Wow, what can I say what a place!
Backdrop of the story is we were in town for Wrestlemania my bro and I, living out a dream which we said we would always do since we were 8 years old. Travelled over from Scotland, hit NYC first and then on the Friday night made our way down to NOLA.
Arrived late, well Sat really due to delay from Newark, 4 hours sitting on the runway in queue to take off. Could have started better but it was not going to dampen our spirits. Arrived into a ghost town airport but the Wrestlemania signs had us pumped, leave the airport and the humidity hit us. Jumped in a can and off to the Quality Inn & Suites Maison St Charles.
No real first impressions to be honest as I really just wanted to get to bed after a long day.
Woke up refreshed, hotel could have been a bit 'fresher' smelling, but an in-plug air freshener soon sorted that problem. Could not wait to get out and go exploring.
Left hotel at 10am, day was lovely and cool. Coming from a colder climate this was appreciated, thank you weather gods! Got on the St Charles streetcar, which I thought was fantastically quaint and set off into the French quarter.
Of course, first stop was Bourbon street! I just had to see it. Walked along ,marvelling at some of the 'sights' already, I knew then this place is nuts but a good kind of nuts :D
Found ourselves just strolling, taking in the street performers, fantastic sax playing on the corner from a 60/70 year old man. Strolled along to the Musical Legend park and sat listening to the artists for a couple of hours, sampling the local beer and even tried the famous Beignets! Where have they been all my life?!
Headed off down to Jackson Sq, watched a wedding take place which was fantastic. The bride was completely embracing the music and the light rain. Was enthralling to see such a young, happy carefree couple. Spent a while there, again listening to the music on offer and a wee wander round.
Went to Daisy Dukes for dinner, had the oysters which were delicious and then made our way up on the various streetcars to the Smoothie King centre for Hall of Fame, which did not disappoint.
What an incredible first day we had, the feel in the whole city was electric and I could not wait for the next day.
Headed down to se Bourbon st by night... all I want to say and remember is wow! What has been seen cannot be unseen but what an experience!
Had a bit of a lie in as we knew we were going to be out all day and wanted to chill prior to 'Mania. We had booked a jazz brunch cruise on the Natchez at 11:30am, weather wet and windy however it had absolutely no bearing on our enjoyment. We made our way down to the riverfront, walked down from St Charles Avenue, took in some of the garden district. Gorgeous houses!
The cruise itself was a lovely relaxing way to spend a couple of hours. Surroundings were more industrial than I thought but I loved the tour and the music on offer again was a delight to listen to. Waitress's could have a little more manners.
Came off the cruise and where else to go but Café Du Monde? Again had a beignets and café au lait. A lovely wee finish to a nice morning/lunch.
Weather started to turn so we thought we would have our casino part of the trip now. Glad we did, after playing the tables and slots, we came out $650 up between us. Cracker of an afternoon! Casino felt like Vegas to us, we don't have casinos on this stage back home so got a bit merry with the free drinks and loved the old woman showing me how to work the slot. She had the magic touch, she hit spin from m 40c and won me $217 on the willy wonka machine. I love you Mary! Thought only right to buy her dinner so we ate in the buffet in the casino. I was actually surprised, it wasn't as bad as the reviews I had read.
Mary was a local who was in the casino with her sister who was visiting, she lived in Mid-City and was a character and a half! She even invited us over for dinner the next night but sadly we had to decline as our trip was not long enough to incorporate this.
We left Mary and Iris and off we went to Mania. My bro and I just laughed the reality of what just happened, won a nice bit of cash but had to be shown by a lovely lady, equivalent age of our grandmother! I thought we were the technical generation? :D
Jumped in a cab upto 'Mania. Experience was surreal, never been to one before and it met and exceeded every expectation.
Absolutely shattered from the days leading upto Monday but still we dragged our behinds out of bed and again went exploring. Morning we just rode the St Charles streetcar up the Garden District, looking at all the gorgeous houses. Came back down and headed up to No 1 cemetery. Incredible looking stones and so different so see the above ground burial sites.
Headed down to Johnny po Boys for lunch, wasn't too impressed I have to admit. I had the shrimp po boy. Wasn't the worst but wouldn't leave me rushing back. Didn't finish it as wanted to save myself for a nice fried chicken dinner at coops.
Had a wonder around Royal St, Decataur street and around in the afternoon just soaking up the sights before heading for an early dinner.
Coops, the kind of place you clean your feet on the way out but the chicken was something else. When in NOLA I just had to have it. Was pleasantly surprised, very tasty!
From here, we made our last trip in NOLA up to Smoothie King for RAW.
That was our last activity in NOLA and I had a complete sinking realisation after it, knowing we had an early flight back to NYC before catching a connection home.
I wish I had booked longer, I wish I didn't waste time in NYC first. So many regrets about not having enough time but not a single one about NOLA.
For those that have not visited, I cannot describe the feeling that there is about the place. Its like there is a static energy just running through your body, you want to take in more. The music always in the background leaves your senses tingle, the smells of the food have your nostrils combobulating constantly as already by breakfast you are thinking of dinner! The locals just leave you wanting to say 'dang man', its that cool a place and the hospitality just leaves you want to return time and time again.
N'awlins, you have left an impression on me and one I shall go forth and shout from the mountain tops! See you next year when I return with my husband ;-)
Thank you NOLA!