Get ready for a major photo dump, people…
I’ve had my first cajun experience, everyone. It was a blast! My friends invited me and another friend along for the ride to New Orleans. It was a gas-and-hotel-expense-paid trip. All I would have to pay for is my food and any activities. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity. Lesson number one on This, That, and the Budget: if someone offers you a great deal to travel (AKA: mostly free), you DO IT!
We left early Thursday morning and got back Sunday evening. A solid 2.5 days to explore the city and all it had to offer. Before I say anything else about this trip, I would just like to take a moment to say a huuuuge THANK YOU to Peter (& Jaye) for inviting me! It was a great experience and I’m so glad I have the memories.
The first thing I did was make my handy dandy packing list…like I always do. It rarely changes from trip to trip.
So off we went…and 8 hour journey all the way to NOLA.
We got into the city around 2:30 pm or so, checked into our hotel, and then it was off to explore a bit before dinner. Our hotel was just a few blocks from the French Quarter so we headed that way [on foot] and hit up Jackson Square. We saw the St. Louis Cathedral and the statue of Andrew Jackson. We heard a battle of jazz bands in the square and fortune tellers tried to lure us to their tables as we passed by.
But their trickery did not work. We headed toward the place everyone told us we had to visit…Cafe Du Monde! Famous for their beignets and chicory coffee, we stood in line and purchased sugary goodness. We headed across the street to the river and enjoyed our powdered sugar-covered snacks.
We had dinner that night at ACME Oyster. Strangely, not one of us ordered oysters. But I did try my first grilled chicken po’boy and it was pretty darn delicious. We headed back to the hotel to get rested up for the next day.
Friday we spent the morning tracking down a tasty breakfast which we found at Cafe Beignet. I had a delicious omelette with Louisiana ham and white cheddar. We met a sweet older couple who sat at our table and offered to take our picture.
When we offered to do the same for them, the woman said, “Oh that’s alright. We have plenty of pictures together.” To which her husband replied, “I want a picture.”
I mean c’mon! How sweet is that?! Sweeter than a beignet, that’s for darn sure.
We strolled through the French Market later that day while enjoying daiquiris in a go-cup. Yes, you can carry your alcohol with you in NOLA. It was pretty fun!
We enjoyed a hearty seafood dinner that night. My pile of shrimp was mountainous and I wasn’t able to finish it all, which is saying something. I can put away some shrimp. Yum!! We headed back to the hotel afterward and watched a few episodes of Gilmore Girls, rested up and headed back out the next morning. A streetcar adventure was on the agenda that day…
We took a streetcar to the north side of the city where the famous New Orleans cemeteries & City Park are. We walked through quite a few rows of the cemetery which were eerie, haunting, and beautiful.
City Park was next on the list and we enjoyed quite a few hours of browsing the park, seeing what it had to offer. It would have been much more fun if we were children and could enjoy “Storyland” and the amusement park there. But it was fun nonetheless. We enjoyed the sculpture garden instead, where we found a giant…safety pin?
Yep. A safety pin, indeed. Lunch rolled around quickly. Instead of getting anything worth much substance, we dined on the one and only…you guessed it…beignets! We also had ice cream. It was the best lunch. Ever.
That evening we explored the city a bit more. We walked through the casino briefly, just to see what it was like. I’d never been inside a casino before…unless the Las Vegas airport counts… We had a delicious sushi dinner which I am still dreaming about. I learned to use chopsticks for real [thanks, Peter] and I need to keep practicing. At some points I definitely used my hands to pick up my sushi and shovel it into my mouth. Pretty picture, I know.
The next day was Sunday and we started the long journey back to Nashville. We had great conversation, terrible [but delicious] junk food, and an all-around fun trip back to the Volunteer State.
From this trip I learned that New Orleans is extremely unique. A city all its own. There is such a mesh of cultures there that make it a truly fascinating place to be. I could definitely use more time to explore. I can’t wait to go back one day with Nathan in tow!
Have you ever been to NOLA? What was your favorite thing you experienced? What should I do next time I’m there? Thanks for reading, friends!