The Big Easy…the way that I want to live


A few days ago I wrote about taking a trip down south (with my brother Bob) in a couple of weeks. We are ending in New Orleans, but with the arrangements that he’d made, we would only be in the city for a day. As I sat quietly this morning, the thought came, “See if you can change your flight and stay an extra couple of days.” I got onto the Southwest Airlines website and found that not only was the change simple, my new flight was actually less expensive, so my brother (who paid for the tickets) will be getting a partial refund.

When I committed to make the change, I could feel my heart beating in excitement. I felt a little afraid but it was a good feeling. It felt like something I really wanted to do but knew if I over-thought it, I might back out. I didn’t know what those few extra days in New Orleans would look like, but when I thought about them, I felt filled with wonder. It felt like a YES.

So I am asking for input and suggestions, from all of you who know New Orleans. What are your favorite restaurants, bookstores, places to stay? Anything and everything that you love about New Orleans, I would like to hear about, and I will be blogging from there too…letting you know how it unfolds and sharing this adventure…for some reason, it feels less scary to think that you will be coming along with me in spirit.

I’m also aware that if this plan wasn’t for my highest and best good, then it would not have been so simple/easy. When things unfold like this plan has, I know that I am in the flow of Spirit. I’ve spent enough time trying to push my plans and “bright ideas” through (that were not from the larger part of me) to know the difference. When something hasn’t been right, it has also been difficult; full of struggle, anxiety, and effort, and I’ve slogged through my share of those undertakings to recognize them now….before I get in too deep…thank god.

Is something calling to you? Take a step in faith. Know that if it is right for you, then the way will be made clear. Ask the higher part of yourself for guidance. Go forward, trust that if it isn’t right, you’ll know. Let love lead you and you will never go wrong.

Love makes all things easy.” Dwight L. Moody

36 thoughts on “The Big Easy…the way that I want to live”

  1. Your comment – “it feels less scary to think that you will be coming along with me in spirit” jumped out at me. I know I have had the thought at times that “Mary Muncil and/or the flock is with me as I go to do something.” It gives me a warm feeling knowing that all of us are together/joined in spirit as we challenge ourselves or enjoy ourselves. We’ve shared a great deal together. Certainly takes us to a bigger picture/thought ——— we’re never alone.

    1. I’m so happy that you wrote this Mary. I love thinking of “all of us” together going forward on our individual (yet not really) journeys of discovery.

  2. My youngest daughter asked me last week what has happened to me…that i used to have such a sense of adventure…that i used to go any place alone…haven’t done that in years for some deep reason….i have been dreaming of Whitby Island and NW Washington State for weeks on end now…not sure why but I have been feeling it calling….thx for the nudge 🙂

  3. Mary you must take the plantation tour. What touched me was the feelings I experienced from both types; the traditional southern and the Laura: Creole plantation. (Check it out online) Cafe DuMonde for coffee and beignets a must….you can walk off the calories exploring this magical city!

    1. My running shoes will be the first thing that I pack Susan! I imagine myself getting up very early and running around the city, seeing it before most people are starting their days, and then hitting Cafe DuMonde for those treats.

  4. I love, love, love New Orleans and loved it the first moment I drove onto Canal Street. Which was weird because as a Christian I was told by many people that I wouldn’t like it. I felt led to take my kids there for spring break a few years ago and friends thought I was crazy. But we all fell in love with the city and my oldest daughter is now in college at Tulane this year. It is hard to describe why I love this city and I think it is a city that you will fall in love with or hate. The French Quarter is wonderful and you can walk there all day and still see something new when you turn a corner. I tend to avoid Bourbon Street as it is the one place in the city that is gross – smells bad too most of the time. But every other street is wonderful. Absolute must is to go to the cemetery near Treme. It is the one with the Voodoo Queen’s tomb and Nicholas Cage’s tomb (much fun!). Research the cemetery before you go and avoid a tour if you are not into tours. Must have a cup of coffee at Cafe du Monde. You won’t have a problem finding good food – ask some locals in the stores and they will gladly tell you where the good restaurants are. Make time to take the trolley to the Garden District. It is the most beautiful area and you will be enchanted. I just realized that you are going to be there during Mardi Gras! Yes, they have been partying for weeks getting ready for it. Can’t wait to hear how you respond to the city.

    1. I can truly say that I feel different about going to New Orleans than I have ever felt about visiting a city. Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions Kelly! I am so open for this adventure and will have so much fun sharing it with you.

  5. Mary, I went to college in New Orleans just a few years (OK, a few decades) ago, and while many of my favorite (student budget) restaurants won’t be there anymore (RIP Felix’s Oyster House), the Camellia Grill is still going strong. And you have to tour the French Quarter and go to Cafe du Monde for the chicory coffee and beignets. New Orleans has had quite a restaurant renaissance since Katrina; you won’t be lacking for good food, for sure. If I recall correctly, Magazine Street is the place to wander through antique stores. And the weather will be lovely; you (your brother) picked the absolute best time of year. Spring in New Orleans is magical. And ride the trolley!

    1. Oh yes! I agree with Jill! As much as you enjoy a good cup of coffee, Cafe Du Monde and their famous beignets are a treat…outside on the patio, a real New Orleans experience! Yummmm…

      1. I’ll eat an extra beignet and think of you Kathye..only kidding (well, maybe not!)

    2. Thank you Jill! (the b and b I booked is actually on Magazine St.)

  6. The trolley system is a great way to see the city! It will take you almost everywhere you might want to go, and the “daily” ride ticket is quite reasonable.

