The husband and I celebrated a milestone anniversary this year with a cruise out of the Port of New Orleans. Neither of us had been to NOLA before, so we specifically chose this cruise so we could spend a couple of days there prior to setting sail. We stayed quite close to the French Quarter and focused most of our time in that area since our stay was short.
Naturally, the trip included a crafty shopping component. In the spirit of keeping things relevant around here, I’ll cut to the chase and deliver the yarn store goods first. Then, if you’re interested, stick around for some other trip highlights. :)
The Quarter Stitch on Chartres St. is lovely, with a selection that’s broad without being overwhelming. There was definitely a “community” vibe when I was in the store – the staff was very friendly, stepping in to offer customers advice on patterns and chatting about the merits of different fibers with customers. Overall, a very pleasant experience.
I picked up a skein as a souvenir of the trip. I just love it when yarn stores pack your purchases in fancy wrapping. Here’s mine, on the ledge of our hotel window.
I’m a big believer in the importance of providing a unique and memorable customer experience. There’s a lot of competition in the market, and seemingly small gestures can turn a relatively ordinary experience (making a purchase) into something special. Ribbons? Tissue paper? Heart-shaped confetti and an adorable tag? My yarn purchase is still stored in this wrapping, in fact, and you can bet I’ll remember the store when I’m ready to use it.
And here’s my yarn – a skein of my beloved Blue Heron Rayon Metallic.
I picked the Mossy Place colorway because of its fun and festive shades – a reminder of the vibrant character of the city. I also had my eye on the Tapestry colorway, but ultimately couldn’t resist this one.
Gorgeous as always – I just love this yarn and save it for really special projects. (I just finished my Gail shawl in Turquoise – it’s blocked and drying as I type!)
Although our stay was short, we discovered that there really is something for everyone who visits. And, apparently, anyone who is in the market for real estate. Whatever your stance on the supernatural, there’s a property for you. (Budget allowing, of course. ;) )
Food & Drink
One of the first orders of business was to check out the infamous Bourbon Street. The Pat O’Brien’s location on Bourbon Street has a beautiful courtyard – a welcome oasis after traveling. Hurricanes and mint juleps all around. Speaking of unique customer experiences – they wash out your glass for you, box it up and let you take it home as a souvenir. Again, small gestures make a difference.
We ate dinner at Mother’s one evening, which is something of a New Orleans institution. It’s not cheap, but they do make a great po’ boy.
Rounding out our tourist-heavy food & drink itinerary is the obligatory Café du Monde pilgrimage. We stood in an impressively long line at the “to go” window, to avoid an even more daunting line for those wanting to eat “inside” the airy structure. There were some areas to sit behind the French Market, and so we grabbed our beignets and coffee and sat in the relative peace and quiet to enjoy. Yes, it’s touristy. Yes, it’s a long wait. But we weren’t about to visit NOLA for the first time without doing it.
We also made our visit a cultural one, stopping at two Louisiana State Museum sites in Jackson Square: The Cabildo (pictured below – and note the jazz musicians playing on the nearby balcony) and The Presbytère. The latter is home to a compelling Katrina exhibit with multimedia displays and artifacts, plus a Mardi Gras exhibit that includes many costumes, parade float components and other treasures.
Jackson Square is so pretty, and look! Thanks to a combination of luck and a sudden, short burst of rain that cleared the area, I got the iconic Jackson Square photo without a ton of (other) tourists in it. I know everyone takes a photo from this spot, but it’s still by far my favorite one from the trip. :)
We peeked inside Saint Louis Cathedral while we were there, too.
One of our last stops was Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1. It was quite a hike to get here from our hotel. I’d done a bit of reading about the cemetery before our trip, so we saw most of the highlights (including Nicholas Cage’s pyramid tomb…). If we’d had a bit more time, I think we might have benefitted from a guided tour.
So there you have it – our short and sweet trip. Have you been to New Orleans, and if so, what were the highlights of your trip?