We were really looking forward to this 3 day excursion but it turned out to be one of those trips where circumstances conspired against us. Geoffrey was running the Chicago Marathon and then 4 days in New York before our first visit to New Orleans and Houston before flying direct back home. Firstly, Geoffrey’s strained his right calf early in the marathon and then had to endure “the most painful 5 hours of my life” to get to the finish line. Then a routine bike ride in Central Park a few days later almost totally ruined the trip when I had an unfortunate fall and broke my arm. After some deliberation we decided to carry on with the itinerary and managed reasonably well all things considered. We all the prior distractions we had forgotten that the weather would play a big part in the activities we could do. It was warmer and more humid than expected and the cast on my arm uncomfortable and distracting.
Our hotel was adjacent to the historic French Quarter (The Vieux Carre) and we spent a few hours exploring this neighbourhood. There is a huge variety of restaurants from 19th century Creole cuisine to contemporary fusion fare. Likewise there are many quirky independently owned shops from haute couture to voodoo dolls to browse through – lots of local art, jewellery, antiques, you name it! At night the Quarter is a hive of activity with clubs, bars, restaurants and night markets. One of our bucket list places was Café du Monde renowned for its creamy café au lait and crispy beignets covered with mountains of powdered white sugar which gets everywhere and makes eating respectably impossible. The place is totally chaotic but this is its charm. Buying a few orange tins of their Coffee and Chicory coffee is a must souvenir.
A must do is dinner and live music at one of the many establishments to listen and dance to live music (especially jazz). New Orleans music is the city’s beating heart – especially true during Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and other celebrations.
On a limited stay in New Orleans most people will spend most of their in the French Quarter. However a bus tour (or just hop on the public streetcar) through the famous ornate home streets of the Garden District and Uptown New Orleans is a must do. There are also the Riverboat tours along the Mississippi River and bike tours to save your legs. A lot of the outdoor activities will be governed by the weather however. If we had additional time we would have ventured a short way out of the city to visit one of the plantations with their beautiful mansions and grounds offering windows into a bygone past.
If you would like more information about this destination please do not hesitate to contact me.