Shandra and I took our first trip to New Orleans. We went on Memorial Day weekend and we had an awesome time!
The drive from Georgia went relatively smoothly. There was a little traffic due to an accident in Alabama, but overall the traffic was pretty good considering the holiday weekend. With a couple of stops for gas or restrooms we made it to our destination in about 7 1/2 hours.
We don’t yet have a RV of any kind, so we chose to stay in a hotel this time. Some people like to live it up and stay in the fanciest hotel room they can afford, but we are generally not like that. Shandra and I prefer to stay in the lowest cost room we can stand. As long as it is a clean and critter-free place to crash at night we are perfectly happy to spend our money on the local food and attractions instead.
As it was the first time we had been to NOLA we tried to check out everything we could. I’m going to just go ahead and put this out there…I don’t care for Bourbon Street. I know. I might lose some readers here, but Shandra and I agree on this. It was an interesting experience to walk that strip, to see and hear the street performers, and to check out the shops, but lets be honest… At this point the only reason people rave about Bourbon Street is because they are (or were) in their 20’s, enjoy being super-drunk in public, and live to see the random exposed breast. I like boobs as much as the next guy, but my wife has a spectacular rack (sorry to call you out, honey). I don’t need to go to a dirty public street for that.
Yes, we visited a number of touristy spots, ate (most of) the required foods, and visited the crappy souvenir shops. More than that, though, we like to see more than that when we visit a place. We walk around and look at the architecture in the city and surrounding neighborhoods, eat at the places where the locals eat, etc. There are so many things to see if people will just take the time to look “past the neon”. That being said, lets talk about some of the touristy stuff…
Here is some info about a few of the places we visited and enjoyed:
The bar is located inside Hotel Monteleone. There are normal seats and small tables, but the highlight is that the main bar is circular, seats about 20-30 people, and moves. It moves because it is a carousel (as the name states). The drinks here were delicious and the atmosphere, while crowded, we nice. The live jazz band on the side added a “real” New Orleans feel and was a nice touch.
I felt like we had to do this. Neither of us had ever been on an airboat ride, and man was this fun. Aside from the thrill of just riding the airboat we got to see and spend time checking out all kinds of wildlife and foliage. The tour took about 2 hours, but during that time we were able to hang out with an eleven-foot long alligator, some egrets, and other birds. Also, our boat captain took a lot of time explaining the details of alligators as well as the bayou itself. He later parked the boat near a beautiful cypress tree and talked to us about their environmental efforts and their work in trying to save the ever-diminishing bayou region.
I cannot say enough positive things about this place. It was an extra special treat because on the day we went the Marine Corps band gave a concert, and for no additional charge we got to hear some fantastic music and watch an officer’s retirement ceremony. The museum itself is chock-full of artifacts, interactive kiosks, and (must-see) 4D film, and more. We got there when they opened and they were kicking us out at closing time. We did not get to see it all. We were fascinated, we were in awe, we (at some parts) cried like babies. It was awesome. If you have never been to this before then please, do not talk yourself out of it. Go. You will not be sorry.
There are just three of the places we went, but the entire trip was full of adventure and surprises. We ate delicious food, drank delicious drinks, saw a show, and ran into countless interesting people. It was a really great weekend, and we are really glad we went.