Purpose of this trip:
There is so much that I’ve heard about NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) before this trip! I believe that what I heard about the food, music and architecture combined with seeing the movie Girls Trip, put the fire in my back to make it a must see destination on my travel list. Also, after finishing the school year as a full time teacher and finishing grad school I needed to get away from it all! I decided to go with my little sister and although we didn’t go for Essence Fest (which is a mandatory trip next year, indeed…wait on it), we still had fun. I started off my birthday weekend there and surely, NOLA did not disappoint.
We stayed at the W New Orleans French Quarter Hotel. I purchased a bundle deal for 2 nights and flight for just over $500 on Expedia, which isn’t bad. We arrived in Nola on a Monday at 10:00 a.m and left pretty late on Wednesday, so it was approximately a 3-day stay. I really loved the hotel overall, from the hotel staff, the amenities and the convenience around NOLA. The only thing I had a problem with was my room when I first arrived.
This hotel has a ton of pretty rooms which are aesthetically pleasing to the eye on their website, however I got something completely different. The room was still artistic, but extremely dark and had only one small window pushed to the back of the room. I asked for a room change that night, but the staff couldn’t provide it that day and instead provided a $100 room credit. I was not mad at that, okuuur lol. We surely did use the credit and switched our room first thing in the morning. I was pleased with the stay and the restaurant located in the hotel had amazing Happy Hour food and drink deals ranging from $3-$10 (SoBou Restaurant). Amazing!
When commuting in NOLA, please take advantage of the New Orleans RTA- the trolleys and buses. Ubers can seem inexpensive, but they definitely add up. The RTA has a day pass for $3.00! That’s extremely inexpensive y’all. One gem I wish I’ve known when flying in was to take the bus from the airport to French Quarter. The E2 bus (which is only $2) stops directly in the airport and stops close enough to a trolley that you can transfer to which will take you to the Quarter. The cab from the airport was about $40. Save the coins! The only downfall of the trolleys is that they can be a bit hot because NOLA is humid, however majority of the windows open on them.
French Quarter is known as the historic heart for nightlife, jazz clubs, food, colorful buildings and cast-iron balconies. This is where the infamous Bourbon Street is located. Honestly, it was really underwhelming after a while. Maybe it was the humidity, but literally all down bourbon street offered mostly the same thing (food and drinks). It’s a must-see, but I got tired of it after seeing it the first day. It wasn’t entertaining for me, but keep in mind we went during the week. I really enjoyed the scenery, but I would say my favorite restaurants in the Quarter was the restaurant located at my hotel, SoBou Restaurant and Felipes Taqueria. Overall, food in the area was mostly over priced except drinks.
Decatur street was a toned down Bourbon Street in my opinion. Still, this street had a lot to offer! You can definitely go shopping at H&M, Urban Outfitters, Sephora, etc. Of course there are food options as well, so you can grab food and beignets at Cafe Du Monde, walk directly down Decatur and head into French Market offering plenty of food options (including vegan options) or grab some seafood gumbo at Coops Place. There are also a ton of Jazz restaurants as well down this street such as the Balcony Music Club and B.B. King’s Blues Club. This street is more chill and family friendly!
Gems Outside the Quarter:
So you guys should know that I love me some crawfish, however it can be extremely expensive depending on where you go (especially the quarter). I asked the locals where can I find inexpensive crawfish in NOLA and they recommended I go to a spot by the name of Cajun Seafood. They had everything y’all- crawfish, crab legs, shrimp,etc. The crawfish was only $3.99 a pound. I was a happy girl!
So Frenchman Street is where the locals go! I grabbed a bite at Willie’s Chicken Shack, which was OKAY. They are literally everywhere in NOLA. Shortly after, I walked down the strip and there was live music everywhere! Some spots usually have DJ’s play, but we went during the week so all restaurants/bars featured live music. I absolutely loved the pleasant surprise at Maison- a live music bar, venue and restaurant. My sister and I ran into Braxton Cook- a saxophonist and singer. The entire line up that night was mind blowing! The talent in NOLA is everything! In addition to Maison, go visit Blue Nile. It’s similar to Maison, but has actual DJ’S who play on the weekends for dancing.
Magazine Street was super cute! Surrounding the area are beautiful houses that are just pure goals! A friend recommended a taco spot called The Rum House. I went on a Tuesday so the restaurant had a $3 taco special and ton of drink specials. It was beyond tasty and the commute was so aesthetically pleasing. House goals!
Swamp Tour- Jean Lafitte
I was so scared, but I held the baby gator anyway lol.
A swamp tour is a must! I went on the Jean Lafitte Swamp tour and had a great time. However, I do suggest going when it’s cloudy because you are outside for about an hour and a half. NOLA’s humidity is a different kind of HOT! There are a ton of Swamp Tours and they’re mostly located 25 miles from Downtown New Orleans . Basically you’re in a boat and you get to see Alligators, Snakes, Frogs, Nutria, Turtles, Fish, Crabs, Raccoons, Nutria and occasionally a Bald Eagle! I suggest looking on Groupon for a swamp tour deal. Also bring bug spray!
I want to make NOLA a summer trip every year. I loved the people, the music and the food. Until then I have to shed all this weight before the next visit. Hehe!
Until next time y’all <3