Wednesday, October 31, 2018

New Orleans


Our recent trip to New Orleans was exhausting, but we had an amazing time.  I do wish we would have made this trip when we were younger, because the debauchery is real and I could not hang as well as my well seasoned husband.  He was raring to go and I was dragging behind in an embarrassing way!

The gaslights were enchanting. 
They are everywhere and each one was better than the last, so be sure to
walk the streets at night to truly soak them in. 

I'm going to do my best to share what we learned and what we would have done differently. We stayed at the Hilton DoubleTree on Canal Street.  It was a perfect location and made maneuvering around the city easy.  There is no shortage of hotels, so just do your research.  We had a great experience at the DoubleTree, but I would be willing to try a new location next time.

The balconies are also swoon worthy.
They are a staple in the architecture.

Let's talk Bourbon Street first.  However you have imagined it, you are either correct or didn't envision the crazy enough.  We were there the weekend before Halloween, so I don't know that you will experience the hilarious costumes that we did, but you will experience the drunkest drunk people you have ever seen.  Beads are everywhere, so don't worry about not not receiving any.  You don't even have to show your tatas.  Our bartender at Saint Lawrence told as exposing yourself is against the law, but during Mardi Gras they pick and choose their battles on Bourbon Street.

I patiently had to wait for a drunk man to move off this sign before I could take this shot.
He was loaded and it was 11:30 am! 
                       
Hints for partying in New Orleans:
       
1.  Drinking is allowed ANYWHERE, you can walk the streets and indulge as long as you are not using a glass container (that's the only rule...no glass).

2.  On Bourbon Street do not walk behind the sidewalk blockades. In some areas you are forced to, but they are crowded and people push. If you are at all claustrophobic stick to the street.

3.  I would invest in your own drinking mug with a LID. You will spill and I was worried about what might be placed in my drink. My lid brought me a lot of  comfort...for real.

The balconies are so full of people we wondered if they had ever collapsed.
The people watching from the balconies has to be epic.
4. The police are all around and it is fun to watch them. They sit up on their huge horses which are even more impressive. They are amazingly friendly and helpful, so take the time to thank them and ask questions.

5. Be prepared to deal with the drunkest drunk people you've ever seen. Most of them are fun loving and friendly, but you will run into a few that will cause you to be seriously concerned for their well-being. I watched one guy trying to stand for 2 minutes until his friend rescued him.  I thought he was going to fall and crack his head open!

6. Do NOT wear open toed shoes in the French Quarter unless you have a strong stomach. The streets are cobblestone and there are puddles and uneven stones everywhere. You will misstep and you will splash into unknown fluids, so beware.
                           
It's this crowded everywhere on Bourbon Street.
  It's best just to find a place and watch, trying to walk a lot is rough going. 
Other things to consider when you visit New Orleans:
                 
Make sure you duck into the random bars you will be passing and enjoy the music. This was one      of my favorite things about New Orleans. You will enjoy many different vibes from the bars you pass playing live music. This city feels like it has a heartbeat and you will notice it as you walk through the French Quarter.  This was how we found the bar Saint Lawrence.

They played the best music, although it wasn't live,
it fit the mood of the city perfectly. 

We loved this bar so much its where we started each evening. 
                                 
Explore the entire French Quarter and don't just hit Bourbon Street.  Jackson Square is amazingly beautiful.  You will find street performers and local artists all around Jackson Square. If you see artwork that interests you don't feel pressure to buy on the spot.  Most of the artists have business cards and online shops.  I fell in love with an art print, but thought that he wanted too much for it and didn't feel comfortable dropping the money until I had researched the artist. I took his card and was happy to find out I could buy the exact print on his Etsy shop. The other bonus to ordering online was that I did not have to carry it around or worry about damaging it when traveling home.

Andrew Jackson monument...in honor of the Battle of New Orleans. 

St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square.
Jackson Square is full of amazing architecture and landscaping.

When it comes to restaurants and where to eat I would advise to plan ahead.  There are places to eat on every corner, but you don't want to trust many of them. The tourist traps throughout the French Quarter are all around, but there are also just as many hidden gems.  Do your research, so you know which ones are getting good reviews.  We had good luck at Red Grav and Desi Vega's,

Do cave to the beignets at Cafe Du Monde.  We thought we would skip this because we heard the lines were long and we aren't huge dessert people, but while we were walking the Riverwalk Marketplace  we ran into a Cafe Du Monde coffee stand. We were able to enjoy the beignets while watching the river flow by.  I have to say it was a great alternative to the original location and the beignets were warm, sugary and delicious. 
Although this was just a small coffee stand we were
still able to watch how the beignets were made.
They are similar to a funnel cake, but better!

I have mixed emotions about the cemeteries.  They are obviously very old and they above ground tombs are interesting to see, but they are also very spooky.  There is not a chance of me visiting one at night, but Lafayette Cemetery is surrounded by homes, so I am just a big chicken. There are several older cemeteries, we just chose to visit Lafayette because it is in the Garden District and the homes surrounding it are amazing.  St. Louis Cemetery is the oldest in the city.


I read that Anne Rice was inspired by the cemeteries while writing
Interview with the Vampire and it's obvious why. 
There is something earthy and regal about them.

Thank you to the people of New Orleans for being so friendly and truly personable. We just skimmed the surface of all this city has to offer and look forward to visiting again and delving deeper into the culture. Bourbon Street lived up to it's reputation and we were enchanted by the French Quarter.  The music, food and vibe of New Orleans should not be missed! 


                     

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