This was my first time in New Orleans and let me tell you… it was a good time! I will definitely be back many more times throughout my life. Considering this was my first time in New Orleans, of course I am not an “expert” in this city like I have been in my other two blog posts up to this point. So this specific blog will be completely based off my experience of what I saw, what we did, where we went, what we ate, and where we stayed during this trip. New Orleans is a party town so I do not recommend this place at alllllll for children. My boyfriend literally said to me “our kids are never coming here”. But for adults, this place is a good time with a lot of entertainment and things to witness.
What to Do:
- Party on Bourbon Street: If you know anything about New Orleans, you’ve probably heard about partying on Bourbon Street. This street is filled with bars, clubs, shops, and some restaurants. But the main attraction here is the party. Not gonna lie, I went to New Orleans for Halloween weekend so I expected people to be out there, but not to the extent of how many people there were. Considering there is a global pandemic, I had an underlying level of “ohhh gosh, okay, I need to be on top of my awareness. We need to be sanitary here.” I am not someone who has been super fearful of the coronavirus, but I’ve practiced social distancing for the simple fact of wanting this global pandemic to end, to avoid the spread, and not wanting to get other people sick. I stayed locked in my house for 6 months, completely began to lose my mental and emotional stability, the coronavirus at this point unfortunately isn’t going anywhere, so now going back on little trips are my “getaway” and have been helping me mentally. With that being said, even though there was still a crowd of people in the New Orleans, I did not let loose and lose all senses and awareness of the situation because of the pandemic, so I WILL be back to when the coronavirus is no longer and I can party like the rest of them! Something I do need to mention is that every business enforced masks and were sanitary. In New Orleans, you can walk on the streets and drink so not being able to hang out in bars or clubs wasn’t an issue because people just took the party to the streets or courtyards!
- Shop and Eat in the French Quarter: The buildings and charm here is incredible. I love the style and colors of this area, it is so rich in culture, it makes me happy! There are plenty of touristy and regular stores in the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. I went a little crazy with my touristy shopping but I couldn’t help it (there was much to chose from)!! The food is great and unique here as well, there is definitely a certain New Orleans style food aka “Cajun” food and their drinks are great too!
- Haunted Tours: I purposely picked New Orleans for Halloween weekend because it is known for voodoo and hauntings. I am someone who loves Halloween and all things spooky so this was right up my alley! The haunted tour that we did was the “History & Haunts Carriage Tour” from the Royal Carriages company. We saw many people walking around town doing “haunted walking tours”… I didn’t want to walk in a big a group, we walked all day everyday so the carriage ride was a nice switch up. We learned all about the history of New Orleans and about how haunted it is… which is very haunted!!
- Watch Street Performers/Artists in the Garden District: There is so much culture here from the buildings, food, music, and people! In the Garden District you can witness a lot of talent street performers, artists, and psychics.
- Steamboat Natchez Cruise: This is a romantic date for couples. We did the sunset cruise on this famous boat and it was just lovely. There was a live jazz band playing, and we had a variety of food to taste included in the price of the tour (pricy but worth it).
Where We Ate:
- Cafe Beignet, Bourbon Street: During our first day, we stopped for a light lunch/snack to try the famous “Beignets” of New Orleans. Along with that I got a Sweet Tea (it is the South) and my boyfriend got Jambalaya (yum) and this delicious Mango Slushy Alcoholic drink at the bar. The scenery was beautiful in a courtyard right off the chaos of Bourbon Street and with of course, a live jazz band playing! New Orleans is the home to jazz music after all.
- Pere Antoine Restaurant: We ate here for dinner of our first night, and we just kind of stumbled upon it. On our first day we spent the whole day on Bourbon Street, so we were walking around looking for restaurants, and there was mostly bars or seafood restaurants (I don’t like seafood), so we ventured off to the French Quarter. The drinks and service here were amazing! We had the cutest man as our server, so he earned a big tip that’s for sure. The food I would rate as a 7.5/10. My boyfriend was disappointed by his meal which was a “Po-Boy Sandwich” that are famous in New Orleans and he was recommended to try it. I got the “Mardi Gra Pasta”, which was in a delicious Cajun sauce! Pasta is my favorite food, so I’m a tough critic here, but it was good.
- Stanley’s: This is where we had brunch on our second day (Halloween) in New Orleans! This restaurant had yummy food and a beautiful scenery. It is located right in the heart of the Garden District. The building is beautiful both inside and out. They have outdoor seating right by all the artists and street performers. We were definitely satisfied here! I got the “Poor Boy Benedict” on a French Roll and my boyfriend got a burger. You may or may not have noticed that I skipped where we ate breakfast on our first day and that is because it wasn’t great. I hate to leave a negative review but we went to a little diner called Daisy Dukes, that was walking distance from our hotel. It is a 24 hour diner, that has food you’d expect from a 24 hour diner. If you ever ate at a Waffle House, the quality of food at Daisy Dukes kind of reminded me of that. Some people love it, I think I could’ve cooked something better myself. Keep in mind, it wasn’t bad at all, it just wasn’t great. We were happy to eat somewhere a block away from our hotel (and they had great reviews online). So with that being said, I definitely recommend Stanley’s!
- Steamboat Natchez Cruise: I mentioned this earlier, but the food was yummy! Typically they would do a buffet style dinner, but since there is a global pandemic they just served you a little bit of everything (which we loved). So we had the famous gumbo and many other little servings of food and dessert! It was $175 for the two of us. This price included the three hour sunset cruise on the Mississippi River, a live jazz band, and our food. You did have to pay for alcoholic drinks, but the money is worth it!
Where We Stayed:
- The Hampton Inn & Suites New Orleans Downtown: 226 Carondelet St, New Orleans, LA 70130. The location of this hotel is amazing and I would 100% stay here again! It was affordable, in a great location, and the bed was so comfy. I will say it is a little old and rundown, it’s obvious in the rooms and hallway, but it is still nice! Something that was really cool is that it is connected to a little mall (as you can see in the pictures above). This hotel is right in Downtown New Orleans and walking distance from Bourbon Street and the French Quarter!