US travel

Eating Through NOLA 2023

I first visited New Orleans with my daughter in April of 2015. (See previous posts regarding Layfette Cemetery, a swamp tour, visiting Laura Plantation, and, of course, the fabulous food!)

During that visit I was especially mindful of, and mentioned, wheelchair accessibility.

I returned to New Orleans in February of 2023, this time with my two sons and their ladies, and our two service dogs.

Four adults - two men and two women - with two black and white service dogs, standing on the riverside pathway between the French Market and the Mississippi River.
(Left to right) Spencer and Leah, with Harley and Kilo, and Kealoha and George

Our main focus was finding great food throughout the day, and taking the dogs to new and welcoming places!

(Note: Although I had visited some of these locations previously, Leah researched and suggested many of the restaurants, and George found two out-of-area parks for the dogs to explore.)

In a future post – “Kilo and Harley Visit New Orleans” – I will focus on the dogs, parks, cigar shops, cemeteries, and parades.

But this post is all about NOLA food!


Bearcat Cafe – Uptown

Plate of four biscuits, with small containers of jelly and butter

Although Kealoha had to work online during the week, her 11:00 am start time on Wednesday allowed us to travel to Bearcat Cafe on Jena Street for breakfast.

We were seated inside, where Kilo and Harley were able to lay quietly under the table and out of the way. Our server was patient with our questions, gave good suggestions for gluten-free / special diet entries, and even shared the recipe for the outstanding cauliflower grits!

(To read more, see my TripAdvisor review of Bearcat Cafe, and more yummy photos!)

Cafe Du Monde

Since this was the first time Leah and Kealoha had visited NOLA, of course we had to take them to a New Orleans classic: Cafe du Monde.

We were staying in an AirB&B on Frenchmen Street, an easy 30-minute walk to Decatur Street and the powdered sugar-coated goodness of beignets and cafe au lait. Again the dogs lay at our feet, unfazed by the people, the boisterous jazz ensemble on the corner, or the little birds seeking sugary crumbs.

Two-photo collage, each with black and white dog lying on ground underneath chairs at Cafe du Monde, New Orleans

To accommodate Kealoha’s work schedule, we went early on a Tuesday morning and were delighted to find many empty tables. We each ordered a cafe au lait and a plate of beignets: three freshly-fried puffs of pastry heaping with powdered sugar. Yum!

Two-photo collage of beignets, cafe au lait, and a man sitting at a table and eating a beignet, taken at Cafe du Monde, New Orleans.
If you don’t end up wearing some powdered sugar, have you even really been to Cafe du Monde?
Two men and two women sitting at small round tables, eating beignets and drinking cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans


Commander’s Palace

In 2015 Amanda and I had a birthday lunch at Commander’s Palace, and I wanted my sons to have the same great experience. So I encouraged them to have a “day date” with their ladies and take them to a fancy lunch.

Image of two men and two women sitting at table and ready to order lunch at Commander's Palace in New Orleans.
Bird's eye view of restaurant table, with four entries and beverages, and a man and a woman eating. Taken at Commander's Palace, New Orleans

They all ordered the special “Mardi Hog” pork belly lunch, George imbibed in the 25-cent martinis, and the four of them shared a strawberry shortcake for dessert. They came home full and happy!

Two-photo collage, one of "Mardi Hog" lunch plate of pork belly, and one of martini glass with strawberry shortcake dessert in foreground, Commander's Palace, New Orleans

District Donuts, Sliders and Brew

Two plates of desserts on a table, including donuts, cinnamon roll and cookie, with District Donuts, Sliders, Brew box in the background.

One afternoon we grabbed lunch at District Donuts on Harrison, another suggestion of Leah’s. Although we missed breakfast and the Hot Chicken and Honey Butter Biscuit, we were delighted with the sliders and desserts we ordered!

Click link for TripAdvisor review of District Donuts on Harrison.

Coop’s Place

Traveling from Florida, Kealoha and George arrived in New Orleans a few hours before we Texians did. Kealoha had to work, so George found a cigar shop (Crescent City Cigars) and chatted with Tracy, the owner, who recommended we eat at Coop’s Place on Decatur.

We had lunch there the next day, and found Tracy’s recommendation to be spot-on! Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage, Steak Po boy, Cajun Pasta, and Blackened Redfish. All delicious!

Two-photo collage of red beans and rice with smoked sausage, and a steak po boy, taken at Coop's Place in New Orleans.
Close-up view of plate of blackened redfish with green beans and a wedge of lemon on the side, taken at Coop's Place, New Orleans.

And the pups were comfortably tucked under the table, enjoying the smells!

Camellia Grill

Image of a bBowl of gumbo and rice, taken at Camellia Grill in New Orleans.

As we were planning our trip – and our food destinations – I had only one request: Gumbo at Camellia Grill! And it was as delicious as I remembered!

Click here for TripAdvisor review of Camellia Grill plus more photos of deliciousness!


Cochon Butcher

Image of muffaletta sandwich, cut into four wedges, on a white plate marked "Butcher," taken at Cochon Butcher in New Orleans.

The only eatery we visited twice in one week, Cochon Butcher’s sandwiches and sides were worth the cross-town drive!

In fact, our second visit was on a Saturday and many streets near Cochon Butcher were blocked off for the Krewe of Pontchartrain parade. That didn’t deter us; we circled tighter and tighter until we were within walking distance, then found a parking spot and walked in the rain to get to our muffaletta and cubano sandwiches. THAT’s how good they were!

