RT Convention 2014 – New Orleans – Part II

In between RT sessions, we all went out to explore the wonderful French Quarter of New Orleans, obviously an absolute must-see for anyone visiting the town.

For someone who loves history and old houses, it was a complete gold-mine!  Street after street with old-fashioned houses, covered in wrought iron balconies, window shutters and hanging baskets.  Ornate doorways and hidden courtyards, old paving stones worn smooth by thousands of feet, mimosa and acacia trees, intricate verandahs and porches …  I couldn’t stop taking pictures and here is a small selection – believe me, I have lots more!

Music – mostly in the form of various types of jazz – is of course very much a part of the New Orleans ambience.  Not just in the bars and cafes, but on every street there were musicians and buskers and wherever you went, your feet were tapping.  On one street corner a group of kids were doing proper tap-dancing (the youngest surely no older than three and such a sweetie!).  A group of Christians sang out their messages on another, and late on Saturday night we came across a wedding party dancing their way down a street in the wake of a marching band – fascinating!


The local food had to be sampled and I did my best to try all the specialities – gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, crawfish cakes and even alligator.  And the absolute favourite – beignets.  I left the cocktails to others, but loved the names like ‘Hurricane’ and ‘Blue Bayou’ 🙂

Magic and voodoo featured hugely in all the shops, so a visit to one of the cemeteries became another must.  We saw the grave of the supposed ‘voodoo queen’ and knocked on it three times (to gain her attention) before leaving an offering.  The cemetery was a very evocative place, with some of the graves and monuments crumbling, while others were brand new.  A lot of French names added a distinctly Southern flavour.

So many impressions crowd my mind – the heat and humidity, the Southern drawl sprinkled with “y’all” in every other sentence, the friendliness of everyone, the vibrant colours and insistent beat of the famous Bourbon Street at night, the beautiful street cars (trams), sparrows stealing crumbs at café tables, the paddle steamboat, crudely made voodoo dolls and Mardi Gras bead necklaces, Café du Monde …  I think I might just have to go back in order to absorb it some more!

Bourbon Street at night

Bourbon Street balcony

Marching band for wedding party

Bride and groom dancing

Jazz band

Mardi Gras beads

Voodoo queen's grave


Cheeky sparrow

Cafe du Monde

Paddle steam boat


Mimosa tree

Lovely balcony seen from inside restaurant

Voodoo doll

Sue Moorcroft and I with a Stormtrooper! (found in a NO bar)


  1. Brilliant – it looks great. I wonder if the Voodoo Queen gets fed up with all the knocking!

    Comment by Chris Stovell — May 20, 2014 @ 11:54 am

  2. LOL! Yes, she’s kept very busy with requests all day long! 🙂

    Comment by Christina Courtenay — May 20, 2014 @ 12:16 pm

  3. It definitely looks like my kind of place! Love the buildings and the cemeteries. Another friend went to New Orleans last month, and she brought me back a Voodoo doll. Fantastic pictures – thanks for sharing them with us. 🙂 (Bet the poor Voodoo Queen has a thumping headache at the end of each day.)

    Comment by Berni Stevens — May 20, 2014 @ 12:53 pm

  4. It would be the perfect place for you to set one of your books, Berni! You’d love it 🙂

    Comment by Christina Courtenay — May 20, 2014 @ 3:37 pm

  5. It really IS a fantastic city!!!

    The food, the music, the atmosphere, the buildings…….

    You’ll be back!!


    Comment by John Jackson — May 20, 2014 @ 6:58 pm

  6. John – I think you’re right! It was my kind of place, with lots of history 🙂 And I never had time to go on the paddle steam boat, so definitely need to go back.

    Comment by Christina Courtenay — May 20, 2014 @ 9:40 pm

  7. Great descriptions, Christina. Thank you for sharing the experience 🙂 x

    Comment by Laura E. James — May 21, 2014 @ 10:01 am

  8. Sounds wonderful & you now have me very keen to visit there as well 🙂 loved the photos.

    Comment by Tina Brown — May 21, 2014 @ 1:05 pm

  9. Just catching up with parts 1 and 2 – thanks so much for giving us a flavour of what sounds like a wonderful trip!

    Comment by Kathryn Freeman — May 21, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

  10. Thank you for your comments, Laura, Tina and Kathryn!

    Comment by Christina Courtenay — May 21, 2014 @ 11:20 pm

  11. Wasn’t NOLA wonderful? I would dearly love to go back – this time with my family! Cait Miller and I stayed at a traditional New Orleans hotel the week before, an old house that was reputed to be haunted – and we had a wonderful time! Still didn’t see everything!

    Comment by Lynne Connolly — May 25, 2014 @ 3:41 pm

  12. Yes, it was great – lovely to see you too!

    Comment by Christina Courtenay — June 6, 2014 @ 9:06 pm

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