The Big Easy has been one of those towns that have been calling Nicholas and I. It has whispered our names in the middle of the night. It kept tugging on our sleeves like a three-year-old child. So when my friend Melanie mentioned over my birthday lunch that we should go to New Orleans because “we will already be in Texas and we might as well fly to New Orleans, it’s just a short flight,” we jumped at the opportunity. Grant it New Orleans would have been his fourth trip in December and my third, but we made it work.
However, our time was limited. We only had 49 hours available in New Orleans, but we are troopers and decided to attack New Orleans like the hipsters we are.
Our first night, Nick and I dropped off our bags at our Airbnb. Melanie and her childhood friend Carrie were already on Bourbon Street when we landed. We met up with them in the French Quarter, and to my surprise and delight, we saw people drinking on the streets. I am always a fan of cities that allow you to drink outside. There is something beautifully simple about that idea.
We knew we just wanted to have a dinner so we could be fresh for Saturday. We went to Olde Nola Cookery for dinner because on Yelp it stated it would be open until 1 a.m. Most restaurants on Bourbon Street, for an unknown reason, close at 10 p.m. and we didn’t arrive until 10:30 p.m. I ordered some red beans, (my first time having red beans), white rice and sausage. Delicious. Then I treated myself to not one but two slices of Bourbon pecan pie.
We then left the restaurant and ordered a Lyft. New Orleans has plenty of Lyfts, Ubers, and taxis. It is a growing city where everyone drives. It is more spread out than you think. The rates aren’t outrageous, but be sure to add a small transportation cost to your budget.
The next morning we made our way to MoJo in the Garden District. The Garden District tends to have a lot of brunch places. It is surrounded by old Victorian homes and trees. So many trees.
MoJo Coffeehouse is a simple brunch coffee shop. Well, it’s more of a coffee shop that serves food, than a brunch restaurant. You stand in line, order your food, find a seat and wait for your name to be called. The seating area is quite spacious and well lit, with natural lighting.
The bathroom though was amazing. Art is everywhere in New Orleans, and I mean everywhere. The bathroom was painted this bright ocean blue with black drawings all over. It made me laugh so much, I went back to the bathroom with my phone and shared it on my Snapchat.
After breakfast, we made our way to the Voodoo Lounge for our cemetery tour. While we were planning this trip, we knew we wanted to do either a cemetery or ghost tour. I mean we are going to the land of Voodoo tales. However, we settled for a daytime cemetery tour, so we had plenty of time to drink at night. The cemetery tour was informative and funny. Our tour guide gave us the history of the French influence on the town, the battle between the Catholics and Protestants, and the struggles people endured when burying loved ones because the town is built on a swamp. Remember the movie “Easy Rider” with Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson? No, neither do I. But a scene from this movie was filmed at this cemetery, and there is a great story to go along with it.
We ended the two-hour tour a bit tired but pushed through. We treated ourselves to a snack at the famous Cafe du Monde. It may look touristy, but it is seriously worth the wait. Oh my, the recipe is so simple, coffee and beignets. We devoured our four orders of beignets and had no regrets.
We walked around French quarter a bit more and then called a Lyft. We wanted to rest up for the night. We went back to our Airbnb, took a nap, and then we were ready for the real French Quarter.
We ate dinner at Royal House Oyster Bar. It was a typical french quarter restaurant in an old Victorian house. We sat upstairs in this amazing building. Carrie and I and snuck out through the shutters that lead to the balcony overlooking this historic city to take some great photos. We all got a seafood dinner option. The dinner was good, not great, but the atmosphere and my mint julep made up for it.
After dinner, we walked to Jackson Square. The Square was already closed. However, they had tarot card readers surrounding the square. Melanie and I wanted to get a reading. Carrie and Nick entertained themselves at one of the many walk-up bars. Yes, there are walk-up bars in New Orleans. Walk down any street in the French Quarter, and you are sure to find a corner store that resembles an ice cream shop. Except these ice cream shops have Slurpee machines filled with alcohol and plenty of beer options. If you are on a budget, do your drinking in one of these establishments.
Regardless of what you believe, my first tarot card reading was amazing. The woman did not ask any questions about my life; she just read the cards. Everything she stated, was what I was feeling, what I feared and my current mindset. She truly had a positive aura around her. Carrie gave in and got a reading. Nick saved his money for more beer.
We then made our way to a few more bars in the quarter. Melanie recalled a bar in the city named Port St. Peter. It is a small little place, but the late night food is great, the bartender is nice, and there will be plenty of people to poke fun at. Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters lead singer, is a frequent visitor here whenever he is in town.
On Saturday, we had several hours to kill before our flight. After a late breakfast at The Ruby Slipper Cafe, we realized one famous New Orleans pastime we had not yet seen, was a jazz show.
New Orleans is all about Jazz. The music was born here. The airport is named after one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time; Louis Armstrong. Walk into a bar with a small stage, a few shabby chairs, buy a drink for six bucks and enjoy some of this classic music. It’s an awesome way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. And it doesn’t matter where you come from in life; rich, poor, old, young, cop, firefighter, business person, black, white or Asian…everyone in New Orleans loves jazz.
We made our way to Frenchmen Street. We found ourselves at two jazz establishments. First stop was The Spotted Cat Music Club. The band was popular, and there wasn’t a lot of seats. So purchase a beer and find a comfortable place to stand.
We then moved down the street and found a more spacious place. Balcony Music Club. The band was dressed in white suits and had a bit of 1920’s flair. There were more seats, and I treated myself to my last drink.
As we made our way to the airport, we were all a little tired, but with a new love for the south. New Orleans, until next time.