New Orleans – What to see and do!

New Orleans is one of the hippest and fun cities in the US. Many go there to let go and party, others go for the famous foods and some go to get a taste of that Southern lifestyle. I recently went for a few days and have been trying to figure out how to layout this post but I think it’s just going to be a jumble of stuff. If you’re looking for some activities, food spots and must see’s then read on! Or if you’re just nosey and want to see what I got up to in NOLA that works as well…

I’ll start with something significant to New Orleans – Mardi Gras! Now it happens once a year in Spring but they have Mardi Gras World all year round. It’s essentially a factory tour that shows how they make all the floats and decorations for the various parades. I was cautious going into it but it was actually really great. You get a pretty detailed tour about the history and then you go ‘backstage’ into their warehouse area and get to see them working on the props. It’s a great picture opportunity place as you can wander around and get close to all the props.

Next up and the most notable landmark/tourist spot is Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral. The cathedral sits on the edge of the square and both are located in the French Quarter surrounded by market stalls, shops, restaurants etc. It’s a good place to get your bearings from and use as a landmark when exploring. Jackson Square has been featured in many movies and is one of the most famous parks in the US, so don’t miss it!
Whilst we’re on the French Quarter I guess I’ll just go into the area. It’s a very trendy spot full of cobbled streets and knick knack shops. You can just get lost and wind yourself through it and you’ll be surprised what places you find. There were tons of live musicians on each corner and I really got a sense of the Southern blues/jazz feel. There are certain streets that are dedicated hot spots though like Bourbon Street which is full of bars and clubs. One of the must do’s is go to Pat O’Briens and get their specialty drink – The Hurricane (it’s really sweet but a must try). There’s also the French Market (that’s an open air one) down by Jackson Square that has lots of touristy knick knacks and food. Make sure you eat jambalaya, gumbo and fried chicken – all southern classics!
This is a weird one but if you have some spare time and want a break from the hustle bustle head to the river and jump on The Algiers Ferry. It costs $2 and takes you to Algiers Point. It’s a community within New Orleans and is mainly residential houses but I enjoyed wandering up and down the streets and seeing the architecture. Some of the buildings are utterly beautiful and it’s nice to get away from the main city.
Another big part of NOLA is the history and alongside that ghosts and cemeteries. There are several ghost tours (that I sadly didn’t go on but I hear amazing things about) and also cemetery ones. We went on a tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 which is the oldest and probably most famous. Save Our Cemeteries is a company that offers very detailed tours and they are also on a mission to keep restoring and preserve the cemeteries. Initially I was kind of anxious about walking around a cemetery and taking photos but they want to spread the awareness and encourage it. You learn a lot about the types of people who lived and are now buried there from voodoo priests to famous musicians. The weirdest part (apart from being in a graveyard) was that Nicholas Cage has built a grave for himself there haha – it’s the pyramid one.

I think I’ll end this post on a sweet treat. If there’s one thing you definitely have to get whilst in NOLA it’s beignets. They’re basically pastry balls with powdered sugar on top and are absolutely delicious. Cafe Du Monde is the iconic place to get them and it’s very cheap. They have a few stops round the city and whilst there why not also get their famous coffee?

Discussion

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