Chapeaued in the Big Easy

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Following up our stay at my parents’ home for Christmas, I had a work conference to attend in New Orleans, which is an easy hour and a half drive from there.  As an added bonus, David was able to come along with me and work remotely from our hotel room.  I love the city of New Orleans. I love it because it is the kind of town where people still care enough about how they look to dress up for dinner, but they don’t mind getting old, so no one much goes for the plastic surgery. Along the same vein, everyone loves good food, so people don’t go for the eating disordered lifestyle either.

Part of a good New Orleans trip means pre-planning enough to make some reservations for some good meals. I made four reservations for our stay – three dinner, and one brunch. This time we hit up Herbsaint, Coquette, and Galatoire’s for dinner and Arnaud’s for brunch.  We also ate one night at the Camellia Grill, which has delicious burgers and the casual ambiance where the cashier may be wearing her hair in curlers. Perfect New Orleans in other words.

Here is David at Galatoire’s (we were dining really late on a Sunday night, so it was much less busy than a usual evening at Galatoire’s):

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Of course, there was also the obligatory beignets at Cafe du Monde:

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We also did some targeted shopping, because I really do love shopping in New Orleans. It brings out the materialistic side in me.  But I had a shopping plan before I arrived. Target one: new flats at French Sole in Canal Place (we were staying at the Westin in Canal Place so shopping was much easier considering the lousy weather). Check. Target two: hitting up the post-Christmas sales at Saks. A perfect Burberry dress that I had been desiring for quite some time was there for half price, so I could check that off the list. Target three: the antique galleries and lighting stores along Royal Street. We found a beautiful antique stone lamp that was also half price, as well as some outdoor lighting at Bevolo that we need for our house. Target four: hats.

New Orleans is the kind of town where real custom millinery stores still exist in America. I found a beautiful hat a Fleur de Paris, which creates custom/individual hats. The question that naturally arises: when does one have occasion to wear such a hat? I had one occasion specifically in mind, which will remain unspoken at the moment, when I justified buying this hat:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I went a little crazy with the hats. I also purchased three other hats from the Goorin Brothers French Quarter store. I think at least two of them are actually more wearable, including this one that I wore out to dinner:

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But I am not so sure about the wearability of this one?

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Even David got in on the New Orleans hat-buying and wearing:

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We were also there for Epiphany, which is the traditional start to the Mardi Gras season, so we even caught a couple of parades. Epiphany is Joan of Arc’s birthday, so we caught the celebration of the Maid of Orleans.

So since we were feeling so French, yes, I wore an old beret a lot.

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The hats did not seem out of place in New Orleans at all, thanks to everyone else dressing up too. Final New Orleans observation: New Orleans is much more hipster than I remember it being pre-Katrina. There were hipster jug bands, hipster brass bands, and every other variety of hipster musical ensemble on almost every street corner. I do not know when this happened. I don’t think I would be cool enough to live there now.

Yes, I went to my conference too.

All in all, not a bad few days in New Orleans, even in the chill and rain.

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