I am back with another Travel Post: D I hope you find this useful!
So as you might know I went to New Orleans/New York in March. I was so excited especially for NYC because I have never been to the States before. It was kind of a big deal for me and on my list of things I wanted to do in 2015 so I was super happy I was able to go.
Our flight was at 9 am and I didn’t really know what to expect from the 8 hour flight ahead of us. The only time I went on a long haul flight was when I was about 11 and I couldn’t remember much from that previous experience. But let me tell you they look after you! I flew with Delta Airlines and they kept me entertained! I watched Big Hero 6. Loved that movie! Let’s be Cops and The Theory of Everything! I would recommend all of them. And they had so many more recent movies to pick on. My friend and I already made a mental note of films we wanted to watch on the way back. Yes we are that sad 😛 I am sure most of you know about all this but for me this was my proper first experience on a long haul flight, so these little things really got me excited. And they kept bringing food too! So either you were eating, talking to your friends, sleeping or watching amazing movies/TV shows! Thank you Delta I had a blast :* I am easily pleased. The only downside to this was the fact that you were kind of stuck in this sitting position the whole time. So I made sure to move around as much as I could (e.g. by going to the toilet) and to work that skeletal muscle pump because I didn’t want a DVT (sorry for being a Science nerd!):P. But I have to say that I had quite a lot of leg space compared to my friends as I have tiny legs. They do say good things come in small packages…:P
I also made sure to moisturize my skin frequently and to drink lots of water to keep me hydrated, which I think really helped because I didn’t break out at all during my whole holiday which is quite surprising for me.
When we finally arrived in New Orleans, it was very humid there and 28 degrees!!
We took a taxi (about 15$ without tip) to our Wyndham Hotel in the French Quarter, which was beautiful with nice staff and only about 3 minutes from the famous Bourbon Street! Yay! When we arrived to our hotel it was only about 6pm in NOLA but 12am in the UK and we were jet lagged. So we just went out for dinner at the New Orleans Hard Rock Cafe that day and then went to bed.
The next day we went to Bourbon Orleans Hotel for breakfast and they had amazing choices from pancakes to a typical southern breakfast with sausages, grits and omelettes. It was recommended to us by my friend’s friend who actually stayed at this beautiful hotel. For breakfast, drinks and tip we paid around 20$ each.
Later that day we did some exploring and went down the famous Bourbon Street, which was right next to our hotel.
We also made a stop at the Historic New Orleans Collection Museum, which is free and taught us about Andrew Jackson (the 7th President of the United States and after which Jackson Square is named) and his significance to New Orleans. They also had some great drawings of the Axeman of New Orleans who was a serial killer active in New Orleans from 1918 to 1919. The Axeman was never caught or identified but I first heard of him in the American Horror Story: Coven.
And yes for all American Horror Story fans, we went by Delphine LaLaurie‘s House.
In the afternoon, as a quick snack we had Beignets (doughnuts with lots of sugar on top) at Cafe du Monde, which is open 24 hours a day so your craving will always be satisfied. We also managed to book 3 tours (swamps, haunted houses and New Orleans city tour) for the following days.
Many of New Orleans best attractions are within walking distance of each other so travelling shouldn’t cost too much.
Places to see in New Orleans:
St. Louis Cathedral
Woldenberg Riverfront Park
New Orleans City Park
Cafe Du Monde
For dinner that day we went to the Oyster Bar, for which we made a reservation the previous day. I had green tea and Chicken Gumbo, which is a southern dish that originated from the Louisiana Creole people during the 18th century. It consists of meat and vegetables in a sauce served over rice. Delicious!
In the evening we went out to Frenchmen Street, which is where all the Jazz clubs and Bars were. A lot of the bars/clubs had live bands which played jazz music but also chart songs and the best thing was that entry is free to all of them but they do go around asking for tips, which they deserve because they are amazing. Also make sure to carry ID with you all the time as they do ask for it before you can enter, they are strict on that, it’s the USA after all. Only 21 and above!
I have to say everyone in New Orleans is so talented! They can sing, play instruments or draw really well. So artistic! I am jealous.
