Times are stressful for everyone, everywhere. The last thing people want to do is focus on the realities of life. We’re all in search of healthy ways to mentally escape the daily grind. Luckily, escapism comes in many forms. Some people play sports, have kids or listen to music as a form of escape, I like to travel.
Although I haven’t be able to travel as of late, it’s still one of my favorite pastimes. So when two of my friends planned a trip to New Orleans (a place that I’ve longed to visit forever), I decided to tag along for the ride.
New Orleans (or NOLA as it is affectionately called), is a charming city. So many of my favorite instagrammers have documented their travels to NOLA and I couldn’t bear a single person going again without me experiencing the sights for myself.
Despite being unbearably hot and humid, I enjoyed my short stay in the beautiful New Orleans.
Upon arrival, we unpacked and headed towards the infamous French Quarter in search of food and Solange. I fell in LOVE with all the colorful houses on each street.
We had dinner at a restaurant called Eat New Orleans. I really enjoyed the fried chicken and mash potatoes.
The first thing we realized is that damn near every hotel in the city is expensive. Even the unpleasant ones! It made me realize how much this city depends on tourism to keep it afloat. We ended up staying at an Inn (that shall not be named because there was a ROACH on one of our pillows *shudders*). Unfortunately, the crappy inn wasn’t close to the city either. Note to friends: when picking a hotel in a foreign city, make sure you’re near all the sights.
The next day, we had brunch at Surrey’s Cafe & Juice Bar. The shrimp and grits seemed to be popular so I ordered it. It was good but not the best that I’ve ever had. Actually, I’m not quite sure I’ve had the best yet but I know that wasn’t the best.
We noticed that engraved on each street corner was its name. Thought that was unique.
I really really really wanted to run into Solange while there so we stopped by her store, Exodus Goods. Of course, she was not there. But the store is super cute!
We had drinks at Pat O’brien’s and boy oh boy, did that Hurricane get us drunk. We sipped on our large cocktails while listening to old White women sing/play tunes. Of course, we suggested Beyonce.
Definitely had to soak up some of the liquor with the infamous beignets from Cafe Du Monde. Maybe it was because I was drunk but they tasted just like funnel cakes from the fair to me. I don’t know.
That evening, we attended a bridal shower event. Instead of strippers and irresponsibility, we painted flowers at Paint and Jrink NOLA. I’ve never done that before so I was pretty excited.
Between the walking and extreme heat, we were beyond exhausted by the end of the night. And really, all I wanted to do was eat and see pretty houses.
For brunch the next day, we went to The Ruby Slipper. Now this place was packed to capacity. If you’re asking yourself how I found all these places to eat, then my answer is Yelp. I looked up restaurants with tons of reviews and pictures to look at. Might not look like it but this was delish!
We then headed back to the French Quarter to explore the French Market. It’s basically a swap shop for tourists (and locals if you want to purchase home-grown foods).
Later that evening, we made our way to the English Turn Golf & Country Club for the wedding. It was definitely the quickest wedding I’ve ever attended but it was precious! I won’t lie, I almost shed a tear because the bride walked to my favorite Stevie Wonder song, As. Except she walked to The Best Man Holiday version.
It’s so awesome to see how different cultures (even within the United States) celebrate special occasions. I’ve heard about traditional wedding receptions in New Orleans but I’m glad I got to experience it live. So much dancing, drinking, marching, handkerchiefs flying, and feathered umbrellas waving. Most importantly, the horns. A marching band lead the couple into the reception hall (after the bride changed into her dancing dress). Too much fun.
And oh. my. goodness. Best gumbo I had was at the wedding. I seriously contemplated asking the caterers if they had to-go bowls.
On the last day, I’m pretty sure none of us wanted to leave just yet. We had our last brunch at Biscuits and Buns on Banks. The food was ok and the wait was long.
I couldn’t leave before visiting part of the Ninth Ward, Bywater. This neighborhood was somewhat hit when the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina. Ten years later, I don’t think anyone would expect it to look like it does now. I was pretty shocked, actually. I was expecting grit and history but was met with gentrification. Perfectly lined up trash cans and manicured lawns. Nothing Black about the place until you drove a little ways out. Hipster-ville.
No one, and I mean not a SOUL was outside. The streets were eerily quiet. My friends and I walked in the middle of the street, peering into windows, thinking maybe everyone was swept up by the rapture. Well, maybe I was the only one thinking that but still.
Even with the changes, I loved Bywater the most. The homes had so much character.
I’ll never forget this door. I put my purse down to take the picture and left the purse there. I didn’t realize it until we were heading to the highway back to Atlanta. I prayed a thousand times while we sped back to where I left it. We made it back in less than ten minutes but the purse was gone. I can’t even describe the feeling I felt. Everything was in my purse. We got out and tried to think of where to start looking or what door to knock on when I saw a woman motioning me at the window of the house where I left the purse. She opened her door and asked if I lost something. I said yes, my purse. She then told me she had it and welcomed me inside to pick it up. She had sent me an email and also posted my business card picture to her instagram page asking if anyone knew me. So sweet! I’m grateful for her kindness.
Needless to say, I will be back to New Orleans. I can’t say I’ll go back when the weather is nicer because from what I was told, it’s always humid. There’s so much more I want to see and learn about NOLA. So many more carbs I want to eat. Until next time.