The first time I went to New Orleans was back in 2003, when I was a freshman in high school. I had been a part of the school band and marching band, even though I was well aware of how uncool it was and how it could tarnish my reputation for the years to come, just so I could go on a trip. (This tended to be a trend I have had throughout my life; I will do just about anything for a trip.) The trip was happening during our spring break and the band conductors decided on New Orleans because it is known for being a music capital and we were going to be marching in one of their holiday parades.
Fast forward to the year 2016 and I had planned a trip for my boyfriend and I. He mentioned he was interested in going to New Orleans because it is the set of many of his vampire shows such as True Blood and The Originals. For this reason, we went and I coordinated it to coincide with my spring break and Easter weekend. Before we left he requested a full itinerary of what we would be doing each day so I did my best to plan what I remembered to be the best of NOLA.
On my first trip, I remember going to Mardi Gras World, which is basically a garage for the old Mardi Gras floats and some costumes to dress up in. Even at 14 years old I wasn’t that impresses so I crossed that off of the list for this year’s trip. I also remember a visit to Oak Alley Plantation. I knew that my boyfriend, who has little to no interest in history, wouldn’t want to spend time here so I went on to the next thing. I thought maybe a swamp tour where we could see alligators floating along our boat might be more up his alley, but he nixed that too.
I began to get frustrated when planning because I rarely research as much as I did before traveling. Usually when I go someplace I just walk around and find things to do, but I knew this time it would have to be different. And even though I made an extensive plan of what we would be doing, we did little according to that plan. C’est la vie!
The first day we got there it was Friday. We flew out on an early flight so we arrived around noon. Neither of us had taken an Uber before but we had only heard great things so we downloaded the app and waited for our first ride. ROOKIE MISTAKE. We didn’t know that from the New Orleans airport to any destination is is a flat rate fee of $75! So note to self, don’t bother with Uber from the airport; take a cab instead.
Once we got to the hotel we were early but I checked in and we dropped off our bags so that we could begin to explore. Luckily our hotel was right in the middle of it all, the Crowne Plaza on Canal Street. We walked from our hotel to the French Market where we sampled some food, the best being The Crepe Cart. Oh, I could go for a crepe right now.
We then thought we could get anoter snack from Cafe Du Monde, since it is so iconic and we love beignets. But the line was terribly long so we kept walking and reurned to ur hotel since our room as ready.
Strolling along Bourbon Street we saw a lot of debauchery at every hour of the day. This also was a widespread theme of the city. We were planning ongoing on the Steamboat Natchez at 7pm so we dined across the stree from the port at Cafe Maspero. As we were ordering, there was a woman walking past our table outside who then vomited on the street and continued to keep walking wihtout missing a beat. The waitress looked at us in apologetic fear and said that they would be cleaning the mess up as soon as poisible. We looked at each other, laughed, and placed our order. “Ok then…I’ll have the muffalata sandwich. ”
After our dinner that was actually very delicious, we walked over to get on to the Steamboat Natchez. My boyfriend was scurrying around to find the best seat, which I didn’t think was anything out of the ordinary. Little did I know at the time, he was nervous because he was about to propose! Read more about that in another post, but just know it was a happy ending.
On Saturday we woke up and wanted to start exploring. We decided on a City Tour where we saw every neighborhood in New Orleans. Usually I don’t go on these but it was pretty informative and definitely showed up more than we expected. We walked through the Garden District and saw the beautiful arquitecture and learned some of th history. They also tok us to a few cemearies and explained that whole families are buried in the same tombs.
That night for dinner we wanted to try as many dishes as possible. I got a combination plater that had etouffe, red beans and rice, and gumbo. There was live music and we sat out on the patio to enjoy the pleasant weather. We walked around Frenchman Street to see what was going on on this saturday night. We saw that the line at Cafe Du Monde wasn’t as long as during the day so we had beignets for dessert. We were both a little disappointed in the overall flavor of the beignets. They tasted as if there was burnt ends of batter in the oil which made the overall beignets taste charred. But the coffee on the other hand was great!
It was Easter Sunday and raining so that changed our plans a bit. We headed around the corner to have breakfast at Daisy Dukes where they have bottomless Bloody Marys. After that we walked down the block to the Aquarium of the Americas, which is a good indoor activity. There were plenty of animals to keep us entertained.
When we left, the Easter Parade down Bourbon Street, so we stopped, watched and caught some beads, of course. We ate lunch at Acme Oyster House, which was recommended to us by a few people. The meal was alright but the best experience was the vodka oyster shooter. For sure it is a story to tell about.
We rested our bellies back at the hotel room until we went to dinner. Sometimes you just need to take a good nap. The weather still wasn’t the greatest so we decided to try out the restaurant in our hotel, Bourbon House. This ended up being the best dinner we had! The service was wonderful and the food was well prepared and flavorful. By far my favorite thing was their Bourbon Rootbeer Float. It is exactly what the name states and I could drink one of those everyday if I could.
At night we went to see a show at Preservation Hall. The building itself is so iconic and the performance was amazing! I tried to soak in every note to perserve the experience in my mind for the rest of time. I believe that night I continued to tap my toe to the beat in my sleep.
We woke up in the morning and headed to Magazine Street to have donuts at District Donuts. They had a lot of creative kinds of doughnuts which was fun, and then we ventured back by taking the trolley. We did have a few hours to kill before our flight and didn’t want to wander too far from our hotel. Near our place on Canal Street was a movie Theater in Canal Place. We saw Zootopia which was a lighthearted movie to watch befoe we needed to leave. The weather was nicer once we left the theater so we walked over to Jacson Park to take pictures and grab another crep from the Crepe Cart in the French Market. Now that our bellies were full we got a cab, NOT an Uber, which onlhy cost about $30 and made our way home, this itme as an engaged couple.
That was it! We were stuffed the entire time but did plenty of walking to work it off. I would say that this trip was much different than the first time I went to New Orleans. Until next time, let the good times roll!