Big Easy Chill
By Jules E Beuck 

One of our favorite spots to vacation is New Orleans, LA or The Big Easy. We made another visit there this winter. Whereas New Orleans does not have the extremes of Chicago or New York it can still get pretty chilly which cut down on our usual explorations.

Be that as it may we still found plenty of things to do and enjoy during our visit. Our hotel was on St. Charles Street so the St. Charles Street Trolley became our best friend. $1 per person for unlimited rides. One day we took the trolley from one end to the other to view the architecture unique to New Orleans. We would also ride it to the French Quarter, French Market and even took it to go to something we have not seen in decades, a one-screen movie theater. The Prytania Theater on Prytania Street (surprise) is a small theater that harkens back to a simpler time before multiplex theaters. It shows first-run movies and has all the same movie theater food and drinks as the big theaters.

Besides music, there are unique foods one can get in New Orleans. In the French Market we sat and listened to Jazz while sharing a muffaletta sandwich. We also made sure to have some turtle soup, bananas foster and beignets.

To learn more about New Orleans cuisine we attended a cooking session at the New Orleans school of Cooking where we were shown how to make crab bisque, shrimp creole, bananas foster and pralines. We were able to sample each of the dishes and were given written recipes to take home and try for ourselves. They also have a class where you get to make it yourself but we chose to skip that one.

We visited the New Orleans Mint and Jazz Museum. The mint had old coins that were minted specifically for New Orleans and some of the old machines used to press the coins and print bills. In the Jazz Museum there was a room dedicated to Professor Longhair a musician well known in New Orleans. There was also a room for clarinetist Pete Fountain and a room dedicated to women in Jazz. There were receivers one could pick up that had recordings of the people featured. Also on display were pianos belonging to Professor Longhair and Fats Domino, not to mention one of Fountainís clarinets. We were told that exhibits are rotated in the museum so every visit could give a different experience.

Spent one evening seeing the Legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band to hear some vintage Jazz.

So went our most recent visit to New Orleans but unlikely to be our last.

Debbie Noama contributed to this article.

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