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Tracy Wolff | Favorite New Orleans Haunts and Memories...


Writing my newest novel, Tie Me Down, was a bittersweet endeavor, because it took me back to a city I know intimately well, a city I love and miss and despair will ever be the same.

I went to New Orleans when I was twenty years old because a tug deep in my belly told me that that city was where I was meant to be. I’m not usually one to change my whole life around on a feeling, but no matter what I did, the niggling sensation wouldn’t go away. It kept bothering me—all spring and into the summer, until finally a letter came from one of the grad school’s I’d been accepted to offering me a last minute teaching assistantship that paid all of my tuition and gave me enough to live on. That was the sign I needed and I sent a letter to the grad school I had originally decided to go to asking to be removed from the list of incoming students, packed up my car (with the help of my dad) and headed to New Orleans to take the university up on its very generous offer.

And I have never, once, regretted it. Within a few months of moving to New Orleans, I met a man, fell desperately in love with him and married him—three months after we met. He is currently my husband of thirteen years—and the father of my three children. New Orleans is also the city where I first learned how much I love to teach, it is the city where I turned 21, the city where I first became pregnant—and became a mom, the city where I learned what it really means to be a grown up. The city where I really, truly, learned how to write.

So as I sat down to write Tie Me Down, an erotic tale of murder and mayhem in The Big Easy, I found myself sneaking in references to my favorite places, had my characters walking down streets that I had wandered at all hours of the day and night. So when I sat down to write this blog, I thought why not give you a list of my favorite stomping grounds in New Orleans, just in case its on your list of places to visit (if it isn’t, it should be—there’s really no place in America quite like it). So, with no further ado—my top ten favorite places in the Crescent City.

10. Café du Monde for beignets and café au lait—Really, it’s just a small addiction, tiny really. I mean, it’s not like I snorted the powder sugar or anything … right?

9. Daquiris and Creams on Veterans Blvd: Where else can you get a 64 oz jungle juice at a drive-thru window? I never drank and drove—I did however, drink and walk quite a bit. (I did mention I turned 21 in this city, didn’t I?)

8. Madame LaVue’s Voodoo Shop: Come on, where else do you expect a dark, edgy suspense and paranormal writer to hang out? Enough said.

7. The Old Absinthe House: There’s just something about hanging out in a bar named after a drink that’s been illegal for years that thrilled my rebellious artist’s heart.

6. The cemeteries on Canal Street: I know, I know. Everyone knows about visiting the cemeteries in New Orleans. But I used to love to hang out there (history was my second major) and look at the tombstones that dated back nearly four hundred years.

5. Café Maspero: The absolute best French Onion soup in the Quarter. Enough said.

4. Cruises on the Mississippi: Every few months I would take a cruise up and down the Mississippi. There was usually dancing and music and lots of laughter. Some of my favorite times took place on the big paddleboats.

3. Royal Street: I know, I know, everyone says Bourbon Street. And while Bourbon is fun, it’s also loud, filthy, smelly and very, very crowded. I used to love grabbing a yard dog to go on Bourbon and then meandering my way down Royal, window shopping and admiring all the good points of the Quarter hidden by the mass of people on Bourbon.

2. Mandina’s: It’s an uptown restaurant that’s been around forever and serves the best, most authentic New Orleans cuisine you can imagine. Yummy. I get hungry just thinking about it.

1. Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop: The oldest building in the quarter, it’s now a fabulous, dark, laid back bar at the very end of Bourbon Street. It’s a rite of passage for writers to hang out and practice their craft at the tiny bar—everyone from Anne Rice to Tennessee Williams is rumored to have turned out a masterpiece in the place. It made my young heart pitter patter to sit there and dream of one day being published.

Friend to FatherSo, anyway, that’s my list of N’Awlins haunts. I hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane as much as I did. So, tell me, what city is the one of your heart? Leave a comment and be entered to win a copy of my June Harlequin Superromance, From Friend to Father.

Oh, and one more thing—I’ve included an excerpt of Tie Me Down here, as part of my Tie Me Down Contest Extravaganza. So head on over to my blog, www.tracywolff.blogspot.com to get the scoop on the contest. There are daily prizes and the Grand Prize (given away next Tuesday) is a $100 gift card to the winner’s choice of bookstore.

Excerpt #5

Later, he would remember little of their walk home. He’d have no recollection of the wind whipping past their soaking bodies, no memory of the rain lashing against their sensitive skin.

But he would remember Genevieve and the way her body fit so perfectly against his own. He would remember the brush of her breast against his torso, and the lush softness of her ass under his hand as he tucked her smaller body into his.

And he would remember that first moment when she stepped over the threshold and invited him into her home. Nothing had ever felt quite so right.

Cole’s instincts were screaming at him, his desire to take Genevieve turning him nearly rabid with unfulfilled need. But she looked so dreamy, so sweet, that he found himself going slowly—despite the pounding in his brain telling him to take, take, take.

