When in New Orleans . . .

By Kate Riley February 13, 2011

I think I’ve finally recovered from my whirlwind trip to the Big Easy last week.  I was there for an event sponsored by RustOleum, but I did have a few hours to walk the famous French Quarter.  I haven’t been to New Orleans since before we had kids, and it was fantastic to be back, if only to spend a few hours indulging in the best of that crazy wonderful place. 

I purposely left my Nikon at home, so all of these images were captured with my phone on a rainy day, but oh what a glorious time I had!  I love the sights, smells, sounds and flavors of this place.  I made it my quest to cram as much as I could into my brief stay. 

When in New Orleans, one must savor pralines.  I made the fateful mistake of ordering a ‘pray-line’ like we say out here in California.  Oh the disdainful ‘you poor sad tourist’ look I received.  When in New Orleans, the proper way to pronounce this sweet treat is ‘praw-leeen’.  I shall never make that mistake in enunciation again. 

pralines 2

When in New Orleans, one cannot escape the gorgeous architecture of the French Quarter.  Funny how lantern fixtures are so in vogue now, popping up everywhere over dining room tables and above kitchen islands.  N’awlins has had them on display since oh, forever.  Always classic, always gorgeous, indoors or out!

nawlins lanterns

church and pulls







It amazes me how much New Orleans Square in California’s Disneyland (below) captures the same (albeit illusionary) feeling of the real thing.  Bravo Walt, bravo. 

new orleans square


When in New Orleans, one must visit Café du Monde and order beignets and café au lait.  One MUST.  And then one must be suckered into buying beignet mix, convincing themselves that they can recreate the extraordinary flavor at home. 



When in New Orleans, one must pop into an art gallery or two . . .

art 2


I chanced upon my most favorite artist’s gallery, and yet again was smitten with his work.  Twelve years ago, my Mister and I discovered this French artist’s gallery in Paris down a small hidden side street.  His name is Marc Clauzade.  He paints the most amazing scenes of women in social settings on the Côte d’Azur.  I still have the old tattered brochure from Paris tucked away in my nightstand. 

One day, someday, I shall own one of his paintings . . .



When in New Orleans, one becomes convinced to bring home a souvenir that captures the feel of the city.  This time, for me it was those fleur-de-lis silver salt and pepper shakers.

fleur de lis


When in New Orleans, one sees A LOT of strange things . . . .

strange things


But the best part is, you can hear great jazz anywhere.  

nawlins jazz


When in the French Quarter, I love to pop into the amazing (yet pricey) antique shops. Eye candy everywhere !

fq antiques


When in New Orleans, one cannot escape the feeling of Mardi Gras in the air, and one is tempted to don multiple strands of saturated colorful beads, intricately detailed masks, and order one or more potent hurricanes, especially during Carnival season.   

bead and mask




When in New Orleans, one must do their very best to dine on po’boys and grits and spicy shrimp, gumbo, red beans and rice, and jambalaya.  I have one thing to say about that:  mission accomplished! 

nawlins food


My Grandmama always said I must have spent a former life in N’awlins because of my affection for grits, spicy seafood, all things French, and the ease at which I can deliver a “y’all”.   All I can say is this born and raised California girl left the Big Easy craving only this:



So long N’awlins, until we meet again . . .




  1. I LOVE NEW ORLEANS!! Its about 8 hours away but I go about 2x a year and cant get enough! Cafe Du monte at 5am is the best…plus no line! Everyone should experience it once!

  2. I could not help but laugh as soon as I reached the pray-leens , I am originally from the south ,I have been in PA for over twenty years and still get spotted in a crowd with my southern accent .You were in what we call the deep south ,lol .Glad you had a safe and wonderful trip ,cant wait to see the next project .

  3. I have a deep love for Cafe du Monde! Let me know how that beignet mix turns out. World Market sells them and I was just wondering if that would be worth trying out or if I just need to wait for the next time I go to NO.

  4. Was just channeling NOLA last week…must have been because you gave us the ‘heads-up.’ Just had to whip up some Gumbo and praw-lines to help us through our BLIZZARD BLAST last week. While Houston only got the cold weather and the 2-4″ of snow never appeared much to the disappointment of my children…we did enjoy our southern treats! Glad you had a great trip.

  5. The French Quarter is such an amazing place. It’s like going back in history, mixed with jazz and mystery. There is something so magical about those streets. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay there.

  6. I do believe New Orleans is my favorite place on earth and agree with all the things on your “to do” list. I did laugh though when i saw the copy of White Trash Cooking. I’m from rural South Georgia and while I’m not that far from home I do have to admit I own a copy and it may be a go to when I’m feeling a little homesick.

  7. But it is carnival season, that’s why they had all the Mardi Gras colored decorations out! It goes from the Epiphany (January 6) through Fat Tuesday (March 8). I love NOLA. I go at least every 2 years. One of my best friends lives there on the North Shore.

  8. Hubby and I went there last year and had such fun. I loved the ease and laid back feeling of everyone there. I hope I get to go again soon. It is once place worth repeating.
    P.s Loved your kitchen check list. I just remodeled mine. It is almost complete. You are right it is a lot of work starting from scratch, but so worth it. It really is so important to take the time to know what it is you need and want!

