Day Three (and unfortunately, my last full day) in New Orleans and it was nothing short of fabulous!
As per usual, I should talk about dinner last night before I get too far ahead of myself. My group wandered French Quarter in pursuit of a good place to eat that was both relatively inexpensive and also suited all of our tastes. We ended up stopping in the first place we stumbled across, Attiki. Most places in the French Quarter have menus posted outside which is immensely helpful. I had my eyes set on a delicious falafel wrap and we all went inside and grabbed a table. I actually didn’t take a photo of my food because, frankly, I ate it before I could take a photo and the lighting in Attiki left some to be desired. But believe me, it was delicious and the view wasn’t bad, either.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with Mediterranean food, falafel is a patty of fried (yeah, I know) chickpeas (otherwise known as garbanzo beans) with delicious herbs and tossed with hummus, lettuce and tomatoes in a warm slice of pita bread. It was a good night, good food and good company — a Friday night well-spent by any account.
I had the absolute honor and pleasure this morning of meeting Mary Beth Tinker, the individual responsible for bringing forth a U.S. Supreme Court Case dealing with First Amendment rights during the 1960s. If you don’t know who this incredible woman is, seriously, do some reading about her if you get the chance. I had a really excellent history teacher in high school and during my junior year, I took his Constitutional Law class. In the class, we covered every aspect of the judicial process you could think of and were responsible for memorizing landmark court cases that were relevant to the unit being studied. I distinctly remember studying Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District and to have the chance today to meet this woman was incredible in every sense of the word and an experience I won’t soon forget.
After my breakfast of oats and a banana, I was pretty hungry and ready for coffee by the time lunch rolled around. Before I left the hotel, I did some research for vegan restaurants near my location, yielding a few new ones. Fresh Bar caught my eye so during my lunch break, I walked down Magazine Street with a delicious wrap in mind.
Let me give you a friendly piece of time-saving advice for the next time you visit The Big Easy: Magazine Street is really, really long.
I ended up walking all the way to the Garden District before I realized how far away the restaurant still was. Feeling pretty hungry, a little crestfallen and a tad cranky, I stopped into District Donuts-Sliders-Brews for a lunch that looked hopeful, since I had given up on walking much farther down Magazine Street. I browsed the menu and, as luck would have it, it boasted a veggie sandwich. It would seem I had found my lunch spot! As a vegan, I have learned that you can never be too careful, so I asked the girl at the counter if the sandwich was vegan (it had lemongrass tofu and an assortment of veggies on it, what could go wrong?) I’m sure glad I asked, since she told me the tofu had fish sauce in the marinade…what?! In a moment of disappointment, I ordered a soy latte and even though it was one of the best cups of coffee I have ever had, I was still hungry and starting to get frustrated. I turned back around and began to make my way back through the Garden District (which is GORGEOUS) to grab Subway or something familiar on Poydras Street.
That is, until a brightly-colored house with Michael Jackson music floating out the door caught my attention. I stopped and stood in front of it — Corner Muse! With a glance at the chalkboard menu, I saw a veggie sandwich option, the “Thalia,” I believe it was called.
It had balsamic vinegar, olive oil, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and greens on a toasted ciabatta bun. The restaurant was out of hummus, but this sandwich was so delicious and so satisfying that suddenly, the lack of hummus and my far trek down Magazine Street didn’t matter. I recharged a bit and got some work done. The shop owner, Vanessa, had her two sons who chalked on the floors and played piano inside and kept their mom company. The thing that really struck me at Corner Muse was how every patron that went into the cafe knew Vanessa since they were regulars. It was really sweet and made you feel right at home. She was singing along to every Michael Jackson hit and had the door open, letting the air float in and made everyone feel welcome and comfy.
So even though I never made it to Fresh Bar, I still consider lunch to be a huge success. Getting accidentally lost in the Garden District was a joy — the trees are so lush, the houses are brightly colored and the variety of the people and sights are to die for.
Conference sessions are over and I made my way back down Magazine Street, out of the Garden District and into a Starbucks to knock out some more work and get some emails sent out with the help of a soy latte and this Duke Ellington station on Spotify. Tomorrow, we fly out and will be back in Kirksville by the evening. I have been doing a lot of thinking while in New Orleans and have tried to take in as much of the experience as possible, so I have something really exciting planned to post tomorrow to round it all out.
Thanks for the time here, NOLA. Stay beautiful until next time!
Catch you guys on the flipside.