The next morning, we got picked up at our hotel for the New Orleans City Tour. We went to see Saint Louis Cemetery No. 3 and learnt that all the graves are above-ground vaults; which were mostly constructed in the 18th century and 19th century. We were also taken to the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, where you can still see the watermarks the flood left on traffic lights and houses. Back in 2005, the levee system failed miserably in New Orleans which is why a few hours after, the storm had moved inland. We got to see the Mississippi beachfront towns, which were affected the most and became flooded and the floodwaters lingered for weeks. It was quite emotional to see and the tour guide was explaining to us that the people living in New Orleans don’t want to leave the city despite the problems because they love New Orleans.
Later on we also stopped at New Orleans City Park which is next to Morning Call where you can also get tasty Beignets from.
In the evening we took a ride on St. Charles Streetcar, which has been running for more than 150 years which you can tell by the mahogany seats and exposed ceiling light bulbs and for that reason it was somehow magical.
For dinner we went to the Gumbo Shop, where I tried Jambalaya, which is another typical Louisiana Creole dish. I tried the Alligator Jambalaya, which consisted of Alligator Sausage, vegetables, spices and rice. Yum!
For breakfast that day we went to Cafe Beignets and you can guess we had Beignets and a sandwich with of course hot chocolate. I feel like every time I go on holiday I have lots of hot chocolate but never when I am in the UK. I don’t know why. I guess it’s my holiday thing?
Day 4 was also a Monday and we were told by our tour guide that Mondays are considered Sundays in New Orleans, just because of the tourists who come to party a lot over the weekend and so the locals use Monday to close early and to relax. Therefore he suggested doing the Swamp Tour on a Monday because there wouldn’t be much to do in the city on that day.
We got picked up at our hotel again and taken to the swamps which were about 30 minutes bus ride away from the city. Being on an air boat was a real adrenaline releasing experience and we got to see alligators! And yes they also look like they want to kill you in real life when they approach you. At the end I also got to hold a small 2-year-old alligator called Louie, which was nerve-racking but also an interesting experience. I would definitely recommend the Swamps Tour.
We had dinner at JAX Bistro Bar, and I tried the Alligator Gumbo with mashed potatoes. I also had bread pudding for dessert which was delicious. I have to say that Alligator tastes very meaty which I didn’t really expect because they look so thin.
In the evening we went out again this time Bourbon Street and I tried the Hurricane Cocktail, which was rather strong I have to say. But I would definitely recommend Frenchmen Street over Bourbon Street; just because it’s less crazy I guess with better music.
On our last day we went to the French Market in the morning and bought some souvenirs. I couldn’t leave New Orleans without some Mardi Gras Beads and Pralines. We also went to Jimmy’s and tried their Po-Boys, which is a traditional submarine sandwich from Louisiana. And can I say that we laughed so many times about my inability to say Po-Boys. I kept saying Poo-Boys…There is seriously something wrong with me.
In the evening we did the Haunted Houses Tour, and heard some interesting haunted ghost stories. New Orleans after all is a haunted city and apparently Brad Pitt who owns a house there loves it there despite the fact that his house is haunted. I don’t know if I can believe all of these stories but it was definitely interesting to hear them. At the end we were taken to an actual haunted house and my friend swears she experienced something supernatural….So we left the house.
-> Muriel’s, a haunted restaurant. They reserve a table with food each night to keep the ghost happy.
-> Brad Pitt’s House in New Orleans. Also haunted…
–> A real “haunted” house. The lights wouldn’t stop flickering.
New Orleans is a city like no other I have ever been to. The people there are extremely friendly. Where else does every customer coming into a supermarket get greeted by the staff? I guess a lot of the locals there work in the service industry and rely very much on our gratuity to earn a living wage so they have to be nice. So be aware and kind when you tip. I would definitely recommend visiting New Orleans; it has its own charm and sad history. Also if you just want to escape the cold depressing weather in your country and don’t necessary want a beach but just nice weather in a great city with lots of good food and entertainment New Orleans is waiting for you. Also a lot of hen-do parties are done there too.
Thanks for reading.