Is New Orleans All It's Cracked Out To be?
When you think of New Orleans I bet some of your first thoughts are Mardi Gra, Bourbon Street and Iron Balconies? If you said Yes to any of those you are spot on!
Bourbon Street is the place to go if you want to dance your ass off and get drunk off sugary cocktails. It spans for 13 blocks filled with lights, street performers and an endless amount of bars/clubs.
So, what is my opinion of Bourbon Street.... I expected nothing less than what I experienced.
The first night out was a Saturday and the whole street was packed from start to finish. Drinks are everywhere and yes... people really do flash their tits for beads along the street. My only "issue" with Bourbon street was the amount of garbage (some say it gets up to your knees around Mardi Gra time)
*** Fun Game- take a sip of your drink everytime you see a Hand Grenade ***
If you want some fun and sweet drinks, definatly take a visit to Tropical Isle and grab yourself either a Shark Attack or Hand Grenade.
Some Spots Along Bourbon to Check out:
The Cats Meow- Great for karaoke and balcony location
Prohibition - Super fun club and a great place to get a fish bowl
Tropical Isle - many locations for DRINKS on DRINKS
Now that we got Bourbon Street out of the way .... lets make way for the other aspects of NOLA!
Coming into this trip we didn't have any specific places in mind to eat. We did the lets wonder the streets and pop into a place we thought seemed good from the outside strategy. To be honest it paid off and we didn't experience any bad meals, everything was delicious and decently priced. (Prices weren't as jacked up as I thought they would be when we got close to a touristy spot).
Pierre Maspero's- Gives off an intalian resturant vibe but has many of the New Orlean Classics! For an appetizer I orderd the fried Alligator. ($14) Entrees that we orderd: the Chicken & Waffles with Honey Tabasco Glaze, Blackened Chicken Jambalaya and the Blackened Redfish Alfredo Pasta. (Entrees ranged from ($18-26). To wash it all down with I got the Bohemian Julep cocktail for about $12.
**** The resturant is 5 mins away from Jackson Square ****
Backspace- is a writers themed dive bar with cocktails that you will never forget. To be honest this was my favorite food spot throughout the trip.... everything was on point and came in clutch during our late night adventures!
It's located in the French Quarter at the corner of Chartres Street and Iberville Street ( 2 min walk from Bourbon St.)...they even have a couple seats outside so doggos are welcomed.
Highly recommend getting the Backspace Burger paired with the I Am Bane cocktail. I don't care for spicy things, but this cocktail was mind blowing delicious and just the right amount of heat.
Moving on to by far my favorite activity... get yourself on an AIRBOAT Tour!!!
We went with Airboat Adventures which was about a 30 min drive from downtown. They tell you to arrive about 15-30 mins ahead of your scheduled time... I would suggest listening to that because it gets pretty busy and you will want time to grab a couple drinks before boarding.
When you arrive go into the main building to grab your wristband and boat assignment....make sure to grab a peak at the albino gator in the back right corner. Once you get your info head outside to the giant pavillion. Here is where you can grab a drink before your boat number is called. Yes, you can bring drinks along for the ride!
The Different Tours that Airboat Adventures offer:
Pontoon Boat Adventure - seats up to 75 people.... ehhhh not my cup of tea. Would be the best option if you are on a budget or get motion sickness but still want to enjoy the marsh. ($32)
Large Airboat Tours- seats around 15-30 passangers ($55).
Small Airboat Tours- seats around 6-10 passangers ($79). This is the one we did ... mainly because I read the description wrong for the large boats and thought you needed to have a large party to go on that one, which isn't the case.
To be honest I prefered the smaller boat because it wasn't over crowded and everyone got the chance to get up close with the gators. (if you have extra money to spend, def go this route)
They even have shuttle buses that can come and pick you up from select hotels/locations... for an extra $20.
*** Make sure to apply sun screen and use the bathroom before boarding or else its going to be a long 2 hours***
Moving on to some history/ touristy spots.
Jackson Square is in the heart of the french quarter and features a small park, local art and St. Louis Cathedral. This is a great spot to relax and take in your surrondings for awhile.
I'm sure while you are in the area, you will be able to smell beignets coming from the nearby famous Cafe Du Monde. I never got the chance to stop at the Cafe, but when my sister went she said the best time to go is later at night for less of a line.... when we passed there had to be at least 30-40 people waiting in line.
Not far from the square is the French Market which contains aisles filled with local venders... this is the best place to go and pick up some quick food/souvaniers.
While you are out this way, don't forget to check out the riverfront and get a good look at Steamboat NATCHEZ... you can even book a Jazz Cruise aboard the steamboat.
Something I wish we had more time for was the historic Cemetaries. To be fair the resources I checked out a head of time said that we could enter into the cemetaries no problem. That wasn't the case when we got to St. Louis 2. Cemetary...the grounds keeper wouldn't let us in since we didn't have family buried there.
It wasn't all a waste because you can see some of it from the outside.... not Ideal but its somthing! If you really want to go into one... maybe try finding a tour or someone who has access.
** Fun Fact- Nicholas Cage has a plot with a 9 foot Pyramid in St. Louis 1 Cemetary **
Last but not least is the famous New Orleans Parade!
Due to Covid over the last year parades have been on hold.... that was the case until Memorial Day when the Krewe of Kings held a parade in Harahan. We heard about the parade on facebook and couldn't pass up the opportunity to go check it out.
The floats are super detailed and contain thousands of beads waiting to be tossed out.... Be warned beads aren't the only thing that gets thrown at you... we had flowers, stuffed animals, cups, sunglasses and even bananas tossed at us. The people on the floats showed no mercy and will even toss them when your not looking. (if you want to keep the items, I suggest bringing a bag to carry them all in)
But all in all it was fun to experience and now I can check off going to a parade in New Orleans!
** Tip- some of the beads will end up dying your skin/ clothes so be careful how long you leave them on***
That pretty much wraps up my time in NOLA.... I had a good time, but it's definently a place I wouldnt be in a hurry to go back to anytime soon.
Links to some of the places mention in this post:
For current news, I would suggest joining a New Orleans facebook group... thats how I found out about the parade!