Contributed by Michael Katz, Singles Travel International Concierge and Musician
There aren’t too many places in this world that have the charm, excitement, and energy of the French Quarter in New Orleans. This past weekend, they kicked it up a notch, and 38 happy campers from Singles Travel International were there to experience the sights and sounds of the FRENCH QUARTER MUSIC FESTIVAL! What a dream come true…some of the best Jambalaya, Cajun, and Creole cooking, combined with some of the best blues, jazz, and big band music scattered throughout the streets and squares of the French Quarter….Wow! We had all barely checked into our hotel the first day of the festival when we were out the door getting the party started at the LOA Bar, a classy and perfect place to have a cocktail and to get to know our new friends! From there we took a walk up Decatur Street to have dinner at Tujaques, the 2nd oldest restaurant in town. What a treat. The meal was excellent and the bread pudding for dessert was out of this world! We ended the night strolling down Bourbon Street to get an up close and personal look at the nightlife in full swing! Nothing compares to Bourbon Street with it’s variety of bars, live bands, partiers throwing beads from balconies, and people walking the street mesmerized by the spectacular audio and visual performances!
The next day we were treated to a bus tour of historical New Orleans, complete with a trip to the Oak Alley Plantation, where we took a guided tour of the grounds and mansion, and had an authentic home style southern buffet lunch. Mmmmmm good! Getting back to the hotel at mid-afternoon, it was on to the music! The group was revved up as we checked out the four sound stages at the Riverfront. The park was packed and the music was awesome! From Zydeco to Blues, to Jazz, to Cajun Jitterbug, we heard and saw it all. We then headed over to Jackson Square, where we heard original Dixieland Jazz from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band! Nice! Listening to all that good music can sure build up an appetite, so we headed to the GUMBO POT restaurant, a favorite of many in the group. Shrimp Creole, Pasta Jambalaya, and Seafood Gumbo were big hits! Another trip down Bourbon Street completed another perfect day for all!
Our final day saw many from our group going on a Swamp Tour, Cajun Cooking School Tour, and a ride up the Mississippi on the Natchez River Boat Cruise. More music in the afternoon, and then to top off our fantastic weekend, our farewell dinner was held on the second floor of the famous New Awlins Cookery right on Bourbon Street, complete with our own private balcony overlooking 100’s of party people on the street below! Whooo Hoooo!!!! Standing on the balcony, watching how much fun everyone was having, I suddenly realized how much we actually did in three days. This really is a magical place to be. Great Food, Great People, Great Time! STI did it again! Can’t wait til next year! J