Hello hello! As promised, I have a New Orleans vacation recap today. AJ and I had such a wonderful time exploring this city for our 1 year anniversary weekend. There’s just so much to do and we definitely didn’t fit it all in, so looks like we’ll just have to go back. 🙂
We arrived last Thursday around 7pm and went straight to our hotel, the Aloft downtown to check in. I was really pleased with this hotel’s location. If you’re familiar with New Orleans, it was right across Canal Street, 2 blocks away from the French Quarter, which was perfect for us because we could easily check out all the activity, but we were also able to get away from the hustle and bustle when we wanted.
After freshening up, we headed out for dinner. A rainstorm kicked in when we were a few blocks from our hotel (with my umbrella in our room, of course). Given the rainy night we didn’t feel like wandering around too much so we settled on dinner at Arnaud’s on Bourbon and Bienville streets.
We had a great window seat so we got a view of the St. Patrick’s Day parade as it strolled on by. We were also serenaded by the live Dixieland Jazz Band while enjoying our Crab and Corn Bisque, Oysters, Shrimp, and Crab Cakes.
We woke up on Friday to another rainy day so we decided it would be the perfect opportunity to check out the National World War II Museum and we ended up spending 3-4 hours there.
Our visit was getting a bit long for me, but fortunately the museum was really well put together and very interesting. I highly recommend!
Afterwards, we headed to Bourbon Street to watch some of the Maryland basketball game while sipping on beverages and eating alligator bites! AJ wasn’t the biggest fan, but I loved them, so that meant more for me.
After the game we freshened up (that humidity was not doing my hair any favors), and headed out for dinner. Jorge, one of our work colleagues, actually lives right in the French Quarter and he graciously invited us over for dinner. We readily accepted and had a great time experiencing New Orleans from a local…and his apartment was so enviable! We had Cuba Libre cocktails before indulging on wine and a delicious homemade crawfish chowder, followed by a family flan recipe.
We literally rolled home after all this!
We slept in a little on Saturday before hopping on a crowded St. Charles street car and heading to the Garden District.
We did a self-guided tour of the Lafayette Cemetery, historic homes, and even some celebrity residences of John Goodman, Archie Manning, and Sandra Bullock.
Fun fact…the graves in New Orleans are above-ground due to the flooding risk. Kind of creepy, but kind of cool.
We then hopped back on the street car to head further out towards Tulane before getting off and treking out to Domilise’s for some shrimp Po-Boys !
This was fun because we were so far off the beaten path and found ourselves in a random residential neighborhood getting some authentic NOLA cuisine.
The rain started up again on our way back but we thankfully avoided any major downpours. Next up was a 5pm Ghost Tour of the French Quarter!
When our tour concluded, we stumbled upon the St. Joseph’s Day Italian-American parade.
Obviously we couldn’t leave now! So we grabbed some drinks and meandered along the parade route collecting goodies.
Hunger started setting in big time so we decided to wait for a table at Mr. B’s Bistro on Royal Street. This place was recommended to us by a few people, so it was a must try on our list. Plus, we were seated at the table Ronald Reagan ate at…twice!
Sunday was our 1 year anniversary! And we woke up and headed straight to the swamp. (Because who doesn’t spend their anniversary in a swamp!?)
This was the first sunny day of our trip, so we figured it would be the best day for the bayou tour. We booked this through Cajun Encounters and opted for the small 8 person boat.
Unfortunately the weather has been a little too chilly to see gators, so that was a bit of a disappointment, but we did get an up close and personal visit from some wild boars. (They love marshmallows!)
About 4 hours later, we were back in the city and headed riverside for a semi-disappointing lunch (I don’t even remember where we ate, but we definitely fell into a mediocre tourist trap!), some perusing at the French Market, and a stroll along the Mississippi.
After an hour or two, we decided it was time to head back to the hotel for a nap. We both started feeling a little run down from the rainy and chilly weather the past few days and now that Sunday was sunny and dry, AJ’s allergies started kicking in.
After our rest, we headed back to Bourbon Street. Another Maryland basketball game was on TV and we found Le Booze to be a surprisingly quiet and classy bar in the midst of the Bourbon Street mayhem.
Bonus…Tyler Perry’s The Passion was being filmed live in New Orleans on Sunday and the procession of the cross came right by us! (This was part of the reason we headed out when we did, we wanted to try to catch some of the route.)
The bar was playing it on TV and we watched a lot of it, but I’m excited to watch it in it’s entirety this Easter weekend, since we did manage to record it.
After our viewing parties, we headed to Brennan’s for dinner where we enjoyed some Pan Roasted Veal Sweetbreads, Palm Sugar Roasted Duck, and Gulf Shrimp and Egg Raviolo. We wanted to make our way to Frenchman street for some live music but honestly we were too tired. That will have to be a priority for our next trip!
Our last day 😦 When we woke up on Monday, we realized we had no real plans and didn’t have a flight until 7pm, what to do? So first things, first, we made our way to Cafe du Monde for beignets!
The line looked daunting when we walked up but it actually moved pretty quickly so I was happy we decided to be the ultimate tourists here. (Not to mention how delicious the beignets were!)
Following our fried sweet dough, we once again meandered along the Mississippi and found ourselves in the Riverwalk Outlet Mall. We wandered aimlessly for a bit and realized we were kind of sore from all the touring we’ve been doing so we made a pit stop at the massage chairs! 7 minutes for $2 seemed like a good deal. (By the way, we felt about 70 years old, mall walking on a Monday morning!)
We then made our way to the Audubon Aquarium and decided to check it out. Meh…it was alright, very full of school groups and not the greatest aquarium ever. I felt like we just did it to kill time and wasn’t really worth it.
Finally, we headed back to the French Quarter to the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone for one last drink! Now, this was a good time.
We ordered mimosas as we sat at the rotating bar already reminiscing about our vacation.
And then before we knew it, we were heading to the airport and on our way home. What a fantastic trip, I loved exploring this exciting city, and am definitely looking forward to a return visit!