Jazz in the street, New Orleans on my feet…
Ever since I was young and learned of the wonderous, French inspired city of New Orleans, I felt called. There is no city like it. Every building is unique, with marvelous, antique details, and a Cajun twist to boot. The city is booming with all sorts of art, from street performers, to graffiti. The people are welcoming, staying true to southern hospitality. Every twist and turn of this magnificent city provides a new sense. I recognize new details every time I am around, no matter how many times I visit. Here is my breakdown of New Orleans!
Café Du Monde is a must! You can’t visit the French Quarters without sitting at an outdoor table (because there is no indoor seating!) right along the bustling street. Here, you will find an atmosphere unlike any other breakfast nook. Their menu is simple, and fits right on the napkin holders. Don’t let their line intimidate you! It moves quick, and with the aide of live jazz music performed right on the street, you will feel right at home. Grab a coffee and some fresh French beignet (fried doughnuts with powdered sugar), but don’t forget they only accept cash payments! Slap a nice tip on the table and be on your way to explore the French Quarters!
You can spend an entire day just touring this section! Across the street from Café Du Monde is the St. Louis Cathedral, which overlooks Jackson Square. St. Louis Cathedral is a beautiful area, with banana trees lining the wrought iron gates. Here, you can get your cards read by the many card readers that set up shop. This is my favorite idea, as New Orleans has always had a respect for voodoo, religion, and anything in between. The mesh of these ideas in such a small space is pretty fun.
Next stop was the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum. Indulge in the many cultures represented in this museum, and leave an offering at one of the alters! It’s dark, cluttered, and mystifying!
Next, bang a left onto Bourbon Street and take it all in! There are shops, a spectacular view of the high rise buildings, and drinks galore! I was approached by a street vendor who recommended a drink at Bourbon Heat. It had the most adorable outdoor quarters, and offered a serene break from the busy hustle of Bourbon Street. Walk the street with your drink, and take in the views! Occasionally, there will be younger kids that seem to appear out of no where, performing drum solos on 5 gal. buckets. The street is booming with people, drinks, and music, but catch it on a morning or afternoon, and it is much more tamed.
As we continued our walk in and around the French Quarters, we decided to head into the Palace Café. Their turtle soup is an absolute must try! Although some may be hesitant, it’s a recipe that is near and dear to the area. I couldn’t pass up the oysters, which were phenominal. The andouille crusted gulf fish was flavorful and perfectly cooked! The atmosphere was historic, clean, and welcoming. This is a great place to enjoy a nice lunch with the entire family.
This park is deep in character, displaying old live oak trees covered in Spanish moss. Every detail of this park fits the idea of good ol’ New Orleans. The tall, black lampposts have Spanish moss growing on them, and they neatly mark the sidewalk. Towards the back of the park is a large waterfront bandstand. Take a seat and watch the turtles come up to you! There is so much wildlife to enjoy!
St. Louis Cemetary No. 1
If you haven’t heard of the voodoo queen of Nola, let me introduce you to Marie Laveau. Born in 1801 in the French Quarters, she gained notarity around the city working as a cosmetologist for wealthy whites. Being in a shop granted her access to insight in the wealthiest of families, and gossip was free flowing! She was recognized as the city’s Voodoo Priestess, combining Catholicism and West African voodoo practices. You cannot enter the city’s most popular cemetary without a tour guide, however, it is worth the visit! The tour guide does a wonderful job explaining the founding history of the cemetary and it’s families. Nicholas Cage’s strange, pyramid shaped grave is located there, too!
Dinner at Jacques- Imo’s
This funky and eclectic restaurant is a great dig! Tucked in to an unsuspecting location, it’s best to get there rather early. You bet ya that I was there at their opening hour of 5 PM on the dot!! I seriously could not wait to dive into their highly regaurded alligator and crawdaddy cheesecake. I had absolutely no idea what to expect for flavor, and I was so pleasantly surprised! It’s a must try! Their jambalaya, gumbo, and fried chicken were absolutely delicious! Hats off to the chef! Not to mention, Chef Jacques Leonardi won 2013 Best Chef of Louisiana! The portions are large and very filling. Needless to say, I was put into a heavy food coma. To be fair, the waiter (who was wonderful, by the way) totally warned our small party of three that we would not eat as much as we ordered. He was totally right. The walls are covered in local art, to include Frenchy’s amazing pieces. He holds a special spot in my heart, as his rugged Massachusetts personality sets his art on flame! Not to mention, his studio is two doors down from Jacque-Imo’s! Dinner and art? Don’t mind if I do.