New Orleans 2016 with Road Scholar: Jazz, Jambalaya and Joie de Vivre

We started out with a walking tour of one of the neighborhoods in New Orleans.  Such beautiful older homes and each with a story.  The guide was well versed in providing much color to many of the homes we passed by during our walk.  We were there after Thanksgiving so Christmas decorations were up and it added to the tour generally because everyone was getting ready for the upcoming holidays.

Aside from some of the beautiful homes, be sure to look down to find the names of the streets tiled into the pavement and the interesting utility company covers.  Our guide pointed them out but in case you don’t have a guide, it’s good to take a second to look down.

The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, was originally built by Louis Grunewald, a German immigrant, and opened in 1893 as “The Hotel Grunewald.”  During the Christmas season, the Roosevelt is something to see.  Be sure and take a moment to view the conical pendulum clock by Eugène Farcot, sculpture by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, 1867.

We stayed in the Hotel Monteleone which in the French Quarter and close to Bourbon Street.  It also sports a carousel bar which is nice to sit at and enjoy the rotation of the bar and the people in the bar.  Hotel Monteleone is a historic landmark and a member of Historic Hotels of America.

Clare and I went on a walking tour and found some of the original buildings of New Orleans as well as some of the pretties homes in the French Quarter.

Maison Royale is an exquisite gallery specializing in fine art, rare gemstones and finely crafted jewelry.  The intricate cast iron work on the balcony of this building as well as the combination of light pink and gray walls makes this building stand out.

Located in the French Quarter on Royal Street, the Historic New Orleans Collection (pink building with flags) focuses on the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South region. The collection was established in 1966 by General and Mrs. L. Kemper Williams.

The Roux Royale, on Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter, offers a variety of unique and useful items to enhance any kitchen, dining room, or party.

The Court of Two Sisters is more than a restaurant – it’s a legend. Enjoy luscious Creole and Cajun cuisine while listening to authentic jazz.

The Miltenberger House is one of the famous picturesque brick townhouses in the French Quarter built by Amélie Miltenberger for her three sons in 1838, located on the Royal Street. Her granddaughter Alice Heine became famous for wedding Prince Albert of Monaco and this is nearest to royalty you’ll find in the French Quarter.

Pat O’Brien’s Bar is a bar that began operation in December 3, 1933, at the intersection of Royal and St. Peter streets in the French Quarter.  During Prohibition the bar was known as Mr. O’Brien’s Club Tipperary; the password “storm’s brewin'” was required to gain entrance to the establishment. Pat O’Brien’s is home to the original flaming fountain and the hurricane cocktail.

Madame John’s Legacy is the second oldest building in Mississippi Valley. The house, which features West Indian architecture and Creole-Colonial design, was built in 1789. In fact, it is the only building in the quarter featuring this type of design. This building has stood the test of time and has successfully survived flooding, several fires and hurricanes. It is one of the few buildings that survived the fire of 1794, it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970. The house is named after the protagonist in the George Washington Cable short story, Tite Poulette. In the story, Madame John’s lover wills the house to her upon his death.

The Cornstalk Hotel (next two pictures) is the finest examples of centuries-old architecture with ornately decorated exteriors and balconies which have a unique Victorian charm. It is famous for hosting many celebrities including Bill and Hillary Clinton. The hotel has been listed among of many supposedly haunted establishments that can be found throughout the French Quarter.

The 18th century European designed Andrew Jackson Hotel is a local treasure, steps away from swinging jazz clubs, world-class restaurants, and the lively bars of Bourbon Street. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and stands out among hotels in New Orleans’ French Quarter, with iconic wrought iron balconies, soothing tropical courtyards.

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (next three pictures) was probably built between 1722 and 1732 by Nicolas Touze, is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States. The structure and fence are in the old French Provincial Louis XV or Briquette-Entre-Poteauxe style used in French Louisiana. The building escaped two great fires at the turn of the 19th Century, due to slate roofing. Between 1772 and 1791, the property is believed to have been used by the Lafitte Brothers, Jean and Pierre as a New Orleans base for their Barataria smuggling operation. The legend is based on the fact that the property was owned by the family of Simon Duroche a.k.a. Castillon and the wily privateer Captain Rene Beluche. Captain Beluche commanded his ship “Spy” in Lafitte’s Baratarian fleet. Like most New Orleans legends, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is a gumbo of truth and French, Spanish, African, Cajun and American embellishments.

