May 20, 2014

New Orleans Style


Last week, my husband, Dave, had mentioned that he’d arranged babysitting on Friday and that we’d be doing something special.  I didn’t think much of it as the week went on, but on Friday, he started sending me hints via text while I was at work.  The first was of a woman getting a fleur de lis tatoo.  

“I’m not getting a tattoo,” I texted back.

I knew we weren’t getting tattoos but didn’t really have time to ponder what it actually meant.  A few hours later, another texted hint arrived.  It was a photo of a beautiful old house in New Orleans.  I mentally changed my imagined hiking & picnic’ing date to a visiting-some-sort-of-cool-historical-home-and-dining one and continued on with my day.

When he picked me up a while later, I went to toss my bag in the trunk of our car and I saw luggage.  I literally froze.  I looked up at him and spoke quietly.

“Are we going to New Orleans?”

He laughed and hugged me and I stood there in shock.  I’d made us late because I’d kept working when it was time to go, and he hadn’t wanted to give anything away by rushing me, so we were in a serious rush to catch the plane.   I really can’t even described how I was feeling to you as we raced to the airport.  My thoughts ranged from “I can’t leave the boys” to “I wonder if he packed my new favorite shoes?”  I was completely overwhlemed and I also felt like I might burst into tears.  It was strange.  It was like my mind had been zapped.  It felt weirdly empty and calm at the same time.

I called the boys to say my goodbyes (though they really didn’t seem to care at all) and started weakly listing items, asking Dave about what he packed.  “My brush?” “My sandals?” “My blanky?” (Yes, I have one.  And I love her.  She’s definitely a “her.”) “My book?”  “My sunglasses?” And finally, because there was nothing else to ask about “My goldfish Goldie??”

{Robin Hood & Blinkin from Men In Tights.  “My goldfish Goldie??”  image from here}

Anyway, I started getting excited as we made it to the airport.  I now know what it feels like to have your mind blown.  I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that before.  I had zero control over the situation and it became relaxing (after and sort of during the shock) to just be going along for the ride.  

When we arrived at our gas-lantern-lit hotel in the French Quarter, Maison Dupuy, it was just as I’d always imagined New Orleans would be.  Neither of us had ever been there before but had always wanted to.  (We’re complete Anne Rice nerds- Witching Hour and Interview With a Vampire especially- and always felt like we’d been missing out.)  Being there was surreal.  


{The courtyard at Maison Dupuy}


We went up to the room and another surprise was waiting for me: 


AS we unpacked, he pulled out outfits for me I’d never seen before.  He’d ordered things from my favorite store and they were amazing!!  (I honestly almost feel embarrassed telling you about this trip because I know how annoying it is to listen to googly-eyed girls talk about stuff like this and/or getting spoiled, but I’m just so blown away by his thoughtfulness that I had to tell you.)


The next day, we wandered through the Quarter and the Garden District.  The houses were perfection!!!  It made me want to move (Don’t worry, I’m staying put for now!!) or decorate one asap.  We walked down Magazine Street and stumbled across Kevin Stone Antiques, whose pieces I realized I’ve oggled on 1st Dibs many times.  We loved chatting with the owners, Kevin & Mark, who are so gracious.  (and hilarious)  They recommended a few restaurants to us and we were able to try one of them, Lilette, out immediately:



You know I can’t resist cured meat and I was flipping out over the lemon arugula with fennel salad:


It was so great to be able to sit with my guy all alone and uninterrupted (and awake!)…  We had so much fun!!!  We wandered some more and visited with our fun friend, Rivers, at River Spencer Interiors and were so impressed with her gorgeous sunlit shop:



Rivers is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.  We were introduced a couple of Markets back by a mutual friend and hit it off.



Rivers is not your typical girl.  She’s driven, direct, smart, sassy and incredibly blunt.  Originally from Jackson, Mississippi, and looking to follow a dream of hers, Rivers recently moved to New Orleans to open a design shop on Magazine Street.   Diplomacy is not her thing and I was slightly unnerved by her when we first met, but after talking with her for a few minutes and having dinner together way back when, I quickly saw her for what she is: an unapologetic hysterical person with a tough exterior and a heart of gold.   She’s as real as it gets.  Anyone would be lucky to have her decorating her home and I’m so happy things are going so well for her!!

Rivers’ shop is a mix of old and new and feels so fresh and pretty.  It’s a bit ethereal with her signature white & soft palette: 



Anyway, we had so much fun seeing her shop and then meeting her friends and cousin.  We enjoyed a little tour to some of the other great shops on Magazine Street and headed over to Bourbon Street.  (= CRAZY and we saw it when it was tame!!) 



Dave & I loved wandering down the different streets in New Orleans.  There’s something beautiful, lush and/ or intriguing everywhere you look.   It’s fun to just stroll there. 

One of our favorite stops was the Italian Barrel.  (also recommended to us by Kevin & Mark- we’re the ultimate tourists)  It was Heaven.  Soooooo much Northern Italian goodness!!  Check out this polenta topped with Sopressa & Gorgonzola, which I think might have been the best I’ve ever had:  (sorry Grandma!!)



Anyway, I’m sure I’ve gone on long enough but suffice it to say we’re definitely going back and my husband is awesome.  Hope you enjoyed seeing the pics and if you ever get down there, I can’t recommend any of these stops highly enough!!  I’ll be back soon with some updates on the mountain house project!!

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