NEW ORLEANS: Blues, Blackened & Battered (Day 1)

October 27, 2015  •  1 Comment

Photos Taken / Written by JENNIFER MAHON  |  This post was read 906 times


NEW ORLEANS, LOUSIANA


...The Big Easy. The Crescent City. La Nouvelle-Orléans. Mardi Gras City. NOLA. It goes by all of these names, but my downright fave has gotta be N'AWLINS. For years, I've been wanting to come here, and for years the hubs has been rubbing it in .....

"I've been sooooo many times. I can't believe you've never been."

"You, with your Paris and Rome and London...but you've never been to New Orleans?"

"You've never had beignets at Café du Monde? And their café au lait? You would looooove the French Quarter."

"And, did I mention the beignets?"

YES, god dammit, you've mentioned the beignets, at least once a week for as long as I've known you!

So this year, when the family voted to go to Florida for our family vacation, I figured, what the heck? We're gonna drive the 8 hours to NOLA so I can finally see this place, eat those damn beignets and so the hubs will no longer hold it over my head that he's been here and I haven't.

We arrive in the city around 5 PM on a Saturday. Our home for the next 3 days is Hilton New Orleans Riverside (another Hotwire luck-of-the-draw). We park the car, drop off our bags, grab some free food from the executive lounge on the top floor, then head out to explore The Big Easy.

 

A yummy welcome to N'Awlins - Fried Catfish

A yummy welcome to N'Awlins - Fried Catfish


Shopping, restaurants and lots of other stuff at the Riverwalk

Shopping, restaurants and lots of other stuff at the Riverwalk


Trollies on Canal Street

Trollies on Canal Street


We were right across from Harrah's Casino, too bad we're not gamblers

We were right across from Harrah's Casino, too bad we're not gamblers


Making our way to the French Quarter via Canal Street

Making our way to the French Quarter via Canal Street


Jazz Gumbo - totally don't the name, but you can find pretty much any souvenir to do with New Orleans here

Jazz Gumbo - totally don't get the name, but you can find pretty much any souvenir to do with New Orleans here

 


YOU'VE GOTTA SEE...... 


THE FRENCH QUARTER 
We walk a short 10 minutes from our hotel at the foot of Canal Street and turn right on Decatur Street. It's quite apparent that we've hit the French Quarter. The epicentre of New Orleans, le Vieux Carré is nothing short of magic. It's exciting and intoxicating.....and no, I haven't even made it to Bourbon Street yet for a drink. The sight of the architecture, the pastel coloured buildings, the intricately detailed wrought iron balconies ... the soulful sounds of blues and jazz bands... the scents of that distinct cajun/creole cuisine - something being blackened or battered or fried....I fell in love instantly.

With no real plan in mind, we kind of wandered aimlessly around, looking at the mostly Spanish-style facades with ornate ironwork, walking in and out of the many boutiques and shops (to get a fleeting taste of air-conditioning) and just enjoyed being in New Orleans.

 

The New Orleansl House of Blues - we'll be back here for dinner later!

The New Orleans House of Blues - we'll be back here for dinner later!


Almost there....that French Quarter-ness is starting to show

Almost there....that French Quarter-ness is starting to show


Loving this.....wish I could stop for a "pour" but my hubs reminds me that if I'm gonna have a drink, wait til we get to Bourbon Street

Loving this.....wish I could stop for a "pour" but my hubs reminds me that if I'm gonna have a drink, wait til we get to Bourbon Street


But it's oh-so-tempting....bars are everywhere and we're no where close to Bourbon Street yet

But it's oh-so-tempting....bars are everywhere and we're no where close to Bourbon Street yet


Small, busy breakfast/lunch spot on the corner of Bienville and Chartres in the French QuarterSmall, busy breakfast/lunch spot on the corner of Bienville and Chartres in the French Quarter

Small, busy breakfast/lunch spot on the corner of Bienville and Chartres in the French Quarter


On Chartres Street....which way now?

On Chartres Street....which way now?


I just start to wander in any direction where the buildings look pretty

I just start to wander in any direction where the buildings look pretty


Even the police station is pretty hereEven the police station is pretty here

Even the police station is pretty here


Having no clue who K-Paul is until my hubs explains it's Chef Paul Prudhomme

Having no clue who K-Paul is until my hubs explains it's Chef Paul Prudhomme


Don't forget to look up in the French Quarter to check out the cool balconies

Don't forget to look up in the French Quarter to check out the cool balconies


And, of course, beads hanging from the most random places

And, of course, beads hanging from the most random places


On Chartres Street still, making our way to Jackson Square

On Chartres Street still, making our way to Jackson Square


Chartres House

Chartres House


Enjoying the views

Enjoying the views


Ooooh...Cocktails To-Go!

Ooooh...Cocktails To-Go!


YOU'VE GOTTA SEE......

ST. LOUIS CATHEDRAL & JACKSON SQUARE 
Besides the wrought iron balconies of the French Quarter, the other most recognizable sights from New Orleans have got to be St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square.

Originally Place d'Armes, then Plaza de Armas, and as of 1851 renamed after Major General Andrew Jackson, this small square used to be place for public meetings and executions. Today, it's a cute urban park - a peaceful slice of the city, flanked by more gorgeousness - the Cabildo, the Presbytere and the Pontalba buildings. 

Tons of street performers, musicians, artists, fortune tellers and so on gather around Jackson Square on any given day of the week. It's not a spot where you'll want to spend countless hours in, but it's definitely worth stopping by to soak up the atmosphere. 