  7. Marie-Celine

    I lived and worked a few years in New Orleans, and unequivocally say: the New Orleans people are fantastically warm, embracing, outgoing. A drawback is that this is definitely confined to those of white skin. Astounded me, brought up on the West Coast, that we have gone such a very short distance in treating other skin colors as brothers and sisters. Maybe on the drive from Airport to New Orleans proper, you can notice the dire poverty to the left and right. I hold it as a place dear to me because of my friendships there, and am thinking you could eat just about anywhere and scarf right through fabulous food. I think our vision of New Orleans is built on views of The Quarter. Yeh for Preservation Hall. And the Blacks Reign supreme in making that a place ofo musical richness.

    1. Thank you Marie-Celine, …your note reminded me to bring an attitude of open, loving, warmth with me as well.

  8. Brennan’s for Banannas Foster, Commanders Palace. And Galatois all are in the French Quarter. We stayed at the Hotel Montelone in the French Quarter. Marvelous place and full of history

    1. I checked out the Hotel Montelone and it looks fantastic (but was fully booked), but I found a cute B and B on Magazine st….. Brennan’s for Banannas Foster sounds like heaven! Thank you Eileen.

  9. You are goint to New Orleans at the most perfect time….no summer humidity to deal with! All of the suggestions given for places to go are good ones, especially Brennan’s. There are also lots of ghosts in NO, so have your camera ready for ‘wisps’ and orbs.’ And post them for the Flock!

    As an aside, thank you all for your prayers. Had my follow-up CT scan today. As there was no change, I have to have a repeat in May to see if anything further need be done. I can live with that! Yay for breathing room!

    1. Good news, Suzanne. Can’t have too much of that. And “Breakfast at Brennan’s” on a Sunday morning is as famous to me as Breakfast at Tiffany’s (and far tastier).

  10. Hi, Mary. I was born in New Orleans and here are some of my suggestions: is the official New Orleans visitor site and you can look at lots of hotels and restaurants and things to do here. Browse around the site – it’ll take you from now until you go to get through it all.

    You’ll probably want to stay as close to Jackson Square (the heart of the French Quarter as possible) so you can walk – or take a cab – just about anywhere. Parking in the city is horrendous. If you’re a museum buff, there are several (the Cabildo has the history of New Orleans, and there’s a GREAT art museum in City Park). If you have the time, there are full day bus tours up the River Road to visit several plantations – worth every penny! Lots of walking tours of both the Quarter and the Garden District, too. And a cemetery tour is fun!

    One of my family’s favorite restaurants is Mandina’s which is way up Canal Street (cab from the Quarter for sure) – it’s not at all “touristy,” mostly locals. The best place in the Quarter for gumbo (yumm, yumm!) is the Gumbo Shop on St. Peter Street – almost as good as my mother’s was. Felix’s (for oysters or shrimp po’boys) is still open and so is Acme – some locals like one, some the other.

    If you’ve got more questions, you can e-mail me if you’d like.

    I’m jealous … I’m past due to pay a visit home! You will have a BLAST!


    1. Is Felix’s Oyster House still there, Laurie? My absolute favorite for a fried oyster po’boy.

    1. Thank you Diane…I will carry your good wishes with me (and you will be hearing about the trip!)

  11. I love NOLA! The garden district is so pretty, all those beautiful homes, the French Quarter, beneits ( sp) at Cafe Du Monde, yum! Swamp tours are fun, I could go on! Have a wonderful time!

    1. Thank you Terri…the place that I booked (for the 2 extra nights) is in the garden district (and has a salt-water pool) is feeling very exotic and exciting.

  12. Antoine’s and Galatoire’s are my two favorite restaurants in the French Quarter. Tipitina’s for music, art galleries everywhere! Tours of the bayou are fun depending on how much time you have. The Cathedral of St. Louis is magnificent. I love New Orleans. Have fun!

    1. Thank you Pat…Antoine’s has been suggested 3 times so I know it is going to be a place that I will go!

  13. NOLA- – Haven’t been here since Katrina, so this is old advice.
    Hotel Monteleone was my favorite.
    Go to the foot of Canal St. and catch the ferry across the river – -and then right back again – – just to do it.
    Eat at – -Court of Two Sisters is nice – – especially brunch. The last meal you’ll need that day.
    Catch the St. Charles street car out toward Tulane. Get off and stroll
    the boulevard and admire the beautiful homes.
    Check out one of the unique cemeteries with above ground crypts.
    Water table is too high for below ground burial.
    Spend half a day on Jackson Square. Watch the street entertainers.
    Eat at a sandwich shop – – muffelettas., and visit the Cathedral..Late in the day, go to the Cafe du Monde in the end of the French Market. Have some of that rich coffee, and some Beignets ( Those square doughnuts dredged in confectioner’s sugar.
    Don’t wear a dark colored garment. You’ll lok like you got caught in a snowstorm.. Afterward, stroll up onto the Leavee/Riverwalk, and sit and watch the river traffic as the sun sets.
    For jazz music, check out The Preservation Music Hall where the really old time musicians play some great music
    Stroll the French Quarter at night. Royal street and Bourbon street.
    Take time to read the historical markers and plaques.
    Superdome tour is interesting.
    How many days do you have ?

    1. NOLA– that’s so cool! I have a friend who used to live uptown in NYC. We called her neighborhood SOHA; South of Harlem…
      Mary, do EVERYTHING Joe suggests. 🙂

    2. Thank you so much Joe! I’ll only be there from Friday until Monday at noon, but I love these suggestions.

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