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Over MLK weekend Tyler and I drove to New Orleans to meet five of my college friends for a grown-up girls’ weekend.

By “grown-up” I mean there were none of the following: bar crawls, vomiting, leggings-as-pants, Advil-as-breakfast, tomfoolery, or shenanigans. There was PLENTY of wine, walking, laughing, catching up, and eating.

So much eating.

We arrived on Saturday, grabbed a bite, and headed to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, which is on the north side of the French Quarter. For some reason, I’d never visited it before.

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Many of the tombs are not in good shape – the marble facades have come off, leaving vaguely dog-house-shaped piles of brick.

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Some are reduced to rubble.

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Dinner that night was at my favorite “fancy” New Orleans restaurant, Galatoire’s. It’s a different feel from most other fancy restaurants – it’s loud, and the main dining room is totally open, and if someone has a birthday or anniversary or what-have-you, the waiters alert the diners and EVERYONE sings. The staff is also great with (well-behaved) children.

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Sunday morning we enjoyed the jazz breakfast at our hotel. The concierge hilariously described it as, “You know, a regular continental breakfast – pastries, fruit, mimosas…” Have you ever seen mimosas on the buffet at the Holiday Inn? Me neither. There was also a live jazz pianist.

After breakfast we did a free self-guided walking tour of the Garden District, courtesy of Frommer’s. Tyler’s favorite part was the trolley ride.

Which reminds me. I didn’t quite realize how much he’s grown up since the first time he went to New Orleans, in 2008. But look at these trolley pictures:

Trolley

After another tasty lunch at Ignatius on Magazine Street, we rode the trolley out a little farther to look at Tulane University and Audubon Park.

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That night we had dinner at Acme Oyster House. Per tradition, we had pre-dinner drinks while standing in line. Outside. In the street! New Orleans’ open container laws feel delightfully transgressive.

Monday morning a few of us visited the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, which is pretty much Tyler’s favorite thing, ever. I had several more flashbacks to our first NOLA trip. Like this:

Seahorses

And this:

Jaws

And this:

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Sniff!

We especially enjoyed the Parakeet Encounter, where one has the opportunity to be assaulted by small birds.

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We met the rest of our group for lunch at Johnny’s Po-Boys, where we feasted on enormous sandwiches. After lunch, we took another self-guided walking tour through the French Quarter. I’ve been to New Orleans over a dozen times, but I learned interesting tidbits about buildings I’d previously walked right by.

The whole city was decorated for Mardi Gras, which began shortly before we arrived and will end right after the Superbowl, which is…..also in New Orleans.

Yikes.

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The walking tour ended at Cafe du Monde, where we re-fueled with beignets and discussed dinner options. We decided to try Capdeville in the Central Business District, which was excellent.

And on Tuesday morning, we left!

It was a quick trip, to be sure, but I think we did a good job of filling our days without exhausting ourselves. It was so nice to see old friends and share new experiences with them.

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