Streets that are lined with houses that speak the soul of the city with even the quickest glance. Balconies that hold centuries worth of influence from a country found across the seas. A nickname that expresses the dreams of many, some lucky enough to have been fulfilled.
The Big Easy
There is no better way to take in all of this city, culture and all, than a culinary bike tour. Riding down the streets of NOLA, you are able to see the colorful homes, see the everyday lives of the locals as they hang out on their front porch, and really get a perspective of living in the Big Easy.
With a local showing you around, you are able to experience hole in the wall restaurants that you may have otherwise walked past. The authenticity that comes with these restaurants is something that will have your taste buds screaming for more. Bennachin, Elizabeth’s, and The Joint surpassed our expectations and introduced us to new flavors that, till now, make us go crazy with cravings.
Speaking of cravings, I forever dream about those mornings filled with powdered sugar. A stop at Cafe du Monde is a must and well worth the wait. The best advice I can give you is to not wear black because, let’s face it, no one can fully enjoy this amazing meal without getting messy.
NOLA is definitely a foodie’s haven. With a quick stop at St. Roch Market you can have your choice from fresh oysters to mouthwatering bbq. My absolute favorite meal in NOLA, however, was at Drago’s where we tried charbroiled oysters and alligator nuggets for the very first time. With the different flavors we encountered, I can now imagine why people consider the food in NOLA as one of the best they have ever tried.
Not only does this city have your taste buds tingling, but it will also have your ears singing with joy. Everyone, at one point in their life, should allow themselves to get entranced by the live Jazz music that fill the streets of this city, whether it be night or day. The energy in these musicians will transpose over to those near them and can cause even those who have no rhythm to feel the music within their bones.
You can’t go to New Orleans without stepping foot onto Bourbon Street. The nightlife on this street is just as imagined; with beads as colorful as the buildings covering the street along with people whose night just got started or may be nearing its end. Grab a drink at the Caurosel Bar, The Old Absinthe House or a hand grenade at the Tropical Isle to start off the night.
As popular as Bourbon Street may be, Frenchman Street is where I would rather spend my nights. You can catch people piling into The Spotted Cat to watch the live jazz bands with The Big Easy in their hands. You can make your way next door to the Frenchman Art Market or continue walking down the street. One thing I loved about this city is that you can pretty much pop into any bar and witness a live band playing.
Drinking, whether it be on Bourbon Street or anywhere in the French Quarter, will probably be consistent throughout your trip so why not try the local brewery, NOLA Brewing Co. You can take a tour of the brewery or just hang out in their tasting room.
Sometimes you have to get away from the hustle and bustle to fully understand the history behind how these cities came to be. A trip out to the plantations can you give you just that. If you’re lucky enough like we were, you may end up with a tour guide whose words could almost let you travel through time to picture the every day lives of those on the plantation.
Another history lesson can be learned from visiting the cemeteries. I know a cemetery may seem odd for a tourist location, but once you visit LaFayette Cemetery you will understand why. The stone crypts and mausoleums are quite a sight to see, but keep in mind to pay your respects to the deceased who lay on those grounds.
To get to the cemetery we hopped on St. Charles street car at the end of Bourbon Street. With no bad view in the streetcar you can stare out and see the rows of colorful houses. Come prepared before hoping on, they only take exact change or a jazzy pass.
Right next to LaFayette Cemetery is Commander’s Palace. By the name itself you can only imagine the type of restaurant it would be. There is a dress code, so make sure you dress accordingly. I witnessed a group getting turned away because of this so dress to impress.
For those of you more into the arts, NOMA in City Park is just the place for you. The installations there were quite breathtaking to say the least. If you want to see something that looks like it came right out of a Disney movie I would recommend stopping by the Langle Bridge right behind Morning Call. Make sure to grab your beignets and cafe au liat at Morning Call before you leave the park.
Before leaving NOLA take a walk along the Mississippi River. You may be able to catch the music coming from a steamboat that is docked nearby. Along this path, you may want to stop and take in the view of St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square. You will probably find that most paintings of NOLA will contain these iconic places.
Enticing all of your senses, this city will have you dreaming about your next return. Vibrant not only through the colors on the buildings but through the people who reside there, NOLA is a city like no other.