The Avart-Peretti House built in 1842 as a two-story house for Mme. Augustine Eugenie de Lassize widow of Louis Robert Avart. J.N.B. de Pouilly and Ernest Goudchauz were the architect-builders. From 1906 through 1923 it was the residence and studio of the artist Achille Peretti. During 1946 and 1947, Tennessee Williams lived here and wrote “A Steetcar Named Desire.”

The Beauregard-Keyes House, located on Chartres Street in the French Quarter, was designed by architect Francois Correjolles. It was completed in 1826. The house was originally owned by the nuns of the Old Ursuline Convent until 1825. In 1825, auctioneer Joseph LeCarpentier purchased the dwelling and built the home that would be known as the Beauregard-Keyes House. The residence gets its name from two of its most famous residents, Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard and Frances Parkinson Keyes.

The Supreme Court Building is by far the best example of the Beaux-Arts style in New Orleans. The granite and marble building has a magnificent façade partially hidden behind palm trees. The entrance at Royal Street is marked by round arched windows topped with colossal Ionic pilasters.  In front of the entrance stands a monument of Edward Douglas White, a US senator and, from 1910 until 1921, head of the United States federal court.

Jackson Square, originally known as the Place d’Armes or Plaza de Armas, is a major and important cultural attraction in New Orleans. Because of its proximity to the Mississippi River, Saint Louis Cathedral, and the Cabildo, it was and is a popular meeting spot.  St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the United States. It has Renaissance and Spanish Colonial type architecture.  Currently, the Cabildo is a museum that tells the history of Louisiana from the time of the Native Americans until the Reconstruction Era.  Architect and landscape architect Louis H. Pilié designed the plaza in 1721. The square received its current name in 1850.

The square was named after President Andrew Jackson. President Jackson was a hero of the War of 1812 and a statue of him on horseback is in the center of the square. The square was a hubbub of activity in colonial times and is where the militia performed drills, vendors sold their wares at the open-air market, and public hangings and beheadings occurred.

There is an equestrian statue of Joan of Arc in New Orleans.  The statue has been located since 1999 in a small triangular park formed by the intersection of Decatur, North Peters, and Saint Philip Streets in the French Market District of the French Quarter.

What trip to New Orleans would be complete without a visit to a cemetery?  We went to St. Louis Cemetery No 2.  In case you’re wonder, Easy Rider was shot in St. Louis Cemetery No 1.

I considered it a wonderful experience to go to the New Orleans Museum of Art and view the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden that occupies approximately eleven acres in City Park adjacent to the museum.  I found the sculptures inspiring personally.  While I took photos while the sun was out, I found that after a rain, with beads of water on the sculptures, to me, they became even more interesting.  See what you think.

And what would New Orleans be without old cars, odd characters, street musicians and charming alleyways and stores?

One of our must finds was the Old Ursuline Convent which is one of the oldest buildings in the Mississippi River Valley. The building is also known as the Archbishop Antoine Blance Memorial Complex and is considered the treasure of the archdiocese. The convent is located on Charles Street.  Clare went to Ursuline in Bethesda, MD so we had to find this place.

The convent is named after the Sisters of the Ursula Order, who came to Louisiana in 1727 to start a school and orphanage for girls. Construction started on the building in 1733 and was completed in 1734. Ignace Francois Broutin designed the original structure and Michael Seringue built it.

In 1745, another building was constructed and completed in 1751. When the nuns moved into a larger building in 1824, the convent became a residence for the archdiocese. A portico and gatehouse were added in 1825. In addition to being a school, convent, and a home, the building also served as a make-shift hospital and orphanage.

Finally, you have to walk down Bourbon Street in the evening to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and overall decadence of New Orleans night life.  We almost lost one of our female companions to a local who decided he had found his mark, of course we rescued her but I’m sure it made for a good story later.