Continuing my theme from last week of catching up on overdue blog posts—today I’m sharing all about our FABULOUS week in New Orleans! We spent the last week of 2018 in New Orleans, our first time visiting the city. The last night was New Year’s Eve, which also happened to be our dear friends’ wedding. And Grace officiated! Ever since the trip Grace and I keep saying to each other how it was one of our favorite trips we’ve ever taken together. New Orleans is magical, and attending such a meaningful marriage celebration—especially in our first few months as newlyweds—is something we’ll never forget.
We left for our trip 2 days after Christmas, and we were SO EXCITED!
We had booked a room at the Hotel Provincial, one of the hotels the grooms recommended staying at. We loved it and would totally stay there again! It’s right in the French Quarter, and beyond charming.
Hotel Provincial is on the National Register of Historic Places and is supposedly haunted. We weren’t bothered though—and where better to stay in a haunted hotel than New Orleans?! The location was also just so prime. The first night, we grabbed drinks to go (such a fun novelty) and strolled around to see the charming balconies in our neighborhood!
Our first meal was at Cafe Amelie. So good. I got a Penicillin (traditional New Orleans cocktail) and some kind of Cajun seafood pasta. We went to bed so happy and excited to explore the next day.
We woke up and strolled over to Cafe Du Monde for some coffee and beignets! There was a little line but it was well worth it.
Luckily, we beat the rain and made it into the cafe before the downpour . . . but then it REALLY rained. Our strolling and sightseeing plans were temporarily put off.
But right about the time when we were trying to decide what to do in the rain in New Orleans, the grooms (Tommy and Philip) texted us! We ended up going with them to get their marriage license and get Grace registered to be a marriage officiant in Louisiana. I don’t have any pics from that, but it is actually one of my favorite memories of the trip—just getting so giddy and anticipating that our friends were getting MARRIED so soon!
After dealing with the official business, we decided to stop for a late lunch at Coop’s. OMG. There, I had the best po boy of all time.
We continued strolling, sightseeing, tasting, and enjoying. Tommy and Philip showed us the gay corner of Bourbon Street, which was adorable.
About that time, we had to split off from the guys to go on a ghost tour we had booked! There are a ton of ghost tours offered in the city, and while obviously I have nothing to compare it to, I thought the company we used—French Quarter Phantoms—was awesome.
That’s us waiting for the tour to start with our two-for-one hurricanes that came with the price of the tickets. Amazing. We also stopped halfway through the tour to refill our drinks—doesn’t get much more NOLA than that :)
It was dark on the tour so I don’t have pictures, but we saw some really interesting historic places in the French Quarter. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, it’s a very cool historic tour. I’m also glad we did the tour one of our first nights in New Orleans, because the rest of the time we felt like we knew our way around the Quarter better and could use certain buildings (that we now knew to apparently be haunted) as points of reference.
I don’t have pictures from this, but after dinner we strolled out to an awesome, tiny Cuban restaurant and got some small bites. The place, which we loved, is called Manolito.
The next day, pre-wedding festivities began! We started the day with a jog along the Mississippi River, which was gorgeous.
Then for breakfast on the way home from our jog, we randomly stumbled on a hole in the wall where we found the most DELICIOUS breakfast plates! We both got the fried catfish breakfast plate which came with eggs, fried catfish, potatoes, and toast or English muffins. It is one of my favorite things we ate the whole trip! The place is called Johnny’s and it’s cash only. Go there if you are in NOLA!
After relaxing a bit and freshening up, we headed to the first wedding event of the week: Drag Brunch at the Country Club! It was such a fun welcome event for everyone invited to the wedding, and it was great to start to meet some of the other guests we didn’t know. The Queens were awesome and we felt so at home in a new state attending a fun drag show.
We had some r&r time after brunch (turns out, drinking during the day and eating decadent Cajun food all the time really wears you out), and then for dinner we headed to the INCREDIBLE Cafe Sbisa. Cafe Sbisa gave me one of my favorite dates with Grace, the best and friendliest service, and *maybe* my favorite meal of the whole trip (but that’s a very difficult call to make).
The photo above is Cafe Sbisa’s courtbouillon, kind of a cousin of gumbo—but in my opinion, far superior. This one had a rich creole stew/soup base with rice in the middle, surrounded by lump crab meat, tiny bay shrimp, mussels, and catfish. I seriously DREAM about this meal. It was that good.
The next day: rehearsal day! We started off the morning with a visit to the gorgeous venue of the wedding, the Marigny Opera House.
It’s an old converted 1853 church, then an opera house, and now a venue and events space. Here’s Grace practicing her officiant role for the wedding!
After the morning rehearsal, we headed to Brennan’s for the sweetest rehearsal brunch. I LOVED the idea of a rehearsal brunch so much—almost made me wish we had gone that route (as opposed to a rehearsal dinner).
One of the signature drinks, pictured above, was a New Orleans breakfast punch. It was a rum punch with a milk-based base, that honestly tasted like the most delicious cereal milk imaginable. Maybe that sounds gross to you, but trust me, it was amazing. A little cinnamon on top was the perfect touch.
After brunch, we strolled and explored.
And on our walk back to our hotel, we saw a dog who looks like Casper. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Casper was our first dog together, and I’ve never seen a dog who looked like him. This one was so sweet and I got pretty emotional meeting him. For reference, our two dogs (the New Orleans dog first):
We had some rest time in our room (becoming a theme), and then headed to the next wedding event: the welcome party! It was such a fun gathering in the home of Tommy and Philips’ friends who live in New Orleans. It was also another chance to sample more delicious New Orleans traditional food.
After the welcome party we left and Grace got a tattoo to commemorate our time in New Orleans. It’s a heart with a ghost in it. I feel like for many people getting a tattoo wouldn’t be such a casual thing, and I get that, but I also love Grace’s collection. That’s just Grace!
The next day we woke up and it was the last day of 2018, and WEDDING DAY! Oh my goodness, I could never begin to describe all of the wonderful things about this wedding. It was just BEYOND. But here are a few:
Vows that took my breath away, and that Grace and I still talk about
About 200 glasses of champagne all lined up with tiny escort cards with our names balanced on top—one of my favorite creative escort card displays I’ve seen
An elegant tented dinner outside
A second line (like a mini marching band for those who don’t know the term) where we danced around the entire neighborhood with a police escort after the ceremony
An amazing dance party to ring in 2019
The most fun live band
Confetti showers at midnight
A super fun (maybe TOO fun) after party in the French Quarter
And so, so much more. A few favorite snaps from the wedding:
As good as the food in New Orleans was, as colorful and inspiring as the city was, as sparkly and fun as having New Year’s Eve there was, none of it compares the joy of seeing our friends get married. And, a big part of that is that this was our first gay wedding as guests. Seeing how Tommy and Philip’s communities rally around them and how this was the event of the YEAR for so many people made me cry multiple times throughout the week. After we left, Grace and I commented how we felt like we’d been at summer camp and made a bunch of friends that we can’t wait to see again. It was just all so good. Tommy and Philip, thank you. We love you!