Royal Street in the French Quarter, New Orleans on July 7, 2015. I spent four years in New Orleans at Tulane University. I learned a lot from Tulane and as much from living New Orleans. It was Penny’s first trip to New Orleans. She immediately fell in love with the city. It’s hard for me to imagine anyone going through life and not visiting New Orleans.
If you are going to NOLA for the first time, don’t go at Mardis Gras! Yes, Mardis Gras is exciting but New Orleans is exotic and fun year round. During Mardis Gras the city is too busy to get into all the fantastic shops, restaurants, bars and historic sites. Of course, no one knows when there will be another Mardis Gras and what it will be like.
This was the first time I’d been back to NOLA since 1980. The city had been through some big changes like the 1984 World’s Fair and Hurricane Katrina. There were many differences but a lot had stayed the same. That is part of the charm of New Orleans, it manages to keep its historic architecture and culture alive. We went to some of my old haunts that looked virtually the same as they had in 1970 when I graduated. We walked around Tulane campus and some was quite familiar but most of the campus I hardly recognized.
For those of you who visit New Orleans some of the best places are rarely found by tourists. I highly recommend leaving the French Quarter to get a Po-Boy sandwich at Domilise’s. It’s located at the corners of Annunciation and Bellecastle Streets. When Penny and I walked in it felt to me like I’d time traveled. One of the women working behind the counter had been there when I was living in NOLA in the late sixties. The only change I could see was the cash register. It was the shop’s first electronic cash register. They had only had it for a couple of weeks and were still trying to figure it out. The area was hit hard by Katrina. Within days, Domilise’s was providing free food to people in the neighbourhood. They survived Katrina. I’m betting Domilise’s will survive COVID-19.