Summer trip no. 1… New Orleans. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
The first trip my guy and I took together was to New Orleans in the summer of 2010. I had been a handful of times but he was a Big Easy virgin (haha). One of my favorite things to do is play “tour guide,” and I loved showing him some of my favorite places in the city. We had such a great time we decided to make it an (at least) annual trip.
When we landed in New Orleans in July for annual trip no. 2, we grabbed a taxi and headed to our hotel in the Vieux Carre. (Insider tip: This taxi ride is usually about $60 each way, so if you go for a day trip as I’ve done a couple of times, you’ll come out ahead if you rent a car. If you’re staying in the French Quarter for a night or two, you can easily walk to where you want to go or take a streetcar for $1.25 per ride. Plus, parking at a hotel might cost you $20 per night, so I think a taxi makes things easier.)
We spent two nights in the Crescent City at the Cornstalk Hotel, which was formerly a mansion and is supposedly haunted. (At night you can sit outside on front the balcony and watch ghost tours stop in front of the building!) Our concierge was extremely welcoming and helpful with recommendations, and the location was perfect- not too close to the commotion of the French Quarter, but only a quick walk away.
Once we checked in, we ventured to Frenchman Street. It was Friday night and the neighborhood was filled with hoodlums, punky kids, musicians, and regular folks looking for some good music. It’s a little off the beaten path, so there didn’t appear to be many tourists. We stumbled upon an intimate jazz gastropub called The Three Muses and went in for dinner, drinks, and entertainment.
It was a true New Orleans experience and the perfect place for anyone who appreciates live music. The jazz combo kept our fingers snappin’ and our toes tappin’! The best part of the night was when an elderly man carrying a battered trumpet case walked in and sat down at a table in front of the stage. He nonchalantly took out his trumpet and played along with the band. Our waitress told us he pops in from time to time to jam. It was so natural and organic, like art coming to life.
On Saturday morning we started with a big breakfast at Stanley Restaurant, located in Jackson Square. There is always a wait here, but it’s worth it! The food is heavy, but who comes to New Orleans to worry about their diet? This city is all about indulging! After breakfast we walked around Jackson Square and admired the work of the street artists who line the parimeter of the square’s iron fence and paint.
We strolled through the open air French Market, then caught a streetcar to the garden district. I enjoy this neighborhood for its history and architecture. I’d love to go on a home tour here someday! From the residential area, we emerged onto Magazine Street and wandered through some of the boutiques. When my man couldn’t take the shops any more, we decided it was time for a siesta and headed back to the Cornstalk.
After a nice nap, we headed to the French Quarter for dinner. Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House was recommended to us by our concierge. There was a wait, but we grabbed a spot at the bar and enjoy some fresh oysters until our table was ready. The food and the waitstaff were excellent. I can’t wait to go back!
Post dinner, we hit up Bourbon Street for some entertainment! People watching here is priceless, and there is such a variety! Young and old, fancy and casual, everyone is here to let go and go wild! We walked the streets of the French Quarter and enjoyed a few drinks until it was time to get some sleep so we could catch an early morning flight home.
New Orleans is the perfect combination of history, culture, and indulgence and my absolute favorite city in the South. See you soon mon amie!