After our day and a half in New Orleans, we took off for the next leg of our journey. The day seemed bright and promising as we hopped in our car, but less than an hour outside of Nola, the skies quickly darkened and the storms hit us. As we flipped through the radio stations, the Emergency Broadcast came on to announce severe storms and tornado watches in the exact area that we needed to drive through. Great. But we persevered.
As we left the state of Louisiana, El Hombre and I elected to take the more scenic route along the Mississippi coast. As the broad, sandy beaches and rumbling gulf coast appeared, I could only imagine that the quiet stretch of road ahead of us gets throttled with cars, bikes and people coated in coconut-scented sunscreen during the summer. We yearned to get out and explore the piers, but the 60 degree weather, pelting rain and wind and my cough of doom kept us going.
After awhile we stopped in a cute, quaint town called Ocean Springs in Mississippi. The downtown area seemed walkable with shops and restaurants, but it was time to feed the babies and my belly so we stopped to eat at this restaurant.
Lebanese food in a small Mississippi town Christina, are you crazy?
Let me tell you, the Phoenician is legit. I mean, the best chicken shawarma I’ve ever had, and it was food highlight of my trip (aside from beignets in Nola). The hummus was on point, the pita was perfect and the chicken was chopped in strips and grilled. It’s not the traditional style but it was moist and perfectly balanced in flavor. And the rice? Probably made with a metric ton of butter… delicious. There are no pictures because I inhaled my food.
Our goal after lunch was to explore downtown on foot, but then it started to pour again. So we drove through town a bit, underneath live oaks arching over the road with their drapey Spanish Moss before hitting the road. At this point we gave up on the idea of getting out of the car, so we hightailed it to Mobile, Alabama where we decided to stay for the night.
As we laughed along to comedy on Spotify, I searched hotels in Mobile. We ended up getting this place for a steal. The Malaga is built in the old, southern way and you could tell that when Mobile was a hot spot, this was the place to be. We had a large, open room – tastefully decorated but a tad dusty. I immediately hopped in the shower for a hot, steamy shower and El Hombre headed out to explore the night life. (He returned to find me passed out with the lights on and my kindle dropped on the nightstand.)
The next day we grabbed breakfast at the hotel (standard – nothing special), wandered about the facility and then hopped in the car to head downtown. And guys, the downtown made me a bit sad.
You see, Mobile was the capital of French Louisiana and actually the first spot in the US for Mardi Gras. You could still see the signs of the recent party with beads wrapped around light posts and trees. but the downtown is empty. Lovely, full of the colonial architecture that people love in New Orleans, Savanna and Charleston, but empty. There didn’t seem to be much business. As we stopped for coffee and tea, we overheard the shop keeper talking with her regulars about how there’s no traffic downtown. And there’s so much opportunity. El Hombre and I talked about it – if the city gets someone really progressive in, it would be a great hub for startups and incubators. Mobile, I’ve got my fingers crossed for you.
Below are some shots we snapped before we left Mobile for the panhandle: