Help Wanted

The day of reckoning is here. My husband’s family is visiting us for the first time in New Orleans, and I’m feeling oh-so under pressure to perform. We finally have an opportunity to showcase the city in all its glory and act as transplant ambassadors. But even in spite of our boilerplate itinerary and a favorable forecast for belated spring weather, I’ve been worried over minutiae, blanking on ideas for lunch spots, unsure where to take la familia to hear good music. On any other day I can reel off 10 solid places to lunch and dozens of spots to catch a rocking show. But as anxiety mounts and the resolve to ensure they love N’awlins strengthens, I’m starting to feel like … well, a newcomer.

I know it’s sad to be having such a public mini-meltdown like this. But I promise you: All this anxiety isn’t without merit. I didn’t mention it before, but during Mardi Gras one of our many visiting guests, who is a dear friend, was less than thrilled with New Orleans. He hated the parades; was offended by the idea of masked men throwing beads to pleading plebs; and got tired of the endless parties, homogenous crowds and long waits at restaurants. To say the least, I was emotionally scarred when he left, and my “hostess with the mostest” pizzazz was as flat as an Abita beer left in the rain. 

Not everybody will love, or even like, New Orleans. This fact can’t be avoided. People say it’s too dirty, too hot, too polluted (environmentally and politically), too vulnerable, too wild, too un-American. And even though our visiting family hails from Seattle, one of the cleanest, most temperate and progressive modern cities in the country, I’m confident that regardless of how many snafus happen along the way, they will appreciate their stay, our city and its ways and means. 

So with that in mind, I’m hitting the airwaves for suggestions on fun things to do this weekend. Yesterday a friend told me that Super Sunday (the official Mardi Gras Indians parade) was postponed until this Sunday, March 28. She also told me how she perchance found out about it: While watching the news this weekend, she saw footage of a woman looking like a fool as she tried to dance MG Indian-style at last year’s parade. That woman was I. If anyone else saw it, I apologize for the ghastly sight.

Anyway, so far we plan to do the Quarter tour, a driving tour, dinner at a few nice restaurants, a drink at the Columns and Super Sunday. Any other suggestions? One disclaimer is that our tween nephew is coming, so we need to make sure the mature beauty of New Orleans isn’t too boring for him. As of yet, his only requirements are going to the Audubon Insectarium and the aquarium and swimming in a roof top pool. 

I’d like for us to do a swamp tour and a serious ghost tour. We’d also like to hear music at a spot that’s not too suggestive (or smoky). Any thoughts? As always, it’s greatly appreciated.

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