 

At the top of Jackson Square - Louisiana State Museum and the St. Louis Cathedral

At the top of Jackson Square - Louisiana State Museum Calbido and the St. Louis Cathedral


St. Louis Cathedral

St. Louis Cathedral


The square's namesake - Andrew Jackson

The square's namesake - Andrew Jackson


Cabildo - Louisiana State Museum

Cabildo - Louisiana State Museum​


St. Louis Cathedral, with its elegant white facade

St. Louis Cathedral, with its elegant white facade


My crew - standing beside the Pontalba building on St. Peters Street

My crew - standing beside the Pontalba building on St. Peters Street​


Had no clue that this square was once Plaza de Armas

Had no clue that this square was once Plaza de Armas


YOU'VE GOTTA SEE......


FRENCHMEN ART MARKET 
We then continued all the way down Chartres Street to Frenchmen Street (which, BTW, is THE place to go for some proper blues and jazz bands - more on that in another post). Since we're with the children, we can't really stroll into any of the bars to listen to some live music, but since the music is so loud, just walking down the street you'll get to hear a mash-up of all the bands. 

Walking up Frenchmen, we came across a completely unexpected find. We literally just stumbled in this cute market, drawn in by the sight of the string of lights hanging overhead. The Frenchmen Art Market is a fairly new thing, going on four years I believe. It's a cool little market lined with local NOLA artists selling their stuff, and towards the back, it has the funkiest courtyard area all decked with refurbished furniture, set up like a living room. It really is beautiful, and just a great spot to shop and support the local artists, or to just grab a drink, sit and people watch. 

 

More of the French Quarter

More of the French Quarter on our way to Frenchmen Street


Dat Dog

Dat Dog on the corner of Frenchmen Street and Chartres Street 


Frenchmen Art MarketFrenchmen Art Market

Frenchmen Art Market


So many interesting things here - Frenchmen Art Market

So many interesting things here - Frenchmen Art Market 


The big warehouse at the back - Frenchmen Art Market

The big warehouse at the back - Frenchmen Art Market 


All the funky decos and pretty lights - I'll bet it looks even better at night!

All the funky decos and pretty lights - I'll bet it looks even better at night!


The clubs on Frenchmen Street always seem to have live bands throughout the day

The clubs on Frenchmen Street always seem to have live bands throughout the day


A walk around the Marigny area

A walk around the Marigny area 


Marigny area and its colourful houses

Marigny area and its colourful houses


Marigny area - Loving this fence!

Marigny area - Loving this fence!


YOU'VE GOTTA SEE......


BOURBON STREET 
The one and only. I mean, it's a total and complete tourist trap, but it's just one of those things that you absolutely have to do at least once in your life. Naive moi thought this street was only a party during Mardi Gras - well, I was wrong. The street is full of gift shops, hotels, bars, restaurants, clubs with live bands, strip clubs, street performers and people from all walks of life - all intertwining to create this frenzied, party atmosphere. Let's not forget the "flashing boobs for beads" - that was fun explaining to the children - but it was nice to see a group of women turning the tables and throwing beads down from their balcony to dudes that flashed their boobs.

I did the totally tourist thing to do and got a Hurricane-to-go from one of the walk-up bars and off we went to see a bit more. For some, Bourbon Street is destination, for others, it's to be avoided at all costs - I fall somewhere in the middle. I enjoyed the freedom of walking around with my Hurricane in hand, enjoyed people watching, enjoyed listening to the live music (though here you'll mostly find cover bands, only a few exceptions to proper blues and jazz), BUT - I didn't enjoy the ever-sticky feeling beneath my flip-flops from god-only-knows-what kind of liquidy substance... I didn't enjoy the throngs of 20-somethings stumbling around in their drunken stupor.... I did not enjoy the shoulder to shoulder crowds (so I can't even imagine being here for Mardi Gras!). 

Whether you're there for 5 minutes or 5 days, during the day or at night - if you haven't been to Bourbon Street, you haven't been to New Orleans!

 

Found our way to Bourbon Street

Found our way to Bourbon Street


Bourbon Street, NOLA

Bourbon Street, NOLA​


Listening to the sounds of great musicians at the Musical Legends Park (Bourbon St & Bienville St)

Listening to the sounds of great musicians at the Musical Legends Park (Bourbon St & Bienville St)


First night's dinner, yeah I know touristy - but can't pass up a dinner in the New Orleans House of Blues

First night's dinner, yeah I know touristy - but can't pass up a dinner at the New Orleans House of Blues


Lots of southern, tasty food....

Lots of southern, tasty food....


YOU'VE GOTTA EAT AT......


CAFÉ DU MONDE 
So.....I'll save my write up on Café du Monde for one of the next posts. Since we ended up finishing the night off here with café au lait and beignets every single night during our stay here, I've got plenty to go on and on about. Needless to say, I was a very happy gal when they brought these suckers out to the table. More on that.....coming soon!

 

Of course, we have to end the night off at Café du Monde!

Of course, we have to end the night off at Café du Monde!​


Sitting in anticipation of these Beignets and Chicory coffee that the hubs has been talking about for years!

Sitting in anticipation of these Beignets and Chicory coffee that the hubs has been talking about for years!


Hearing about these beignets for years......finally get to try it!

FINALLY, I get to try it!


Powdery sugar goodness

Powdery sugar goodness


Back to the hotel.....managed to cover a lot in a few hours. That's it for Day in N'awlins!

Back to the hotel.....managed to cover a lot in a few hours. That's it for Day 1 in N'awlins!



 

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@VisitNewOrleans via Twitter(non-registered)
@JM_travelsane This is absolutely gorgeous! The city loves you back!
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