Ahhh New Orleans. It’s one of our favorite cities in the whole world. Before we met, we developed a separate liking of this city and when we got together, our fondness of the Crescent City only grew. So much so that we decided to get married there in 2015.
Two and a half[ish] years later and fully aware of our commitment to take more vacations, we decided to swing through New Orleans for an extended weekend. This time, instead of the raucous French Quarter, we opted for the slower, sultrier Garden District. Here are a few highlights and reflections from our trip-
Culture is a beautiful thing-
If the depth of one’s culture could be measured, the people of New Orleans would tip the scales. To be from New Orleans is to wholeheartedly love everything about the city—good and bad. With that, the people of New Orleans have managed to take both the sugar and $hit of life, shake it all up and serve it on the rocks for the world to enjoy. That pride is woven into every interaction with locals in both vibrant and subtle ways.
For example, one of our Uber drivers jokingly threatened to kick us out the car when we said we were from Atlanta. Another older Uber driver wanted to treat us to something special and drove us past Jay-Z and Beyonce’s place on the way to dinner. Meanwhile, our gentrification poster child Uber driver gave us the skinny on Magazine Street and all the new taco and pho places that were opening up.
We could sense the hipster invasion was in full force when we noticed significantly more coffee houses, Vietnamese restaurants and taco joints than a few years ago. There was also active construction on Canal Street which we’ve never seen before. Either way, the spirit of old New Orleans is still alive despite the transition. Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for evolution, so long as a hearty respect people, tradition and culture is paid in perpetuity.
When Mrs. r & R visits Salt Lake City, Utah for work a few times a year, she marvels at the mountains that fill in horizon. When Mr. r & R used to travel for work, he would often find himself at a beach resort or overlooking the water somewhere. This is because there is something absolutely self-healing and harmonious about slowing down and enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds you. The act of letting that semi-permanent crease in your forehead unfold and just sliding through the day is an act we should all do more often.
Since our hotel was off St. Charles Street, we’d occasionally grab breakfast and walk a few blocks before heading back to our room. The Garden District is one of those places that practically seduces you to walk aimlessly through its sidewalks. The St. Charles streetcar line divides the lanes separating rows of aging euro-southern architecture. As an added bonus, since Mardis Gras was last week, the trees, fences and powerlines were all smothered, covered and adorned with parade beads. It was gorgeous.
We love our “framily”-
In almost every sense, we are non-traditional. Go figure! When we got married, we didn’t have a wedding so much as it was a big-ass party…with a small side of vows exchanged. Our mission was to re-introduce “us” to our “framily” and to inspire people to travel. Even if they didn’t enjoy the wedding, they would’ve certainly enjoyed being away since so many people don’t and/or can’t afford to travel often.
With that said, we swung by the restaurant and bar that hosted our [wedding] arrival party since we opted for that instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner. Yet this time, it felt…meh. The decor was the same and I’m pretty sure there were still some of the same staff but this time we weren’t surrounded by 100 + of our closest friends and family. It was a humble reminder of why we are on the journey we’re on.
It is not a matter of if, but when someone you love will be in need, ill, or celebrating something life-changing. WHEN those days come, we want to be there fully for them. It’s very difficult to do that when 70+% of your waking hours are filled making corporations and the select people that lead them richer. It’s damn near impossible the higher you’ve climbed the corporate ladder because you’re literally “on” all the time.
We don’t want that, and our “framily” deserves better.
A million dollar metaphor-
Taking the recommendation of a co-worker, we swung by one of the most visually stunning restaurants we’ve ever been to. If you ever wanted to know what it feels like to be “inside an oil painting” then visit Cavan for dinner. Since we didn’t have reservations, we pulled up to the bar to have a round of cocktails before dinner. Their menu had a drink called “the millionaire” so naturally…we ordered two!
Anyone that has bartender friends know the face they make when they’re not looking forward to making some drinks. Nevertheless, a few minutes and side-eyed stirs later, we were enjoying our expensive a$$ cocktail that honestly…tasted like really good spiked Hawaiian Punch. When it was time for another round, we ordered two more drinks which triggered the bartender to visit our table to tell us that they didn’t have everything they needed to make two more millionaires.
How apropos? Millionaires are a bitch to make!
For our first course, Mr. r & R opted for the Boudin Tater Tots and Mrs. r & R went for the Chargrilled crab special. Admittedly, we were “three sheets to the wind” by now but what was left of our minds couldn’t help but notice the irony unfolding beneath our eyes. Here we were, inside an oil painting having ordered two millionaires, dropping major coins eating some MFin’ fancy tater tots and crab! Twenty minutes later tho…dem taters were still hot and we were tag-team cracking dem crabs. It was labor-intensive, hilarious, messy AF and definitely a top memorable dining experience for us.
I say all that to say this. Very little is needed to live a happy life. And if drinking upscale punch, tater tots and cracking crabs in a fancy restaurant ‘aint some rich & REGULAR shit, I don’t know what is.