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Thursday, May 3, 2012

NOLA: Jazz Fest

Before I get into NOLA and Jazz Fest, I would first like to give myself a big pat on the back, and maybe a cookie, to celebrate the Fifth Floor Up's 500th post! There could be no better post than hundreds of photos from my first trip to New Orleans and Jazz Fest! Let's get started!!


New Orleans has been on my top five places to visit in the US for almost a decade now. Originally we were going for Sara's big 30th birthday. That was, until she decided to have a honky tonkin' 30th in the great city of Nashville. Unfortunately for me, that meant no New Orleans and another visit to a city I have already been to. That is why, when Sara mentioned she would like to go to Jazz Fest again, I practically invited myself. 

I arrived in New Orleans still have asleep. Although, the immediate blast of humidity woke me up just a little bit. I had my alarm set for 5:00am, yes you read that right, with the car all set to pick me up at 5:15am. Yes, you read that right too. This gal only needs 15 minutes to get ready. You can imagine my surprise when the driver called me at 4:45am to tell me he was outside. My eyes did that popping out of their socket look like any cartoon character when they realize they are in trouble. 

After a quick cab ride to the hotel, I made it safely to the room where I immediately unpacked. It's a Skib thing. Maybe not an Andy Skib thing, but we other three are known to do it quite regularly. After a quick stroll down the street, a tourist trap breakfast, we were desperate, I headed back out into the heat and humidity to snap some shots of the French Quarter. I only picked some but here ya go...

After a quick hour tour, I was ready to relax by the roof top pool with the girls until it was time to head out to Jazz Fest. Low and behold, they were no longer at the pool but sitting on a stoop outside marie Laveau's House of Voo Doo getting ready for their palm readings... Umm, yeah...

After the hour long adventure, and a palm reader from Oklahoma, who had to have a smoke and his juice (Bloody Mary) before reading said palms, we headed back towards the hotel to get prepared for Jazz Fest!!

The first thing we did, was get down right and greasy, both literally and figuratively speaking. Not only were we sweating bullets, we were also consuming some of the greasiest, fattening yet tastiest food we had ever tasted. We were starving, but I don't think that had anything to do with why it tasted so great!

Fried chicken, chicken and andouille Jambalaya, cheese and sausage bread, bread pudding, red beans and rice and monica's Cajun crayfish (which is basically mac and cheese with crayfish). I would say it is not your typical festival food that's for sure!

On Saturday we were fortunate enough to see Cee Lo Green, Feist and Tom Petty! 

That evening, we joined some new friends for dinner at Salu on Magazine Street. Dinner was tapas, and excellent. My favorite part, the blackberry prosecco sangria. One of the girls mentioned the best bread pudding in town was right down the street at Ignatius. Unfortunately, they were already closed for the evening. 

The next morning, we woke up bright and early and headed out for breakfast at Cafe Beignet. I had never experienced a beignet before. The girls thought while in New Orleans, let's go eat beignets. They were pretty tasty. Caution, do not inhale the powder sugar! 

After breakfast, another trip to the voodoo shop, and a nice walk around the French Quarter, we headed to The Court of Two Sisters to meet Sara and Monique's friend for an post breakfast cocktail. Note: the oddest thing that took me the longest to get used to, in fact I still might not be used it it, is the concept of a drink to go. Yes, this exists. New Orleans is basically a wet city. People walking and drinking. I would not recommend it. 

Sara and I both decided on refreshing Mint Julips while Monique went with the ever so popular, and NOLA favorite, the Bloody Mary. 

We were serenaded with a lovely Jazz trio!

Sunday at Jazz fest, looked more like this than anything...

It was hot and packed with people! We had just enough time to grab some food, and try to locate a spot for Bruce Springsteen. We had little to no luck. The place was swamped with hot sweaty drunk people, we we headed to the very back, as far back as the fence would let us, and camped out, dozed off, and relaxed in the sun, hoping the sound of music would wake us up. After about thirty minutes of Bruce, we were ready to lay out by the pool. Instead, we made it to our beds and did not move for the next three hours when it was time for dinner. 

We had no set plan, plus, this weekend was the busiest the city had been since before Katrina. Therefore, we did not have much luck with choosing a restaurant. We stumbled into a couple of cute little places our friend Kristen had recommended, but we were rudely turned away. That night, it was another tourist trap for us. We enjoyed some Hurricanes, a must have while visiting the big easy. 

Sara was eager to take us out on Bourbon Street that evening. Our first stop was to sing along to the dueling pianos at Pat O'Briens. We might have heard Sweet Caroline three times that evening, but it was a blast!

After Pat O's we headed down Bourbon Street. Sara was excited to show us how they lit up the church at night. Spooky!

Our second stop of the evening was Lafitte's, the oldest Blacksmith Shop and Bar!

And, in any traditional New York City fashion, our third stop of the evening was to dance the night away at a gay bar. They always have the best music. 

We all slept like babies that evening. The next morning, with Starbucks in hand, we headed up to the roof top pool to relax and prepare for the long day ahead of us which included a walking tour of the Garden District and Lafayette Cemetery

After the two hour long tour, searching for any shade we could possibly find, and complaining about how hungry we were, we headed towards Magazine Street for lunch. The walk was not too bad and we decided after dinner the other night, we wanted to spend more time off the beaten path of the French Quarter. 

Low and behold, we ended up right outside of Ignatius. You could imagine my joy when I realized I would finally be tasting the best bread pudding in New Orleans. Let me put it this way, I've had a lot of bread pudding. It is in fact probably my favorite dessert. I would place this bread pudding top two. It was unbelievable. 

After lunch, I found out I was not heading back to New York that evening. Fortunately, Sara and Monique were also staying in NOLA another night.  I bucked up, after all I was spending another evening on vacation, and took another nap. Napping was a big part of this trip. This is not a complaint.   

Last year when Sara was in NOLA for Jazz Fest, she was among a previous NOLA resident who took them to some amazing places. I was lucky enough to benefit from this. That evening, she took us to W.I.N.O (Wine Institute of New Orleans) for some wine and cheese tasting. With our brie, aged gouda and manchego on plate, we were ready for some wine. 

These were the four I selected and they were all absolutely amazing. I am completely a red wine girl. The system at WINO was perfect. You turn in your credit card for a different credit card look alike that has a little chip in it. You stick this card into little slots and get to pick which wines you would like to taste. 

The price of the taste, which was one ounce, varied on the price of the bottle. For instance... The Director's Cut was $4 where the Molly Dooker Festival of Love was $10 (A $99 bottle of wine). I did, I went for it. Then we had the amazing Beso de Vine, which was $1 (A $10 bottle of wine).

After wine tasting, we headed out for a nice dinner at Herbsaint. Another one of Sara's top picks. I was so painfully full from all the cheese I could only eat some of the salad and dessert. By that time, most of the cheese had digested and I was ready for a sweet treat! 

It was a wonderful visit to New Orleans with two amazing women. I could not have been more perfect. However, I could not wait to get home to this little guy...


  1. Amazing pictures!! Love them all!!! Looks like you girls had a wonderful time :)

  2. Great pictures. I relate with the "drink on the go" shock. I was in NOLA during 4th of July and people were all over the French Quarter with huge plastic cups filled with Hurricane. I love NOLA.