Our Autodesk vacation policy for employees in the United States is 2 weeks per year. Unlike other American companies, we don't earn additional vacation as we gain seniority with the company. What we get instead is a 6-week sabbatical every 4 years. I am enjoying mine right now. For the last month, my wife and I rented an apartment on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
New Orleans is a unique place. It has its own cultures (Creole and Cajun), music (New Orleans style jazz), unique food (lots of seafood), and architecture (Spanish combined with French).
- Louisiana Creole people are those who are descended from the colonial settlers in Louisiana, especially those of French, Spanish, and African descent. The term was first used during colonial times by the early French settlers to refer to those who were born in the colony, as opposed to those born in the Old World. Creole culture typically exhibits an old city life European style.
- Louisiana Cajun people are an ethnic group that traces their roots to the influx of Acadian settlers to Louisiana after their expulsion from what is now Nova Scotia, Canada. I am a Cajun on my mother's side. Cajun culture typically exhibits a friendly out in the country style.
All good things must come to an end. While in New Orleans, we drank at bars and ate in restaurants — many of these places more than once. Have you been to any of these?
- The Old Opera House (a.k.a. Opra [sic] House) on Bourbon Street
- The Beach on Bourbon Street
- Napoleon House (home was offered to Napoleon, he never accepted, but the name stuck)
- Marigny District (up and coming neighborhood next to the French Quarter)
- Club Negril
- The Spotted Cat Music Club
- Blue Nile
- Carousel Bar at the Montleone Hotel (the bar really rotates)
- Muriel's Balcony overlooking Jackson Square (has a table set for Antoinne's ghost and his guest)
- Lafitte's Bar (established in 1772, oldest bar still operating in the United States)
- Pat O'Brien's (inventor of the hurricane drink as a way to sell a windfall load of rum)
- 801 Royal
- Hermes Bar at Antoinne's (every President since Taft has eaten at Antoinne's)
- Pelican Club
- The Swamp (still has a mechanical bull that patrons can ride)
- Pere Antoine's
- Café Du Monde (the originator of beignet powdered sugar donuts)
- Mona Lisa (paper table cloths come with crayons so patrons can take a stab at drawing the famous painting)
- TasteBuds walking food tour:
- Serio's (owner has been to every LSU college football game, home and away, for last 37 years)
- Café Beignet
- Old Coffee Pot (established in 1894)
- Johnny's Po Boys (first restaurant to reopen after Hurricane Katrina)
- Laura's Candies
- Café Amelie (unfortunately we sat a rat in the courtyard, just before dessert, and did not return)
- Ralph's at the Park
- Café by the Square
- K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen (Chef Paul Prudhomme popularized blackened dishes)
- Tableu (very pretentious servers)
- Mr. B's Bistro ($1.50 martinis available with lunch)
- Deannie's Seafood in Bucktown
- Coop's Kitchen
- Clover Grill (Brad Pitt was filmed there in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons)
- Maspero's (housed in an old slave exchange building)
- Court of Two Sisters (best Sunday jazz brunch on the planet)
- Café Pontalba (part of the oldest apartment building in Louisiana)
- Charters House
- Quarter Master General Store (open 24 hours a day and will deliver anything)
- Mother's (debris roast beef po boy to die for)
- Eat New Orleans (might be the best meal we had in New Orleans)
- Felix's Oyster House (char-grilled oysters in garlic butter with parmesan and bread crumbs)
- Port of Call (hamburgers that are 2 inches thick)
- NOLA (another great meal)
- Something Else
- Oceana Grill
- Manning's (great sports bar)
- Bayona (OK but over-priced; my brother picked up the check)
- Charlies [sic] Seafood of Harahan
- Tujague's (very old New Orleans style)
- Popeye's Louisiana Chicken (best fast food on the planet)
- Katie's (get the Boudreaux pizza)
- Robears [sic] Snowballs and Soft Serve of Harahan
We are thankful for the time we spent in New Orleans. Our families, friends, and locals made it a month to remember.
"I've got my suitcase in my hand
Now, ain't that a shame
I'm leavin' here today
Yes, I'm goin' back home to stay
Yes, I'm walkin' [from] New Orleans"
— “Walking To New Orleans,” Bobby Charles and Fats Domino, 1960.
Real life will all too soon be alive in the lab once again.