Seriously, boozing it up on Bourbon Street by myself just didn't sound fun, and I'm not a night owl in general. My body thinks it's 10pm and well past its bedtime. But that's not to say I haven't had fun.
Yesterday was something of a comedy of errors. I saw Jackson Square (and bought some art), the cathedral, and heard some of the French Quarter Festival music. On Royal Street, there was a band playing dance music and people dancing; they were really good dancers and that was intimidating. But I figured if I couldn't dance at a random street gathering, I'd be wasting my money at Tipitina's later, so I crouched down to ask the two elderly gentlemen in front of me if either of them danced. "Not that fast," they said, since the initially slow waltz had become something swing-like. I admitted that I didn't either but was game, but they were not. We chatted friendly-like for a while, and I came to realize that dancing was Out for another reason - my knee. It went "sproing" on Friday, and a little again Saturday morning, but had been behaving that Sunday - until then. It was really sore and complaining, and I decided hopping around in a vigorous fashion was just not bright.
Getting back to the hotel, I went a block up from Bourbon (which smells like garbage and less mentionable stuff - bleck) and saw a young man apparently bleeding ahead. At first, I thought, "Oh no, an accident!" And then I thought, "Maybe it's performance art?" And then I saw the cop and heard the kid belligerently telling another kid to "take a picture, it'll last longer" and decided that I should cross the street. (There was a cop already on the scene, after all.)
I tried to get to Pascal's Manale for the shrimp - the incredibly fabulous concierge heartily approved and even suggested the veal plus shrimp combo "if it doesn't offend your morals" - but learned the hard way that Pascal's is closed on Sundays. Driving back, dead tired from eight hours of travel and almost three of walking, I was ready to just eat at the hotel - when I cruised past Emeril's Delmonico. I just had a light meal of gumbo and salad with tarragon buttermilk dressing, and they were both awesome. Also awesome were the homes and buildings on St. Charles Street - white, column-y things - and the live oaks. No Spanish moss hanging down, but Mardi Gras beads were doing a decent imitation. Lafeyette Square looked lovely, from the brief glance I got, but WTF was up with the glowing eyeballs sculpture? Strange place to put a modern art installation, seems to me.
I have not slept so well in a very, very long time.
This evening, after our workshop closed, I headed over to the Court of the Two Sisters and was absolutely waylaid by a hat shop. Oh. My. Goodness. They are gorgeous hats. They are expensive hats. Really, really expensive hats. Like my Lucchese Classic boots level of expensive. I should not even really be thinking of spending all of my discretionary income on a hat. Even if it's a little top-hat looking thing with a spray of feathers that sticks up jauntily. In chocolate brown. Augh.
Dinner was good. Entree was superior, although I expected the "pan gravy" to be something a little more... substantial. If it had been, it might have tied the chicken breast, mushrooms and andouille sausage together a little more. But they, and the green beans and mashed potates... excuse me, the haricots verts and potato mash, were delicious individually. Dessert (German chocolate cake) was amazingly mediocre. Restaurant was empty at 6pm and the staff were talking about dogs, ear and tail docking and why it was good or bad, and dogfighting, perhaps unaware that we could totally hear them. Gorgeous courtyard, in which two women asked me abruptly if there was "somewhere they could put this" empty plastic cup. I shrugged and could almost hear them thinking, "Oops, she's not a waitress." I've been mistaken for retail staff before, but I think this was the first instance of waitstaff impersonation (more impressive because I was in browns, and the waitstaff were all in black and white, with aprons).
Then down to Decatur Street. I saw the Mississippi River, got a locally-brewed beer, saw all kinds of awful tourist souvenir crap, and stumbled across a music store with a wonderfully diverse jazz ensemble performing. Mostly older men, about half black and half white, but the pianist was a young Asian woman. I bought a CD that featured the trumpeter and I hope some of the other bandmembers. Then I pointedly ignored the panhandlers up Canal Street and got back to the hotel. It was getting dark and cold. And here I am, on the Internet, ignoring the fabled nightlife of New Orleans.
I think I'm okay with that.