Venice Hotels Articles

July 18, 2010

Travel destination: New Orleans, Louisiana

South Louisiana: From the Vieux Carre to Venice

This year for Spring Break we went to South Louisiana and back to our home town, New Orleans, or NOLA. While we have lived in Nashville, Tennessee for 13 years, we decided to head to “Cajun Country” to check out the status of things and give that grand ole city our business. To say the least, we were pleasantly surprised. Yes, there still were many empty houses in the eastern section of the city, but as a whole, it has brilliantly restored itself and is emerging from the looming economic despair it was facing.

We stayed in the heart of the French Quarter, Vieux Carre, at an exquisitely restored boutique hotel, Hotel St. Marie. We had an inner room with a balcony overlooking the courtyard and pool, which isolated the traveling sounds of nearby streets. We had determined to spend this trip as tourists and see the city as though we were new to it. We dined at old traditional neighborhood restaurants and newly created bistros. The recently established, Cochon, in the warehouse district, was a supreme surprise. With an in-house Boucherie (butchery) the chefs were able to prepare cultural favorites such as boudin and andouille. We sat at the “Chef’s Counter” where we watched Chef Stryjewski and his staff prepare our meal. After ordering the traditional N’Awlins cocktail, Sazerac, we were ready to begin our dining extravaganza. We were so enamored by the combination of ingredients that we were inspired to order one of everything on the menu well almost everything. Let’s just say that the spoon bread with tomatoes and okra, fried alligator with the chili garlic aioli and andouille with sweet potatoes and black-eyed pea vinaigrette were all equally amazing and thoroughly tantalizing. Other favorite dining adventures included Brigtsen’s and their delectable tuna with corn sauce, Muriel’s turtle soup and Upperline’s roasted duck with ginger peach sauce – all seemed to be on the same path, to recreate NOLA one dish at a time.

The Vieux Carrie also boasted of hosting the first-time ever exhibition of the Vatican Mosaic Studio. This was truly a breath-taking exploration of both cut enamel and filament enamel art work from ever-patient artisans. The filament enamel work entitled “Roman Forum” was my favorite as it truly looked like an oil painting rather than stretched glass.

Another highlight of the trip was an excursion to Plaquemines Parish and the fishing town of Venice, Louisiana. This is where the eye of Katrina passed and pushed approximately 4000 boats over the levees. However, the people have been working hard and we only saw about 10 boats left to recover. We went with family on a chartered, flat-bottomed, marsh boat down to the mouth of the mighty Mississippi River and proceeded to do some “catchin” as we weren’t just fishing. Among the fish we caught were red fish, speckled trout and sheep’s head; enough for a grand ole fish fry and plenty to bring home. In this Cajun girl’s opinion, NOLA and Venice looked, felt and tasted great. South Louisiana is back and better than ever.

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