Non-Productive in NOLA

Cafe En Vie
I spent close to a month in New Orleans and stayed with my best friend, Natalie.  I had been to this city twice before, so I knew what to expect, and also didn’t feel the need to sight-see.  I still love to spend time in the French Quarter though.  I got my work and journaling done some days at Café En Vie, which attracted all sorts of characters — from homeless to hippie to business types.  I just loved the French styled cafes and architecture, however, the French language confuses me and Natalie often made fun of how I said street names.  The menu at most places also tended to gross me out.  I don’t care to eat at a restaurant that even serves rabbit or turtle, thank you very much.
With that said, I was surprised to find how many vegan options there are now in New Orleans.  Places like Dreamy Weenie and Dat Dog offer delicious meatless hot dogs.  Carmo, Cake Café, Breads On Oak all have great options, and Stanley has amazing raspberry sorbet!  I also discovered Zapp’s potato chips while in New Orleans – big mistake!  So good!


Jackson Square overlooking St. Louis Cathedral.

Anyway, when I wasn’t hanging out in the French Quarter working at Café En Vie, picnicking in Jackson Square or looking around the witchcraft store, HEX, I hung out in Mid City where Natalie lives.  The Bean Gallery (which happens to be owned by Café En Vie) is always crowded, but serve a delightful healthy bagel, usually has fast wi-fi, and a friendly staff.
Wi-Fi was my biggest obstacle in New Orleans.  Maybe it’s the whole below sea level thing.  Aside from the Wi-Fi, I was feeling a bit down.  Maybe it was hormones or exhaustion from travel, but there were days I didn’t want to get up in the morning.  Part of me thinks the low-energy I was feeling had to do with spiritual entities in the city bringing me down, but I also know that these feelings were probably left over from Vegas.
Even though I had my best friend with me, I felt lonely, stressed about finding “home”, money and eating healthy.  New Orleans is probably the least healthy city I’ve been to.  Even vegan food wasn’t all that healthy, and with the crime in the city being so high, I promised Natalie I wouldn’t walk around too much.  I felt sluggish.  I could have made things better by eating in more, but in order for me to get work done, I had to go out to a café to use wi-fi, and then Natalie wanted to meet for dinner.  I could have said no, but truth is, I wanted to be carefree with my best friend, who I usually only see once or twice a year — if that!

Natalie and me at Lake Pontchartrain

I also found myself missing my mother terribly.  It might have been because the holidays are approaching or because that search for “home” is in part a search for her.  I know that home is what I make it.  I can never recreate the past, nor do I want to, since my childhood home was anything but safe and stable.
In spite of this funk I was in, I loved being around Natalie and in such a unique city like New Orleans.  I entertained the idea of living there, but just can’t see myself there permanently.  Natalie and I did a 5k together, went to the Nick & Knight concert (you can read my review and see photos here), went to a Pelicans vs. Lakers game, Gumbo Fest, danced in a parade, and much more.  I just wish Natalie wasn’t so stressed with work and that I wasn’t so stressed with…well…everything.
My sister Cindy came to visit the last weekend I was in New Orleans for her birthday.  My spirits were lifted a bit, but I still had my little cranky moments regretfully.  Natalie had gotten us into the World War II museum as well as a Murder Mystery Dinner. Cindy and I even wound up crashing a wedding party at Pat O’Brien’s, which was pretty awesome.
There were definite wonderful memories in New Orleans and my time there went too quickly.  Next time, I want to feel much less burdensome while visiting this amazing place.  Maybe I’ll sage myself while I’m there just in case those negative entities are playing a part in my mood swings… 😉

Overlooking Jackson Square from Muriel’s.


St. Louis Cathedral.


St. Louis Cathedral.


Cindy enjoying her gumbo at Carmo.


I made a portabella po-boy at Natalie’s.


Painted tree near Bayou St. John.


Natalie made jambalaya.


Natalie and me at Lake Ponchartrain.


Lake Ponchartrain.


Lake Ponchartrain.


Lake Ponchartrain


Bayou St. John.


Lakers vs. Pelicans game.


Gumbo Festival which had a vegan gumbo competition!


The Brass Menagerie Parade


Natalie and me at the Brass Menagerie parade.


Dreamy Weenie’s…yum!


Famous People Are Irrelevant apparently.


World War II Museum.


Sweet Potato Fry Po-Boy at Parkway.


Nick & Knight Concert.


Press tickets and photo pass to the Nick & Knight concert.


Blurry selfie in Jackson Square.


Cooking at home with Natalie. Yum!


Drive-thru daiquiris!


Delicious vegan breakfast sandwich at Breads On Oak!


  • Sandy Lo

    Sandy Lo’s personal story is inspiring. She started, StarShine Magazine, an online publication in 2001, at the age of 18. She wrote her first novel in 2009, “Lost In You,” followed by the “Dream Catchers” Series. She was the first person ever to professionally interview Taylor Swift and has received personal endorsements for her books from members of boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees. Recently, she has been seeing some tremendous momentum in book sales on Kindle. She has been included on the “50 Writers You Should Be Reading” list by The Authors Show, and “Dream Catchers”, “Breaking The Moon” and “Indigo Waters” reached the Top 100 Best Selling Coming of Age novels in Amazon’s Kindle Store. What makes this even more unique, is that Sandy relocated from NY to Nashville in order to write “The Watch Dog,” which is set in a fictional town outside of Music City. “The Watch Dog” reached the Top 10 Ghost Stories on Amazon. Aside from her writing projects, Sandy is also a freelance digital strategist.