66 Hours in New Orleans

Steffanie, Rachael and Me

Steffanie, Rachael and Me

By the end of a long weekend, I was seriously contemplating looking for a job in New Orleans. It was such a fun city with some great energy and so beautiful. Seriously. Even though we were there in the middle of August, we hit a perfect weekend that wasn’t killer hot or humid, so we were able to do a lot of walking around and not be running from ACed space to ACed space. I would love to go back again, and will probably keep thinking about the moving, but I think in the end, all the tourist, might drive me nuts and my Nemesis in the form of weather. Either way, I am so glad that my cousin Rachael invited me down for the weekend!

Beautiful houses, streets and furniture

Beautiful houses, streets and furniture

I arrived from New York 10 minutes ahead of Rachael and her two friends from Austin Friday night. Their flight ended up being delayed, so we didn’t get to go to the show that Steffanie really wanted to see that evening. But once we dropped off our stuff at the adorable Airbnb apartment, Steven, a friend of Rob’s, picked us up and gave us a tour via car all over the French District. He dropped us off at the end of Bourbon Street and we went in to the mess of the masses. The first step is to find a massive drink to carry around. You can have an alcoholic beverage outside as long as it in not in glass and most bars let you wander in with your random drink. We started with slushy drinks, mine was a mudslide, Rachael had a white russian, and Steffianie, something fruity. The clown glasses were ridiculous and the drinks were insanely sweet. Rachael and I should have split one, because I don’t think either of us drank even a quarter of it.

We wondered down Bourbon Street, stopped in Bourbon Cowboy with a mechanical bull, naturally, only girls were riding. There were cowboys inside, but we learned quickly that they are not real cowboys. I’m sorry but Indiana does not produce them, no matter what you think and if you can’t jitterbug, then just take the hat off.  Anyway we kept wandering down the street. stopped in another place to try a hand grenade. Once again, a way-to-sweet slushy drink in a large cup. At least we shared this one and still didn’t finish it. We caught some terrible karaoke at Cat’s Meow and then Steven caught up with his roommate. They took us to The Dungeon. It’s just off Bourbon Street, down a narrow ally that only one person at a time can walk through. It opens into a small courtyard and the bar itself is a two story creation where you are not allowed to take pictures. There are jail cells, chains hanging from the walls, and instruments of torture. Very interesting. After that we went back to Frenchman Street for some dancing at Blue Nile, Steven’s favorite bar, which was just around the corner from where we were staying before calling it a night.
A Friday Night on Bourbon Street

A Friday Night on Bourbon Street

The next morning we woke kind of early and headed to Cafe Du Monde for begnietes and coffee. The line was long so Rob and Steffanie went to get bloody marys for the wait, which went pretty quick in the end. The Drinks were really spicy and garlicy. They tasted great, but my body was not ready for that kind of drink yet, I didn’t feel sick, but I didn’t want that either. I was ready for the coffee and begnietes though. Delicious. We headed down to Canal Street along the Mississippi River after breakfast to catch a trolley to the Garden District. We wandered into the National Park’s Visitor Center on the way. The courtyard was beautiful. The ride took about 30 minutes and went around theRobert E. Lee Monument on the way.
Nola CDM
The houses and neighborhood in general was so beautiful. Lovely houses with huge porches and big trees overhanging everything. We wondered in to cemetery, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, and ran into one of the ground keepers, at least I assume that was his actual job. He overheard Rob ask a question and proceeded to take us on a private tour. All of the graves are above ground, and kept by the families. If after 100 years, no one has claimed the plot and it has completely disintegrated, the city will sell it to a new family. It was very interesting learning about the different ways the bodies are stacked and one of the tombs was open for us to see inside. It was also the home of the cast iron tomb that Anne Rice was inspired by in her novel, Interview with a Vampire. They had shot multiple movies in the cemetery and our little guide was very interesting, he should be a character in a movie.
Nola Cemetery
We kept moving down the street to Magazine Street, where we stopped at Croquette for a light lunch/snack. Delicious. Rachael and I split some yummy gnoche with pancetta, corn and some other veggies. We did some shopping along the street, saw some adorable stuff and managed to walk away only buying some macaroons and more coffee before going back to Bourbon Street to get oysters at Acme Oysters. I tried the grilled oysters, it was okay. I am not a big seafood fan in general unless we are talking shellfish like lobster and shrimp. The other three slurped them down. Rachael and I split a shrimp poboy sandwich, gumbo and hush puppies for dinner. It was all really good, but my roommate’s gumbo is much spicier, and I like it more. I also expected some sort of sauce to be on the sandwich and there wasn’t. It was still good, but kind of dry. After that we stopped at Bourbon O for a fancy drink, I had the Scarlet Ohara, and also split one of there street ready drinks that was by far the best we had, alligator included, but not edible.
From Magazine Street back to Bourbon street

