"Riverwalk" conjures up images of San Antonio, until now… Chuck and I walked there as the sun was setting, since it’s a short distance from the hotel on Canal. When we visit such places, we invariably end up going and lingering in different shops, but we always manage to find each other at the end of an aisle, and such was the case. The browsing came after the "eats," as we were both starving. And there is no better place to develop an appetite than in New Orleans.
This place is huge, and long…so take your time. There are levels and sublevels -- a, b, and c. The Canal Street entrance is really pretty, though the pictures Chuck tried to take of the water jets of Spanish Plaza fountain bombed out. Okay, I had made up my mind to have fried fish, because outside the Caribbean, this is one of the best places to eat fish. Chuck decided to have a gyro (he regretted that). You’ll find restaurants like Anthony’s Seafood House, which have elegant seating, or food court-type stands which run on endlessly and also offer tasty tidbits. There is a po’ boy shop for which you must ditch the diet. Also Cajun dogs, burgers, Haagen Dazs, steak places, chicken and biscuits, along with daiquiri stands, frozen fruit and Chinese in the way of Panda Express.
If you’re shopping, the brand-name stores are here to welcome your plastic, or if you need cash, ATMs are found on level B, to the left of the stairs leading to the next level. Though we love to window shop, we never do serious shopping in places like this, which are meant specifically for tourists. For the guys, there’s a "Nothing but Golf" shop, together with Eddie Bauer and GAP, among others. For the kiddie audience, there’s "Just Me Music", and the "Especially for You Create-A-Book" is always fun as a surprise to a young one.
The requisite bath-and-body places are all anchored here, including Body Shop, Perfumania, and some locals. A host of specialty stores will keep you dumbfounded: lots of local talent and art, leather, sports-related merchandise, hats, luggage, Mardi Gras fare to choke several horses, pottery -- it’s just endless.
We had the most fun at Mardi Gras Madness, because it was just too darn colorful. Look at the photo, and you’ll agree. You’ll do the aisles inch-by-inch for fear of missing anything; the glitz and gaudiness is at an all-time high here, and there’s more hanging from the ceiling, should you lose interest. Did I mention pizza?
You can also learn Cajun cooking at the on-premise school. There’s a small Café du Monde here, as well, serving their killer beignets. You can also purchase a riverboat cruise here, which departs from the same area. You can go outside and look at the Mississippi, but it’s more fun inside.