The better half of this operation.

Lunch With Melanie

Having nothing much to do in the middle of the day one day, I was sitting on a picnic table in front of the hot dog window at the Costco on South Carrollton Avenue watching the clouds over Interstate 10.  I don’t enjoy shopping at Costco but if I am passing by, and there is no line, I’ll occasionally stop for a $1.50 hot dog.  I was sitting there watching the clouds go by when Frau Schmitt, herself, showed up in the parking lot.

The clouds above Costco on S. Carrollton Avenue, New Orleans, LA.
The clouds above Costco on S. Carrollton Avenue, New Orleans, LA.

Frau Schmitt parked right next to me.  Our paths had crossed once again, as they do several times a day.  I was going to have lunch with Melanie.  It is one of my favorite things to do.

The better half of this operation.
The better half of this operation.

I dislike shopping at Costco because I don’t need giant portions in my life but, as innkeepers, we go through a lot of toilet paper, paper towels, and boxes of tissue.  We are running low on toilet paper and paper towels.  It’s a good thing there isn’t a pandemic going on right now.  Costco is the most convenient place to buy paper items in bulk and the prices are good.  We have a business account.  I don’t know what the difference is.

Costco is closer to La Belle Esplanade than Sam’s Club, in case you were wondering.  You don’t visit New Orleans to visit either.  I am only mentioning it here in case you are curious.

Anyhow, Frau Schmitt asked what I was doing here and I told her I was admiring the cloudscapes.  “Good, I’m glad you’re here,” she said.  “You can help me take the toilet paper and paper towels home.”

I always enjoy being helpful.

Me: “Do you want to have lunch first?”  I indicated that there wasn’t a line to get a deliciously freshly-cooked hot dog.

Frau Schmitt: “I am not going to do that again.  We can have lunch someplace nicer after we drop off the toilet paper and paper towels.”

Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi.  Every day is an adventure in New Orleans.  Whatever Frau Schmitt wants, Frau Schmitt gets.  She’s like the character Lola in “Damn Yankees.”

Yes, I know the movie above is Excalibur but the score is Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi.  That’s Latin for “Fortune, Empress of the World.”  Both Frau Schmitt, who is the better half of this operation, and I love this song.  They played it at the symphony once at the Orpheum Theater on Roosevelt Place.  It was a pleasant surprise.  We also like the Dixieland Jazz at Fritzel’s on Bourbon Street.

We went into Costco and got separated  I got lost after getting distracted in the ‘books-by-the-pound” section.  I headed toward the paper goods corner of the store and we eventually reunited.

It is very hard for me to resist the lure of a good book, even if they are books like the ones at Costco.  You never what you will find.  Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought him back.  Call me a snob but I prefer the quality of the book selection at Costco over the book selection at Sam’s Club.  I have never bought a book at either, but that factoid is neither here nor there as far as this story is concerned.  I didn’t buy a book.

After we finally delivered the cases of toilet paper and paper towels to La Belle Esplanade (the Number One Place to Stay in New Orleans!), we went to lunch.  We had worked up an appetite.  I would have been happy with a hot dog but we had a better lunch than that.

We went to Alma. It’s a Honduran joint that is open for breakfast and for lunch on Louisa Street in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans.  Alma may be open for dinner, too, now that I think of it.  Maybe not.  We have never dined on dinner there.  I know some of the managers.

I had chicken soup for the soul.

Chicken soup for the soul.
Chicken soup for the soul.

Frau Schmitt had pollo chuco, which is fried guineo verde, green cabbage, red sauce and deep fried chicken topped with Honduran crack sauce and encurtido.  Sounds good, doesn’t it.  She said it did taste good.  Alma is a nice place to get a bite if you are in the Bywater neighborhood.

We happened to be in the Bywater because we made a special trip to have lunch at Alma.  It was worth finding ourselves there.  Everywhere in New Orleans is magical.  Good memories are around every corner.

When you are looking for more than mass-market New Orleans, stay in a small boutique hotel.  We have five suites.  Get personalized service and recommendations off the typical tourist radar.  Talk to two New Orleans goodwill ambassadors every morning to get a better appreciation of this wonderful city we call home.

We are here for you at La Belle Esplanade.  Good memories are made in our part of New Orleans every day.