We woke Thursday to a cloudier sky. The morning was a slow one, and by the time we were out the door it was already 10:30. Our plan was perhaps to check out a museum, maybe eat at Stanley and go to St. Jack’s to get Boris a tarot reading for fun. After all, New Orleans would be the best place to do it. As we left, a small rain was starting. No biggie, thought I. But by the time we got to St. Charles, we were both soaked, despite having an umbrella. Shoes, socks, most of our clothes, too. The prospect of walking about in the rain in already wet clothes was less than enticing. We made the indulgent decision to stay at home for a bit to ride out the storm, and cozied up to watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which seemed appropriate given the setting.

Helen had said she might be able to come by for lunch, so we were surprised to see her walk in accompanied by none other than my cousin! He lives in New York (in fact, I’ve written about his work here) and it was a total shock to see him! We lunched around the corner at Joey K’s, a Magazine Street establishment dedicated to serving home-cooked deliciousness. I had a roast beef debris po’boy, which reminded me a lot of a Cuban style beef dish called ropa vieja, which means “old clothes.” Basically, it’s slow-cooked so that the beef becomes so soft it’s like it shreds itself. Tasty.

By this point in the afternoon, the skies had cleared up enough to be able to meander back down to the Quarter. So, we hit up the trolley again. Can I just say that cities that have practical public transportation really rock? When I lived in Portland, it was super easy to take the bus and the MAX line, and visiting big metro areas with subways is pretty spiffy. Tucson is working on it with the light rail being built, but it’s going to take some time. What’s cool about the New Orleans trolley car* system is that its origins are quite old and established; NOLA was the first city to use passenger streetcars west of the Alleghenies.

*In doing some research, I just discovered that apparently “trolley” is almost never what New Orleanians call the vehicles. It’s always “streetcar” in the Big Easy! I’m from out of town, I guess I can get away with calling it a “trolley”?

By the time we got back to the Quarter, the skies were darkening again. We popped into a few shops and galleries again, and then sought refuge and a warm drink at the Royal Blend on, you guessed it, Royal Street.  Hot chocolate heated our tummies and we watched a pair of charismatic kitties play in the courtyard.

Cafe cats

Still in search of that tarot reading, we inquired at the coffee shop for recommendations. New Orleans takes its cartomancy pretty seriously, as it does for voodoo, etc. Only a block or so away from Royal Blend is Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo, named for Marie Laveau, the famed Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. If you need simple souvenirs, you can get them there, but you can also get gris-gris, spell kits, mojo bags, crosses & saints, and more. You can also get readings done by spiritual mediums, which is what we did for Boris. There are many options when it comes to getting these types of readings performed; you can do aura readings, past life readings, Egyptian tarot, even Vedic palmistry (reading using the structure of the human hand). We opted for the basic palm/tarot combo. The medium covered everything from Boris’ health to his current life plans to future fatherhood, a lot of it seeming to be spot on, some of it not so much.

To me, the most interesting thing is how these mediums read people more than a hand or card (although it truly depends on where you stand as to the validity of these practices). My reason for not getting a reading done this trip is because I got one in New York a few years ago and I’m pleased with what the lady told me.  So far, a lot of it has come true, albeit in a general sense that would be easily applicable. I could have sworn I wrote it down somewhere, but now I can’t find it. These are the major things that I remember from mine:

I would meet my significant other in the next 3 months. This turned out to come true, although not in the direct way I expected; I did meet Boris in that 3 month window, but we didn’t start dating for another 5 or 6.

I would not work for others, I would soon start to work for myself. This is basically coming true now! Perhaps only for a little, but with the long-term goal being to write and earn some money for it.

She predicted a number of things for me, many of which I can’t vouch for yet. She said I’d have a happy marriage, and that I would have a total of 3 kids, including miscarriages, which was slightly disconcerting. She said I’d live a long life, well into my 80’s. I hope she’s right about that one.

Anyway, to hear the medium be reading Boris in such a specific way was fascinating. Time can only tell whether his predictions will come true…

That evening, we went to the chic bar attached to Arnaud’s, French 75. Arnaud’s has been in operation since 1918, and as such, has a rich history. It was opened by a count to serve authentic Creole fare, and has remained a family-owned business for the entirety of its existence. President George H.W. Bush and many others claim Arnaud’s as their favorite restaurant, and the hallway leading up to the Mardi Gras Museum is lined with signed head shots of celebrities and politicians who have enjoyed their time there. We enjoyed ours, to be sure. Also, the cheese plate was stellar.

For our last stop of the night, we made our way to Herbsaint for a late dinner. Probably this was one of the top 3 best dinners of my life; definitely the best in recent memory. Every bite was perfect; I ordered “butter poached gulf tuna with criolla sella chili and lemon,” and Boris & I split the dirty rice. Paired with a light rosé and a “warm chocolate pudding cake with salted caramel, cashew ice cream and cocoa nib caramel corn,” I would say I was more than satisfied by the end of the meal.

No wonder that guy thought I looked pregnant. 😉