Good Times in The Big Easy: New Orleans Revisited

World-class cuisine and music served up in one of America’s most unique cities

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Louis Armstrong's first coronet is on display at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Photo by Janna Graber
Louis Armstrong’s first coronet is on display at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Photo by Janna Graber

The New Orleans Jazz Museum

Later in the week, we learn more about the city’s incredible musical heritage. Housed in the historic U.S. Mint building, the New Orleans Jazz Museum celebrates and explores the city’s rich history of jazz.

Interactive exhibits with musical tracks available for listening explore the history of jazz. You can attend concerts by today’s jazz greats in the museum’s performance venue. They webcast almost every performance at Musicathemint.com, and performances are archived.

One of my favorite exhibits is on NOLA native Louis Armstrong. Though beloved later in his life, Armstrong faced discrimination in New Orleans for many years. You can hear his music and learn about his incredible life at the museum.

The Music Box Village is a community project. More than a dozen houses here are actually musical instruments. Photo by Janna Graber
The Music Box Village is a community project that is home to a dozen houses which are actually musical instruments. Photo by Janna Graber

Music Box Village

The Music Box Village is like no other musical endeavor I’ve ever seen. This large-scale community project is home to more than a dozen houses which are in fact musical instruments.

Musicians are invited to do residencies at Music Box Village, and performances are held throughout the year. The audience sits in the round for a concert that is different every single time. Music Box Village has public hours on Sunday after the performances where you can play the music box houses yourself. Although I may not have the talent required to play a music box well, it’s a fun endeavor.

Brunch at Brennan’s

It’s only fitting that we spend our last morning in New Orleans at Brennan’s. Bruch at Brennan’s is a time-honored local tradition in New Orleans. The restaurant, which served more than 180,000 diners last year, is known for their eggs benedicts, turtle soup, crawfish omelets, and famous cocktails. I have a Caribbean Milk Punch with rum, bourbon, heavy cream, vanilla bean and nutmeg, and you can imagine how good that tastes.

Bananas Foster was created at Brennan's, and today is it served up table-side. Photo by Janna Graber
Bananas Foster was created at Brennan’s, and today is it served up table-side. Photo by Janna Graber

The dessert “Bananas Foster” was created at Brennan’s in 1951, and everything is made with fresh ingredients. Before we know it, four hours have passed. Time flies when you’re with good friends eating good food in New Orleans.

Only in New Orleans

As I wait in the airport for my flight home, New Orleans’ love of music still surrounds me. When the flight is delayed, the airline staff asks people to volunteer to sing for everyone — and they do. One after another, total strangers step up to the gate desk to sing gospel, jazz and the blues. The crowd follows enthusiastically along.

Yes, only in New Orleans.

If You Go to New Orleans

For more information on New Orleans, see
http://www.neworleanscvb.com/

My room at Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. Photo by Janna Graber
My room at Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. Photo by Janna Graber

Where to Stay in New Orleans

My home base was the lovely Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, a 4-Star hotel with a fantastic location in the French Quarter. The classic hotel has antebellum mansion-inspired décor, including canopy four-poster bed, and I felt very pampered indeed. The Jeremy Davenport jazz band plays every night Wednesday to Sunday in the Davenport Lounge at the Ritz. They play classic New Orleans jazz and other music.

Ritz-Carlton New Orleans
 921 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70112
http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/new-orleans


Author Bio: Janna Graber has covered travel in more than 40 countries. She is the editor of three travel anthologies, including A Pink Suitcase: 22 Tales of Women’s Travel, and is the managing editor of Go World Travel Magazine
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