7 things to do and see in New Orleans (according to me, which makes it true)

So naturally I did not write while I was in New Orleans, but hey, I was busy having a blast so who has time for things like blogging when they’re having fun? I absolutely loved the city, and had a great time sightseeing with my favorite person. Although I won’t be back anytime soon, I would definitely love to go back again in my lifetime just to spend a little more time in such a cool place. Among all the greatness, here are a few things we did that I highly recommend to anyone visiting this historic (albeit falling down around you) city.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Never did figure out why all the graves were above ground.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Never did figure out why all the graves were above ground.

Check out the cemeteries. The notable ones are the St. Louis Cemeteries, of which there are several, but of which I’m sure people really only go to No. 1 (we went to No. 2 as well and it was deserted, clearly no one cares). We went on our own and just wandered the plots (which were surprisingly unorganized), and whenever we’d happen upon a tour group, we just sort of hung out near the back and caught whatever history lesson the guide was giving. It might be cheating, not paying for a tour, but I recommend it. Spend your money elsewhere, and just jump in on a group whenever you come upon them, they won’t even notice (and are probably used to it anyway).

Eat a lot of good food. Jambalaya, gumbo, etouffee, po’ boys, the list of delicious food is endless. I highly recommend Jacques-Imo’s and Joey K’s.

Ride the streetcar. Talk about a time warp. That thing looks like it’s from the 50s, and probably is. It’s loud and usually crowded but it’s a fun way to travel around the city besides walking. It also feels like a piece of history, so you kind of have to, at least once.

My future home (the crappy one in the middle).

My future home (the crappy one in the middle).

Walk the French Quarter. This is obvious but worth naming anyway. Known mostly for its quaint, old homes and drunken adventures on Bourbon Street, there’s much more to do in this bustling neighborhood than just that. Wander the streets during the day and take in the scenery. You’ll encounter the traditional Nawlins architecture the city is known for, as well as one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants. If you follow the streets down to the river, you can also take in a great view of the Mississippi and the city together. At night, as well as during the day, you’ll find an array of street performers and craft fairs to delight everyone’s tastes. And of course, with the city’s lax open container laws, you can get drunk and wander the streets with your beverages. Perfect for toting a 64 ounce fishbowl. Man, I miss that thing.

Book an airboat/swamp tour. If you’re at all interested in seeing how most people live and thrive, take a ride through the swamps. The airboats are a loud, but fun way to get out on the water and learn about “swamp people culture.” We booked with  Jean Lafitte Tours and were not disappointed. I was hoping to see alligators, but since it’s winter, they were hibernating. Our guide did let us hold a baby gator he brought along, though, so I was satisfied.

Drive through the 9th Ward. It’s definitely still rundown, but it is the best way to get a glimpse of what happened to the city during Katrina. Although it’s certainly eerie seeing the abandoned houses with the rescue codes still spray painted on the outsides, almost as if it just happened days ago. Don’t expect to feel happy traveling through, but I do recommend it to anyone passionate about the area’s history, as well as anyone interested in gaining an understanding of what the people there endured.

I wouldn't have minded owning slaves here. Just kidding. I'm from the North.

I wouldn’t have minded owning slaves here. Just kidding. I’m from the North.

Visit Oak Alley Plantation. While it is an hour’s drive outside of NOLA, this plantation is definitely worth the trip out. With beautiful grounds and main house, and absolutely stunning oak trees lining the entrance, you’ll feel like you just stepped back into pre-Civil War times (although sans slavery, that would just be weird now). There are also several other plantations nearby, so if you need more of a plantation fix, there are many others to tour as well.

With all this New Orleans talk, I miss it already. I’m going to go cry into a pillow now and long for the days when I could aimlessly walk the streets of the French Quarter with my fishbowl, without a care in the world. Excuse me.

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4 Comments

Filed under Advice, Entertainment, Opinion, Travel

4 responses to “7 things to do and see in New Orleans (according to me, which makes it true)

  1. bethkrieg

    The graves are above ground so the bodies won’t float away.
    The street cars aren’t from the 1950s. More like 1890s.
    The 9th Ward? I am shocked at your ability to gawk at the pain and unbelievable loss the people of this neighborhood suffered. I am elated you will not be returning anytime soon.

    • I thought that might be why the graves were above ground, but wasn’t sure. I was way off about the streetcars- 1890s, that’s impressive! They were a lot of fun to ride. I’m sorry you misunderstood my desire to see the effects of Katrina as anything other than sheer curiosity. I was in no way gawking at anyone’s pain or loss, merely curious at how a city so strong at rebuilding and sticking together through tough times would abandon certain neighborhoods instead of doing what it does best, rebuild and endure. I would also think leaving the buildings that way would be a painful reminder of what they went through, but perhaps it’s quite the opposite. NOLA was a buzzing city, and I enjoyed being able to see all aspects of it, even those that were not perfect or filled with tourists. Thanks for reading.

  2. bethkrieg

    I should not have judged you by your post. I would suggest checking out some books at your local library about Hurricane Katrina, there are some really good ones. Rebuilding, when you cannot find the property and homeowners is difficult. This was an area made up of people that owned their homes. Most of them free and clear. The legalities of city razing blighted property without having death certificates or having been in contact with family of the home owners is hard. Some people are still saving to rebuild their homes and the city is allowing as much time as it is able. Loans are scarce for the 9th Ward. I understand your curiosity but I would ask that you remember that this neighborhood suffered an epic tragedy less than 10 years ago. Reporting to your blog followers that it is “ghetto” and “sketchy” makes you sound like someone with little real life experience. It certainly shows your ignorance concerning the 9th Ward. It just saddens me that you rode through, used these teenaged terms to describe this place with no thought of the humanity lost. No thought to how hard it was for the few that came back! Disaster tourists. I wish for them to include at the least a nod to the dead and a smile for the living as they ride by.

    • Yes, you are right that certain terminology can come off as ignorant and sheltered, and for that I apologize. It was not meant to come across in that manner, nor would I consider myself as someone with little real life experience. It was simply meant to denote that if visitors decide to travel through, they should not expect the glitz of the normal touristy areas found throughout the city. I understand these were people’s homes, and lives, that were destroyed, and it’s still recovering and moving on. Sometimes it takes seeing things through someone else’s eyes to realize how thoughts might be misconstrued. Thanks for reading and being passionate.

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