House of the Week: Greek Revival side hall on Prytania Street

When I moved from the Carrollton neighborhood and back to the Garden District three years ago, there was a house just a few doors down that had been almost wholly razed except for the foundation. As the months passed, construction began, and after a year or so, it almost looked as if it had always been there. They designed the new house (at least the exterior) to look practically identical to the 1830s-era home they tore down.

While I am generally not a fan of new construction, I was pretty impressed with this particular house. Not only was the foundation and structure essentially the same, but they also kept the old wrought-iron railings and fleur de lis fence. One day, I noticed a Re/Max sign mounted on the fence and as soon as I got home, I looked it up online to see photos of the interior, but strangely enough, it is nowhere to be found. Even to this day, I can’t find it on Remax, Realtor, or Zillow. I mean, is the house for sale or not?

Every day, I walk by the house and hope the sign has come down or has the “sold” or “under contract” bit added to it. After all, a beautiful house like this one just sitting empty pains me deep down inside.

One day I was standing outside the house, admiring it while Pippin took his time smelling the grass out front when an older gentleman walked towards us and paused to grasp the front gate with both hands and stare up at the house. Being the social person I am, I commented on how long the house had been on the market and that I hope someone buys it soon. He turned to me and said, “It used to be my house!”

It seemed he was eager to talk about it and I love to listen to people’s stories, so over the next half hour or so, he regaled me with tales about his life on Prytania Street. From a  polite, but uninvited Mardi Gras guest who crashed on their couch to the neighborhood dachshund who wandered about freely impregnating female dogs he found in heat, it seemed the quirky and hilarious tale would never end.

The man told me how he had to sell the house because they could no longer afford the upkeep, but that he dearly misses it and the neighborhood. They miss it so much, in fact, that his wife and their dog still get their hair done at the same neighborhood shops they’ve always frequented in the past.

I hope I see him again in a month or so to hear more stories about their life in the Garden District. Until then, I am planning on calling a realtor to get a tour of the house, although I know I couldn’t even come close to affording it! I don’t know about you, but I am dying to see what they did and didn’t change on the inside.

Celebrating 48 Years: Palm & Pine

Though some might believe it makes me a terrible food writer, I’m notoriously bad at patronizing pop-ups. I’ll mark them on my Google calendar, get all excited about trying new dishes from daring young chefs eking their way towards their own brick & mortar. Then almost inevitably, something will prevent me from attending … IE. illness, car trouble, money issues, a heated argument with my SO, my lazy ass … you get the idea.

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Trading Thai for tapas

When the Spanish-inspired Costera Restaurant & Bar opened in the Prytania Street building that formerly housed La Thai, I was easily one of the first to try it. My zealousness was not due to the type of restaurant nor was I overly anxious to see what Brian Burns, formerly chef de cuisine at Peche, had in store (well, in all honesty, I was actually a little excited about that). But what really pulled me in there, no joke, was the fact that Costera was an Uptown spot that was open all day long.

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House of the Week: Side Hall Cottage on Constance St.

This past Saturday, my friend and real estate agent Zuheily from NOLA Living Realty invited me to her first solo listing. She knew there was no way I could afford this particular property, but she also knew how smitten I am with classic New Orleans architecture and the open house offered an opportunity for me to step inside a private building that was nearly 140 years old.

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Looking back on 2017

Since 2013, Eater New Orleans (or should I say editor/writer extraordinaire Gwendolyn Knapp) would hit me up for dining reflections of the past year and predictions for the next. This year, I was not asked and I have to confess, I was a little bummed. Perhaps it was because the new editor, Stephanie Carter, doesn’t know me from Adam or perhaps my recent slump in food blogging deterred her from seeing me as a reputable source … whatever the reason, I still feel the need to share. Whether or not this information is valuable is for you to decide …

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Mini-vacation at Angeline

Best okra ever!
Best okra ever!

Far too long ago, John and I ventured into the French Quarter to enjoy brunch at what has become one of the city’s most popular restaurants, Angeline. I don’t know about you, but whenever I go into the Quarter, especially on a sunshine-filled day, I like to pretend I’m on vacation. I imagine that my suitcase filled with summer clothes is stashed in an elegant room in the Hotel Monteleone or the Ritz Carlton while John and I explore the beauty of the city with no worries, no deadlines, no work … just a day of unadulterated fun. Continue reading

House of the week: Mary Plantation on Hwy 39

While people are spending millions to live in a 500 sq. ft. flat in Manhattan or a tract home in Northern California, you could have your very own plantation for little over a million. Located in Braithwaite, Louisiana, approximately 22 miles from downtown New Orleans, there is for sale a property that is over two centuries old offering over 2500 sq. ft. of living area and over ten acres of land. Continue reading

Willa Jean: A Parking Story

Grilled Gulf Fish Sandwich with tartar sauce and slaw on a Hawaiian Roll

Not to sound like a snot, but growing up around a major metropolis like San Francisco has taught me a few solid rules to follow when parking in the city. First, never park illegally or you will most definitely be ticketed, booted and/or towed. Second, never ever leave anything inside your car that can be seen from outside, that is unless you’re looking to have your window busted in and that item (and possibly your whole car) stolen. Finally, and central to the point of this blog, always pay the full amount on the meter whether you think your stay will be shorter or not. City time is different from any other kinds of time and there are tons of reasons one can get held up. Isn’t a $3.50 fee better than a $50 parking ticket? I would also add that when parking on a hill, be sure to turn your wheels, but in New Orleans that is (thankfully) not something anyone has to worry about. Continue reading