“Eat Oysters, Get Lucky,” screams the multicolored neon sign over the bar. Oceana Grill is located in a 200-year-old house and serves contemporary Louisiana fare with an emphasis on the bounty of the Gulf, including those oysters you’ll need to “get lucky” — fresh, chargrilled, or Rockefeller.
“Summer Rain” had me at hello. Offering a stunning image of Jackson Square, the photograph immediately drew me in with its spell of New Orleans timelessness and mystery that I hadn’t experienced — or even imagined — before.
If it’s your first visit to Frenchmen Street, you can easily sample a handful of spots — all intimate in size and sound and all within a three-block stretch.
Tawny, aromatic, and warming, bourbon is the only true American spirit. It’s crafted up-river in Kentucky. New Orleans shares in bourbon history. Countless barrels have moved down the Mississippi on their way to New Orleans and points around the globe.
Upon stepping off the cable car at the City Park stop, I immediately saw an expansive park to my left, with towering oak trees, a large lake, and a promenade leading up to the impressive New Orleans Museum of Art, the centerpiece of City Park. Singing the chorus from Hey Jude (inspired by a visit from the Beatles to the park in the 1960s), I made my way to the Singing Tree, a majestic oak near the shore of the lake. Seven chimes of various sizes hang from the Spanish moss covered branches, ringing out with a bravado of choruses, as if the spirits from the nearby cemeteries are unleashing the long pent-up anguish of the dead.
The journey begins where Bourbon Street meets Canal. Stepping aboard, the feeling is immediate. Lacquered mahogany seats with brass fittings are original design. No molded plastic seats, no graffiti, and no air conditioning signal that this is the real deal. For air conditioning, simply open one of the large glass windows to get a face full of sultry air.
According to the French Quarter bartender serving my Sazarac, “the Easter Parade was the brainchild of ‘a well-preserved 80-year-old showgirl and her curated contingent of NOLA [New Orleans, Louisiana] friends.’” My back home NOLA-to-Seattle-expat colleague assured me the Easter parade would illustrate the grand tradition of genteel Southern ladies dressed in their Easter bonnets accompanied by dapper gents in boater hats. And the NOLA pedicab driver described it as the craziest, wildest party in NOLA second only to Mardi Gras.