Laughter Therapy; Our Girl’s Trip To New Orleans

At Forty Five New OrleansTaking inspiration from Girls Trip (2017) 4 female friends and I embarked on our own Girls Therapy to New Orleans.  Laughter has healing properties that you can’t get from any medical counter.

There are many private home rental sites to choose from.  Our past dictates many decisions we make. To experience the authenticity of the area we chose Magazine Elegance with VRBO. Magazine Street is a six-mile stroll paralleling the Mississippi River from the Garden District to Canal Street where the French Quarter begins. Its elegance provides endless views of a past architectural era of Italian, Greek and Victorian influences.

The large lots are surrounded by gorgeous garden areas and patios with colorful umbrellas to retreat from the heat of the sun. The doors of our elegant 1860 Greek revival home are a trademark of the area and open into a grand entry with a sitting room to the left that displays the extraordinary wall height of this period.   The walk-out cast-iron balconies accessible only from the top through massive wooden windows that slide up provide a prime location to sip wine and people watch, enjoying the diversity of the area.

From the private balcony bar see the sights and hear the sounds New Orleans offers, after a long day of exploring.  We were part of an infamous jazz funeral procession from our vantage point, including police escort and full jazz band taking to the streets in a celebration of life.

Hurricane Nate Heard We Were Coming And Detoured

Storm Chasing Hurricane Nate we arrived the day following its predicted landfall to find New Orleans thriving.  The “Art for Arts’ Sake” is an annual community party.  The hospitality of New Orleans greets you at every entrance along Magazine Street.  Starting at 6 pm the boutique stores and local businesses cater to patrons with free wine, beer, appetizers, and access to their shops.

Browse stores like Queork where the real cork is crafted into unique purses and laptop covers.  Meet new friends, like the owners of The Bearded Lady Barbershop. Grab a complimentary Abita Purple Haze Beer and head to their back courtyard, an excellent way to enjoy a cold beverage.  New Orleans has an open container law that allows people to enjoy an alcoholic beverage on the sidewalks and streets from plastic cups, ask for a go-cup usually available at storefronts.

img_3056A Vibrant World Awaits

Every door opens into a vibrant new world.  Exploring for groceries we found a rustic gem.  In the silent of mid-day pushing past the stuck shutter-style doors, you were transported into a bustling deli shop.

The crowded front confirmed Stein’s Market & Deli is a local choice.  Visit the wine garage that you access from the back of the shop, through the courtyard past the elderly gentleman guarding the entrance. It’s a wine connoisseur’s dream where prices are far below the normal of New Orleans.

A great pair of shoes and friends is the preferred mode of transit but options are abundant. Hop on the St. Charles, Canal Street, and the Riverfront streetcars for $1.25 per ride or $3.00 for the day, paid in exact change. Hear the iron on the rails as a welcomed breeze blows through one of the oldest operating cars in the world.  Uber is alive and well in New Orleans with an average $9.00 fair from The French Quarter to Magazine.

The French Quarter Delights The Senses

It’s a feast for all senses. The eyes, ears, and tongue cannot keep up.  The French Quarter provides a bouquet for the palate.  Favorites include Bubbles at Brennan’s Happy Hour in the Courtyard & Roost Bar try the refreshing “Mr. Funk” cranberry juice, peach schnapps, sparkling wine – 7 paired with BBQ Shrimp Pot Stickers, Parker House Sliders, and Parmesan Pommes Frites…..just say fries and hollandaise, why has Canada not caught on to this.  Reasonable prices with an air of luxury.

The Napolean House Pimm’s Cup guaranteed to refresh with its gin-based aperitif, lemonade-7, and don’t forget the cucumbers; share a Muffuletta their signature sandwich they say for two I say for four.  A pizza size crusted Italian loaf, loaded with meats and cheese with an olive tapenade and heated to enrich the flavors.  Laughter fills the air with the scents of wine and the onset of a humid warm evening, classic NOLA. It’s a foodie haven.

New Orleans At Forty FiveThe Wall of Waiting

Built on a swamp, barely floating, New Orleans’ average elevation is about 2 feet below sea level.  As the legend Gord Downie and Tragically Hip sang, New Orleans is Sinking.  It is evident in the above-ground cemeteries that set the stage for Voodoo and City of the Dead.  The aboveground tombs provide a natural cremation atmosphere that after one year only bones are left.  Those whose untimely passing requires them to wait, line the cemetery in the Wall of Waiting. They haunt you as you pass by gravesites in the Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1 with residents like Marie Laveau, Voodoo Queen and the most recent acquired spot for Nicolas Cage. You can access by foot but I recommend the authentic way with Royal Carriages just off Jackson Square.

Where there is swamp there are alligators.  Get outta da city and tour the bayou.  The airboat rides through the swamp with ease, gliding over grasses, narrowly darting by trees.  View them in their natural habitat these amazing creatures that grow up to 12” per year.

Wine + Women = Fun

Although New Orleans is not known for its grape growing climate the French influence and food experience require the pairing of a good wine.  Meet with friends for a social gathering at The Tasting Room New Orleans.  The multiple sitting areas provide a unique ambiance to dream and discuss ambitions.  Try the Tasting Flight a wonderful pairing of 3 dishes including the Big Ass Meatball, Truffle Fries, and Shrimp Monica paired with amazing wines selected by the wine steward. If you’re palate defaults to red take a bottle of Tenuta Sassoregale Sangiovese Maremma Toscana to go and enjoy later with a beef dish.At Forty Five New Orleans

No ladies trip is complete without shopping. The list is unending from local boutiques to outlet malls.  The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk provides beautiful views of the Mississippi, stop in at the NOLA Tropical Winery a highlight of the trip.

Wine + Women = Fun. Your attitude is what makes the experience.  Women don’t need an invitation to be friends, birthday celebrations, wedding celebrations we celebrated with them all.  It’s the beauty of the people and culture of New Orleans.  For those who prefer a good pint stop at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop built in the 1700’s. The oldest bar in the states, it is part of a dive bar phenomenon.

In My Mind’s Eye…Girl’s Trip 2017 NOLA

My motto is “when you pick it up does it bring you joy?” Searching for mementos? You can’t miss the wonderful light that flickers in continuous rows from the Lantern Gas Lights of New Orleans.  The charm and character provide a nostalgic feeling.

Bevolo has great replicates or will custom design.  The view instantly transports you back to the streets of the French Quarter.  On a more commercial note my Starbucks You Are Here Series Mug reminds me daily of the rejuvenation from reminiscing with friends laughing till you cry. The new tastes and first experiences at forty-five.

I close my eyes and can hear the jazz bands playing down in the French Quarter and relive the best Girl’s Trip 2017 NOLA.  Travel and friendship is a winning therapy combination.

Holly James
Holly James is a mother of three embracing her 50s. A farm girl from rural Alberta she loves the outdoors.