Naw ‘leans as the Southerners call it is an enchanting city. Since I had a three day weekend I decided to visit my college friend and her New Orleans born and breed boyfriend. So I was lucky enough to be given the local tour, which we all know is the best one! Her boyfriend told us all about parade floats and how each of them is known for a specific thing. There is a hierarchy among the floats and you have to join to be a part of the Krewe, pay dues and pay for the items you throw. So some floats throw one shoe (which is for decoration not actually use), purses, tons of beads and other swag. These shoes are one of a kind, hand decorated shoes. If you want to know more about the different Krewes feel free to read about each crew and what they throw here. The tradition of decorating and throwing one shoe represents
- The food. Let’s be honest we all need to eat, so why not eat something delicious! The beignets are a magical and delicious reason to visit New Orleans alone. If you crossed a donut with a funnel cake and covered it in powdered sugar, then you would have the beignet. To eat one of these delicious morsels you must go to Cafe Du Monde. Insider tip: there is no formal wait to be seated rule. So keep walking past the long line of tourist and walk into the restaurant and look for an empty table. The staff there will quickly bus the table and ask you for your order. DO bring cash! This place is pretty cheap and I do not think they take credit. Also the little water cups they bring you are to wash the sugar off your fingers not for you to drink!
Try the po’ boys. There are shrimp, crawfish, catfish and fried clam po’ boys. These are everywhere and the Cuban sub of New Orleans. Named the po’ boy after the poor mans’ sandwich. It is crunchy and delicious. Usually, bread toasted on both sides with butter, tomatoes, and lettuce.
Alligator Bites. I know some of you are thinking ew. BUT the last time I had alligator was an RJ Gator’s in Florida about 12 years ago. The alligator bites in New Orleans are juicy, tender and chewy. I personally am not a huge chicken person, but alligator bites always taste like better than Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets.
Gumbo. It’s seasoned to spicy perfection, full of shrimp, crawfish, scallops, sausage, and vegetables. A must if you love soup or spicy foods.
Art in the French Quarter
2. The Art in the French Quarter. I have a tradition of buying street art from the places I visit and the French Quarter was filled with photography, sculptures, and paintings. The artist my friend bought her art from told us he grew up there and was one of the first contractors to come back and rebuild. Each frame was made from the wood of the houses he helped take down to the studs and rebuild. He told us the red spray paint was how many people had passed (animals included) and the black spray paint was how many people (and animals) had been saved from the home. The green spray paint was from the homeowners spraying Help on their homes. The painting she bought was of the very street we were on that he use to look out on as he drank his morning coffee before he began to work. Stories like these are the reasons why I love collecting art, not only are you stimulating the local economy instead of the tacky tourist shops, but you also get to connect with some truly beautiful people.
3. The live Jazz bands on the streets! There is nothing like a live Jazz band. Every couple of blocks there were four and six-piece jazz bands filling the air with sweet sounds. I loved dancing in the streets with the locals and laughing with my friend. Full disclosure I have always found Saxophones to be so sexy! Idk I blame my mom for playing so much Kenny G as I grew up.
4. The parades! It’s impossible not to, “let the good times roll,” in New Orleans! You can pay a fee to the city and have a police-escorted parade in the French Quarter. It’s super common for Bachelorette’s, weddings and birthday celebrations. So you can march up and down the Quarter with your very own jazz band, parasol. It’s pretty affordable to have your own street parade and open container. You can read more about that here.
5. Bourbon Street! I have one photo from Bourbon street, because if you have seen Girls Trip you know exactly how wild Bourbon Street is. I basically thought I had stumbled across a post-college frat party in the best possible way.
6. The shopping! I reclaimed my love of earrings in New Orleans. There were so many boutiques with interesting colorful earrings. Since I have returned home I’ve bought three more pairs, but that was partially because Babblebar had a sale. (Instagram’s ads will be the death of me). I must warn you that some boutiques are overpriced compared to others. So visit multiple boutiques before purchasing. You could save some bucks.
7. The architecture. If you love French architecture, but want to enjoy it in tropical weather. If you are looking for a unique bar to beat the heat, then you must go to the Carousel bar. Inside the Hotel Monteleone is this beautiful one-of-a-kind rotating carousel bar. The floor moves around in a slow spinning motion, while a jazz band plays in the back. Make sure to get there before 8 if you want a seat!
8. The historic sites like the Lafayette Cemetery. This cemetery has been featured in multiple movies and the CW show The Originals. These beautiful giant tombs hold multiple family members some dating as far back as the 1840’s. These tombs are above ground since New Orleans is in a bowl and will flood. Sadly a lot of these tombs were damaged during the hurricane like many peoples home and through vandalism. There are tours you can take to learn about the various families, secret societies and burial styles here.
Have you ever been to New Orleans? If so what are some of your favorite spots?