New Orleans Adventures: Food, Voodoo, Food, Beer, Food, French Quarter, Food…oh, and a RACE!!

And my 16th state is complete with Louisiana this past weekend in New Orleans! As you can see, there is clearly a part of the US that I need to get to to start evening this out!

I flew to New Orleans on Friday and soon met up with fellow running and twitter friend, James. 20 minutes after I checked into my hotel, we went for dinner at the Oceana Grill which had come recommended to him from a friend. I don’t eat fish/seafood so that cut out about 80% of the menu but knew I’d find something there! I started off my weekend of non-traditional pre-race fueling with some “Gator Bites”. Yes, I had to at least try alligator while in New Orleans…

Ummm…so I’m glad I tried them buuuuut, I don’t need to again. They didn’t really taste like anything but they were a bit chewier than chicken and, to be honest, I had a lot of trouble forgetting what I was eating.

Then I moved onto ribs for my main course…again, traditional race fuel right there!

So, if I’m being honest, the food wasn’t really anything special at this restaurant and, had I done a better google search beforehand I probably would have nixed this idea…I have since discovered that this restaurant was featured on Kitchen Nightmares…and it was a bad one. Like, Chef Ramsey shut the restaurant down immediately. And, if you believe the internet (lol), apparently things haven’t changed much since it was reopened…but, I didn’t get food poisoning so let’s move on!

Saturday morning James and I met for breakfast…I ordered bacon, obviously.

James ordered pancakes…with something that seriously offended the Canadian in me:

Pure maple syrup is the ONLY way to go.

After breakfast we joined a walking tour organized by a company called Free Tours by Foot – this particular one was their Voodoo Tour. Our FANTASTIC guide, Robi, is a practicing Voodooist

And for 2 hours, took us through the streets of the French Quarter and demystified and de-demonized the religion. Starting with the catholic slave owners and then continued by Hollywood directors, the religion of Voodoo has been COMPLETELY miss-represented…it’s almost a boring religion! lol I highly recommend this tour should you find yourself in New Orleans.

Then it was on to packet pick-up and the expo…

Most boring race-shirt ever (not sure why the pic turned out this way, but it’s actually a turquoise colour). And an underwhelming expo – but, I wasn’t looking to buy anything in particular so I wasn’t that put out by it.

Then we had lunch at the famous…

…and had what everyone kept telling me I had to have while in New Orleans…

…a po-boy…a roast beef & ham po-boy to be precise (you know, perfect race fuel lol). I was still full from the alligator and ribs from the night before…I managed to eat half of what was advertised as a small order!

And then I tried (and thoroughly enjoyed) some of James’ bread pudding with brandy!

Then it was back to the hotel for some rest before our pre-race dinner…

On our way to dinner, we encountered a Mardi Gras parade…

Apparently not all Mardi Gras parades include topless women and beads – who knew!? lol

For dinner, carrying on with my non-traditional fueling plan, we went to a Mexican restaurant! Feeling a little over-loaded with meat, I ordered veggie tacos…forgetting that one of the main veggies that seemed to keep appearing on dishes in New Orleans was my arch enemy of vegetables:

The brussels sprout.

But really, who puts brussels sprouts on a taco??? Sigh. Apparently southerners do.

Well guess what folks? Despite vehemently opposing the consumption of these round balls of bitterness since I was 5 years old, I tried one of these in my taco and, well, apparently I have wasted 33 years of brussels sprout eating – they’re not too bad!! lol!!!

Then it was back to the hotel to lay out my race gear for the following morning’s half marathon…

Before I knew it, it was time to meet James in the hotel lobby to head to the start line!

Mandatory pre-race hotel selfies…

Then mandatory pre-race start line selfie…

And let’s address the weather…it was 14C/57F. And I’m wearing a reflective blanket because I’m freezing…despite it being arctic cold back home! I crack me up! lol

Then it was the singing of the American national anthem (which I can now sing pretty well!) and then we were off running!