He took a deep breath—trying to control himself—but her scent was everywhere. A mixture of honeysuckle and summer and dark, delicious night. It turned him inside out.

But still, he was determined to give her sweetness as well as passion, to give her tenderness as well as desperation. Taking her hand, he brought it to his mouth. Brushed his lips over her knuckles before he turned it over and studied the delicate-looking palm.

“You have such small hands for such a capable person.”

“They get the job done.” Her voice was low, breathless, turning the mundane words into an erotic invitation—one Cole had no chance of refusing.

Lowering his head, he stroked his tongue from her wrist to the top of her palm, lingering for long moments over her chained and broken love line as he licked the raindrops from her skin. She gasped, went perfectly still. And for a moment—just a moment—she was soft and pliant, her body his to command.

He pulled her against him, savored the feel of her soft, lush curves against the hard planes of his own body. Then her arms were around him, pulling him to her, and everything he wanted to say simply faded away as desire—harsh and all-consuming— took over.

He kicked the door closed behind him and took her mouth in an assault that was at once brutal and gentle. Brutal in its intensity and focus; gentle in its execution. With a sigh, Genevieve parted her lips, allowing herself to melt into Cole despite the voice at the back of her head telling her she was making a very large mistake.




32 comments posted.

Re: Tracy Wolff | Favorite New Orleans Haunts and Memories...

Thank you for sharing your memories of "The Big Easy". Must be tough after everything that happened there to remember the great times.
(Joanne Reynolds 6:26am September 4, 2009)

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan because it has the "Tunnels of Moose Jaw" -- underground tunnels throughout its downtown, where two tours show guests the bootlegging operations and where the Chinese were kept below to do laundry, etc. many years ago....
(Elaine Seymour 11:00am September 4, 2009)

Thank you for sharing.
The city that captures my heart is also home. Hamilton, Ontario. Anyone who comes here says awful things, but home is where the heart is. I've moved four provinces away, only to find myself home. I missed it so while I was gone. Who would've thought you could pine for a place, not so much the people, as my loved ones were with me. But I did pine for this city. I don't think I'll leave again, except for vacations. :-)
Thank you for allowing me to share.
(Freda Mans-Labianca 12:21pm September 4, 2009)

I always love reading stories placed in New Orleans, thank you for sharing your memories.
(Barbara Hanson 12:57pm September 4, 2009)

I believe that I would like this one.
(Marjorie Carmony 1:00pm September 4, 2009)

When my husband was transferred from Houston to New Orleans I recalled the saying "A nice place to visit, but...", so I went there kicking and screaming. Three years later when we were transferred someplace else, I went there kicking and screaming because I fell in love with N'awlins. There is no place like it, it's weird and wonderful and even tho that's been many years ago I still tear up when I hear the song "do you know what it means to miss New Orleans..."

My favorite place to eat was Court of Two Sisters -- you could make it an all day deal!

Saturday's were for the Farmers Market and Cafe Dumond..then maybe a few songs at Pat O'Briens.

Italian food at Tony Angelos where the "waiters" wear suits that sometimes have a bulge under the arms...

I left a part of my soul in NO and a lot of my heart, but my memories are with me all times.

(Betty Cox 1:02pm September 4, 2009)

Mostly what I hear about New Orleans is Mardi Gras celebrations from travel shows on TV. For a tourist point of view it looks like a really exciting thing to participate in. Someday I hope to visit New Orleans, learn its rich history, hang out at great restaurants and investigate a little voodoo stuff, weird that, but it kind of fascinates me.
(Armenia Fox 1:34pm September 4, 2009)

I hope to one day visit New Orleans. I've always wanted to go there. Thanks for the taste of the city.

Your book sounds like a great read!
(Kay Martinez 1:49pm September 4, 2009)

Thanks for sharing your memories with me, ladies. I'm glad I'm not the only one with fond memories of N'Awlins.

Betty-- I LOOOOOOVE COurt of the Two Sisters. Seriously. It was an addiction when I lived in the city.

Elaine, sounds fascinating!

Freda, I know what you mean about home. No matter where you go, nothing is ever quite the same.
(Tracy Wolff 1:53pm September 4, 2009)

I have never been to New Orleans. I love reading about places that I haven't been to.
Mandina’s restaurant sounds like a great place to dine.

