Last week I was running errands in the French Quarter with John, when we stopped into Antoine’s Annex for a quick meeting and a cup of coffee. Not that we needed the extra caffeine, we were already bouncing off the walls from the three cups we drank earlier, but sometimes you just have to have one more cup.
Located at 513 Royal Street, the Annex is a clean, well-lit little coffee and sandwich joint which is, I assume from the name, affiliated with Antoine’s Restaurant around the corner on St. Louis (which I have not yet visited…I know!). The black & white decor with splashes of color coming only from the photos on the wall or the food on your plate is elegant and inviting, not to mention a huge tourist magnet.
For some reason, I started thinking about when I was a tourist to this city. Over ten years ago when I first visited New Orleans with my mother, I recall the awe and wonder on our faces as we strolled through the Quarter with its historic architecture, decadent food and exquisite shops…oh the shops! I am pretty sure we walked into every single store on Royal Street from Esplanade to Canal. I suppose the memories came flooding back because Antoine’s Annex was exactly the type of respite we would have sought on that long, 14-block trek. Even as I sat there, trying not to intrude on a meeting I wasn’t involved in, I saw several groups of shopping bag-laden tourists stroll inside to buy a bite to eat or pick up a chocolate gator to take home.
I only stayed long enough to enjoy a delicious Butter Rum Latte, but while I was sipping, it was quite refreshing to take a small trip back into my first memories of the city. I realized that my awe of New Orleans had not diminished – only changed into a deeper, richer understanding of the culture and environs I’ve always loved…even before I was a wide-eyed tourist.