Funny story. Hubby and I planned this trip because we knew it might be our last chance at a long road trip before settling into his a job and having kids. I wasn’t planning on having kids any time soon, but if his job schedule didn’t allow us to travel until for a few years and we ended up wanting kids in a year or so, we wanted to get in at least a trip NOW. We promised each other, a long time ago, that we’d let loose in New Orleans, child-free, and enjoy Disney together, child-free, before committing ourselves to kid-friendly trips.I didn’t know I was pregnant when we went on our trip this past summer. I guess the universe had other plans for me…
SO, after 12 hours solo on a train to meet my husband in South Caroline (he was there for golf), 12 hours in a car, an overnight in Georgia, and a pit-stop in Mobile, AL (because, why not), we FINALLY ended up in New Orleans.
Before we get to that…if you’re ever passing through, Mobile is actually pretty cool. We stopped for lunch at Wintzell’s Oyster House (best oysters during our trip according to hubby) and walked around the shops for a bit and down to the Mississippi River. The street art was my fave, and even though there’s not really enough to do for me to even really write more about it, it’s definitely, definitely worth the quick, artsy pit stop on a road trip. Also, we got to check off a state from our see all 50 states bucket list.
Okay, back to NOLA. So I’m basically obsessed with New Orleans. I think I fall in love with every place I ever go, but still, New Orleans is the coolest. We only had like two-ish days, but I’d say we were successful tourists in those two days.
Day 1 (really just night 1)
We checked into our hotel (the Dauphine Orleans) probably around 4 or 5, unloaded our crap, and headed to the bar. Yes, the bar because New Orleans. Also, we picked this hotel basically because it had a New Orleans feel and their summer package included parking.
After a drink, probably two, we walked down to Canal and picked up the St. Charles Street Car. A 24 hour pass is like 3 dollars and obviously well worth the money. Also, they’re so cool! We got off at Washington and walked a block to Commander’s Palace.
Okay, I was totally on the fence about dinner here. I know it’s rated the like best restaurant in Louisiana, but it’s so expensive and I usually end up feeling like I spent too much money to enjoy my meal. I’m more of a back-alley, locally-owned, hole-in-the-wall kind of girl when it comes to travelling and eating. BUT…the food was phenomenal. Not tiny portions, but not excessive. Everything was cooked perfectly. The wine selection was great, and our waitress even brought us something new when we really didn’t like what she recommended. I just felt like the restaurant was a little pretentious. I don’t need to be greeted by literally 12 staff members when I was through the front door. And I don’t need my ice replaced every sip of water. Literally ever sip. It’s just a bit much. I’m glad I tried it but I don’t think I’d spend the money to be treated like a fake celebrity again.
After taking the street car back to Canal, we walked down Bourbon Street looking for something that had an old New Orleans feel, you know, like old jazz and a more laid back atmosphere. We ended up walking passed Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, supposedly the oldest bar in the country, because I thought it would be touristy but went back to go in after we decided it just seemed more our speed. And by our speed, I mean they were playing Joni Mitchell covers on an old baby grand and drinking wine from plastic cups. Pure Heaven.
After coffee and beignets from Cafe du Monde, and a quick pit-stop for some gelato, we took the same streetcar (24 hour pass!) down to the World War Two Museum. I am SO GLAD we spent the day here and the museum was so incredibly comprehensive, especially for my husband. Really such a humbling experience and well worth any money we spent.
After, we walked a block or so down to Cochon Restaurant/Butcher. Another funny story. When we saw the sign for Cochon, we walked in, got a table, ordered a drink and realized we went to the restaurant and not the butcher which is where their famous sandwiches are. We ordered alligator fritters, which actually ended up being my favorite thing I ate the entire trip, and an extra drink because we felt bad, and because we wanted to, and then went next door and ordered a muffuletta bc you have to try a muffuletta in New Orleans. I hate olives and it was actually not gross! Not at all.
Before going back to the hotel for a bit, we stopped by the VooDoo Museum, which was…different. It’s quirky and eclectic and very small, but I think it was like $5 a person so it’s definitely worth the money and time to get some more history on the VooDoo culture.After a nap (and a probably much needed shower), we grabbed quick dinner at Gumbo Shop and headed back to Bourbon Street. I have to say, I was kind of disappointed that so many places were super club-y. I mean, I get most people just want to party and throw mardi-gras beads at drunk topless women, and I get that I’m not like most 20-somethings in the sense that I’d rather transport myself back to the 1960s and CHILL OUT, but for a place with so much culture and musical history, the night-time scene was just not what I thought it would be. We ended up hanging out at Lafitte’s again because we just felt like we could be ourselves, put our feet up, and listen to music while we drank wine.
We only had the morning and afternoon here, but we got so much in during our last day. After heading to Cafe du Monde (again), we walked around downtown a little bit in the rain. It was just incredibly beautiful and jazz-y. Our favorite memory from this trip is just standing outside in the rain listening to some street jazz, getting soaking wet.
It was great, until someone tried to shoe-shine by husband’s leather flip flops…and we ended up walking around in the rain with soap oozing out of his feet for an hour!
We checked out the famous St. Louis Cathedral and totally dropped the ball on touring the cemetery (apparently you need a tour guide for certain ones). We ended up doing a bit more window shopping, and having a quick lunch at Antoine’s Hermes Bar. My husband was obsessed with the Oyster’s Rockefeller, but honestly, the best part about the day was chatting with the bartender, Mike, who is just the sweetest man ever, and has SO MUCH knowledge about New Orleans. I seriously loved him so much that when my parents went to NOLA a few months later, I made them go to Antoine’s just to meet him!
Of course there’s a bunch of touristy New Orleans stuff we didn’t get to do. We obviously didn’t get to the cemetery, and we missed the French Market and Mardi Gras World. I would love to see a show at Preservation Hall and walk down Frenchman Street for some night time jazz. I also wanted to get to the Carousel Bar for a drink, and to O’Brien’s for an “original” hurricane, and to Brennan’s, but honestly you can’t just eat and drink the whole time! Well, actually, you can but…
I think we’ll have to plan another trip here … is an acceptable vacation destination with an infant?