Facebook, it has that little feature called “On this Day” so you can look back on the years you have been active with Facebook as you cringe or laugh or quickly delete to look like you never posted that, but most importantly, it reminds you of the fun you had a year or so ago on the day. I checked out on mine and I reminisced the two and a half days I was in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
After being to the US twice, I said to my friend, this will be my third time in North America, and I have yet to go to New Orleans, I have always wanted to go! I didn’t care how little time I got to spend, I just really wanted to go. My friend caved in and said fine, add it on the list, she said it was only fair because the Topdeck tour we did, was for her because she wanted to do the national parks, but hey I did want to as well! But the main thing is, we got to New Orleans, even if that meant we had to fly from Iowa (we were visiting a friend and got to see Fleetwood Mac!) to Atlanta for a 2 hour stop over, then to New Orleans late at night because we were in a MASSIVE LONG LINE for the taxi.
Finally, when we got to the CBD of New Orleans, which was chaotic because of Mardi Gras! We actually had to get out a few blocks down the street to get to our hotel, which was fine, we needed the walk after sitting on planes and airports and then the taxi, we stayed at the very fancy Le Pavilion Hotel, it was expensive, but it was our only expensive hotel, so we didn’t mind splashing out a bit. Our hotel also has an amazing breakfast buffet!
When we booked for New Orleans I actually forgot that Mardi Gras was on, or even a thing till I looked up on Google “What to do in New Orleans in February” then Mardi Gras came up, I was really excited, then it dawned on me, how busy will it be, for me I am afraid of MASSIVE crowds, but when I am travelling and I have my friend beside me, it’s fine, but then I just kept getting excited and look at the parades to see and so on.
New Orleans to me was just amazing, a whole different world! This trip I had already been to California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Iowa and then Louisiana, these places each were like a whole different world, such different culture in their own special way. New Orleans is a place I want to go again. But maybe outside of Mardi Gras, there were some things I didn’t get to do or see because of the massive crowds.
Things I got to do in my very short stay were;
- Attend Mardi Gras parades and get some souvenirs from the parades like the beads (which actually hurt your face, so wear a hockey mask. One guy even almost got his head cut off from a Frisbee, but I caught it!). At one of the parades that I actually paid tickets to sit in one of the stands, I chose very wisely, I chose the Krewe of Baccas which had actor John C. Riley who was the King and then a couple of floats behind him was the Hot Tub Time Machine cast, I didn’t understand why other than maybe promoting their new film, but when I was back in Hollywood, my friend and I watched it at the Universal City Walk cinema, and the film took place in New Orleans and they stayed in the same hotel as us!
Our stand view waiting for the parade to start, there were people dancing and waiting.
. Swamp Tour with Cajun Tours was a fun and very touristy thing you should do, it’s cool to see some alligators and possible a family of raccoons. Unfortunately because it was winter, not many alligators around, but we did learn a bit about alligators from our tour guide who even had his own little zoo on board our boat. When in winter, they alligators seek warmth, so they go deep down in the water and bury themselves in the ground to get that warmth. We did however see some adorable baby gators and turtles. It’s better to go in the warmer months, but I still had a good time because it was a beautiful view, nothing like I had seen before. We even got to see a small very old cemetery. Plus the Jambalaya at the little canteen they have is yum!
- Plantation Tour which was also run by Cajun tour, my friend and I did the combined Swamp and Plantation Tour so we could knocked it out in one hit, we chose the Oaks Alley Plantation, it was established in 1837, not all of the interior is still the same, but they have some replicas, considering how old the house is, I am not surprised, but the items they have on display was amazing to see, the history was incredible, the slave quarters history was sad but still interesting to read and see how they lived. Beautiful well kept grounds and of course, the Oak trees that make this place what it is. If you want food, they do have a restaurant and then there is a gift shop of course. I found a book that had our hotel in it, it was about the most haunted places in New Orleans, and I had to get it!
