20 Reasons To Love New Orleans

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Here’s twenty more reasons to love New Orleans. Let’s start with food and then we’ll move onto the quirky and of course, music.

One: We arrived late on a Wednesday but found O’Henry’s open late for dinner. It is a neighborhood place I have driven by many times but had not yet stopped with so many other choices. The food was excellent and warrants a return. We had crawfish and corn bisque, fried catfish with crawfish Monica sauce, mushrooms and jambalaya, salad with shrimp. It is located at 634 S Carrollton Ave. (504) 866-9741

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Two: The next night we went to the Three Muses for music and food. For food we had Bird’s Nest Shrimp salad, Serrano wrapped scallops, Korean BBQ ribs, peach almond mascarpone empanada with blueberry Creole cream cheese ice cream. It is located at 36 Frenchmen St (504) 252-4801. I had heard good things about the food there. I now think it is the best food on Frenchmen but I have a few more to sample.

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Three: We also saw Sarah Quintana do a nice Happy Hour set at Three Muses. We have seen her before and have her CD. She sang several songs in French for some visitors.

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Four: Debbie Davis followed up Sarah with a quartet that included Alex McMurray (guitar), Josh Paxton (piano) and Matt Perrine (sousaphone).  I have heard her with the New Orleans Nightingales and the Pfister Sisters on several occasions. Her quartet was wonderful.

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Five and Six: Walking back to our car we heard Water Seed at Vaso. Their sound was inviting and high energy. We stopped in for the rest of their set. My friend knew the bass player as she taught him in school. New Orleans is such a small town we often see people we know. They add flute to new school R&B. We bought their two CDs. Vaso is located at 1407 Decatur (504) 272-0929.

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Seven: The next day for lunch we went to Willie Mae’s Scotch House for the best fried chicken in America (as voted by several organizations), along with a salad, excellent smothered veal and fried okra. It is located at 2401 St Ann St. (504) 822-9503

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Eight, Nine, Ten, and Eleven: The second volume of the Cosmo Matassa collection supplied 112 songs that I supplemented with some Dave Bartholomew, Heavy Sugar, and a Fats Domino collection. It is located at 210 Decatur St. (504) 586-1094.

Twelve: Next it was on to the Louisiana Music Factory for a cruise through of their extensive collection. It is located at 25 Camp St. (504) 539-9600.

Thirteen: On the way home we stopped at Rouse’s at 4500 Tchoupitoulas, a Louisiana food chain for some fresh local drum for dinner. They always have a good selection of local products.

Fourteen: Once home we watched the Saints win their second exhibition game over the Raiders. The starters looked great and had a 23-7 lead at the half. The subs held on for a 28 – 20 win. This could be the season to repeat 2009 now that the coach is back and they have a new defensive coordinator.

Fifteen: For lunch the next day we truned to our neighborhood convience store, Oak Discount. It as fine fried chicken to go and excellent poboys made to order. The 16 inch fried trout poboy is only $7 and inlcudes a free 12 oz drink. For a few dollars more you get fried shrimp or fried oyster. The 16 inch is usually only 2 dollars extra over the 8 inch and easily makes lunch for two. There are many small neighborhood stores with similar food and prices around the city. You can see the two halves below and then one openned.

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Sixteen and Seventeen – Spontaneous second lines can happen at any time. We were walking over to see the silent auction to support the Krewe of Oak and its mid summer Mardi Gras parade on August 31. I donated a couple of paintings to the effort. The Krewe of Oak operates out of the Maple Leaf Bar and has been marching during carnival for some time. There are a lot of expenses to cover for the August event. On the way we encountered a band coming up to the street to honor the openning of a new doctor’s office on Oak Street.

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Eighteen, Nineteen, and Twenty: That night we went to the New Orleans Botanical Garden for an August garden party with Johnny Sansone with Alex McMurray. Johnny does some powerful blues harmonica and accordian. Alex was doing very strong bluesy electric guitar, quite different than his gig with Debbie Davis two nights ealrier. They were followed by Bonerama, a well known brass and funk group. We have seen both groups at other festivals before. It got dark so here is an earlier shot of Bonerama at Bayou Bogaloo.

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This was a lot to pack into three days and four nights but this is normal for NOLA.

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