Just had a really yummylicious meal at Coops in the French Quarter. Heaps on the menu read like they were scrumptious, so I decided the tasting plate was the go - a little bit of everything (A cup of Seafood Gumbo, Shrimp Creole, Cajun Fried Chicken, Red Beans & Rice with Sausage, and Rabbit & Sausage Jambalaya). And a cuppa grapefruit juice to wash it all down.

The food was great! And possibly the best fried chicken I've ever had - I was stuffed.. with food still on my plate, but greedy gumps that I am still had it in my head that I wanted more of that fried chicken. All of the dishes had a nice heat, not quite hot enough to be uncomfortable, but hot enough that you could taste it and want more.

Dining alone, I seated myself at the bar where I ended up having a couple of decent conversations with strangers - as you do. The first was with a gent named Scott that fitted horseshoes for a living that moved away from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and was back every couple of weeks to slowly build another house. The second was with Jeff "Coop" Cooperman, the guy that ran the place who after about a half hour of conversation insisted I he buy me a Mint Julep because I couldn't leave New Orleans never having had one. Ooo and I got to give the giant baby bulldog - Oz, who's only two months old - a good couple of rubs.

Coop's Place is a wonderful little spot that's just north of the French Market in very much in the quarter. Great food, good atmosphere, decent bar-staff (once they warm up to you) and a good crowd of regulars and staff that love the place too much to go home that sit at the bar by the pool table. I still want more of that fried chicken!

Say it with me, 5 out of 5 stars - only because I had a great time with some of the locals and of course Coop. Otherwise... 4.

[I'll post photos when I get the time]

Earlier in the day I went on a tour to a couple of plantations just outside of New Orleans, Laura and Oak Alley. If you're thinking of visiting both of these plantations, go to Oak Alley first so you won't be disappointed like I was.

The Laura Plantation provided a riveting tour and told the story of Laura Locoul Gore and her memories of the place and plantation life. It provided a good overview of the differences between Creole, Anglo and African American life, and that the plantation was ran with great success by generations of women definitely made me smile. Our guide, Kay, was very friendly and extremely knowledgeable and her passion for the history and the restoration of the place is admirable. This was probably the best tour of anything I've ever been on.

The Oak Alley plantation only had one thing going for it - the magnificent view of the approach to the house; the grand alley of giant oak trees that line the entry to the big house. There's a strict "no photography" rule at the house and the place comes across like a musty display home where the rooms are corded off so you can only stand and the door and peer in. The young, chirpy docents at this facility wear hoop skirts and there are guesthouses available for rent and a restaurant onsite.

After my visit to the Laura Plantation, Oak Alley was a huge disappointment. The trees and the external view of the house were beautiful, but that's all there was.

I keep thinking I should go out to a pub, but it's half 10, I'm tired and the giant serve of rum I got in my first mint julep is beginning to get a little friendly with my balance.... Gaaaaaaah

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