So this past week I booked a very last minute weekend trip to New Orleans with some friends. It was a quick trip, but I feel like I experienced a ton, and absolutely want to go back again.
First things first. There are two things everyone should leave behind when going to New Orleans:
- Heels. I love heels as much as the next girl, but just don't. You can thank me later.
- Your give-a-f*cks. Because everyone just does their own thing, and it's accepted...which brings me to my first observation...
The sense of individuality everyone had was truly profound. The diversity was broad - black, white, young, old, southern gentlemen and belles, vampire enthusiasts, pirates (no, really), performers, business men, musicians, etc. Without question it is the best place I've ever been for people watching (better than South Beach). People looked at each other with curious eyes instead of judging eyes. Everyone was incredibly friendly - the city is filled with types of folks that acknowledge strangers warmly.
Bourbon Street. You gotta do it. But before you drink yourself into oblivion, I would highly recommend eating a po boy - great pre-drinking grub! By the end of the trip I had tried an alligator po boy, shrimp po boy, crawfish po boy, and fried oyster po boy. All were delicious but I think my favorite was the alligator! With a po boy to line my stomach, I had a classic Hurricane drink at Pat O'Brien's.. which was insanely strong, and veryyyyy sweet. I could only muscle down half, ha!
From Pat O's, my crew went to The Roosevelt for more of an upscale drinking experience. There, we all had a drink called the "Sazerac" which is considered to be the drink of New Orleans. It tasted like "an old man drink," but I'm glad I gave it a go!
The next day we went to The National WW2 Museum. Totally geeked out for hours, and would definitely love to go back again (and again). I find this to be one of the most remarkable eras of history, and enjoy seeing/doing/learning/reading anything related to it. The museum had this 4D short movie experience - it was INCREDIBLE. I also thought it was both powerful and inspiring to see WW2 vets volunteering at the museum.
After the museum we grubbed at a hole in the wall which ended up serving us delicious jambalaya and a shrimp po boy. Then we walked around town until a bluesman lured us into a grimy bar from the street with the wailing on his guitar where we ended up sitting back and enjoying the music in for a bit.
We really lucked out with beautiful weather. It made the next stop, Jackson Square, that much more lovely. In that area we saw more of the beautiful architecture, St. Louie's Church, artists, psychics, the Andrew Jackson monument, the Monument to the Immigrants, and the port of New Orleans.
With the day starting to set, it was time to go to the meeting spot (at a bar of course) for The Ghost Tour. It was a walking tour that took about two hours (there was a 15 minute break or so in the middle of it). Although it was a little cheesy, there were two stories (out of the ten or so) I liked in particular. One being about this mysterious and very bloody murder that occurred in a stunning, picturesque home. The other was the last story which was more historical than it was ghostly. The guide had wrapped up her tour at The House of the Rising Sun, which was this shoddy home that used to operate as a brothel. It definitely brought the song to life.
After the tour, we decided to continue to contribute to the morbid obesity epidemic by stopping in a little cafe and devouring beignets which were so delicious I was literally smiling eating them. Who can't be happy eating grease filled dough sprinkled with a small mountain of powdered sugar? Along the way and after the cafe we popped in galleries and shops and such - a few pop art pieces caught my eye.
The last stop was at a restaurant and bar called RF's. The drinks were good, the food was even better - but the best was the live music. This woman whose stage name is Hyperphlyy seriously brought down the damn house for hours singing old and new music alongside of her band. She was busting with talent, and charisma that made every single person in that place move and sing to the music. It was such an experience. During one moment while she was belting one of my all time favorite old songs (Stand By Me), I found myself pausing and recognizing that it was a moment to take in and added that teeny sliver of time to the highlight reel of my life. I smiled.