Archive for August, 2011

Destination Relaxation: New Orleans, Louisiana “The Big Easy”

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

The French Quarter - New Orleans, Louisiana

The old world flavor and laid back attitude has the power to entice and enchant. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in The French Quarter. Located on the Mississippi River, the Quarter was established by the French in 1718 as a military outpost and port for commerce. In 1763, New Orleans was acquired by Spain. French and Spanish melded together, along with African influences from the slave population, and Creole society and cuisine were born. The entire city burned in 1788 and the Quarter was rebuilt. In time, the Creole’s expanded beyond the Quarter’s boundaries but The French Quarter still remains the heart and soul of New Orleans. There are many beautiful hotels located directly in the French Quarter. I highly recommend The Iberville Suites, starting at $124/night located at Dauphine and Iberville in the French Quarter. This hotel is absolutely beautiful, filled with marble and antiques. The rooms have a separate living area with TV, wet bar, refrigerator and coffee maker. Feather pillows grace the beds along with another TV in the bedroom. Have the valet park your car and enjoy the area on foot. Everything in the Quarter is within walking distance, even the Riverfront Park where you can catch the Natchez Steamboat for a Mississippi tour.

Map of The French Quarter      
Exit the Iberville, walk one block towards the river, take a left and find yourself on famous Bourbon Street. You’ll lose count of the number of different bands playing as you stroll Bourbon Street. From jazz and blues, to dixieland and even 80’s rock – this street gets all of the senses going as delicious smells from the restaurants whaft out into the air and flowers, lights, balconies and people make it hard to watch where you’re going as you take it all in.

One of the best highlights of New Orleans is the food, and there are an abundance of restaurants in the French Quarter to delight the taste buds. We stepped in to Mike Anderson’s Seafood Restaurant on our first night and what a fantastic choice it was. What trip to New Orleans would be complete without sampling crawfish tails, alligator, cajun and creole cuisine? With so many delicious items on the menu it’s hard to make a choice, so we both opted for the seafood sampler platter.

Fine Dining in The French QuarterThis broiled seafood platter has it all! Crawfish scampi, seafood stuffed bell pepper, oyster Bienville, stuffed mushroom, crabmeat stuffed shrimp, stuffed crab, shrimp supreme, Mike’s special and a fish fillet. Everything is absolutely delicious, and I challenge you to eat the whole thing! After such a wonderful meal, it feels great just to stroll along Bourbon Street, hand in hand. As with any tourist destination, there are plenty of souveigner shops to browse. But the real treat on Bourbon Street is the music. Relax and check out all the bands you want. When you find that one you really like, stop and stay awhile. But don’t forget to have a Hurricane for a night cap!
Pat O'Brien's Hurricane

If you’re going to try this famous drink, why not do it at Pat O’Brien’s – the home of the Hurricane. Located at Bourbon and St. Peters, this world famous bar has something for everyone. The old carriageway entrance, located on St. Peters Street, will delight you with its old slate flooring and crossed muskets representing every country that once raised its flag over the City of New Orleans. From there, you can enjoy the main bar (the locals’ favorite), piano bar or the courtyard. You must stop by at night to enjoy the patio and the legendary “Flaming Fountain.

Just one block down from Bourbon Street lies Royal Street. Here you will find an abundance of antique and souveigner shops to tempt you. This street is a wonderful example of history and architecture. From The Merieult House (533 Royal), the oldest house on Royal Street built in 1792, LaBranche House’s ironwork balconies, The Court of Two Lions (1798), the Coudreau Mansion, and the wrought iron of the Bank of the United States from the early 1800’s, to name a few.
St. Louis Cathedral - New Orleans

Famous today for Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street, The Quarter is rich in history and architecture. Jackson Square, located across from the river on Decatur Street is surrounded by the St. Louis Cathedral, (the oldest cathedral in the United States) the 200 year old Presbytere and Cabildo which house collections from the Louisiana State Museum. Now a popular meeting place full of street performers, Jackson Square was once used as a military parade ground and a stage for public executions. Just down from the square is the historic French Market. Established in 1791, it is the oldest farmer’s market in the United States.

While on the riverfront, catch a ride on the Natchez Steamboat for a beautiful view of the Quarter and New Orleans from the Mississippi River. Listen to the sounds of the Dukes of Dixieland while enjoying lunch or dinner on this 2 hour cruise. Or, hop the John James Audubon for a 7 mile cruise linking from the Audubon Zoo and the Aquarium of the Americas.

