After I landed the other day, I checked into hotel and had dinner at a lovely french restaurant located in the CBD. I then went back to hotel to sleep because I was exhausted.
Hours later, I woke up to the sound of neighbors... Let me rephrase that. Hours later, I woke up to woman talking loudly to her companions and asking for "Aaron" or was that "Erin"? Don't have a clue except from what I can deduced, she was incredibly drunk... After about an half hour of this nonsense, someone finally had the sense to knock on her door telling her to be quiet and have a nice night. Yep, they are nice like that here. And so with that...quiet was bestowed upon us (or relatively) and I went back to my heavy slumber. Hours after that, I woke up again, and decided to skip the cooking demo that I had plan to attend. As much as I wanted to join that demo, I really did not feel like getting up...total jetlag. Went back to zzzzzzzzz.
Finally woke up, took forever to get ready and stumbled out to the French Quarter. Walked on Bourbon Street and saw lots of drunk people in the middle of the day and lots of sex shops. Whoa...reminds me of Vegas except not...
Anyway, I kept walking, walking, walking...no one bothers me. Maybe cuz I wore a backpack and actually look like I live around here? Hah!
So I finally got to where I was intending to go which was the Creole Delicacies at Jackson Square. This shop specializes in Pralines and other NOLA specilaities. Got a bottle of water and some praline chocolates as gifts and ventured back to their courtyard. There were two lovely ladies there selling tickets to the Holiday Home Tour sponsored by the Patio Planters of the Vieux Carre. Once a year, they open several historical homes all decked out in beautiful holiday garb and use that money they raised to sponsor the Caroling in Jackson Square later that nigh
So after I brought my ticket, I was given a map of the locations of the historic homes and was told that they are indicated by a green flag. (I noticed that the ticket says, "2009" on it and asked and was told that yes, they were using last years' ticket. Oookay. As long as I can use the ticket, I am fine with recycling. I guessed they printed too many tickets last year??) Sure enough, the first home I went to had a big green flag out front and a Santa and Mrs. Claus greeting all the guests that were coming to visit.
This first house is the "Romantic Beauregard-Keyes House" located at 1113 Chartres Street. This is also one of the most opened and fancy house I have been to on the tour. It even had refreshments at the back of the house (several different types of cookies and lemonade). And the people (women and men) there were all dressed up in period costumes making it seem even more lovely than it already is... According to the brochure they handed out, this house had a checkered history with many owners, and in 1865, it was General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, a noted Confederate leader who hailed from Louisiana returned to New Orleans, and he lodged there for eighteen months. And because of this period of history, the house came to be known as the Beauregard house. Later in 1944, Frances Keyes, a well known novelist, came to Louisiana, rented the house and eventually brought it and work on restoring it to its original glory. (More on this house later.)
The second house I visited is located at 600 Esplanade.
It was described in the brochure as a classic Creole townhouse, built in 1834 by attorney Henry Raphael Denis and in the 1850's, the lacy two-level cast-iron balconies were added to enhance its beauty. One of their notable former residence was Japanese chemist and philanthropist Jokichi Takamine. According to the brochure, he discovered adrenaline and he also gifted the 3,000 flowering cherry trees that is now the attraction in Washington DC during spring. Current owners are the proprietor of a shop at 1036 Royal Street called Nadine Blake. I believe she's a designer. And I have to add this from my observation of the home, I think it's beautiful mix of modern and tradition.
The third house I visited is located at 1240 Royal.
The house is done in Victorian Queen Anne style which I am familiar with given that I come from San Francisco and all. The garden was extensively redone in 2000. So it was incredibly beautiful and relaxing place.
The fourth house visited is located at 1132 Royal - Gallier House.
This was the only house visited on this tour that did not permit interior photographing. The other houses actually welcomed it. A lot of the house was off limited to visitors, so I actually did not enjoy this house as much as others. I don't know why they bother to open it to visitors and not letting visitors visit. Weird practice. I understand that it is a landmark but I truly don't see the significance of it being that special when I can't see it.
The fifth house visited is located at 1129 Bourbon.
This house seem very small although it could be because it was sectioned off for visitors. The garden is lovely though. I had a great time looking at their garden where there is a small coi pond.
The sixth house visited is located at 1113 Bourbon.
It is a lovely house because it's designed to look like an uptown property according to the brochure. And in 1984, local tv and radio personalities couple who lived there renovated it to update the kiten and bathrooms.
After all the walking, I went to a well known grill place on Bourbon to eat a burger and some fries. Listen to the banters between the chefs and the local folks that lived there.
Then I walked back to my hotel and rested.
At around 6 p.m. I walked to Jackson Square intending to join in the caroling. The place was packed with people and after listening for a while sitting outside the square, I decided to go over to Cafe du monde to try their beignets and cafe au latte and then come back to hear more caroling. Oh, the beignets and coffee hit the spot. So delicious.
After that, I went back to caroling and joined in for Silent Night. It was sooo very special.
Soon, the crowd started leaving and the square emptied out.
I then joined in for the Vampire tour which met in front of the St. Louis Cathedral.
More on that later-