Everything in New Orleans is a good idea. Bijou temple-type cottages and lyric cathedrals side by side. Houses and mansions, structures of wild grace. Italianate, Gothic, Romanesque, Greek Revival standing in a long line in the rain. Roman Catholic art. Sweeping front porches, turrets, cast-iron balconies, colonnades- 30-foot columns, gloriously beautiful- double pitched roofs, all the architecture of the whole wide world and it doesn’t move.
Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Vol. 1, 2004
You know how much of a traveler I am. Traveling is a lifestyle for me and Love. As a result, we have been to many places, all great in their own way. Well, New Orleans probably is, for me, one of the most amazing cities on earth. Even before visiting, I had a special connection with the city as I cheer for the New Orleans Saints. Once in there, this connection deepened and became real love. I loved New Orleans and its cheerful people, I loved being greeted with a big smile when walking around, I loved the houses in the different areas I visited, I loved being surrounded by music all the time. It would take posts and posts to talk about my love for this city, but because it would get boring for you haha, I will just present my top picks.
Frenchmen street – Visiting NoLa means music, good vibes and nice places. Frenchmen street has all of these! Located like 2-3 minutes walk from the more touristic Bourbon street, Frenchmen street is the best place to find local bands and a more jazzy, rock, blues, environment. However, if you’re more into commercial bands, big party scenes, and lots of tourists, this is not the place for you haha.
Frenchmen Art Market – At this point, I think that you have realized that I’m a big fan of local arts and crafts. So, when imagine my excitement when I found out that this market was open at the time of my visit! For what I read, the original market was forced to move to a new location, but the concept remains the same, albeit with a different name (Art Garage). Also, they have added some events and operation days. When I was there it was only a Thursday evening thing, now it seems that it runs from Thursday to Sunday. What I truly loved about this market was the vibes and of course, the nice products offered! All made by local vendors!
Audubon Park – Even though I’m not the most “country, nature & outdoors” girl, I definitely enjoy being surrounded by trees and plants. Especially when talking a relaxing walk. Hence, this park was the perfect location. I was there during the week, so that may explain why it was not at all crowded, something I really appreciated if you ask me! My favourite part was the meditation gazebo! The sound of the oaks dancing with the wind, the lake, and the feeling of being alone, isolated from the world, far from the cars and everything noisy. I probably spent at least 1 hour sitting there, just breathing and enjoying the atmosphere… Note: do this alone or with someone who’s into calmness haha otherwise, what I describe won’t work.
Second line parades at the French Quarter – Again, the Big Easy is about music! Everyone and everything in this city creates melodies! And many times, music means dancing! So, the Second line parades mix these two beautifully. I mean, who doesn’t like visiting the French Quarter while dancing and having fun with friends? Well, maybe some people prefer other less noisy activities, but for me, this was like the best thing ever! I even told Love that in my next live, I want to get married in NoLa and take part of a second line parade as a new bride!
Confederate Museum – Because I’m a fan of history, something that makes sense for a bookworm like sincerely yours, I visited this museum. And before I continue, let me be clear: I’m against any kind of slavery or poor treatment of any group. I firmly believe that we are all humans worthy of respect. Nevertheless, I feel that it is important to acknowledge the past, no matter how painful or unfair it is. The most important thing: we should learn from this past to avoid making the same mistakes in our present and to ensure that we have a brighter future. Now, the museum is located next to the World War 2 Museum in a beautiful, ancient building that is a jewel itself. As it is not a huge place, I would say that this visit lasted for about 1 hour or so. The man at the entry was very nice and spoke a few words in French when I told him that I was visiting from Montreal! He was like “Oh yes, last week, Mr. XYZ from Montreal came here with his family.” In the museum, you will find artifacts, flags, uniforms and other pieces from the Civil War.
French Quarter – The quintessential touristic spot in the Big Easy! Dynamic, joyful, melodic, this area is a delight for the eyes! The houses and buildings are beautiful, the tiny streets are the cutest thing ever. And oh so French… and Spanish haha, I mean, for a Mexican-French-Canadian with some Spanish roots what’s not to love? My favourite spots are of course the Square St-Jacques and Royal street! I also liked the Frenck Market (see below) and enjoyed a night out at Bourbon street, even if to be honest, I still prefer Frenchmen… nothing personal, just me.
La boulangerie, Frenck Bakery – After a good meditation at the Audubon Park, I decided to go back to downtown by walking along Magazine street. After a while I got hungry and fortunately, I found a super nice place called La boulangerie. This place sells French bakeries and also offers gelattos and sandwiches. I found the decor very lively and colourful, and the service was excellent, same with the food! A place to visit for sure!
Magazine street – This is the shopping street! It’s a loooong stroll to be honest, but a nice one, I promise. From the beautiful houses, the little local shops to the nice eating spots, the antiquities stores, the costumes stores! I even got my Saints t-shirt in one of the local shops, too bad this place closed since I was there, but I remember being very happy at finding the perfect fan t-shirt, nothing like the typical jersey, but something that felt more custom made!
Auberge NOLA – I went on this trip on my own because this trip was not even planned! Without getting into all the details, I needed friends or people I could enjoy the city with, so a very good friend suggested me to find a hostel rather than opting for an airbnb or a hotel room. Best suggestion ever. The place is not in downtown per se, but it’s quite close as it is next to St-Charles street where you can take the street-car. It is also next to the Gardens district, another distinctive area of the city. The staff is so nice, the premises are very clean and the environment is terrific! I met great people from all over the world (i.e., Germany, Denmark, Viet-nam, Brazil to name a few) while staying there. My super favourite part? The many framed newspaper articles written about the best football team ever: The Saints of New Orleans of course!
New Orleans is a wonderful city, I can’t wait to go back and enjoy again the music, the joy, the life!