Day By Day

For whatever reason, it’s hard for me to remember this trip in sequence. Maybe it’s because of cocktails to-go, or maybe because we didn’t have all that much time in New Orleans, so instead of planning specific things to do each day, we just decided to wing it and try to fit as much into each day as possible. To the best of my ability I have tried to compile a somewhat accurate account of our activities, and I’m hoping that the friend who joined me for this adventure will catch me on any inaccuracies.

Day 1 (Wednesday, March 11, 2015)

  • Left NYC at the crack of dawn to make an 8:40 flight from JFK to Louis Armstrong, arrived to New Orleans at 11:30 after a smooth flight
  • Took a taxi from the airport to the Central Business District to check in at our Airbnb
  • First Airbnb impression: Nice apartment complex, lot’s of character, seemed to be located in a safe area
  • Caught up with owner, Russell, and then left to find food and explore
  • Lunch at The Cafe at the Square on St. Charles Ave. (I had salad, and my friend had some delicious seafood soup). The restaurant had a professional feel, and although I would categorize it as casual dining, there were tablecloths and the servers were extremely polite
  • Nice stroll over to the French Quarter. First we walked down Royal Street, noticing the gas lamps along the sidewalk and colorful buildings, and popping into stores
  • Walked along the park outside of the St. Louis Cathedral to get to the river, where we saw a riverboat through the fog
  • Sat down for much needed beignets at Café du Monde, which did not disappoint. Beignets all day everyday
  • Headed back to the apartment for wine (our Airbnb host leaves wine out for guests from a local winery!), and some r&r in anticipation of our next day out
  • Suddenly we realized we were famished, so on Russell’s recommendation we headed down the street to the Grand Isle for dinner. Hunger may be the best spice, but I’m fairly certain our food was amazing. (note: I ordered fried crab and marscapone ravioli, and my friend got shrimp remoulade, and we were both very happy)
  • Observations: the people of New Orleans are exceptionally welcoming, the air is thick and you can see fog waft in and out depending on the direction of the wind, the city is full of incredible smells
  • Commerce Street Airbnb Impressions: Nice, quiet location just outside of the bustling French Quarter, charming apartment complex, beautiful loft, nicely decorated, strange to be sharing space with owner, but not bad in that he was very friendly and not around much, the wall separating the living area and suite only reaches a certain height, so may not be an ideal spot for a romantic getaway, nice to have a private bathroom and shower in our suite, complimentary wine was a nice touch
St. Louis Cathedral

St. Louis Cathedral

Day 2 (Thursday, March 12, 2015)

  • Nice, leisurely morning, got a bit of a late start after sleeping in
  • After some aimless wandering we ended up eating at a fabulous little breakfast joint, Café Fleur de Lis, on Chartres Street. Breakfast was excellent, and after finishing our breakfast and receiving multiple coffee refills, our amazing waitress actually asked if my friend would like to take the remainder of her coffee in a to-go cup. This made us never want to leave this particular restaurant
  • Next we hit several galleries, particularly enjoying a talk with an artist at B.E.E. Gallery on Chartres Street
  • Stumbled upon a private museum, The Historic New Orleans Collection, in which we browsed an exhibit commemorating Andrew Jackson (strange, we thought, as visitors from Massachusetts), and ended up in a city history exhibit guided by a very chatty volunteer
  • Next we made a point of visiting the Voodoo History Museum, which was quirky and slightly challenging to follow, but worth stopping for
  • Brief snack and drink break at The Napoleon House, a great spot for authentic Creole offerings and yummy drinks. We ordered a cheese plate and drinks, and my brandy milk punch was great. Also worth noting, supposedly it is haunted
  • To complete our museum tear we went to the Louisiana State Museum, which had fantastic exhibits about Hurricane Katrina as well as the city’s Mardi Gras history
  • After our museum adventure we stopped back to the apartment before starting into a night of drinking and jazz. The first bar we visited was LaFitte’s, America’s oldest bar, which does not have live music but certainly has booze. We ended up getting some sort of voodoo themed frozen drinks that tasted like cough syrup, which actually turned out to be a good decision because we couldn’t drink them quickly
  • Like something out of the Twilight Zone, we were able to take our drinks back onto the street, and slowly make our may over to Frenchmen Street, first stopping to have our tarot cards read
  • I certainly understand trying to cut corners on vacation, as I’m constantly looking for ways to save money, but do not resist having your tarot cards read in New Orleans. You could miss out on some valuable insight
  • Once we made it to Frenchmen Street, we browsed an outdoor art market, and then went to The Spotted Cat for (more) drinks and jazz
  • Eventually we moved over to a place called R-Bar down the street, which was slightly less noisy and we were able to catch up, which was really nice. We also ended up meeting the nicest bartender on the planet
  • The walk back was a bit of a hike, but our night on Frenchmen Street was worth it
  • Second night of our positive experience staying in Russell’s Airbnb apartment
The Napoleon House

