DiningDiarySquare-150x150 Friday, April 20, 2018. The French Quarter Is Full. Every Friday, my thoughts turn to grand dinners, preferably at one of the grande dame restaurants in the French Quarter. Today I am thinking about indulging this hunger at Arnaud’s. As soon as the radio show ended for the week, I turned my steps toward the handsome restaurant and its bright walls of glittering beveled glass. There I learn that every seat in the entire restaurant is taken. I look around for a waiter or manager or some other familiar face, but I am anonymous on this time and in this place. I guess I haven’t been visiting Arnaud’s enough.

In fact, I should have dined at Arnaud’s a few times this year already. The restaurant has begun the celebration of its 100th anniversary. Every serious diner in New Orleans should be making a fuss over this. Not only because of the rarity of century-old restaurants, but because the restaurant has built a schedule of attractive special menus for the next few months, each one focused on the several colorful characters that have populated Arnaud’s through the years.

But today, I can only get a chair in the mezzanine above the main dining room. It’s a good place for privacy, but I don’t turn up at restaurants like this to hide.

I move toward Bourbon Street, which is full of sailors. They are in town with the tall ships that came up the river to celebrate the 300th anniversary of New Orleans, and the Louisiana Purchase. The sailors are dressed sharply and in bright whites. I don’t know how it happened, but I took a turn around St. Louis, and I wound up in Toulouse Street. I double back to Antoine’s, my favorite of all the Friday-evening venues. Two signs on the front door say that the entire place has been turned over to a private party.

I keep walking, but it’s clear that the Quarter is fully occupied with visitors. I collect my car from Central Parking and drive away, looking for some other places to go. I wish I had a secretary to line up all my activities and make all my reservations. If my grandson Jackson can do it, so can I! I guess.

Arnaud’s. French Quarter: 813 Bienville. 504-523-5433.