Things I Just Love About New Orleans
I wasn’t there long, but New Orleans would easily be one of my favourite cities in the world (if I’m completely honest, I can usually find something to love about every city – except maybe Houston). The city itself is walkable, easy to navigate and the people are some of the warmest and friendliest folk you’ll ever meet.
From the cab drivers to the homeless (yes every city has them) I was overwhelmed by the niceness of everyone, especially those that had their lives turned upside down by Katrina.
Fortunately I had a friend who lived in New Orleans so I was able to get a local’s point of view on a lot of things too, which always makes it easier to get under the skin of a city. In this article I want to share few things which have left a lasting effect about New Orleans:
Slave quarters At The Laura Plantation
You’ll learn all about the Creole lifestyle, life on the Mississippi and fascinating detail about the often prickly subject of slavery and slave life. There are restored slave quarters on site (the last slave descendants left the property in the 1970′s) and you can even go inside theses huts that so many called home.
The guides are local (with that divine accent), many of them descendants of the families that ran the plantation and can answer any question you can throw at them.
Tip:Before you go to New Orleans, do yourself a favour and read up a little about the history of the area, it’s not essential but you will appreciate it that much more.Our tour took us to two different plantations (Laura and Oak Alley) which gave us an understanding of the difference between Creole and American plantations.
Bourbon St is one of those places you have to visit, just to say you have. It’s basically a mile long party street, lined with bars and burlesque clubs and is closed to traffic most nights of the week. You don’t have to wait for Mardi Gras for a party in New Orleans, people party in Bourbon St every night of the year!
Also known as Rue Bourbon, this street sits in the heart of the French Quarter, an area steeped in history and folk lore.
With dozens of bars offering free shots (just to get you in the door) and plenty of those giant slushy machines dispensing a sugary ‘Hurricane’ cocktail, be sure to pack plenty of Panadol!
As night falls, the freaks come out! While it’s not a place I would describe as unsafe, you do need to be prepared to see all kinds. As with most tourist areas around the world, you’re going to be confronted with a lot of begging and homeless people, but don’t let that spoil your fun.
Voodoo Is Not To Be Messed With!
In between the bars and clubs you’ll find plenty of Voodoo Shops, Fortune Tellers and fast food options. Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest but all bars are open until at least 3am every night of the week, so there’s always a party going on somewhere.
We actually enjoyed walking down Bourbon St in the morning, after all, it is in the French Quarter so the area is rich in history. Grab a walking tour from one of the tour operators (there’s tons of them around the French Quarter) and learn about the fascinating people and events that happened right where you’re standing.
If you’re wanting to party on a budget, you can buy beer from the convenience stores and (just like in Las Vegas) you can walk around the street with a beer in your hand. Just be aware that you’re likely to attract attention from the wrong kind of people so at least ask the store clerk to wrap it in a ‘Compton Cooler‘ (brown paper bag) before you head out.