- St Louis Cemetery #1 – This place was eerie but cool at the same time, wondering around of the US oldest cemetery’s was just amazing, to be where so many people of history is burred, I made that sound way too weird, but that’s how I felt. You could do tours yourself, but my friend and I decided to just have a look ourselves, maybe next time, because each time we walked passed a group, we were doing a little eavesdropping to hear some history facts, but we kept walking.One of the most memorable tombs that had a look at was Madame Laveau the Voodoo Queen’s and then Nicholas Cage’s pyramid tomb, I don’t know, I just, I think he maybe in the illuminate or something, but hey, whatever he wants on his tomb, the fans love it as we saw all these kiss marks on it.If you like history and cemeteries, this is the cemetery for you! We went during the day, of course as the opening hours are 9am-3pm, also be careful, nothing happened to us, but I have seen other sites express, that it can be dangerous, with some people have mugged people around that area, so really, have your wits and just stay safe, we went at 9am and there was only one guy yelling at us for some reason, but we just walked on the other side of the street to pass him and then crossed over to the Cemetery, so like I said, take caution.
- Jazz Brunch River Cruise down the Mississippi River on the SS Natchez Steam Boat was such a fun and really relaxing thing to do, I have read people’s reviews about this saying it’s not that great, the food isn’t special and such, but for me and my friend, we loved it! The food was so yummy that we went back for seconds hehehe.
The brunch cost USD $42, but you don’t have to have brunch, you can just get a ticket onto the boat which costed USD$31, so why not pay a bit extra, but oh the food! The beignets! Ah! So good! You could see the view of Jackson Square and then some of the plantations, the only bad thing were that you could see a big industrial factory which was an eye sore, but other than that, it was good. The captain would give a history speech as we sailed on the steam boat down the Mississippi. On the way back up they began the jazz band which was really lovely and it was great seeing people get up and dance.One thing about New Orleans, they love gift shops, they had one on board, I just bought a tote bag because they seem to have a collection of lovely tote bags in New Orleans with a black and canvas coloured art work, I have one of the steam boat and one of the French Quarter.
- Cafe Du Monde is a hot spot for your beignets and absolutely mouth scolding hot beverages and we mean MOUTH SCOLDING! So if you get a hot chocolate of a coffee, be careful, do not drink until it has cooled down, the two New Zealand girls that my friend and I met on our Topdeck tour, we met up together for some beignets and hot chocolate, we all had really sore burnt mouths. But the beignets were heaven. I want more, if you know where to find some in Australia pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee let me know, I beg you! I wanted to go here because of the movie CHEF (my favourite food themed film).
- Jackson Square is where we relaxed to eat our beignets and burn our mouths. This place is also very historical, it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960 (thank you Wikipedia), this place is located opposite Cafe Du Monde which is in the French Quarter its really beautiful spot and is considered the heart of the French Quarter, so it’s like a town square. Oh funny story, when we were sitting on one of the park benches, just talking, a guy came up and asked us “Hey do you ladies mind moving away from the bin please, just letting you know I am about to throw up in the bin” we did what he said, haha oh Mardi Gras, at least he was nice about it?
- French Quarter and Bourbon Street is just the place you need to see as it is iconic, I must say some of the architecture is quite lovely, the French inspired theme. We didn’t do much in Bourbon Street because it was full of drunks (we went at night time) and some people threw up on the street so we ran away, but the French Quarter was good to see, they have a cooking school that I would love to attend one day when I go back, I bought a big tote bag that I currently use at work and bought some hot sauces, cook books and oven mitts for my brother and my mum.
- Po’Boys, you have to have one, its tradition in New Orleans! Johnny’s Po-Boys which was crowded but so good! My friend and I shared this because we were starving and we couldn’t wait for the Jazz Brunch River Cruise to eat!
Things I would love to do next time
- Go to a Jazz Club, I didn’t get to because everywhere was packed out and my friend wasn’t feeling 100% so we didn’t have much time to do too much night things
- See the American Horror Story Witches Coven House that would be awesome because I enjoy that show a lot.
- See other plantations that I didn’t get to see.
If you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave in the comments! Tell me what you love about New Orleans or what you would like to do in New Orleans if you visit.
Images used are all mine from my holiday in February 2015 – When I get my photos off my camera or my laptop and put them on my desktop I will post more! Until then, enjoy the pictures of food!