The Napoleon House

Day 3 (Friday, March 13, 2014)

  • Woke up realizing how much money we’d the previous day on drinks. If a wild night out is a priority for you in New Orleans, establish a budget or pregame
  • Morning spent moseying over to the Garden District to see check out the neighborhood and mossy trees
  • Bit of a walk, but on the way we stopped for brunch at Carmo a great spot for healthy, vegetarian meals. I’m not a vegetarian, but it was definitely nice to get some veggies in my system. The food was excellent and the atmosphere was bright and funky
  • The first part of the walk between the Central Business District and the Garden District wasn’t especially scenic, but it was nice to see what the city looks like outside of the French Quarter. Once we approached the Garden District it was like walking into a dream. Gorgeous estates,  lush gardens, sweet smells, and mossy trees
  • We made a point of visiting Lafayette Cemetery no. 1, which is so beautiful and rich with history. The above ground graves somehow made the cemetery slightly more like a small neighborhood than a final resting place. I can see why so many New Orleans authors focus on vampires; the abundance of tombs could definitely accommodate a large population of vampires.
  • Took the trolley (which was packed in the afternoon) back to the French Quarter, and decided on some gumbo for dinner at The Gumbo ShopI loved my gumbo, but unfortunately my friend did not share my enthusiasm. True New Orleans Gumbo has a bit of a slimy consistency, and I can definitely see how that’s off-putting
  • An interesting feature of many (maybe even most) restaurants in New Orleans is the fact that they have both indoor and outdoor seating options, and beautiful little courtyards that aren’t even advertised because they’re so common. This was true of both The Napoleon House and The Gumbo Shop
  • We took another trip to Café du Monde after dinner, because it is impossible to resist, and while there we witnessed the strangest thing. Seating at Café du Monde is outdoors and borders the street, and while we were eating our beignets we spotted a male pedestrian with a pony tail and fast-paced strut reach over to one of the tables as he walked by and grab a leftover beignet from an empty table… as he walked away we noticed he was wearing a tail… the things you see in New Orleans
  • After a little more strolling and a couple to-go cocktails, we turned in and called it a night
  • Third night of our positive experience staying in Russell’s Airbnb apartment
Cafe Du Monde (Friend's Picture)

Cafe Du Monde (Friend’s Picture)

Day 4 (Saturday, March 4, 2014)

  • Feeling sad to be leaving, we got an early start and after checking out of our Airbnb apartment, we headed out to say goodbye to the French Quarter
  • We had a quick breakfast at Cafe Pontalba (nice, hearty options), then rushed out to get some gift shopping out of the way before an 11am city tour with Witches Brew to soak up some history before leaving
  • A tour we tried to take the previous day had been canceled because of rain, and although we knew we wouldn’t have time to complete the tour and make it to the airport in time, we walked for at least an hour of it. We really liked our guide, and wish we could have stayed for the tour in its entirety
  • Our taxi driver to the airport was very funny, and our chat made for a fabulous end to an even more fabulous vacation

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If ever you visit,

Don’t Forget:

  • An umbrella
  • Rain jacket
  • Waterproof shoes
  • Sandals
  • Clothing for humid days and (sometimes) cool nights
  • Sunglasses
  • A fan
  • Garlic

Leave Behind:

  • Heavy jackets
  • Tall socks
  • Insulated clothing

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One thought on “Day By Day

  1. Jen says:

    Alcohol and beignets…breakfast of champions! Sounds like four days is just about all a person can handle. I heard the Foo Fighters gave an impromptu concert in downtown New Orleans last year sometime and jammed with some locals. The history in this city is rich! It’s been about 25 years since I last visited. I wanna go back!!! Thanks for reminding me of how great it is.

    Like

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