Thank you so much for the trip through the streets of New Orleans. My daughter visited the April before Katrina hit. I know it is not the same place it once was.
(Gigi Hicks 2:53pm September 4, 2009)

Hi Tracy! I have always wanted to visit New Orleans as it caught my attention since I was a little kid. I have not made it yet, but I will! Home for me is Miami and no matter how much I complain about it, it is home. I know I would miss the beautiful weather and the magnificent surroundings. What can I say, I am definitely a tropical girl. *L*
(Maithe Ortiz 2:56pm September 4, 2009)

Hello Tracy, Thanks for sharing the places you love in New Orleans. I would love to visit one day. Loved the excerpt. Have a great day.
(Roberta Harwell 3:09pm September 4, 2009)

Hello Tracy I have always wanted to go to new Orleans Its on my top 10 places to visit... Thankyou for sharing the places that you love I feel the same about Scotland I grew up there I miss it a lot It's a good thing I still have Family there so I get to visit a lot....
(Ann w 3:21pm September 4, 2009)

New Orleans is for those who love....Love :)
(Kathryn Phillips 3:48pm September 4, 2009)

I've been wanting to see New Orleans since I was in my teens, but unfortunately, that dream has never been realized. Life and distance got in the way. I was devastated when so much of the city was destroyed by Katrina, because I knew the city would never be the same. That may have been good in some ways, but I still grieve for all the people who are still suffering there. Maybe, if I'm really lucky, I'll still get to see some of the places you wrote about here.
(Sigrun Schulz 3:50pm September 4, 2009)

Sometimes Love is an event that can't be explained but only to be experienced for a lifetime.
(John Caldwell 3:52pm September 4, 2009)

I wish I had visited New Orleans before Katrina. I do hope to visit it in the future.
(Annetta Stolpmann 4:00pm September 4, 2009)

My husband and I visited New Orleans, I think nine years ago, we went to visit our daughter in Biloxi. We of course visited the French Quarter and took a tour in a horse and Buggy. I can understand why you fell in love with it. The Old buildings, exotic culture, plus the people are fascinating. I remember the Cafe Du Monde very well and though we tried I've never had a better beignet. We were only there for the day but we explored everything we could but never took a cruise on the Mississippi. Just ran out of time. Our dream is to go back and maybe stay in a B&B, explore all over again. That city definitely won my heart.
(Theresa Buckholtz 4:06pm September 4, 2009)

What a lovely post, Tracy! I have yet to visit New Orleans :( As for a city of my heart, probably San Francisco! So much life and culture in such a relatively small space :)
(Fedora Chen 4:42pm September 4, 2009)

There are so many great places out there, aren't there? I love Miami! And I lived in San Fran for three years and liked it very much-- my next Harlequin Superromance takes place there.

Scotland is beautiful-- I want to go back some day. And for me, home will always be San Diego. I love that city-- watching it burn a few years ago was devastating, especially since I still lived there at the time.
(Tracy Wolff 6:39pm September 4, 2009)

Cafe Du Monde is a long time favorite of mine. What I wouldn't give for beignets and a cafe au lait. Now I'm going to make a poor imitation of a cup and drink to you.
(Maude Allen 6:47pm September 4, 2009)

I've never been to New Orleans but the city of my heart is Vancouver, BC. Its where I grew up and its my hometown.
(Jenny Ng 7:25pm September 4, 2009)

I visited New Orleans 38 years ago and have always wanted to go back. My youngest daughter left on monday to visit New Orleans. She said it only took her 12 hours to drive there. I told her to check out the Bienville House where I stayed when I went. She called me this morning to tell me she is really enjoying the sights!
(Anna McKenrick 8:13pm September 4, 2009)

You had the strength to follow your instincts. Not everyone can do that. I hope to go to New Orleans one day and enjoy the history and the sights. I can't wait to read your new release. Congratulations!
(Rosemary Krejsa 8:52pm September 4, 2009)

I enjoyed your reminisence on New Orleans. My favorite city is Savannah, especially River Street - the pralines are the best there.
(Vikki Parman 9:02pm September 4, 2009)

I enjoyed your "tour" of New Orleans since I've never been there. I have read about it in many books and this city sounds wonderful, maybe one day I'll get the chance to visit.
(Diane Sadler 9:46pm September 4, 2009)

I <3 St. Louis - Best city in the world in my opinion. :)

GREAT post and loving the scavenger hunt...Awesome idea!
(Rachael Grime 11:35pm September 4, 2009)

I've never been to New Orleans. I guess my favorite city I have been to is Santa Fe. I loved it there.
(Linda Henderson 12:00pm September 5, 2009)

Tracy your remences Of New Orleans took me back to the '60's and a vacation of a child it was so different than the Midwest like stepping into a time capsule. My Mom wanted to see one of the locations that both my Grandfather & Great Grandfather sailed to when they were steam boat captains.
(Susan Lathen 9:20am September 5, 2009)

What a wonderful post. Thanks so much for sharing.
(Tracey Dent 12:56pm September 6, 2009)

I long to visit New Orleans. Until then I will content myself with the written word.
(Mary Preston 5:55pm September 6, 2009)

ty for posting about ur memories of new orleans i never been but the way you remember it sounds lovely id have to say my fav place would have to be Indiana my home town but honetsly i dont have one particular favorite because well see i move so much i never settled but id say i love CO tho all of it not just one town
(Beverly Gordon 6:39pm September 7, 2009)

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