The French Quarter – long associated with the less savory side of adult living – is also home to some great restaurants, some terrific museums and art galleries, and several nice stretches of scenic river views and breathtaking Spanish architecture. Every time I am in the French Quarter, the tourists I see most are in the form of families, taking in a river boat ride or queuing up outside the renowned Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.
Of course, one of New Orleans’ most enduring and popular symbols has to be Cafe du Monde, which is located right in the French Quarter and is just a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River. People from all over the world make a “pilgrimage” to sample it’s scrumptious, if simple, menu.
Why have they come since 1862? The Beignet, that flaky, puffy, crispy outside, soft inside, ensconced in powdered sugar, wait-did-I-just-eat two-or three?-delicacy New Orleanians and friends of New Orleans have been biting into year after year after year. It’s as New Orleans as gumbo, jazz, the Mississippi River, the Saints, the saints, and St. Charles Avenue.
My two year old daughter, Lilly, recently bit into a beignet (and then ran all around Jackson Square, with her father in close pursuit) again and again and again until, well, it was gone. It was her first whole beignet (previously she’d only sampled slithers of her mom and dad’s), and it was a mess. Powered sugar (for the uninitiated: the beignet would be fine by itself but we have a thing about “MORE” around here, so you simply have to have your beignet with an amount of powdered sugar roughly equal to the size of the pastry itself) everywhere! It was great.
Count us among the contrarians who think the French Quarter has something for everyone.