"I've been all over the world. I love New York, I love Paris, San Francisco, so many places. But there's no place like New Orleans. It's got the best food. It's got the best music. It's got the best people. It's got the most fun stuff to do."
Harry Connick, Jr. - Singer
Oh New Orleans how I miss you so!
This January, after many years of longing, I finally made it to New Orleans on a wonderful trip to the USA with my dear husband.
I knew I would but now it is confirmed - I fell in love! This city has my heart.
Such a joyous place - so full of fun, so friendly with so much to see and do that we barely had time to take even a small slice of it in!
This post and the three that will follow in my 'American Adventurer' series are going to be more like picture books. Less of me chatting and more of me sharing some of our favourite shots from the trip. In the hope that if you are taking a little break from your working day and looking for some destination inspiration then this might just give you some good ideas.
It was our first time in the city and indeed to all of the places in this series so yes we did unashamedly visit and do some of the 'touristy' and perhaps more obvious things. But we make no apologies - we had an amazing time. So I hope you can find some enjoyment in the pictures below and may it spark your interest in your own further, future exploration!
To start we chose to take a Super City Bus Tour with the Gray Line tours company. That is once we tore ourselves away from the lunchtime beer and jazz temptations of Bourbon street!
Lasting just over 2 hours this tour was a great way to view the city and its key highlights - The French Quarter, Jackson Square, the historic cemeteries and the path of the famous St Charles Avenue streetcar to name but a few. Our guide Kindrell, or Drell as he likes to be known, was entertaining, so passionate about NOLA and full of fascinating facts and details.
You can't take a trip to New Orleans without stopping by the world famous Bourbon Street. When it came to taking in the music and the culture we preferred Frenchmen Street but for sheer fun and partying (it has to be done at least once on any visit to this city) then Bourbon Street is the best destination!
For music we fell in love with The Spotted Cat Music Club I think we visited every night! Authentic Jazz and Blues nightly and entry is free as long as you have a drink - or two!
Hungry? Then New Orleans is the best place to be. With such a huge range of cuisines and influences to try, from Cajun to Creole and a whole lot more in between, you simply can't sample enough before you get too full to squeeze in any more!
One thing I was desperate to try was the famous New Orleans Po-Boy. There is no shortage of places to indulge but we chose Mother's Restaurant open since 1938 and proud to have 'the worlds best baked ham!' we tried it - it's amazing!
We tried the Ferdi special - packed with baked ham, roast beef, debris and gravy! (Debris - the crispy bits and shavings off of a freshly baked roast). This picture doesn't even do its taste (and size) justice. A beautiful thing!
Another wonderful feast was had at The Praline Connection on Frenchmen Street. New Orleans 'soul food' and boy was it soulful!
For me to start the Crawfish Ettouffe and Dan the File Gumbo. For mains (or entrees), Catfish for me and Jambalaya for Dan. Served with sides of collard greens, macaroni cheese and cornbread. I can't say anymore my mouth is watering but needless to say each and every dish was delightful (and the true explanation for the extra pounds around my waist!)
Another great experience was a trip to Preservation Hall to see the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Open nightly and dedicated to the conservation of traditional New Orleans Jazz this is well worth a visit - your toes will truly be a tapping!
Be sure to arrive in good time to join the queue and ensure that you get entry as it has limited space and can be very popular. They have three shows nightly at 8, 9 and 10pm.
So if you haven't been but you're tempted then go, go, go!
I would go back in a second. So much fun with so much to learn, see and do. The people are welcoming and friendly and despite the terrible damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 have fought to restore the city and keep it's spirit alive - they haven't failed. It's a joy and long may this cities comeback continue.