New Orleans… what a wild, weird, and fascinating place. One of my top five cities to visit in the States, New Orleans is filled with old southern charm, voodoo mystery, french influence, and unreal experiences. I only had a couple of days to explore the city so I crammed in as much as I possibly could. The land of Mardi Gras and festivities where the renowned motto is laissez les bons temps rouler – let the good times roll – so here is what I recommend you get up to.
Explore the French Quarter
Pretty much the backbone of New Orleans, the French Quarter is the oldest neighbourhood of the city. It is a beautiful area with incredible architecture, famous buildings, nightlife, restaurants, and is pretty much where you want to be while you are in the city.
Devour that Southern Cajun Cuisine
Gumbo, fried green tomatoes, Louisiana turtles, jambalaya… There is so much flavour to experience in New Orleans. Incorporating the cajun flavours alongside simple dishes is a real new food experience. The people of New Orleans are proud of their food so make sure you give it a go!
Visit St. Louis Cathedral & Find the Touchdown Jesus
One of the oldest cathedrals in the United States and the centre of the French Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral is a beautiful building with a lot of history. Surrounding the building in Jackson Square you can find the infamous tarot card readers, ‘psychics’, and all the con artists that New Orleans is famous for. At night you can also see the ‘touchdown Jesus’, a comedic highlight of the French Quarter.
Eat a Famous Po’ Boy from Johnny’s
Not going to lie, this will be the best po’ boy (sub) that you have ever eaten. They have been established since 1950 and are a trademark name in creole cuisine and subs! It is a tiny restaurant with a constant flow of people, but I would highly recommend waiting out in the line, grabbing your sub, and heading to Jackson Square to eat it in the park.
Airboat Ride in the Mississippi & Spot Alligators
We don’t have alligators in Australia, only crocodiles, so seeing them on the Mississippi River is a pretty unreal experience – and why not ride an airboat while you are at it? My only knowledge of airboats began watching Waterboy when I was younger, and then seeing them on the infamous show ‘Gator Boys‘ when I was flicking through the TV, so it was pretty cool to travel on one in real life. They are so loud that you have to wear earmuffs, but they just glide right over the top of the water. The alligators are everywhere in the Mississippi and easy to spot, not to mention they love to eat marshmallows – according to our guide – which brought them over to the boat wherever we were.
Get in Touch with the Voodoo History
There is a crazy amount of dark and supernatural history in New Orleans that you have to get involved in. I strongly recommend checking out The Voodoo Bone Lady Haunted Tours for an in-depth exploration of the cities past – from voodoo, to vampires, pirates, and ghosts. We even had a fifth generation Voodoo priestess lead our tour! We saw Marie Laveau’s – the most famous Voodoo Queen – home and apparent gravesite (many believe she is still alive), alongside places with strong sightings of ghosts, and the home of infamous Delphine LaLaurie where she tortured and murdered slaves, making it the most haunted house in the entire United States.
Eat a Famous Beignet
Cafe Du Monde French Market Coffee Stand is incredibly famous for serving beignets (fried dough with powdered sugar) and black coffee – a New Orleans staple. It is centrally located across from Jackson Square so it is easy to find, and you must add it to your ‘to eat’ list.
Check Out the Wild Night Life
Probably what New Orleans is most famous for, the nightlife is indeed incredible, wild, and out there. There is a great mix of night clubs, live music, and shows. You can also pick up a huge array of cocktails, including the ‘hand grenade’ which is famous for its high alcohol content and low prices. You can also get your hands on a whole bunch of beads too – without having to take your shirt off – as tourist and locals alike pretty much throw them everywhere and anywhere.
Have you traveled to New Orleans? What did you get up to?