New Orleans was an absolutely amazing place, filled with never ending oak trees, seafood and of course, alcohol. We visited in mid-April, just in time to beat the Wisconsin snow storm (Snow storm in April?? Yes it happens in WI). The weather in NOLA was a bit cooler for their April, it was in the high 60’s- 70’s, which was great because if you go during the summer, the heat and the humidity will be insane. I truly recommend going in April, as there are still beads hanging on trees from Mardi grai's and the French quarter fest is in full effect.
Here is what we did & what I recommend:
Arrived Saturday evening - Today was filled with lots of rain and flooding.
Harrah’s Casino: We Parked at the Harrah’s parking garage, signed up for the total rewards card (free), Played for 30 minutes, ordered a drink & got free parking near the French quarter/ Bourbon street (HOLLA!) This is well worth it – parking garages charge upwards of 30 dollars. I wouldn’t recommend driving near the French quarter over the weekend, its complete craziness and parking is very scarce.
Gumbo Shop : If you are looking for a great Gumbo shop, stop here! I recommend getting here early – as it’s a extremely popular place (See below picture)
Bourbon Street: We walked around Bourbon Street in the pouring rain, we learned quickly that a little rain does not stop anybody. It was extremely fun to see the wide range of ages walking through bars and walking around the street.
Tropical Isle: You can’t leave NOLA without getting a grenade or fish bowl. We might’ve gotten both :P #YOLO.
Surrey’s Café & juicery: We woke up early and waited about 15 minutes to grab some delicious corn hash & biscuits. They also had freshly squeezed organic juices, yay me!
Art District Bike Rental: Pass up those blue rental bikes that charge $8 an hour & support local. We picked up our cute rides from the Art District Bike Rental for only $20 bucks for 24 hours. This place is a little hard to spot as its hidden by a wall of flowers, but totally worth the money!
Garden District: Ride your bikes over to the Garden District that is filled with beautiful mansions. You can even find a free Garden District tour printable here. Check out the Buckner Mansion, if you are a fan of American Horror stories, you'll love it!
Lafayette Cemetery No. 1: After you’re done gawking at those dream homes, head to the popular attraction known as Cemetery No. 1.
Sucre: I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so we stopped at Sucre for gelato & coffee.
Whole Foods: Quick pit stop for some wine to drink at the next location.
Audubon Park – Tree of Life: See the beautiful tree of life and have a little picnic or drink wine :P
Domilise Po-Boy & Bar: Get the original “PO-BOY” (Poor Boy) Sandwich – which is known for in Louisiana.
Café Du Monde: Try their well known beignets and coffee – they will not disappoint.
Jean Laffitte Swamp Tour: We head an hour out of town and see the swamps. I truly recommend the drive to see the bayou's and alligators - you learn so much from the tour guide about the native species and history of the water ways.
St. Joseph Plantation: It has been on my bucket list to see a plantation and learn about slaves and their every day lives. If you are interested in learning about the architecture of the house, sugar crops and background of this plantation than this the place to go.
Oak Alley Plantation: ONE WORD - breathtaking. The oak tree's were absolutely picturesque and the mint julips were as sweet as they can be.
Bourbon Street: Hope you are ready for a good time!
French Market: My favorite dish from here was Maque Choux with Andouille Sausage, a traditional dish of southern Louisiana.
Mississippi River: Take a morning stroll by the Mississippi river, its super close to Jackson Square.
Jackson square: Check out the statue of Andrew Jackson.
St. Louis Cathedral: Awe at the beautiful high ceilings and biblical depictions. Fun fact: Walt Disney got inspiration from this church and used it as a reference point while making the Walt Disney castle.
Ashley Longshore Gallery: If you love funky art than you have to check out this place. I was pretty much obsessed!
French Quarter: Justin and I only got to see the French Quarter at night, so we made sure we also got to see its beautiful colors during the day as well!
I always see travel guides that only talk about the best things they saw, but never about the down falls. So, I wanted to shine some light on what we saw:
Down falls to NOLA:
There are alot of nice neighborhoods that also intersect with the bad ones.
Bartenderes are reaaaaaaaaal aggressive and try too hard to make you take over priced shots.
Bourbon street smells like urine, as there are a lot of homeless people in the city. I have never seen a denser population of homeless people under a highway than I have in NOLA.
A lot of homes are still not repaired from hurricanes
All in all, I would recommend traveling to New Orleans to learn about their culture, plantations and their Cajun cuisine. The positives outweigh any negative! Happy travels!