See my TripAdvisor review of Cochon Butcher for yummy details!

Clover Grill

Image of white plate with open-face hamburger, fried onions, and waffle sweet potato fries, taken at Clover Grill in New Orleans.

The guys went to the cigar shop and the ladies went to a wine bar. And afterwards, at the bartender’s recommendation, we walked a block or two down Bourbon Street to Clover Grill for great diner food!

See my TripAdvisor review of Clover Grill for more details.

Cooter Brown’s

Tray of raw oysters on the half shell, with a bottle of hot sauce in the foreground, taken at Cooter Brown's in New Orleans.

Another of Leah’s suggestions, noted to have “yummy bar food, po boys, oysters, loaded fries, wings,” was Cooter Brown’s. And the food was, indeed, yummy!

Kealoha was especially excited about the Tuesday Night special – Louisiana raw oysters on the half shell for half-priced dozens. After sharing with the rest of us, she enjoyed nearly 2 dozen!

Image of man in bar slurping raw oyster, with assorted bar food on table before him. Taken at Cooter Brown's in New Orleans.
Spencer enjoyed some of Kealoha’s oyster bounty!

Please go to the end of this blog post for a special tribute which includes raw oysters.


Along with cheesecake and pecan pie at Camellia Grill, and sweet treats from District Donuts, we did seek out one other fabulous dessert shop.

Angelo Brocato

This tiny shop offers the best specialty Italian desserts. We brought home Lemon Ice, rum-flavored Sciallotti gelato, and an array of sweets – including freshly-made cannoli that reminded me of my visit to Sicily a dozen years ago!

Image of two bakery boxes filled with assorted Italian pastries, including fresh cannoli, from Angelo Brocato in New Orleans.
Image of two bakery boxes, tied in string, from Angelo Brocato in New Orleans.


When I started this blog in April of 2012, one of my greatest fans – and a frequent commenter – was Ted Hess, Carrieanna’s uncle and my sweetheart’s older brother.

Ted’s remarks were always encouraging. He appreciated my adventures and, especially, my photography.

Frankly, one of the reasons I’ve maintained this blog is because I knew Ted enjoyed it so much, and it enhanced his connection to Carrieanna in a special way.

Image of standing man and seated young woman, with water and trees in the background. Taken in West Virginia.


When I visited New Orleans in 2015, Ted encouraged me to have oysters on the half shell and a beer on his behalf. Alas, I could not bring myself to eat raw oysters, and Ted teasingly commented about that omission.

Ted passed away last November, and I have lost a great fan and supporter.

So when given the opportunity, at Cooter Brown’s, to have a raw oyster in his honor, I had to do it. Kealoha was happy to share her bounty with me.

George suggested I have a Vodka Oyster Shooter. Kealoha and Leah joined me in this toast.

Image of three women, standing at table in a bar, holding raised shot glasses, at Cooter Brown's, New Orleans.
Image of three women, standing at table in a bar, drinking from shot glasses, at Cooter Brown's, New Orleans.
Image of three women, standing at table in a bar, making faces after drinking from shot glasses, at Cooter Brown's, New Orleans.

Cheers and Godspeed, Ted. Thank you for your humor, wisdom, and enduring support. We miss you.

US travel

City of the Dead – Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

Visiting one of the “Cities of the Dead” was high on my “must-do in New Orleans” list.

Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans, Garden District, aboveground, burial, stone crypts mausoleums, tombs, Cities of the Dead, ©2015 ImagesByRJM

Our hotel was in the Garden District, so while Amanda was doing homework I went exploring, camera in hand, and found Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.

I visited midmorning on a Saturday and found very few people there – although one man did approach to tell me about the open crypt (see below). I’m pretty sure he was hoping I would ask questions and then give him a tip for being a “tour guide.” I did neither, just politely thanked him.

US travel

Laura, A Creole Plantation

Laura Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana, New Orleans, April 2015, ©2015 ImagesByRJM

Because “visit a plantation” was one of Amanda’s bucket list items, I asked her to share her thoughts about our tour of Laura, a Creole plantation located along Great River Road in Vacherie, about 35 miles southwest of New Orleans.

US travel

Alligator Cheesecake

hanging moss, swamp tour, Lafitte, Louisiana, April 2015, ©2015 ImagesByRJMWhen my daughter and I decided to spend a week in NOLA in April, I told her one of my bucket list items was to go on a swamp tour. “Not me, Mom,” she said; she had no interest in going.

But I wanted to go, and didn’t mind making a solo trip.

US travel

A Taste of New Orleans – Dinner in the French Quarter

When my firstborn, Amanda, suggested that we travel to New Orleans to celebrate our spring birthdays I quickly said “Yes!” Because hers is in late March and mine is mid-May, we decided that April would be a great meet-in-the-middle time to go.

Plus, the French Quarter Festival was scheduled to be held during the second weekend in April, which was the perfect time for us to visit.

Decatur Street, French Quarters, New Orleans, ©2015 ImagesByRJM
Jackson Square, New Orleans, one of the French Quarter Festival sites.

Whenever we travel we each designate two or three things we “must do” at our destination, ensuring that we’ll experience some of our bucket-list items.

My top two desires: Go on a swamp tour, and walk around the French Quarter and take photos. Amanda’s two wishes were to visit a plantation, and to experience the food for which New Orleans is famous.