New Orleans 2019 – Part Four

October 19 – 24

I dropped Dillon off at the airport early Monday for his return home and later in the morning the rest of us walked to Magazine Street to check out Ghost Manor, a Halloween-inspired house decorated for the season that features music, animatronic skeletons, flying ghouls, and other ghoulish images.  Unfortunately for us it is best appreciated at night and so we turned around and made our way back to Red Dog Diner for breakfast.

Ghost Manor

Ghost Manor

Our return visit was just as satisfying as our first, seated in the back room as before, enjoying pleasant banter with our waiter.  A couple of folks ordered the very good house Bloody Mary to enjoy along with our combination of breakfast and lunch items, including the Joe Blow (a typical eggs and meat combo) and Sweet Potato Pancakes (with maple, bacon, and sweet potato compote) while I went for a BLT.  I enjoyed the sandwich with the exception of it be served on Focaccia bread, so thick I ended up taking one slice off and eating it open faced.

Red Dog Diner

Red Dog Diner

After returning to the house Kim, Bev, Joanna, and Marty went to a nearby park to check out the scenery while the rest of us hung out at the house.  After they returned Jessica and Kris took off for the airport using Lyft, traffic at that time of day making it the better option than one of us driving them out there.  The rest of us killed the remaining time reading, finishing up the puzzle and eventually determining what the final meal of our stay would be.  After so much fine dining it was hard, as difficult as this may seem to believe, to muster up a lot of enthusiasm for going out.

The Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary

Marty jumped on his laptop and after much researching of options, convinced the rest of us that the choice for us was a place named Heard Dat Kitchen.  Located not far from the house, he and I drove over and parked in front of a somewhat ramshackle looking building.  We entered to find ourselves in a small waiting room with worn chairs along the wall facing a take-out window covered in metal bars with an opening at the bottom for the exchange of money and food.

Heard Dat Kitchen

Heard Dat Kitchen

We ordered a range of items; a gumbo combo, fried chicken, and red beans with chicken.  It took some time to get our food as there had been folks ahead of us and more to follow, but finally we grabbed our take-out bags (there is no place to sit in the evening that we could see except some outside tables) and made our way back to the house. It didn’t take us long to do serious damage to the food, leaving little at the end to save, it was that good.  Marty’s call had turned out to be just the right one, a slice of down-home New Orleans from a place with unique character.

The Wait at Heard Dat

The Wait at Heard Dat

The following morning Joanna and I drove Kim, Bev and Marty out to the airport and returned to the house to make it ready for our departure.  With a short drive to Mobile ahead of us, there was no need to hurry and we eventually departed around the checkout time of noon.  Hungry we grabbed some fast food on the way to the freeway, stopping at the first available place, a Burger King and then hit the highway for our next stop.


A Typical Suite

We arrived at the Springhill Suites near the campus of the University of South Alabama a couple of hours later.  When the pricing is right, we enjoy staying at this product from the Marriott chain because of its spacious and nicely appointed rooms and well-rounded package of amenities.  We had plans to meet with Leigh and James later in the day at Serda Brewing and at the appointed time made our way there, just on the edge of downtown Mobile.

Serda Taproom

Serda’s Taproom

We parked in the back and walked through the brewhouse to get to the tap room, a spacious room adjacent to a nice outdoor patio where a local corn hole league would commence play later in the evening.  We’d started on our first round of beers when Leigh and James arrived and it was great to see them, our last visit having been for their wedding in 2017.


Corn Hole League

As the four of us got caught up we worked our way into second round of beers, and then walked out to that night’s food truck for the meal deal, two tacos with chips and salsa for eight dollars.  These turned out to be broiled chicken breast in a flour tortilla with some kind of secret sauce.  Not my ideal taco presentation but they were surprisingly good and very filling, enough so to provide a good base for the beers being consumed.

Serda Taps

Serda Taps

We continued talking for some time and later bade farewell to these folks we enjoy seeing when our travels take us to this part of the country.  And honestly, beyond the sites we see, the food we consume, and of course, the beer that gets put away, the draw of travel for us is the chance to spend time with folks we know.

Tying the Knot

Leigh and James Tying the Knot in 2017

Sometimes it’s just for an hour or two, but the interaction, so much more rewarding than the occasional email or phone call, keeps friendships alive and thriving and provides us with that ongoing human connection we all seek and enjoy.  And what better way to do so than seated around a high-top table, a cold craft beer in one hand and a soft taco in the other.  Sometimes it just doesn’t get any better.

With James and LeighLinks

Ghost Manor:

Heard Dat Kitchen:

Springhill Suites:

Serda Brewing:



  1. James Contratto · · Reply

    It’s always awesome having you come visit the other LA……Lower Alabama ;). Thanks for always letting us know when you’re in the area and we’re always excited to catch up. Keep ROCKIN my friend!

    1. Honestly, see both of you brings us joy. Rock on my friend.

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