Coming Full Circle: Back in New Orleans

Sandra Bullock’s lovely roof spires!

Actors Sandra Bullock and John Goodman … what could they possibly have in common? If they’d looked out their windows this morning, they would’ve seen me jogging by their Garden District homes.

This is Sandra’s very attractive roof, behind Sandra’s very tall hedge.

Garden District
A gorgeous home in The Garden District of New Orleans.

The way-cool apartment we’re staying in during our visit is one block off St. Charles Avenue, and just across the street from the lovely Garden District, one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in the city. “Across the street” is important in NOLA, because which side of the street you live on can make all the difference.

Apartment Exterior
Our great apartment is in an equally gorgeous double gallery house just across St. Charles Avenue.

Our small apartment is in a classic, double gallery townhouse with 15 ft. ceilings, walk-out windows and massive sliding doors between the parlor and bedroom. The streetcar is a few steps away, and the location is perfect.

New Orleans Apartment
This classy apartment was all ours for a few nights!

As I’ve mentioned before, we started our careers and lived for two exciting years in New Orleans before our gallivanting began. Terri had a challenging but rewarding job teaching high school kids with learning disabilities, and I was a geophysicist for the US Geological Survey. We were incredibly happy and there couldn’t have been a more perfect place to start a life together. We’ve always had a soft spot in our hearts for New Orleans, and it’s been absolutely wonderful being back for a visit.

Jazz was invented in New Orleans.

Of course, New Orleans is known for its wonderful music and fabulous food, and as part of our planning, we researched the best new restaurants to try. But honestly, so far we are still indulging in our favorite local comfort foods – po-boy sandwiches, red beans and rice, muffalettas, coffee with chicory, pastrami and cheese, cafe au lait and beignets, and of course, pralines. There’s a small, popular bistro close to the apartment that has a delicious looking prix fixe menu for lunch, but at lunchtime we’re always too close to an old fave, and we cave in. However, no regrets. There’s a reason it’s called “comfort food”.

Beignets and Cafe au lait at The Cafe Du Monde.

I’ll close this low-brow food discussion with an attempt to redeem myself. If you’ve ever been to the French Quarter, you’ve seen a Lucky Dog Cart.

Lucky Dog
The infamous Lucky Dog cart.

Late at night, after a few too many, nothing dilutes alcohol like a dressed dog. And John Kennedy Toole agrees. In his Pulitzer Prize winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces, the main character, Ignatius J. Reilly, was a vendor on a “Paradise Hot Dog” cart in the French Quarter. Ignatius’ constant battle was eating the profits. And that’s the way it goes in New Orleans.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

13 thoughts

  1. I love New Orleans! Thanks to a work conference I was lucky enough to visit for free. I spent an afternoon wandering around the Garden District. Wow, such amazing homes 🙂 Great post and it makes me want to visit again!

      1. I sure did. I took a lot of pictures and I need to revisit and take a second look at my photos from that trip. While I tackle my organizing/taking a second look at my photo project, I am sure I will have some new material to post on my blog 🙂 The beauty of life, always learning and it keeps me inspired to learn more and more.

    1. Thanks for the comment Dianne, and for dropping by the blog. When we moved to NOLA for our first jobs after university, we thought we’d won the lotto. It was a special time for us and we will always have a soft spot for the city.

    1. Thanks for the comment, and for dropping by the blog. In addition to Lucky Dogs, I must admit that we would also make a stop at the Cafe du Monde. I usually trashed my clothes with powdered sugar, but what a way to go.

  2. this is such a great post and brings back so many memories. our home in natchez ms had three pocket doors – absolutely amazing… the ceilings were ‘only’ 12 feet tall, unlike your 15-foot ones! lucky you, it’s a gorgeous spot to call home! z

    1. Thanks Lisa, for the comment and for dropping by the blog. NOLA is a magical place for sure. We lived there early in our life together, but this was our first post-Katrina visit, and our rented apartment was very cool. I visited your blog and enjoyed (as well as saddened by) the post about Aunt Lulu’s beach house. We drove along the Gulf after Katrina, and were heartbroken to see the horrific destruction. We remember all those old beauties facing the beach, and then they were gone. We haven’t been back since then, and I’m sure they’re recovering. But it will never be the same.

      1. hey! you must be happy to be back in new orleans; i was too exhausted to read any more last night, but you have so many great posts waiting for my attention. it will be like a cyber trip back to new orleans! before katrina, i always took a TACA fligth from costa rica, layover in el salvador, and straight into new orleans. it was so nice to be back ‘in the briar patch’ and work my way north to natchez and up to the misissippi delta. i don’t think TACA reopened that flight, but i should check!

        will be back often to catch up on your posts. they’re beautifully designed and are a feast for the eyes and spirit.

  3. I, too, love NOLA! Hopefully, I can follow in your steps and live there one day if only for a few weeks. Thanks for visiting my blog post. Your blog is excellent!

    1. Thanks Nydia, for the comment and for dropping by the blog. NOLA really is unique in the world, and if you can spend some time there, you will really enjoy it. BTW, we visited Oaxaca a couple of years ago and loved it. Have a great time. ~James

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