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August 18, 2018
New Orleans: “This is an eating town.”

We awoke on Saturday morning to a beautiful sunrise over the Mississippi River from our hotel room window.

Today’s agenda would include a scheduled event: The “Magazine Street Foodie Tour.” It turns out that the best New Orleans food is not in the French Quarter – it’s on Magazine Street, south of the Garden District. (We also found out later that the sponsoring company, “New Orleans Secrets,” is consistently ranked No. 1 or No. 2 on Tripadvisor.)

The foodie tour would start at 11:00 am. But beforehand, Gail decided we needed to have a breakfast of beignets from the world-famous Café du Monde in the French Quarter. After all, she said, “This is an eating town.”

In addition to buses, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority has a streetcar system (like an electric version of San Francisco’s cable cars). We bought two one-day passes ($3 each) and hopped on the Riverfront Streetcar to the French Quarter.

New Orleans’ streetcar system is the oldest in America

At 9:30 am, Café du Monde had a huge line out front. Fortunately, there was a much shorter line in the back if you ordered beignets to go instead of table service. We bought two orders of three beignets each and sat on a nearby park bench.


Note all the powdered sugar on the ground!

After a quick walk through the French Quarter, we took the Canal Streetcar north, connected to the St. Charles Streetcar west, and ended up at Magazine Street.

We were met by Mark Aspiazu, our foodie guide and one of the company founders. We were a small group – the only other participant was Peter, a Shanghai Asian currently living in Los Angeles.

[We should make a quick comment about Asians in New Orleans: There aren’t any. In fact, Peter was only the second Asian we’ve seen since we’ve been here. (The first was a guy in a shop offering foot massages.)

At Mulate’s last night, in the middle of our conversation with the Zydeco band, one of the members suddenly pointed to Russell and said – in complete innocence – “You look kind of Oriental. Are you Oriental?” How does one respond to that?]

Russell being an Asian tourist

For the next three and a half hours, we ate and drank our way down Magazine Street. One stop into our tour, it suddenly started raining. This was actually good news for Gail, who was excited to experience a thunder-and-lightning storm for the first time in years.

Gail enjoys the downpour. She wore an appropriate shirt: “Eat well, travel often.”

Mark has requested that we don’t post any tour details on TripAdvisor – he wants participants to be surprised by what’s in store. But he did give us permission to post a thorough description here on our website.

If you don’t mind being completely spoiled, click here to read a detailed account of our Foodie Tour.

Otherwise, just know that this was an incredible and wonderful experience that we highly recommend.

Partway through the tour, Mark made a detour and took us to his favorite art gallery. Terrance Osborne is a New Orleans celebrity. He has been selected five times to illustrate the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Jazz Fest). He was named “2018 Louisianian of the Year.” And in an amazing surprise, he was there in the gallery when we stopped by.

Terrance proceeded to give us a personal tour of his gallery. He allows photos to be taken. He creates a multi-sensory experience of sight, sound, smell and touch (with fuzzy carpets on the floor). He posts inspirational phrases all over the walls. And he is a uniquely personable and friendly man.

Terrance has an original and colorful art style that Russell fell in love with. In fact, Terrance gave us a free miniature of Russell’s favorite painting. Russell’s new dream is to someday purchase a giclée of “From Nothing.”

With Terrance Osborne in his gallery

Russell fell in love with the painting on the left, “From Nothing.“

After our foodie tour, we finished the afternoon with a walk to the Lafayette Cemetery, where we marveled at the hundred-plus year-old above-ground tombs and mausoleums. Some were so old that they were no longer readable. We spent half an hour poring over gravestones and tramping through mud in the pouring rain.


We finally got back to our hotel at 4:00 pm. Our stomachs were full and our feet were tired!

Gail thought the juxtaposition of these two images – from the French Quarter and the Lafayette Cemetery – was particularly striking


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