realized I was about $5,000-20,000 short of what I'd need to buy a chandelier on Royal Street. It was still fun to admire the fine furniture, mirrors, silver and artwork. I was especially excited to find a set of Flora Danica china - the most expensive porcelain in the world. I've never seen it in person, only via the web. It was every bit as beautiful as its astronomical pricetag.
DH was very patient with my nonstop shopping, but we did duck in to a drug store to purchase some gel insoles for our shoes that afternoon! We also stopped at the Hotel Monteleone for some leisurely cocktails. Coincidenally, I stayed at the Monteleone ten years ago for my bachelorette party in NOLA.
One of my favorite drinks to order while staying in New Orleans is a Brandy Milk Punch. Love it! The Hotel Monteleone recently completed a renovation to expand its Carousel Bar, adding more seating and a second bar area. I loved the color scheme and fabrics they chose - so luxe! This is one of my favorite hotels!
Beautiful grays, creams and velvety upolstered seating.
Next we headed to a favorite shop of mine - Fleur de Paris - a custom millinery store with high quality hats of all designs. The gorgeous hats are adorned with silk flowers, feathers, pins, jewels and more! I would LOVE to commission a hat from this shop one day when the occasion calls for it coupled with a generous budget.
Image via fleurdeparis.net
Ready to listen to some fun music, DH and I freshened up and headed out to see Kermit Ruffins play at Vaughn's in the Bywater. As soon as we walked in, we immediately felt out of place. We were definitely overdressed, although we weren't dressed that well! Instead of a welcome, we were told not to sit at the 'locals' table. Ordering a couple of beers, we settled in to wait for the concert to begin. Unfortunately, we soon discovered that there was a Saints game night and Kermit would not be playing afterall. After finishing our beers and listening to all manner of expletives aimed at the television, we left, hoping that the locals wouldn't berate us upon our exit.
We headed back to the Royal Sonesta to check out the swanky Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse and it did not disappoint! James Rivers and his band played fantastic music that had most of the bar singing along, clapping and dancing. Singing everything from Christmas songs, Frank Sinatra, Blues and Fats Domino, James gave an excellent show! He also proved to be a dynamic musician - playing the saxaphone, harmonica, flute and even the bagpipes!
When the band took a break, I looked around and realized that we were younger than the rest of the crowd by about 20 years! What's funny is that you would never guess that this old-school-elegant music venue is right off of Bourbon Street and only steps away from the racuous partying. New Orleans is like that - it can be saucy or sophisticated. This trip was for more of the latter. The fun music, delicious cocktails and darling husband made for an unforgettable evening.