New Orleans has been high up on my wanderlist. It had a mystery that I found intriguing. New Orleans is truly like no other state I have ever been too. It is unique. It met my expectations in certain ways and gave me a history lesson all in the same breath. If you fell in love with Beyonce ‘Formation’ video it doesn’t come close to the magic that is New Orleans.
New Orleans is full of tales and urban myths. They have houses for sale that have boards outside to tell you if they are haunted or not. How insane is that?! I recommend doing a tour just to get some of that extra historical detail. As we made our way to our Airbnb apartment we happened to drive past a few cemeteries. The grave stones looked like tombs, they were very large and ornate many made out of marble etc. We came to find out that they really are tombs, that can house generations of the same family. It’s kind of a good investment. When someone dies the tomb is re-opened and the body laid there to decompose. After 61 days (60 days is the time it takes for a body to decompose and an extra day out of respect) the remains are pushed to the back of the tomb where it will fall and down and added to the ashes from past relatives. Whew this blog post took a dark turn lol. The reason why they bury this way is that anytime there were floods dead bodies would pop up and float around. Not cool. Not cool at all.
There were so many stories and interesting people that we met along our trip. If you want some culture and insider knowledge then my advice is to hop into an Uber and get talking. One night our Uber driver called Garry gave us the lowdown on how New Orleans used to be. The spots that were popular. Many of those old buildings are still standing. The city used to be thriving with lots of small businesses until some developments that were supposed to help build the economy and the open up transportation actually caused a lot of black-owned businesses to shut down. He recalled how great artists and musicians would flock to NOLA. He drove us past all the spots and was just reeling off history. ‘Smokey Robinson was a regular in these parts’ he said. Garry was an older guy and told us how classy it was when you went out in New Orleans. He laughed at the way our generation would dress to go out. He described the jazz bars back then and I started to picture something out of the movies. Women dressed in furs and men tipping their hats. Full on brass sections and smoke filling the air. Garry lived in the glory days of New Orleans and it was full of charm. Our Airbnb was in a quiet neighbourhood and apartment was shabby chic, to put it mildly. Think downtown, kinda hood-ish with much older architecture. Garry our uber driver was a little worried. ‘This is an older part of NOLA, you ladies be safe’ he said as we hopped out of the car. Everywhere we went people were friendly and offered us many recommendations.
NOLA has so much going on. A lot of festivals happen throughout the year. We were there when the Buku Music and Art festival was on which is still quite a new festival. If you are thinking to visit NOLA try and tag a festival onto it. I plan to go back for Essence fest or Mardi Gras but if not join a second line or see what else is on. St Patrick days was also in full swing while we were there. It can honestly feel like New Orleans is always partying.
Five things to do…
1. Visit the French Quarter.
Take in the architecture, shops, beignets and just keep wondering at some point you will cross over Bourbon Street. If you keep walking you will stumble upon the many wonders of New Orleans.
2. Dance in the street. Literally, you’re in NOLA it is widely accepted. Bourbon Street is always ON. Also every Sunday (look it up or ask a local) you could catch a second line parade. They have a full-on brass section, singers and if you want to tag on at the end you are welcomed. Some go through the Treme Quarter and it is just so LIVE.
3. Eat at somewhere local and away from Bourbon Street. There are so many good places to eat. Eat where the locals eat. We got dropped off at a craw-fish spot it was not a fancy place but the food was great. A good PO’Boy sandwich or gumbo from a local diner would fill you up and taste amazing.
4. Do one tour! It is just handy in getting more in-depth information. Also, hire a bike as it is one of the best ways to get around.