This year is going to be an exciting year! Somehow, Hub-dubs was able to get companion pass status on Southwest in December. Do you know what that means??? I get to travel with him for free (or for taxes) for a whole year! We recently took our first trip to New Orleans, Louisiana and explored the French Quarter. It. Was. Amazing!
A Day in New Orleans: French Quarter
This past month, my husband had a trade show in New Orleans. We stayed at a hotel within walking distance of the French Quarter for just a few days. Even though we were really close to the French Quarter, we only spent one day (and another dinner outing) exploring the area. For us, one day was plenty of time to walk around the city and do the things we cared about doing. There are so many activities that we didn’t get to do and things we didn’t get to see, but it was still a fulfilling trip. Below are a few of the things we did get to experience.
The Oldest Cemetery in NOLA
Our first activity during our “tourist day” was a tour of the oldest cemetery in New Orleans, the St. Louis Cemetery #1. Some cemeteries in New Orleans only allow people to enter on a guided tour. This is one of them. It is a small cemetery, but has some really cool history! I must warn you that the guided-tour cemeteries close at 3 p.m.! Without knowing this, we were lucky and arrived at about 2:15, just in time to be part of the final tour for the day. (Being on the final tour of the day is great because you can spend a little extra time in the cemetery!)
After our cemetery tour was over, we walked the short distance into the French Quarter. Bourbon Street is the main attraction of the French Quarter, but if you’re not into drinking, strip clubs, and cheesy souvenir shops, it can be a tad boring. Hub-dubs and I really enjoyed walking down Royal Street and several of the other side streets. These other streets have numerous art galleries, antique shops, and other fun stores to meander through. We saw an occasional street performer and enjoyed the fancier souvenir shops and VooDoo shops. The French Quarter also has quite a few tours available; some are ghost tours, but others are just history-type tours. We didn’t go on any of those. Mostly, I loved walking the streets and seeing the beautiful architecture!
After a tour and walking part of the French Quarter, we were exhausted and had to sit down awhile. Jackson Square was a perfect place to do that! Jackson Square is a beautiful park, and all around the square you can find street artists and musicians. At one end of the square there is a beautiful cathedral. The center of the square has a beautiful park and a statue of Andrew Jackson. New Orleans has some really interesting history and I suggest going on at least one tour so you can hear some of it! I think there was a tour of Jackson Square available, but I could be wrong.
New Orleans Dinner
After a bit of rest and more walking through the French Quarter, we met up with my cousin for dinner. She had been living in New Orleans for about a year and had some great suggestions of places to eat. That night we ate at Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar. We did not have oysters there, but oh! I just remembered! Oysters! Oysters are a big deal in New Orleans. They even have their own section of the menu. Crazy, right? Many of the menus we saw had a section for oysters, and it was usually front and center. Also, like Felix’s, many restaurants have oyster bars. I do have to say, the char-grilled oysters at Acme Oyster House were completely wonderful. I can’t speak for the raw oysters though, I will NEVER try those!
There are so many amazing restaurants in this area that I will probably write a post solely dedicated to restaurants. For now, here are a few pictures of some foods we tried at different places. Crawfish Etouffee was quite yummy, and the fried oysters on the Po Boy were fabulous. Devils on Horseback are jumbo shrimp stuffed with cream cheese and jalapenos, wrapped in bacon, and deep fried. Even though I am not big on fish, I really loved the salmon that I tried.
New Orleans Dessert
The night we did most of our sight-seeing, we were too full and tired for dessert. However, we did go out a different night to try the beignets that our friends told us about.
The beignets we tried were perfect! So if you’re in the French Quarter and you need a sweet treat, you must try Cafe Beignet! It’s on Bourbon Street, and it’s adorable. In the evening, extremely talented musicians perform in the court yard area where all the tables are. You can’t go wrong with the cafe’s fresh beignets (pictured above), but a lot of their other treats looked divine. I did not get a picture of the musicians, but I did record a small bit of their music. So when I’m missing New Orleans I can go listen to it! Even though I’m not big on concerts, I love, love, LOVE live street music. Mix that with delicious sweets and I’m basically a prisoner! I could have stayed there all night.
On the night that we ate at Acme Oyster House, we somehow had great timing and came out of the restaurant just as a marching band was passing by! People lined up on the side of the streets to watch the band, and others took to the street to follow the band. Those people had strings and strings of Mardi Gras beads around their necks. The Hubs was sure we needed to be a part of the marching crowd, so we stepped out onto the street. A nice lady gave us each a string of beads and away we went! Apparently, marching bands and parades are a fairly common thing in the French Quarter. It was kind of fun!
All in all, New Orleans is pretty amazing. I think my favorite part of the whole trip was the food. The best part is, we are going back! The Hubs has 2 more trade shows in New Orleans and they are only a week apart. So we’ll be going on a cruise to Mexico during that week, and we’ll be in New Orleans for a total of two weeks. I am excited to try more yummy food! Of course, I’ll report my findings upon return. ;)
Have you been to New Orleans? Are there any must-do activities that I am unaware of? I plan on going to City Park next time around and possibly going to check out the Garden District. What else is there to do?? What is your favorite restaurant in NOLA? Let me know down below!