I was so excited to head to New Orleans! Ive been wanting to go for many years. We decided to go after Mardi Gras, nothing crazy for me. I went with my friend and wanted to be safe, centrally located and within walking distance to good food.
We checked into the Hotel Monteleone, a hotel with lots of history including a haunted 14th floor where we happened to stay. This old hotel is very upscale and elegant. Everything about it is beautiful from the crown moulding to the sparkling chandeliers to the hotel restaurant. The rooms are small but nicely appointed, bathrooms are tiny but offer everything you need including the nicest hotel towels I’ve ever used!
Dinner the first night was at a place called Jimmy Js Cafe, a tiny hole in the wall kind of place (I ate an amazing frittata with vegetables). After a quick cocktail in the Carousel Bar at the hotel, we strolled over to Bourbon Street which reminded me a little of Times Square in NYC.
Bars and restaurants clutter the narrow street, beads from Mardi Gras hung on iron balconies, people are yelling everywhere, music is playing. My friend and I had oysters at an oyster bar followed by the obligatory Hurricanes at Pat O’Briens. I was so tired after having been up since four a.m. and fell into bed when we finally got back to our hotel.
After a bowl of oatmeal at the hotel, we were picked up by Cajun Encounters, for a City and Post-Hurricane Katrina tour. We spent a lot of time at one of the many cemeteries, drove through the areas that were affected by Katrina, a quick stop at City Park for bathroom breaks and beignets then were dropped off.
I was interested in checking out the Insectarium, a neat little place to study bugs. I look at every place as somewhere to take interesting photos and I think I got some good ones.
Dinner was at the Roosevelt Hotel where drinks are half price during happy hour and so are the pizzas. Domenica was one of my favorite places during this whole trip. The pizza was out of this world. Service was top notch! We finished off the evening with a cocktail at the Court of Two Sisters on Bourbon Street.
I was anxious to see the Garden District so we booked a Free Tour by Foot but of course first – breakfast! We ate a quick breakfast at The Old Coffeepot where our waitress seemed rather unmotivated and slow and it was kind of funny to watch our breakfast sitting at the counter while she ignored it. I had scrambled eggs and LOTS of coffee to wake up.
Instead of taking the super convenient and cheap street car, we opted to take a taxi- a ten dollar fare to the Garden District. We met our tour guide Sarah, along with about twenty other people on the tour. This one began at a cemetery which was smaller than the first one and Sarah really brought history to life!
We strolled around the Garden District which I LOVED. So many beautiful old homes with lots of history. The trees reach over the streets forming a tunnel and its breathtaking.
Our tour culminated by the restaurant, The Commanders Palace and we decided to eat there. This is a top rated restaurant, very elegant with excellent service. We split a lunch which consisted of gumbo, pork tenderloin and bread pudding. The big draw is the twenty-five cent martinis. There’s a three martini maximum so no worries of becoming sloppy drunk! The meal was so delicious and unforgettable.
After lunch, we took a long walk and decided to ride the street car back to our hotel. Warning- the street car might only be $1.25 but the frequent stops made the trip pretty long.
Dinner was at a loud, casual and fun place called the French Market. I ate Cajun crab cakes and drank a beer, my friend had the craw fish. You just have to try craw fish when you’re in New Orleans, right? They are a lot of work to get out of that shell but delicious if you are into sea food. Another evening of walking around, not so much on Bourbon Street but all around Jackson Square.
Exhausted, we went back to the hotel for a cocktail at the Carousel Bar and to listen to live jazz music. The next day, our last in New Orleans, was supposed to be torrential downpours with hail and thunder so we didn’t plan for anything. Surprisingly, the day was clear but a little warm and humid with slight wind.
We ate breakfast at Surrey’s Juice Bar,a really cool place, a funky and artsy vibe, down in the Garden District. After a stroll through the French Marketplace (lots of souvenirs and tee shirts, jewelry- type things) we stopped at the Cafe Du Monde to eat the beignets. I never eat fried foods but had to make an exception this time! The wind was beginning to pick up and I kept thinking it was going to pour at any moment but it never did.
The rest of the day was spent taking photos, more at Jackson Square, shopping at the little stores around Bourbon Street and checking out the art at the galleries in the area. I wish we had taken the time to do a plantation tour or a tour of the area of town called Treme, but with the threatening rain, we didnt want to take a chance of being caught in a downpour! Our last dinner was at the Palace Cafe, again amazing food and excellent service!
No cocktails or jazz music- it was time to pack and get ready to be up at four a.m. As always, I wished for another day or two because I just was not ready to leave and head back to reality!
I have a few photos up here that you can look at:
Thanks to everyone who posted reviews on New Orleans, the entire trip was planned from recommendations on Trip Advisor!