Phil and I wanted to plan something fun for our 4 year anniversary. When we first started dating we wrote out a bucket list. I went to Joanna Fabric, bought some cute travel themed scrapbook paper, and we sat together writing out our dream adventures.
New Orleans had been on the list since the very beginning, 4 years ago. I don’t know why it’s been at the top for so long. Maybe it’s because I had family friends that lived there and spoke of it often throughout my childhood, the food scene, that party scene, the culture, Dennis’s favorite artist Mason Jennings sang of it often, or the warm weather. Whatever it was, we followed our gut and bought plane tickets.
We went in January. It just so happened that this January was their “coldest winter in 17 years” as one taxi cab driver told us. The weather in New Orleans was the same as it was in Michigan when we left, 30 degrees and windy. Blah. I had been watching the weather but didn’t think it was possible for it to be that cold. Plus I had planned outfits for “fall” type weather, and wanted to wear those outfits no matter what. Obviously, I didn’t prepare enough. Literally froze my butt off every single day we were there.
Our trip was planned solely around eating and drinking at first. We hit so many amazing restaurants and bars. Little did I know that there was a bustling art scene in New Orleans. Every couple of store fronts in the French Quarter were filled with local artist’s work. I also was in awe of architecture and history.
We arrived into New Orleans around 8pm on Thursday. We stayed at an Airbnb in the central business district. It was a high rise apartment complex that had multiple apartments that they rented out for airbnb. It was a nice modern apartment in the center of downtown, but it had no personal touches. There was repeated artwork throughout the apartment, pretty empty except a few pieces of furniture. We didn’t mind too much, we paid $600 to rent it for 4 nights, and we weren’t really planning on being in the apartment that much. We put our stuff away quickly and got a lift to the famous Bourbon street. Funny thing is that it was like 3 blocks away from our apartment. We went to multiple bars and restaurants, got oysters, shrimp, and maybe 1 too many drinks. Bourbon street was probably my least favorite part of New Orleans. It was dirty, there were girls hanging out of window fronts grabbing at people walking by. It was literally the red light district. We found this little jazz bar tucked away with its own courtyard and bar. So we bought a cigar and some drinks and enjoyed the night there.
The second day was all about sight seeing. We woke up early and hit the French Quarter. I woke up vomiting from the night before (pretty typical Cat move), so I needed something in my stomach and I REAAAAALLLLY was looking forward to beignets. We went to the famous Cafe DuMonde. It was a little confusing because you just waited until someone got up and took their seats. No one told you what to do though, we watched others sit at dirty tables and then we did the same. Eventually a buss boy/waiter would come over clear the table and take your order. There were legit 5 things on the menu so it didn’t take long. We got some beignets, coffee and hot chocolate. After we wandered around Lincoln square. I had always wanted to go there because Mason Jennings sang about it and I loved that song. It was truly beautiful. Surrounded by beautiful old buildings, and the gigantic St. Louis Cathedral.
I felt like crap and it was freezing so we bought some New Orleans sweatshirts and went to find some frozen daiquiri’s. Makes sense right? We wandered around the French Market, checked out a ton of amazing art galleries. Stopped in at a couple of hole in the wall bars to get a drink to warm up. Whenever we go on vacation we don’t plan anything. We just do whatever we fee like doing that day. I love traveling that way.
The next morning we tried out a place with southern brunch; grits, crawfish, fried green tomatos; all the good stuff. We wandered around some of the morning, then took some advice of a friend of ours and took the St. Charles street car into uptown and the Garden District. These areas were my favorite areas in New Orleans. Different than the French Quarter, Bourbon, and Frenchman’s street (where the locals go). We wandered around some of the oldest cemeteries in the country, walked through neighborhoods with the biggest house I’ve ever seen. I honestly don’t even know what these people could have done for a living to live in them, except have old money.
We wandered through the garden district for hours, I actually had blisters on my feet from it. We found ourselves at another suggestion by our friend, known for their sliders and donuts. I know right? It was called District Donuts and Sliders. Holy shit. We got one of each of their sliders, brisket, chicken and beef. Then we got a raspberry white chocolate donut. It wasn’t even a donut it was more like a “cronut “if you’ve had one of those before. So good. I didn’t want to leave uptown so we went to check out another recommendation called St. James Cheese Company. It was a charcuterie and wine restaurant. It was the most amazing concept for a restaurant I’ve ever seen. Ive tried to get their information so I could email them and ask for advice. Ive always wanted to open a charcuterie restaurant, have a small cheese and meat counter, and serve a small selection of grilled cheese sandwiches with local beer and wine. This was exactly what St. James Cheese Company was. We rode the street car until it ended at a frozen daiquiri bar. Then back towards home after stopping at another wine bar for some rose. We pulled up Zillow while on the street car to look at the prices of the houses along the way.
On our last day we went to an irish bar called Erin Rose around 0900 to watch a soccer game. They had the BEST frozen Irish coffee, Bloody Mary’s, and plain Irish coffee Ive ever had. Yes I had all 3. Phil had beer. The Bloody Mary had these pickled green beans that I immediately put in my cart on amazon. They were AMAZING!!!!!!!! So needless to say by 11am we were feeling pretty good. Next door to Erin Rose was a nice restaurant called Broussard’s (we were not dressed appropriately for so we kinda had to sneak in) we had the nicest server ever, and the best food of that day. After that we took an uber to go to the “tree of life” where there was a wedding so we couldn’t get the best pictures of this enormous tree. We walked, held hands, and talked of the future.
Afterwards we went to a bar I had wanted to check out. It was a church themed bar called St. Joes Bar in uptown. It was the most beautiful bar I’ve ever been to. The saints vs. patriots playoff game was on so we stayed and drank with the locals watched the game. It was relaxing and a perfect last night. We took the street car back, got a small dinner at a sushi restaurant near our hotel and went to bed early. We had to wake at 4 to get an uber to the airport the next day.
It was a weirdly relaxing trip. We drank lots, ate even better food, laughed, had great conversations, went over continued dreams and goals, and just enjoyed each others company. If there was more time we would’ve love to stay and experienced more night life, more culture, more restaurants and bars. Highly suggest New Orleans for a quick trip with a group of friends.
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