From Magazine Street back to Bourbon street

We stopped back at our apartment before heading out on Frenchman Street for the night because we heard the best original music was there. First we went over to the Frenchman Art Market. We all ended up with a piece of jewelry and I am still kicking myself for not picking up one of the sketchy prints I saw, I tried to pick it up Sunday night, but they were not out. After that we started our music tour at Three Muses where we met the owner of The Spotted Cat. The group playing there was by far our favorite. The band was a only drums, keyboard, stand up base and a trumpet. They were so good. Sunday night we were back in there at the end of the night and the trumptter was playing again and he played the keyboard, sometimes at the same time. So good. We went to Maison next, which was a complete switch. There was a big Russian band playing complete with a belly dancer. I need to work on my ab muscles. They were really fun. Everyone was jumping around and having a great time. Our last stop on Frenchman for the night was for some late night food at 13. Definitely drunk food, not so great if your not.
Nola Frenchman
Sunday morning we got up early to head over to Cochon Butcher before catching our bus for our swamp boat tour. The bacon, oh the bacon! So good. I could have gone there for all our meals I think. Seriously. We had some time to kill so we wandered around the Warehouse District for a bit, found a great coffee shop to get us through the morning and afternoon after the late nights. I really liked the area, but the waterfront wasn’t as fun as other areas. The convention center and aquarium where in the way. Anyway our bus picked us up and once it gather the other passengers we were on our way to the swamp.
Nola Sunday
We booked our tour through the Louisiana Tour Company. We thought about doing an air boat tour, but a normal swamp tour was cheaper and seemed more interesting. The guide was great, really informative about the areas development, the swamp in general and the swamp creatures. We saw several alligators, all of who like marshmallows and speak French. Who knew?  We got to hold alligator and crocodile heads to see the difference, we did not see any crocodiles. Then at the end he pulled out a baby alligator and everyone held it. How could you chicken out when the 4 year old walked right up to start it off? Steffanie was not such a fan of the idea, but she did it and her reaction was great. I had some pretty good faces too, I am not such a fan either. Alligators aside, it was a really beautiful area and tour. Our guide is even forever immortalized in a Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog. They came down to do some research for the movie and he gave them a tour. They based the firefly character after him. I am going to have to watch it to see.
Nola Swamp
After we were dropped off, we made our way back to the French Quarter, picked up some pralines along the way and wandered through the large farmers market. New Orleans has a huge Vietnamese population, which none of us knew, until Steffanie, who is half Vietnamese, was looking at a sign on the trolley and realize they also written in Vietnamese. Once we realized this, we sought out some good food at the market and had some really taste Bing Ma sandwiches to get us through to dinner.
The great thing about traveling or being with Rachael, is that she is an awesome hair stylist, so I ended up with some pretty sweet (and big) hair for the weekend. We were going out for seafood recommended by our Aunt Lori, who grew up in New Orleans, and decided our last night we should dress up. We headed to Deanie’s just off Bourbon for a seafood smorgusborg. Seriously. We had grilled shrimp to start and split a half seafood platter and Crabmeat Au Gratin between the four of us. There was way to much food, but it was so good. We finished the night on Bourbon Street, which was really quiet after seeing it on Friday and Saturday nights and one last piece of music at the Spotted Cat.
Nola SunEve
After three nights of 3 am or later getting up the next morning was tough, but we made it up and went to breakfast at Cake Cafe. As expected, it was delicious. Then again, can you really have a bad biscuits and gravy? The cupcakes were even better. We split a red velvet and wedding cake ones. Don’t judge, cupcakes for breakfast is perfectly normal of vacation and they are known for them. After that Rachael and I wandered down Royal Street stopping in the little shops and looking at art pieces. I found a few pieces that I could fit in my over stuffed bags and we ran back to the apartment to catch a cab back to airport for our afternoon flights.
Nola Cake
It was such a fun trip, I hope I get to do it again and explore the many areas that we did not get to see. Everyone was so nice. Plus I don’t think I can get enough of all the colorful homes with their massive porches and plants everywhere. Thank you Rob, Steffanie and Rachael for inviting me along!
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