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.
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).
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.
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.
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.