Friday, February 22, 2013

Ringing in the New Year in New Orleans!

NOLA - Ideal for Foodies, Music Lovers and History Buff's 
New Orleans, Louisiana is an amazing place to visit, especially to ring in the new year. This was my first trip to the Big Easy, and I wanted to experience the city as a tourist and a local.

One of the first items on my checklist was learning more about the history of voodoo in NOLA. I signed up for a night tour through Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo. This was a great way to get acquainted with the city as a first time visitor. Our tour guide explained the history of the religion, showed us a few famous landmarks and took us to a voodoo shrine. If you plan on attending this tour during the winter season, bring a hat, scarf and jacket.

During the tour, we passed by St. Louis Cathedral, which is the oldest church in the United States. We went back the next morning, walked through Jackson Square and snapped a few photos. The church is absolutely beautiful! Jackson Square was lively, filled with fortune tellers, artists and musicians.

For lunch, we opted for a coffee, sandwich and beignet from Cafe Beignet. There are a few locations around New Orleans, and the line is always out the door. We sat in the courtyard of Music Legend's Park, ate our lunch and listened to a live band playing in the French Quarter.

Walking through Bourbon Street was interesting! The bars, clubs and restaurants in this area each have their own unique way of drawing tourists through the door. There were wine smoothies, hurricane's, fruity drinks, big ass beer's, karaoke clubs and many other interesting offerings down this street. We choose to hang out at the Cat's Meow, and enjoyed the solid karaoke routines that patron's signed up for. Some of the singers seemed like they were auditioning for America's Got Talent, others had their five minutes of shame on Bourbon Street.

 We took a 15 minute cab ride down to the garden district to check out the scene on Magazine Street. The streets were loaded with small boutiques, pubs and beautiful Victorian style homes. Many locals live in this district, avoiding the constant craziness on Bourbon Street.

One of the best and cheapest meals that we had on our trip was at Juan's Flying Burrito on Magazine Street. The Creole & Mexican blended dishes were out of this world, and the margaritas were cheap! If you are a foodie, I highly recommend checking this place out!

The Howlin Wolf, located in the warehouse district, was an awesome place to experience the local music scene. We had tickets to see the Hot 8 Brass Band. If I lived in New Orleans, I would see them play every weekend. The band members live and breathe their music! I even saw them playing on the street in front of Cafe du Monde a few days after the concert.
Many of my friends and coworkers recommended places to try famous Creole dishes like gumbo, beans and rice and pralines. Since we were strapped for time, we decided to take a cooking class to learn how to make these fabulous dishes at home. We signed up for a class through the New Orleans Cooking School. This was a fabulous class!  Throughout the demonstrations we had a chance to sample the food, drink some Abita amber beer and learn tips from a New Orleans native on how to make the best gumbo.

During our adventures around the French Quarter, we had a chance to experience some of the alternative transportation methods that NOLA has to offer. We hopped on a mule cart with a bloody mary and toured the French Quarter one afternoon and ended up in front of St. Louis cemetery. Much like early European burial grounds, the ornate stones were above ground, dating back to the 1700's. Once we left the cemetery, we hopped on a rigshaw for a ride back to our hotel.

On New Year's Eve, we ended our trip with tickets to the House of Blues to see Gregg Allman. This concert was awesome, not too crowded and a great way to ring in 2013 in New Orleans.

No comments:

Post a Comment