Early evening of day 3 finds me in Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. Now, I get that a building from the 18th century is pretty unusual on this continent, but I look at the wooden beams and low ceiling and am kind of “meh”. More exciting is the Foo Fighters song coming from the jukebox. I figure it’s time to sample a Hurricane, which knocks me for six. Do they put rubbing alcohol in these things? I swear my gums and lips are numb for a good few hours afterwards.
R Bar, down towards the Fabourg Marigny, is a great place to stop for a drink (although I would prefer to sit at a table – which are few and far between - than at the bar, where my back is to the action and I can’t indulge in my usual hobby of people watching). But this is a place where tourists are in the minority (but nevertheless very welcome) and it’s nice to get a sense of where locals hang out.
Back to the hotel (Place D’Armes really is perfectly placed in this respect) for another quick costume change and then on to Napoleon House. My waiter is great but the meatball po’boy I order is only so-so. The Pimms cup (as good as any in the UK) helps to wash it down though.
The show at Preservation Hall is exactly what I expected: hot and sweaty but amazing musicians. Totally worth the queue and $12 cover charge. Afterwards, as tempted as I am by the prospect of another drink (after all, I’ve done wine, cocktails and cider today: why not try for beer as well?!) I decide that the 2 day train journey ahead of me might be best approached without a monster hangover. So it’s back to the hotel to set the alarm as I want to hit Café Du Monde before my train in the morning.
So, what pearls of wisdom can I pass on from my time here?
1. Coming in July is a great idea. If a girl from England - where a heatwave means two days on the trot above 70 degrees – can handle it then anyone can. There are enough people around to make it feel buzzy but it’s not in the least crowded. Just bring a brolly!
2. El Gato Negro is as good as everyone says it is.
3. Take a bike tour: a great way to see a different side to the city and get out of the FQ.
4. If you go into every bookstore you come across (Faulkner House in Pirates Alley; Librarie Books on Chartres; Garden District Bookstore in, well, the GD) your backpack will be too heavy to pick up.
5. Trip Advisor forums cannot be beat when planning a trip to New Orleans: you guys really know what you’re talking about and gave me confidence about where to go and what do to. A HUGE thank you!