Now, let’s talk about this race for a minute…I had ZERO plans of racing it. I was very injured for a few weeks in December (and have a nasty scar to remember it by), then I went to Africa where I ran once. My plan was to just run and enjoy myself! And that is exactly what I did! I didn’t look at my watch once and kept an even pace of 7:59min/mile the whole time…it helped that this was the course’s elevation lol

I have no idea where those 5m even were! lol

And, something which I would never do if I was racing, I took this picture along the way – this guy, in these Rock N Roll races, always makes me laugh!

And I cruised across the finish line in 1:44:37, smiling and feeling great!

At the finish line there was unlimited free Michelob Ultra draft beer…

Despite my high hopes, even when free, Michelob is nasty.

James and I took the incredibly well organized shuttles back to the start line (which was basically our hotel)…seriously, look at all the buses they had ready to take runners back! This is why I love Rock N Roll races…they are super organized!!

After showering and changing, James and I met for lunch at Pierre Maspero’s which has some serious history to it…

and did some proper carb replenishing…

After a stop at Cafe du Monday for a beignet…

(sorry our beavertails are better)…We then met up with our second walking tour, again offered through Free Tours by Foot. This time it was their tour of the French Quarter. I highly recommend this tour – and do it at the beginning of your time in New Orleans because it highlights many different areas you might want to visit while you’re there…whereas for us, it just highlighted a whole bunch of areas we didn’t have any more time to visit!

Sunday was GORGEOUS weather and we enjoyed the sights and sounds of the French Quarter

The architecture is absolutely gorgeous…

The history is deep…

General Andrew Jackson led the last major battle of 1812 and prevented New Orleans from being seized by the British…

The oldest cathedral in the United States is here (although it has technically been rebuilt MANY times, but gets to own that title because a few bricks on the far left back corner are original lol)

And, like any major tourist city, it has its fair share of crap…this is a huge market in the French Quarter which could be filled with wonderful locally made crafts, arts, etc…but no, it’s 95% junk made not even on this continent…

Then, before I knew it, it was Monday morning and time for me to fly home…this is what my travel looked like…

Leaving New Orleans and its warmth…

Flying into Toronto…not as warm…

Then landing in Ottawa…aka the arctic. Sigh.

But it was sure good to be reunited with this one!

Happy Thursday!!

EDIT: I should have mentioned how shocked I was when, less than 24 hours after arriving home, New Orleans was struck by 7 tornadoes!! A) I can’t believe my luck and B) I am so saddened that people who already had their lives devastated by Katrina, are facing devastation again. It just doesn’t make sense. Here is a list of organizations you can donate to, to help victims of the tornadoes.

9 thoughts on “New Orleans Adventures: Food, Voodoo, Food, Beer, Food, French Quarter, Food…oh, and a RACE!!

  1. ultrarunner2014

    I have ALWAYS wanted to see New Orleans! Thanks for sharing these pics and especially loved the music and parade! Also, I would kill for a 1:44 half marathon, awesome race kiddo!


  2. Chris

    I ran that marathon the first year it became a RnR race, were the roads still torn up in spots from Katrina?

    You need to start trying seafood now that you have had brussel sprouts! LOL

    FYI- They just got hit by tornadoes yesterday and many homes got destroyed.


    1. 50statecanuck Post author

      Chris…let’s not go all crazy…I could barely handle the alligator because it reminded me of a water dwelling creature!! lol!!
      Yes, I should have mentioned that…had I been racing that race, I’d have been irritated by the condition of the roads – rough, potholes, uneven…definitely not good!
      And yes, I should have mentioned that as well…I couldn’t BELIEVE THE WEATHER!!! Actually, I’m going to go and add that in!! Thanks!!


      1. Chris

        I forgot to mention I agree about Mich Ultra, they sponsor the Bolder Boulder and that can sits in my fridge unless somebody wants a light beer or I use it to cook something!

        Liked by 1 person

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