A few weeks before we headed to New Orleans, I posted the Top 5 things I wanted to do while soliciting any travel advice from you. This is my photo driven update.
French Quarter Festival and Jackson Square
I purposely scheduled our travel to overlap the French Quarter Festival and it was totally worth it! The streets were lined with amazing music for my first-ever visit to the French Quarter.
There was a stage every few blocks and musicians everywhere!
Then I found the food area!
It was like all the New Orleans restaurant had a small booth to offer their specialty dishes. I searched for something I normally don’t get an opportunity to eat and that’s when I spied the Alligator Sausage Kebab with Zydeco Sauce from Lakeview Harbor.
I had to do it!
They were SO good!
We also got the local beer, Abita.
Also good, and cold — nice and cold.
I loved the extra energy and vibe the festival gave the Quarter.
We had two good days of exploring and listening to the awesome music!
A Run though City Park and the River Front
On our second to last day there I decided to strap on my running shoes and explore the city by foot. The City Park was about 3 miles from our hotel and I figured out a route that would get me there and then took a different way back so I could swing by the river. It was a fabulous run!
I only saw the tiniest part of City Park and it was amazing!
There were folks all over running and working out. The air had that spring smell to it, there were swans everywhere and everything was green. Really green.
I wish I could have explored more but being on my own and so far away from the hotel I knew it was time to head back.
By the time I made it back to the River the sky opened up and I was drenched.
It was amazing! You’d think it would suck but the temperature was just perfect for running in the rain and I really enjoyed it.
The St. Charles Streetcar Line
This was the most disappointing part of the trip but I think it’s because I had pretty high expectations.
The St. Charles Streetcar is the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world. It’s been in operation since 1835 and its route forms a 13.2-mile crescent from Carondelet at Canal Street in the Central Business District through the oldest section of uptown New Orleans.
I’m not sure if we just picked a bad time or what but the car was JAM packed! There were so many people at the stops that most had to wait for additional cars.
We kept waiting for the car to clear a bit but it never did. We did end up sharing a seat and I got see out the window.
The views were spectacular — the oaks, the mansions, the colleges — but the car was so crowded we really couldn’t enjoy it or take pictures.
We ended up riding it another evening to do dinner in the Garden District and it was a much better ride.
We even got a seat together.
For $1.25 one way — you have to exit the car and repay to ride back unless you get a day pass — we really can’t complain. I think we just got unlucky with the crowd. I recommend going earlier morning after folks get to work and such.
Walking Ghost Tour
I was shocked when The Husband said he was game for this. It’s just not his sort of thing. I think it was the discounted alcohol and stop at a historic bar that won him over.
We ended up choosing Haunted History Tours based on quite a few recommendations. Overall the stories were good but our tour guide was a bit unenthused. She really gave off an odd vibe and seemed bored with her own stories.
That being said I learned about The LaLaurie Mansion, which was completely new to me and a few other tidbits about the fires and schools that have turned into hotels.
It did rain during most of the tour, which kind of sucked but it did make for a great, eerie feel.
I loved simply being in the quarter at night.
And the break halfway through was at the Jean Laffite’s Blacksmith Shop bar, the oldest building in the city.
Get their grape slushie drink thing, it’s totally worth it!
Based on some recommendations in the comments on my original post, we made the effort to drink at the Swamp, and Yo Mommas, eat at Cafe Du Monde, Commander’s Palace, a John Besh restaurant, Mothers, Cochon, and a few more. We even visited The WWII museum and Frenchman street.
Stay tuned for my follow-up post, Eating our Way Through New Orleans!