As night descends on the French Quarter, let your imagination run wild as you walk the narrow, cobblestone streets. Voodoo, mysticism, ghosts, spirits and vampires… Experience for yourself the eerie legends of New Orleans with a guided tour. The New Orleans Ghost Tour leaves every evening at 8pm from the steps in front of Cafe du Monde, just across from Jackson Square. Don’t forget to visit the tomb of Marie Laveau, the city’s most famous voodoo priestess located in St. Louis Cemetery #1.

Or, catch the St. Charles Streetcar Line and take a guided tour of the Garden District with it’s beautiful old mansions and Lafayette Cemetery #1. The cemeteries of New Orleans are truly unique to the region. New Orleans lies below sea level. Due to this fact, the people had to come up with a different way to inter their loved ones or their caskets would float to the surface after burial. As a result, loved ones are put in above ground family tombs. After a certain time period, the bones are removed from the casket and old bones in the tomb are pushed out of the way to make room for the new. Some of these tombs are truly spectacular and have given rise to a new meaning of the term “grave robber.” The cemeteries now have a problem with artifacts being stolen and sold in antique shops.

Oak Alley Plantation - New Louisiana

Set aside a day or two to tour the plantations in the area and the swamps. Combination tours are available through Gray Line Tours. If you only have time to visit one plantation, Oak Alley Plantation is the must see. Built in 1839, by a wealthy French Creole sugar planter from New Orleans as a summer home, this Greek-Revival style home is beautifully set off by the 1/4 mile canopy of giant oak trees that are almost 300 years old.

Travel Suggestions

Call ahead to find out what events are happening in the French Quarter before you make your travel plans.

You may want to experience the frenzy and crowds of Mardi Gras. But if you’re looking for a few less people, you might want to enjoy the Quarter at a quieter time.

These are only a few of the highlights of The French Quarter, New Orleans and the surrounding area. Whether you’re looking for romantic evenings or swamps draped in Spanish moss, The Big Easy has it all!
See Related Posts: #Travel #NewOrleans

“Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!”

Six Sentence Sunday 8/28/2011

Sunday, August 28th, 2011
By , @Writing2Day

From my work in progress: April leaves the party to meet a new suitor.

Surrounded by darkness, she had to pick her way carefully through the garden. The moon had gone behind the clouds leaving no light to help guide her way. The night was still as could be and a dense fog had already rolled in off the ocean. The laughter and music from the house slowly faded away as she made her way towards the stables. Up ahead she thought she heard a branch snap and nervously giggled at herself for being so spooked. The outline of the stables loomed in the distance and she quickened her pace as she reached the pasture.

If you’d like to join in the fun, Twitter #sixsunday or go to the website at Six Sentence Sunday.

Time to Call it a Day

Thursday, August 25th, 2011
By , @Writing2Day

I think it’s been a really productive day on the writing front. My goal for this morning was to finish Chapter 8, putting my novel over 70,000 words. Accomplished! Yeah, woot, woot and all that jazz!

The Writing Forum is now live on the website, too. Yes, it has definitely been a productive day. I’ve been dinking around trying to customize and integrate a forum into my website for a few days now. Although I know I could figure it out and usually relish the challenge and the newfound knowledge, I want to get back to the reason I decided to put up a website to begin with – writing. I stumbled upon a nice little application that went up pretty seamlessly with just a small amount of modification and I am happy. Now I can move on.

I’m really looking forward to having the forum on the site. Hopefully we will come up with some fun topics and really support and encourage each others work. Oh, and I managed to get my clock totally cleaned in a boxing match with my son on Kinect. 10 minutes was all it took and I really thought I might keel over, lol.

To your writing success!
Kendra Leah

So You’re Putting Up Your Own Website? A Helpful Checklist

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

The Closet Entrepreneur by Kendra Leah Fuller

By , @Writing2Day

I’ve been very busy over the past few days customizing and making tweeks to my new website.  It’s nowhere close to being done but as I’m working out the tweeks and kinks, it occurs to me that I need to remind myself of some of the basics when developing a new website.

First and foremost, “Keep it simple stupid!”  I shout this at myself because this time around I definitely need a reminder. I have not been actively pursuing web design for about three years now and my how the landscape has changed, especially when it comes to social marketing. I’m thinking back to my online retail store and what was going on with web design and online marketing at that point. Google AdWords was where it was at for our business, along with SEO pages that consistently ranked on page one of Google. Not much has changed as far as Google, it is still the end all, be all of search but now the world is full of tweets, likes, shares, diggs and whatnots. (more…)

Six Sentence Sunday 8/21/2011

Sunday, August 21st, 2011
By , @Writing2Day

From my work in progress: April meets her soon to be lover’s estranged wife.

