I've caught a bit of the travel bug this year; so far, I've been to Italy, Aruba, and most recently, New Orleans.
New Orleans was a spur of the moment trip planned by my parents who decided to invite me and my partner along, and since I haven't been on a trip with my parents in years, I decided to go! We agreed on a long weekend trip; arriving on Saturday morning and leaving Tuesday afternoon—it was the perfect amount of time. Though the weather was hot for mid-October, the crowd was minimal compared to it's busier times of year, and we were able to get a lot of tourist activities done throughout the day.
Arriving in New Orleans - Saturday
We arrived early Saturday morning to the annoyance of our hotel room not being ready; it was [super] frustrating because once I'm off the plane, I like to shower and change, but because there was nothing we could do, we decided to make the best of it. We dropped our luggage off and headed out for a quick breakfast followed by a walk to Treme and cemetery tour. In any other city, you wouldn't catch me dead—no pun intended—in a cemetery, but when you're in NO, I feel it's only right.
We toured the famous Saint Louis Cemetery Number One on the border of the French Quarter. Learning about their untraditional way of burial was very interesting, but what caught my attention was the multiple grave sites of Marie Laveau and the markings on each. We toured the site for about an hour and left to head back to Bourbon Street and get ready for the night. Our nights were kept rather low key—dinner (Amelie was our favorite), drinks and hanging out on Bourbon; we avoided most of the bars and clubs because that's not our scene, so we hang out on our balcony that overlooked Bourbon.
Day Two - Sunday
Sunday was a full day in the city, so we headed to breakfast early and set out for the French Market. I wanted an authentic experience, and the market gave me that; the food, the music and people, and the handmade pieces of jewelry. Everything about this moment made me fall in love with New Orleans; if you're traveling and want an authentic experience and connection to the place you're visiting, head to their market or local festival.
Because of the flight and weather change, I felt myself getting sick, so we headed back to the hotel to rest for a little before dinner at Nola. We tried to grab dinner there the night before, but it was packed, and they weren't accepting reservations, so we made them for Sunday. Nola is a cute, modern restaurant tucked away on a side street in the French Quarters. They didn't have many vegan options, so I created my own meal with sides, but my family was able to order directly from the menu, and we all loved our food and experience.
After dinner and after much discussion, we decided to do the ghost tour. I'm not going to lie, I was completely freaked out; not knowing what to expect, and reading reviews of sightings, I wasn't sure if this was going to be scary or fun. It turned out to be a lot of fun! We had a great tour guide named Lee who made the entire experience educational, and fun. We walked through the streets of the French Quarter in the dark guided by the moonlight. As we passed houses of different sightings and hauntings, Lee explained it's history and significance to the city. The creepiest house of all was the LaLaurie Mansion; this house is known as the house with the most gruesome past, and after taking tons of pictures, the pictures of this house turned out to be the only blurry ones. CREEPY!
Swap Tour - Day 3 - Monday
Monday was our last full day, but we had it planned to the max, and we started the morning early with a swamp tour of the bayou. It was raining in the Quarters but after a 30-minute drive through the city, we arrived at the bayou to a bright and sunny day. Seeing the Spanish moss hanging from the trees and blowing in the wind while the sun bounced off the river made the boat ride beautiful and peaceful. I was in awe of the landscape and the juxtaposition of beauty and historical trauma the bayou possessed; I was excited to see the alligators, but I was intrigued by the river itself.
We saw a 14-foot alligator which blew my mind, and a few babies along the ride. We camped out in a quiet corner for a few minutes, and to our surprise, the captain had a baby gator on board. I promised myself before the trip, if I had the opportunity to hold a gator, I was going to do it—until it was in my face. After a few minutes, I built up the courage, and did it! I held a baby gator! The swamp tour was another highlight of the trip, something I will definitely do again, but more for the history and less of the gators.
For our last night, we decided to keep it low key with a dinner at Royal House—it wasn't our favorite. The food was good, but the service was horrible. But as always, we made the best of it and ended our night back where it all started—on the balcony of our hotel.
Our Last Day - Day 4
Our last day was uneventful; we ordered room service and headed to the airport for an early afternoon flight.
The New Orleans you see on TV is not the New Orleans we experienced. Of course, there is a lot of drinking and partying on Bourbon, but once you leave the area, you get to experience the real New Orleans—the culture, the food, and the people. We did all the tourist things, including Cafe Du Monde—it didn't live up to its hype—but took in a lot of everything else the city has to offer. I'm excited to visit again, but next time it will be away from the Quarters to visit friends that can take me around to experience Nawlins from their prospective!
I’m in the process of planning my holiday trip, so if you have any suggestions of where I should visit, comment below! Continue to Live Your Life in Style and always Be Inspired.