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NOLA IN 2024

Mar 13, 2024 | Travel | 0 comments

Beads and beignets! Oysters and outrageous cocktails! Musicians and colorful characters on every street corner. There’s nothing like New Orleans in the springtime, especially for a pair of winter-weary Northerners. Desperate to escape yet another drab, dreary New York week, my college friend and I booked our flights and rooms at Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter and headed south!

Between the two of us, we cobbled together what turned out to be a fantastic itinerary which included one scheduled event a day, an assortment of restaurants from pricey to budget-conscious, and spontaneous time.

As usual, my inclination was to seek out less touristy sights and discover other sides of the Crescent City. So, I chose an Urban Culture Tour, which I’ll cover in the next post. Carla picked a Garden District Tour (Tours by Steven) which turned out to be less about actual gardening and more of a history and architecture stroll through the Garden District. Which was fine by me! Our guide, Harris Parson, was wonderful. You can tell when someone genuinely loves their hometown by what they choose to share and the way they speak about it, and he was a true New Orleanian. NOLA has the reputation of being a party town, which it undisputedly is, but it turns out it’s given our country many artists, authors, and entertainers, sports heroes, and social justice advocates. And, at our tour’s conclusion, he texted us a long list of resources to teach us even more about the city, guaranteeing that we’ll be back!

About those beignets… Did you know they don’t only come doused in powdered sugar? Carla tried a crab one at La Petite Grocery (highly recommended for a leisurely lunch) and described it as “amazing”. Or that Café Du Monde isn’t the only place to get the sweet ones? Loretta’s Authentic Pralines (French Market and North Rampart) serves praline ones that you’ll need at least 12,000 steps to work off!

I don’t like fish or shellfish. When I travel to an area renowned for it, I try to eat with someone who does. Carla’s take on the seafood scene was that Acme Oyster House had the best etouffee ever and I even got her to add the fried crayfish tails, which I heard were not-to-be-missed (she confirmed this). Char-broiled oysters came highly recommended too, but be prepared, they’re grilled with Parmesan cheese. For you landlubbers, Monty’s on the Square gets my vote for the best red beans, rice, and smoked sausage, and a fabulous brunch too, in a bright, charming dining room.

One last tip:

Take the streetcar! It’s a bargain at $1.25 a ride (or buy a pass) and the perfect way to experience the city and its residents. We spent the most time on the St. Charles line, the oldest continuously running streetcar in the world (since 1835). Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s a lot of fun, with creaky wooden seats, open windows, and passengers of all ages enjoying the scenery or socializing. Because there’ never enough to see or say in the Big Easy!

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