I recently took a quick mid-week trip to New Orleans… it was TOTALLY worth it.
Sometimes you just need a break. Even if it’s in the middle of the season. So, I had an opportunity to visit New Orleans and I took it. I checked the weather and it was going to be high 80’s. hell yes! So I attmepted to dress in a complimentary way that would keep me comfortable in DC with 60 degree weather, on a plane, and in Louisiana weather all in one day….
I arrived mid-afternoon Tuesday morning and caught a cab to my hotel, which I got a GREAT deal on through hotwire.com. It was one of those secret sales, so you basically put in your destination and picked the price range that was closest. I ended up at the Royal St. Charles Hotel right off Canal Street in the French Quarter. AWESOME.
The Staff was super friendly the whole time. I highly recommend it. I orignally booked a queen bed, but when I checked in with Cierra a tthe front desk, they didn’t have any left so I was upgraded to a king.
I didn’t complain! 🙂
My first “experience” stop in New Orleans was of course the Cafe Du Monde in the French Market. It was about a 10-15 min walk from my hotel and it was really easy to get around the City. Granted, I’ve had a lot of experience maneuvering through NYC, this was a little slower paced & lovely. (Traveler Tip: there is no hostess, go in and find a CLEAN table and you’ll be served quickly. no sense waiting in line for “to go” orders).
The beignets are TO DIE FOR. They’re these delicious, warm, doughey donut/pastries COVERED in powdered sugar. Probably shouldn’t have worn black though, because after eating all 3, I was peppered in a film of white. Everything in the area was actually pretty cheap – that late lunch/early dinner cost me a whole $5… Which was interesting in contrast to the high number of homeless groups I passed.
After that I decided to wander a bit more, past the Jackson Square Beautification Project towards Pat O’Brien’s bar/restaurant. Another New Orleans staple. It was probably around 5pm by the time I meandered that way so there was already a line outside the door… nope, not waiting this time, so I turned onto Bourbon Street for the experience.
An interesting experience it is indeed! All the doors/windows for each bar were open & blasting all different kinds of music, from reggae, to 80s, to pop, to country. Most with live bands which was really nice. I stopped into a Fat Tuesday’s I found along the way because my first solo vacation to St. Kitts, that’s where my best friend took me. It’s turned into a little tradition for me now I guess. (Kind of along the same lines of finding a Margarittaville whenever we go on family vacation).
I strolled back to Canal Street and ran straight into some random/impromptu parade happening… so I joined in. naturally.
By that time the street lights were coming on so I continued my exploration up & down Canal Street before heading back to my hotel to settle in for the night. That, and my dad told me not to wander by myself at night… OK DAD.
Wednesday morning I had a meeting, but booked the 6:35pm flight out so my exploration could continue. ACME Oyster House was recommended to me by a friend so I headed that way for lunch. And boy am I glad I did.
I wandered in, looking around (clearly, no hostess) and one of the ‘master shuckers’ asked how they could help, my response? “I just need a seat” so I sat at the bar and kept polite conversation with the first shucker and another Master Shucker, “Stormin” Normin. Great Guys, Great Conversation.
I ordered the raw oysters first, and then overheard some folks asking about the chargrilled oysters, and how they were the best seller on the menu. So I ordered a half-dozen of those too.
I kept asking what I needed to make sure I saw before I left (since all the travel websites list a ton of ideas, I wanted a local’s opinion) and the master shuckers unfortunately told me I didn’t have enough time to do anything big, so Stormin Norman suggested Riverwalk – the outlet mall along the river across from Harrah’s Casino.
Perused through all the stores and then took another stroll along the riverside. Stumbled upon a holocaust memorial that was pretty cool, and decided I couldn’t leave without some more Cafe Du Monde…. 🙂
Clearly, I hated it there….
I had just enough time after beignets for one more stop before heading back to the hotel to pick up my luggage and taxi to the airport. So I attempted Pat O’Brien’s again, showed my ID & ordered a famous Hurricane to sit on the patio.
After hanging out a while, I couldn’t finish the drink, its huge. I made the sad walk back to the hotel. and boarded the plane back to DC.
All in all, It was a fun experience. I love being able to explore a new place and not have to worry about every second being planned out. Going places with friends is fun, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes you just need to get away by yourself to truly enjoy life.
I also had a moment of ‘how cool is life” while on the return flight. If my camera phone was better I would have snapped a picture, but my iPhone just wouldn’t do God justice. I’ve always loved flying, so there we are at a cruising altitude of 34.000 ft. and sprawled out before me is the most incredible watercolor painting I’ve ever seen. The entire rainbow spectrum in a sunset. Below the pillow of clouds I see the sparkling lights of the cities below and hanging above, the twinkling of the Big Dipper in plain sight.
Pure Zen. Thats how the adventure should end.