Her view was blocked by a tall blond woman whose pale features looked like a chiseled statue under her severely pulled back hair. April quickly took the woman in, marveling at the presence she commanded as she strode towards her. Her dark green eyes were her most striking feature but April couldn’t help but notice that they seemed devoid of any warmth, belying the smile on her perfectly shaped mouth. She knew instinctively that the woman was intent on talking with her and she braced herself, feeling very uneasy in the cold stare. “Quite a party, isn’t it?” The woman’s eyes did not waver for a moment from April’s face.

If you’d like to join in the fun, Twitter #sixsunday or go to the website at Six Sentence Sunday.

My First Six Sentence Sunday

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
By , @Writing2Day

Below are the first six sentences of the opening scene to my novel, the year is 1898. If you’d like to join in the fun, Twitter #sixsunday or go to the website at Six Sentence Sunday.

The wrought iron gate creaked in the morning fog.  April hesitated, then continued up the path to the main house.  Her footsteps echoed on the cobblestones, lending an eeriness to the still morning air.  As she entered the courtyard, the house loomed above her.  The grave stone walls were faded from years spent in the harsh sea air, their only color a coat of ivy weaving an emerald pattern in the morning dew.  A slight breeze lifted the leaves, seeming to give the house a life of its own.

Missing my Golden Retriever

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

My beautiful dog Jazz. 6/14/2000 – 8/9/2011

Such a heavy heart this week. My beautiful puppy dog Jazz passed away Tuesday morning with her head in my lap. This was something totally unexpected. Yes, she was 11 so we knew her time left with us was limited. But she was a very healthy dog until this past Saturday. It wasn’t but two months ago that we were fishing and she came running full throttle down the dirt road when it was time to go home.

She loved to go fishing. She knew we were going before we even said it out loud. When we’d go out to get things ready she would bark in an angry tone that said, “Don’t you even think about not taking me, too!”

She had such different relationships with everyone in the family. My husband was the lap she could still sit on and the tosser of her favorite snack – popcorn. My daughter, who picked her out at the state fair 11 years ago, was the one she would lay her head on her lap just inches (sometimes less) from her dinner plate and beg with those soft brown eyes. My son was the one she ran and hid from when we first brought him home as a baby, but he soon became a favorite person to play “toss the sock” with. I can’t tell you how many good pairs of socks had holes in them from Jazz, she absolutely loved socks. And to me, she was my constant companion.

I was the one she knew would get up and let her out at any time of the day or night, she never even asked anyone else to do it. She slept beside me most nights by the side of the bed and every morning I’d have to check where it was safe to put my feet so I didn’t step on her. I’d go downstairs and within a few minutes she would follow and our day together would begin. Oh how I loved to pet her head and feel that soft fur under my fingers. I was never allowed to get by without a handshake, or three or four. She would lay beside me in my office always and join us all in the living room at night.  In her later years, when she would go outside to go potty she would bark to come back in as soon as she was done. She considered herself one of us and didn’t want to spend any more time away than necessary it seems. We used to laugh at her on a morning when there was dew in the grass. This dog who would go out of her way to splash in a puddle or hop in the lake, really didn’t like to step on the grass when it was wet – go figure.

She didn’t make much noise, so it’s hard to explain how it feels so quiet around here now. I guess it’s that her constant presence is gone and you realize how she was there in everything that you did. I missed not seeing her there when I got out of bed yesterday morning, not being right beside me when I opened a loaf of bread to make a sandwich (she loved the heels and knew they were hers), not having her come over for a the first pet of the day and then laying down beside me. Oddly enough, I know I heard her collar tags shake yesterday morning. I think it was her way of letting me know she is still here beside me.

We buried her in the middle of my flower garden with her belly facing the sun. She loved to lay there and sun herself, relaxing as only a dog can. My daughter, who is away at college, chose not to come home to see her before we laid her to rest. Choosing instead to remember her the way she was. My eight year old son, through his tears, asked me, “Maybe this year at the state fair we could pick out another one.” I’m not sure if we’ll be ready for that a month from now. But why do I get the sneaking suspicion that somewhere down the road when he is in college we will be repeating this whole process.

I love you Jazz. I hope you are exploring by a lake up in heaven right now. Thank you for all the years of love and joy you brought into our lives.

By , @Writing2Day