NEW ORLEANS

Posted In: Destinations, Essays, Video

“We want more travelogues!” the people said. Or at least some people said.

And so, we have delivered. In the grand tradition of Long Long Honeymoon’s “Golden Era,” we offer you a brief tour of the Big Easy. This video is basically an introduction to New Orleans with an emphasis on Mardi Gras. It covers a lot, but it doesn’t come close to covering ALL of New Orleans. Someday we will return and film a “Part 2” that touches upon places we missed in this vid.

As promised in the video, here is Kristy’s article listing several places to visit.

SOME NEW ORLEANS RECOMMENDATIONS

By Kristy Michael

Nouvelle-Orléans, Nawlins, NOLA, The Big Easy, The Crescent City….New Orleans. Whatever you call it, it’s a city unlike any other.

A brief history of New Orleans will help you understand the strong French influence that is still evident today.

Original inhabitants of the area were Native American, but in 1718 the Governor of French Louisiana, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, founded the city of Nouvelle-Orléans. He named it for Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, who was the Regent of the Kingdom of France. Not long after, a hurricane destroyed the city. It was then rebuilt using the grid pattern that is still in tact today. The city would be ruled by the French for the next 40 years before King Louis XV handed it over to his cousin Charles III of Spain for 40 years. It was handed back to the French in 1803, who then immediately sold it the the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Nouvelle-Orléans, Nawlins, NOLA, The Big Easy, The Crescent City….New Orleans. Whatever you call it, it’s a city unlike any other.

Being from Alabama, Sean and I have both spent a fair amount of time in New Orleans. It’s a pretty easy 4 1/2 to 5 hour drive from Birmingham. I remember visiting the city as a child and thinking it was just the coolest place. Carriage rides through the French Quarter, Mardi Gras masks and, of course, beignets made me a big fan of the city from an early age. With age I have only grown to love it more. The food scene is top notch, and has many unique things that you just can’t quite find elsewhere (beignets, muffalettas, po’ boys)—well, at least not as good as what you find here. And then of course there is the rich New Orleans culture. The French, Cajun and Creole influences are strong. From the food, to the music, to the shopping, to the easy going lifestyle. There is something in the water that makes this little corner of the world unique. (To learn the difference between Creole and Cajun, you can read this article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Menuism/cajun-vs-creole_b_1447822.html)

New Orleans is a city of extremes. Opposites that seem to peacefully coexist right next door to each other. Traditional Christian religion mixed with the dark secrets of voodoo. The Saturday night sinners and the Sunday morning saints. The elegant Old South and the new punk culture. It’s a look into the past and a glimpse of the future all rolled into one. And it’s a place not to be missed. A place of true Americana.

STAY. SEE. DO. EAT.

Pontchartrain Landing RV Park

situated on the shores of the famous Lake Pontchartrain, this gated RV resort/marina is about a 10 minute drive from the French Quarter. There is a nice pool area and a large restaurant on site with tasty food and cold adult beverages. Overall, a great spot to enjoy some peace and quiet while still being close to the attractions of the city. And if you don’t want to worry about navigating the city, they offer shuttle service to the French Quarter three times daily for a small fee.

Bayou Segnette State Park

Located about 30 minutes southwest of the city, this is the cheapest RV camping option in the area. Sites are very spacious with fire pits, picnic tables, water and electric service. There are two bath houses with laundry, and a dump station can be found near the campground entrance. Wifi is also provided, although the connection is rather slow. Take note that there really is a bayou that borders the campground, so you might want to avoid this park in summer due to mosquitos and bugs. However, if you’re here in moderate to cold temperatures it shouldn’t be a concern.

French Quarter RV Resort

This small gated park sits right on the northern edge of the French Quarter (and right next to the I-10 Interstate). This is the most expensive RV camping option, but also the most convenient. You can walk into the heart of the Quarter, but I wouldn’t recommend it after dark due to a sketchy area that you must pass through. Your best bet is a cab, which should be fairly cheap because of the close proximity. Also, this park has a small pool (with a hot tub) on site which is a welcome reprieve from the crazy humidity that consumes the area in summer months. Please note that this park does NOT provide free Wifi at your site. It’s only available in the common areas. Quite a bummer considering the steep price.

French Quarter

The heart of the city, and most likely where you’ll spend the majority of your time. It’s chock full of unique stores, antique shops, interesting architecture, wonderful restaurants and live music. Just stroll around and you’re sure to find something to keep you entertained.

Garden District

Take the streetcar (don’t call it a trolley!) and enjoy the beautiful architecture. So many amazing old homes grace the streets of this area. There are great shops and restaurants here too, including the famous Commander’s Palace.

Royal Street

Pronounced Roy-yal (rhymes with the name Hal). Bring your wallet and your fashion sense. This famous street within the Quarter is home to some of New Orleans most unique boutiques, art galleries and antique stores. Looking for a 17th century armoire? Or a custom hat? This street will have what you’re looking for! Don’t miss Fleur de Paris, the largest millinery shop in the USA.

Frenchmen Street

Think of this as a less rowdy Bourbon Street. It’s packed with great live music venues, namely d.b.a., Snug Harbor and the Spotted Cat.

Café Du Monde
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No trip to New Orleans is complete with a stop here. Hands down the best beignets (French style doughnuts) you’ll ever eat. The chicory coffee isn’t bad either.

Commander’s Palace

A New Orleans landmark since 1893. Yes, you read that correctly. 1893! The food and service here are truly amazing. This is also where Emeril Lagasse got his start. Definitely worth packing a jacket and collared shirt for (yes, there is a dress code).

Palace Cafe

Located right on Canal Street and worth a visit. This is the more relaxed cousin to Commander’s Palace (it’s co-owned by Dickie Brennan, of the famous Brennan family that owns CP). The food and atmosphere is great, and the Bananas Foster is not to be missed.

Gumbo Shop

A great spot in the Quarter for, you guessed it, GUMBO!

Mother’s

Old school “meat and three” (you choose a meat and three vegetables) that also serves their own famous Po’ Boy called the Famous Ferdi special. I highly recommend the Ferdi!

Market Wego

If you’re staying at Bayou Segnette, this is a must stop. It’s basically a tiny seafood market that has a few tables in case you want to eat there. You can get fresh seafood to go, fresh made sausages, tamales, gumbo, or freshly fried seafood to take home or eat on site. We had a fried shrimp and oyster plate and both were excellent.

Westbank Grill

Another good stop if you’re staying at Bayou Segnette. This place doesn’t have much atmosphere, but it does have good food. The seafood platter is excellent, as is the blackened fish. If they have the eggplant appetizer when you’re there, be sure to order it. It’s light, crispy and super tasty!

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop & Bar

A great low key bar on the east end of Bourbon Street. Built between 1722 and 1732, it is supposedly the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States.

Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone

This bar really is a revolving carousel, although they pause it when the crowds get thick. The atmosphere is great, and they have live music on an almost nightly basis.

There are SO many things to do in New Orleans that is can be tough, and tiring, to try and experience it all. Here are a few more famous spots that are highly regarded. Some of them we’ve been to, and some of them are still on our list!

Dining: Arnaud’s, Galatoire’s, Muriel’s

Live music venues: Preservation Hall, Tipitina’s, The Howlin’ Wolf

Museums, etc.: World War II Museum, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, City Park

There are lots of unique names in New Orleans that can be difficult to pronounce. If you want to know how the locals say things, check out this article:

http://www.nola.com/arts/index.ssf/2016/10/pronouncing_new_orleans_words.html


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