I had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans during November last year and had a fantastic time. It’s my pleasure to share some of the things that make it such a lively and vibrant town.
Let’s start with the great stuff.
The food is delicious.
New Orleans’ Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine were hands down the best part of the experience; hosting some of the tastiest and richest flavours you can eat. I’m talking about beignets, oysters, gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, alligator, pralines, and po boys. For all foodies out there, this was definitely a 10/10 experience. One of the most local experiences you can have is enjoying a Beignet at Caffe Du Monde while drinking an afternoon cup of coffee. Here are some of my top eats.
The music makes the city come to life.
Music is at the heart and soul of New Orleans. New Orleans is said to be the birth town of jazz, blues, folk and even funk. The history of New Orleans music is fascinating. The music’s roots trace back to African influences when slaves would congregate to play and dance at local plazas; traditions are still very alive today. Walking through New Orleans is like walking through a live jam session, featuring all types of different musics and styles at every corner.
New Orlean’ roots draw from all around the world.
New Orleans’s rulership went back and forth between the French and the Spanish, until its acquisition by the United States through the Louisiana Purchase. In addition, there was a huge wave of slavery brought in from Haiti and other caribbean islands. This lead to a blend of different european, anglo, and caribbean cultures and to the birth of the Louisiana Creole. New Orleans French Quarters is a testament to NOLA’s historical heritage; and is also a beautiful sight to see. I recommend taking a couple Free by Foot Walking Tours so you can see the Cemeteries, the Plantation Tours, and the local architecture.
Now, onto the not-so-great stuff.
New Orleans is stricken with Poverty.
Hurricane Katrina left New Orleans devastated in 2005 and it’s evident the people of New Orleans are still recovering from the damage. Outside of the ‘touristy’ areas you see a huge low-middle class, and areas aren’t as safe. During my trip I took a wrong turn and hopped on a bus line, and the bus driver told me to be careful in what areas I walked through, specifically the line I was on. She then proceeded to advise to stay in the popular areas. It’s unfortunate to see such a vibrant city struggling from the means to develop itself; depending heavily on a tourist-driven economy.
Bourbon Street is a mess.
It’s like a run-down sinners’ paradise for spring-breakers and wealthy bankers looking to have a frat-party type of night. While some of the bars and establishments were fun and clean, (let’s say Pat O’Briens), you can’t but help notice the callgirls wooing drunk men, the bachelorette-party drunk puking on the sidewalk and the team of jocks howling at girls walking by. I’d strongly recommend some of the more authentic and jazzy streets, such as Frenchmen Street if you’re looking to have a fun time.
Finally, here’s a list of my top recommendations while in New Orleans:
- Coffee and Beignets: Cafe Du Monde, Cafe Beignet
- Tours: Oak Alley & Laura Plantation Tour, Free by Foot City and Cemetery Tours
- Music Clubs: Spotted Cat, DBA, La Maison, Three Muses
- Food: Jacqueimos (+best creole restaurant in town), Killer Po Boys, Port of Call
- Bars: Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, 30×90, Razoo, Pat O’Briens
- History: Louisiana State Museum Cabildo, French Quarters, Jackson Square
All in all, experiencing New Orleans was a great time. The music, the history, and the FOOD made it one of the most diverse and richest travel experiences you can ask for.
Cheers to next trip!