Pam and I honeymooned in New Orleans, La., in 1989.
For that reason, it will always be special to us.
Our latest trip to “The Big Easy” was June 21-23 for press convention, a joint effort this year of the Mississippi Press Association and Louisiana Press Association.
Our hotel, the Marriott, was across the street from The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk. Pam and Erin definitely liked that location. And I even accompanied them there on Saturday afternoon. I needed a new pair of Crocs. And someway I stayed away from a new Atlanta Braves T-shirt.
The best thing about New Orleans is the food.
After the opening reception Thursday night, we enjoyed a late dinner with good friends Ricky and Mary Nobile. They’re big Southern Miss fans, like the Burlesons, and Ricky’s editorial cartoons are featured each week in The South Reporter.
We looked for something within walking distance and picked the Ernst Cafe – nothing fancy, but my kind of place with a more laid-back atmosphere. The fried shrimp were some of the best I’d ever eaten. Originally founded by John, William and Charles Ernst, Ernst Café has been locally owned and operated for more than 100 years.
Saturday night, Pam, Erin and I picked the Oceana Grill, just off Bourbon Street. We made reservations, and when we arrived about 6 p.m., people were lined up at the door to get in (a good sign).
They asked if it was OK for them to seat us in the courtyard. We were good with that.
And the outside environment, the service and the food proved to be superb – a terrific dining experience.
We started out with Oceana’s Famous Oysters – chargrilled, smothered with a Cajun sauce and finished with a fresh blend of cheeses.
I had grilled catfish on top of cornbread dressing. Wow!
Erin picked the Grilled Ahi Tuna “La Boheme.” The tuna was topped with barbecued shrimp, potatoes and sauteed vegetables.
Pam chose the Redfish Oceana, the restaurant’s signature dish. It was sauteed redfish topped with crawfish mushroom cream sauce, plus potatoes and vegetables.
We finished things off with New Orleans Bread Pudding, served with praline rum sauce and whipped cream.
We enjoyed Oceana’s so much that we relaxed and dined there for about two hours.
We had walked to Oceana’s but decided to ride back via pedicab or bike taxi. The three of us squeezed into a seat really made for two and enjoyed talking to our nice driver for several blocks before getting off right at the front door of our hotel.
We closed our dining experiences the last evening by just grabbing some seafood at Mike Anderson’s. We again ate outside, at a table overlooking the beautiful Mississippi River.
We wanted to make a third of fourth visit to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans but didn’t get a free afternoon. It is one of the best zoos.
Pam and I wanted to go to Pat O’Brien’s for the piano bar, but we didn’t make it.
We’re not sure when we might take another trip to “The Big Easy.” But one thing’s for sure – there’s plenty to do, and you always leave wishing you would have had time for more.