Written by Mary Welch Sunday, November 01 2009
|New Orleans: It’s Back and Better|
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|Familiar scene: St. Charles Avenue streetcar
Photo by Jack Edwards
It's tough to go wrong eating in New Orleans. There are more than 1,000 restaurants in the city, so just close your eyes, walk in, and you'll most likely do fine. Of course, there are the tried and true classics. For piping hot beignets, go to Café du Monde; for oysters, go to the Acme Oyster House.
Any restaurant that has local favorite Emeril's touch (NOLA Restaurant, Emeril's New Orleans, and Emeril's Delmonico) is a no-brainer. Also, the city's oldest and most renowned restaurants - Commander's Palace, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, and Broussard's, to name just three - are still in fine form.
And in order to keep yourself in fine form after all this eating, we suggest some walking tours. New Orleans is a great city for strolling about, peeking into secret gardens, looking into windows, and smelling the aroma emanating from the restaurants. (For those of you who remember a less-than-fragrant city, take heart. A new city cleaning company is doing a very good job removing the aura of unpleasantness from the streets.)
Start with the cemetery tour near the French Quarter. St. Louis Cemetery was established in 1789 and provides a fascinating glimpse into the city's religious, racial, and political histories. Robert Florence -- author of New Orleans Cemeteries: Life in the Cities of the Dead and City of the Dead: A Journey Through St. Louis Cemetery # 1, New Orleans, Louisiana -- often conducts these tours.
|Spooky side: Tour a cemetery
Photo by Ann Purcell
The ornate crypts provided more than just a resting place. They provided a resting place that actually stayed in place. The early settlers tried burying their dead in the ground but when the below-sea-level city flooded, caskets would rise up and start floating down the street.
So they went to an aboveground burial method. The body was placed in the crypt for a year and a day, which provided enough time for the heat inside the crypt to essentially provide a natural cremation. After 366 days, the crypt door was opened and the remains swept into a small box. Then the family crypt was ready for the next dearly departed. In that way, generations shared one family crypt.