One of the mornings that I was in New Orleans, I woke up early and thought that it would be a great wake up treat to bring my travel companions some beignets. I walked outside, walked for a moment and then realized I had no clue where I was going. I hailed a cab, jumped in, and told the driver what I needed. I soon realized that I jumped into the cab of New Orleans best tour guide/entertainer.
When I told him that I wanted to find some beignets, he laughed and said ok, we’re on our way. As we zoomed through the small streets of the French Quarters, he told me that he had always lived in the city and has seen it go through so many changes. He first talked about the drinking history in New Orleans. “It’s just part of who we are.”
When he was a teenager, there were still bars in different categories. There were beer bars for anyone over 16, liquor bars for eighteen to twenty-one year olds, and then twenty-one and older bars. When driving drunk, the cop would follow you home, drive your car, or have someone else come get you. It has always been a party, but now, with the influence of new laws, social taboos, and a hot college destination, drinking in New Orleans takes on its own life.
We arrived at the one and only place to get beignets in the city, Café Du Monde but the line was so long that Francis, my driver, asked, “How important are these right now? You can get them later and there is no way I’m letting you wait this long for them. Will donuts be good? I know where the best donuts in town are.”
As we went to get donuts, we passed by Saint Louis Cemetery Number 1. This was before our visit there, so he informed me of the basics, but then mentioned that he will be buried there because that is where his family tomb is; Just more fact that these cemeteries are still fully functional.
We got to this donut shop, but it wasn’t a donut shop at all, it was a small little market. Of course, me being me, asked if he was sure. “They get two large boxes of donuts from the shop and sell them on their counter.” That is a driver that really knows his city.
I ran in, grabbed the donuts and some juice, and got back in the cab. As we made it back to where we were staying, I asked about rent in the French Quarters. It can be a mind trick looking at the residential part of the French Quarters. So many houses look ran down and beat up but the minute you step through their front doors, the entire world changes. Francis shared with me on how deceiving this can be but to know that the French Quarters are still the highest priced real-estate in the city.
My little twenty-five minute journey that morning way one of the highlights of my trip. Francis was so informative and was a great welcome wagon to the city. I unfortunately didn’t have my flip or my camera with me, but here are some of the other pictures from New Orleans I have. They still show some highlights of the French Quarters as well as a little extra. The next time you’re in a new city; don’t disregard your cab drivers. They drive the streets day in and day out. They are the visitor’s best resource for the city.