You may have heard the sound of crickets coming through your computer speakers if you’ve been hitting up this little ol’ blog over the past month. It has been crazy busy over here, so I haven’t been up to my usual business around this here heezy. I signed up for some curriculum work over the summer and took a class online, so my energy was completely spent during July. We also spent three night away in N’Awlins, a few days down the Cape, and a few days in random places over the past few weeks. For today, here’s a recap of what we did down south…
It was our first trip to New Orleans and honestly, the main reason we figured we’d check it out is because it. was. cheap. yep. No surprise here, but not many people are interested in flying south for the summer so our tickets were super ridiculously cheap. We also like to wander aimlessly through towns/states we haven’t been to before, so New Orleans was right up our alley.
As soon as we checked into the hotel, we wandered down Bourbon Street, which was every bit as smelly and disgusting as it was described to us. We sat down for dinner at a little hole in the wall restaurant where I ordered some local beer. The NOLA brand is Abitas and it’s pretty good, but surprisingly, is one of the few choices at every restaurant and bar we went to. They weren’t too big on beer selection down there; food selection, yes, very big! I ordered my first po’boy and I was hooked! It was a cajun grilled chicken sandwich, open-faced, with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, coleslaw, dressing, and remoulade sauce. It should be noted that I ate four po’boys in four days and loved every bite of them. I plan on perfecting a Massachusetts po’boy sometime this summer and will keep you posted.
The next morning, we headed down to St. Peter’s Square to grab some beignets at Cafe du monde, which is a must if you’re in the area. They’re these little french doughnuts that taste like perfection. Here’s a picture for you to drool over.
Ryan ended up going back to buy beignet mix so we can attempt to recreate them at home. After breakfast, we headed to the aquarium, which was pretty impressive. It was a decent-sized aquarium and had many animals and features that our local museum doesn’t have, so it was great to check out. It has a tunnel for us to walk through, much like the Vegas casino aquarium.
And we saw a smiling stingray and a hoard of happy little penguins.
They also had a hurricane simulator that someone I know just had to try out.
He went in with wet hair and came out all fluffy and dry.
Ryan also went virtual fishing and caught some bass. It was quite the productive morning. We were trying to productively kill time before our afternoon swamp tour, so after the aquarium, off we headed…
We took a shuttle about half an hour out of New Orleans to a local bayou. We had some extra time before boarding, so we wandered around and learned about alligators, turtles, and nutria, which are cute little animals (that look like beavers) that are slowly destroying the bayous but eating away at all sorts of things.
Here’s our boat.
We saw tons of alligators and learned a lot about them along the tour. We didn’t think we’d see nearly as many as we did, but we saw at least 20 if not more and I highly recommend a swamp tour. While on the boat, Ryan got to hold one of these little guys…
I passed on holding him but did say hello. After the tour, we wandered down to the “local” section of New Orleans, Frenchmen Street, which had lots of restaurants and bars and basically looked like Somerville plopped into downtown New Orleans. We went to the Praline Connection for dinner and Ryan ate alligator sausage; I tried the jambalaya, which was pretty delicious, but it ain’t no po’boy. Ryan let me munch on his po’boy since I gazed longingly at it.
While we were eating dinner, we heard a street performer playing a tuba outside. A few minutes later, his friends came to join him, and about half an hour later, there were 15 street performers, playing some killer jazz together. We went outside and watched for quite some time, before heading to two local bars. Both bars also had live jazz bands and the night was awesome. If ever you head to New Orleans, go to Frenchmen Street! That’s my main recommendation. OK, eat some po’boys and head to Frenchmen Street.
Since we loved the swamp tour so much, we decided to grab tickets for a live jazz boat cruise for the following night. The riverwalk, which overlooks the Mississippi, reminded me of a southern version of the riverwalk at the Charles in Boston. Except that the water was much muddier. Imagine that!
Our boat was very old fashioned and beautiful. It even had a wheel to push it through the mighty Mississippi. We opted for just the cruise portion of the boat package; you could also buy tickets for a buffet dinner, which smelled delicious, but was about $35 more per person. We mostly enjoyed the bar. And the jazz, and the ambiance, of course.
The band is called the Dukes of Dixieland, and they are a Grammy-nominated jazz band. They were exceptional and played for most of the tour. When they were on break, a tour guide gave us some information about the river and New Orleans.
We spent time all over the boat and made sure to catch the sunset. Ryan also made sure to catch the Red Sox score.
On our way back to the hotel (by trolley car), Ryan caught a glimpse of a coffee shop ad that had zombies. The place is called Sacred Grinds, so we decided to go on a trip to the end of the
world city in search of the perfect cup of zombie coffee. Turns out, it did taste delicious and was worth the half hour trolley ride to the outer part of the city. Once we got there, we sat outside and enjoyed the views. Here’s a funny thing about Louisiana: their graves are above ground and don’t look like the graveyards up here. So we sat and enjoyed our coffee with a view of the dead. Super creepy, but luckily it was delicious.
And although we didn’t take tons and tons of pictures, we did do tons and tons of other awesome things. We checked out the local casino, Harrah’s, had the most delicious cheeseburger and baked potato at Port of Call (a tiny dive bar), indulged in a true southern breakfast (twice!) at Mother’s Diner, tried the frozen iced coffee at Cafe du Monde, and did plenty of sightseeing and shopping along the way. See, I told you we like to eat and drink our way through new cities! And here’s a fun fact for you: you can take your delicious beverages to go and drink them on the street. Just like Vegas, Key West, and Newcastle, England. All in all, we’d recommend a trip at some point in your life. We may even go back. But for now, we’re still in detox mode and are sprawled out on the floor more like this…