  9. Looks like you had a great time!!

    Love the southern comments – “y’all” is an aquired word – but it fits you pretty well. :D

    And the pronunciation tips….lol….what a hoot!!

  10. Your pictures are aweome! I can’t believe these are from a phone. They make me want to go back and visit soon.

  11. I think your photos turned out fantastic! On the East side of Virginia, we say “Pray-leen.” :)

    I think it must be kind of blissful to be able to meander through a city on your own. Most of the time I prefer to travel with someone, but I can see how it would be nice to be alone with your thoughts and the beautiful city.

    Thanks for sharing with us. :)

  12. You’ll get the ‘you poor sad tourist’ look almost anywhere in the south-east if you don’t pronounce it praw-leen, lol! Although I hate to say I’ve never had much of a taste for pralines. Everything is beautiful, though – I am so jealous you got to go to New Orleans! I want to go so badly : D

  13. Wow, I have never been to New Orleans!!! Thank you so much for sharing so much amazing photos!!! Makes me wanna go on a vacation!!! New Orleans is definitely going on my “vacation” list!

    Thank you! :)

  14. Those are great pics, I want to eat that whole place up and savor it. Will definitely need to go there. Can’t wait for the rustOleum tips and what you learned.

  15. Oh my goodness, I’m so jealous. I was born in NOLA & when we went to visit a couple of years ago, we ate at Cafe du Monde every day! Sometimes more than once a day!! I could gain weight just THINKING about all the great food there. Have a great time.

    Warmly, Michelle

  16. If you loved the food and want some fabulous cookbooks, you should check out Donald Link’s “Real Cajun” and Susan Spicer’s “Crescent City Cooking.” They are both restaurant owners in New Orleans and have amazing recipes. Also, for some of the classics, “Talk About Good” is your southern bible, and has everything from jambalaya to crawfish etouffee!

  17. Hmmm? You took these pics with a cell phone? Did I hear you right? They are way better than the ones I took with my sad little camera. What is up with that?! (sigh)

  18. Great photos! What kind of phone do you have that took such awesome pictures?
    I put visiting New Orleans in my 101 Goals in 1001 days and looking at your photos makes me want to visit sooner than later!

  19. Sounds wonderful! I’ve never been to New Orleans. I guess, now, I’ll have to put it on my “must see” list!

  20. So glad you enjoyed the trip, and I’m glad that you will now say “praw-leen” like a local:) I live in Baton Rouge, about 1 hour west of New Orleans. I love living in South Louisiana, and love that New Orleans is a quick day trip for our family. Don’t let too much time pass before you come back for a visit!

  21. This post made my tummy growl…Looking at all that FABULOUS food. I’ve only been there once, but the food is what I remember the most.

    LOVE IT!!!

  22. Glad you had a good time- how do you like those Hurricanes? I live about an hour outside of New Orleans, and we’re getting geared up for Mardi Gras- it’s definitely my favorite time of the year!!!

  23. I am glad you had fun! It is always a pleasure for me to see how other people experience New Orleans. Being born and raised in south Louisiana, it’s old hat to me, so sometimes I forget how special it really is.

  24. love your travel posts, Kate. They all make me wanna hop a plane immediately. Looks like you had a wonderful trip…so happy for you! Be talking with you this week. ;-) shaunna

  25. Cafe du Monde coffee is one of my favorites. I buy it at a little market near my house. The funny thing is one of my co-workers insisted on buying from New Orleans and having it shipped. He refused to believe he could buy it locally. Guess who drank it more often?

  26. I’ve been wanting to go back to New Orleans. It’s a shame I visit the city so little, seeing as I live in Mobile. But Mardi Gras season is not the time to go so maybe I’ll go in March. Have you ever been to the New Orleans School of Cooking? Awesome experience! Pricey as hell, but so worth it and so entertaining.

    You mispronounced pralines? Yikes, I’m sorry! I did that when I was 8 (first visit to the city) and got a full lesson from the sweet old lady we bought them from in the Quarter. I’ve never made that mistake again. Gotta say though, Savannah’s pralines are yummier than New Orleans. New Orleans wins in the Gumbo department though :) And the coffee department! Chicory coffee! Yum!!

  27. Glad to hear you enjoy our culture! I don’t live in New Orleans, but a little more southwest in a city called Houma. NO is about an hour drive from my house. And the beignet mix should work out just fine! I’ve used it many times before and never had bad results!

  28. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures! My husband and I spent our honeymoon in New Orleans and seeing your pictures brought back many happy memories! :)

  29. Hi…I am new to the blog & so far, I love it! I am from New Orleans & I am so glad you had a nice time. I love my city so much. I am am a born & raised Nola girl & I am now raising my twins here. My husband & I bought a 100 year old New Orleans house (that needs a ton of work!). Come back & visit anytime…the city loves her visitors! :)

  30. I’ve followed your blog since 2009, you are so fantastic and creative! I also live in an 100+ year old home Uptown in New Orleans. It warms my heart that you’ve featured our historic and culture-rich city! Thank you!

  31. Just happened upon this while browsing your site. We are taking a family trip to New Orleans for Christmas! If you have any other suggestions please send them! We have never been there and the only thing planned for now is Monday night football at the Super Dome the day after Christmas.
    Thanks for a wonderful site!

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