NEW ORLEANS: Blues, Blackened & Battered (Day 1)
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
Shopping, restaurants and lots of other stuff at the Riverwalk
Trollies on Canal Street
We were right across from Harrah's Casino, too bad we're not gamblers
Making our way to the French Quarter via Canal Street
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
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 Orleans House of Blues - we'll be back here for dinner later!
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
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 Quarter
On Chartres Street....which way now?
I just start to wander in any direction where the buildings look pretty
Even the police station is pretty here
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
And, of course, beads hanging from the most random places
On Chartres Street still, making our way to Jackson Square
Enjoying the views
YOU'VE GOTTA SEE......
ST. LOUIS CATHEDRAL & 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 Calbido and the St. Louis Cathedral
St. Louis Cathedral
The square's namesake - Andrew Jackson
Cabildo - Louisiana State Museum
St. Louis Cathedral, with its elegant white facade
My crew - standing beside the Pontalba building on St. Peters Street
Had no clue that this square was once Plaza de Armas
YOU'VE GOTTA SEE......
FRENCHMEN ART MARKET
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 on our way to Frenchmen Street
Dat Dog on the corner of Frenchmen Street and Chartres Street
Frenchmen Art Market
So many interesting things here - 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!
The clubs on Frenchmen Street always seem to have live bands throughout the day
A walk around the Marigny area
Marigny area and its colourful houses
Marigny area - Loving this fence!
YOU'VE GOTTA SEE......
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
Bourbon Street, NOLA
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 at the New Orleans House of Blues
Lots of southern, tasty food....
YOU'VE GOTTA EAT 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!
FINALLY, I get to try it!
Powdery sugar goodness
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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