New Orleans is the perfect weekend getaway imo...especially from Houston.
A 5 hour drive, or a 1 hour plane ride (my preferred method of travel b/c why prolong the inevitable?), will transport you to a city that looks and feels like a completely different world.
It's hard to put into words, but New Orleans is a city that is bursting at the seams with culture, from the food and music to the architecture. When I'm there, I instantly feel connected to my creole roots, distant though they may be.
I guess that's why it's listed in Forbes
as the most European city in the US. I think that fits well...among the city's other nick names.
someone suggests a quick getaway, I'm always down for the cause. I guess that explains why I've already been to New Orleans three times this year...and have another 2 visits planned. It never gets old tho. There's always something fun and exciting...I could sustain myself on people watching alone.
The vibe is so cool and laid back. Every one is literally there...just to have a good time.
So, 2 weekends ago was no different. We hopped in the rental suburban and one of the only two males in the group navigated I10 East like he may have played one too many racing games.
Quick sidenote: I really hate being in cars for long periods of time. Planes, I don't mind for some reason...but a car is like the worst thing ever. I'm anxious and antsy the whole time. On a plane, I can fall asleep with no issue. In the car...I'm impossibly wide awake.
The drive to New Orleans isn't really that bad. It's scenic and there's lots of little towns on the way. My favorite part is the swamp area, right outside the city limits. When you pass thru at night, it looks like something straight out of a horror film, very creepy. But its not just creepy...its mysterious and whimsical. From inside the suburban on I10, the still waters appear calm and peaceful. But my mind wanders to what may be going on down there...a gator looking for its next meal...snakes slithering around, a family gathered around the dinner table? (Yes, there are homes in the swamplands too!)...here's a picture that gives an idea of what I mean. I found it on another
I love how the leafless trees stand up straight out of the swamp. It's such an interesting scene. Has anyone ever read "The Secret of Magic" by Deborah Johnson? I was reminded of the magical forest that was a running theme in this story. (Thanks for the rec, Fallon)
Now take notes, I'm about to help you save some money on hotels:
We got to NO shortly after midnight, stopped for gas, restroom break and cash...changed in the parking lot (maybe you wanna find somewhere more secure place to change or ride in the outfit you plan to wear) and headed straight out to the Quarter. *Don't wear anything fancy...it'll get sweaty and dirty and you'll regret it.
Yes, we had a car full of luggage and no, I don't really recommend this part, but we found a parking garage that was only about 2 blocks from Canal and a block or two over from Bourbon and parked in there for $10. That's safer alternative to parking a loaded Suburban on the street.
To me, Friday on Bourbon is better than Saturday (a personal interjection). Anyway, we hung out down there (leaving out the details on purpose. NO is like Vegas) and headed to Harrah's a few hours later. For those of you who like to gamble, this is perfect for you. I hate gambling, so I just watch. There's also restaurants that serve food all night and the Masquerade, the club inside the casino.
Before you know it, the sun is rising and you're so tired you can barely keep you eyes open. That's the perfect time to use Hotels Tonight or Hotels.com to find lodging that will let you check in early and sleep until hunger wakes you. In essence, you've only paid for a hotel for one night!!
Of course, this method is not for everyone but it works...trust me. Fortunately, Hotel Modern was able to accommodate us and with minimal research. Actually, I called Hotels.com and had them search for a hotel that had early check-in. Here are some shots from the Quarter:
(Photo Cred: Dani M. Carter)
(Photo Cred: Dani M. Carter)
Hunger stirred us around 2pm. So we indulged in Port of Call burgers and steaks, kind of a New Orleans staple.
(Photo Cred: Krystal D. Carter)
(Photo Cred: Krystal D. Carter)
something going on in New Orleans. So, after we stuffed ourselves, we walked thru the French Market and stumbled upon the
which celebrates the start of tomato season. Locals and tourists alike came out to enjoy the food booths and demonstrations, live music and creole tomato tastings, as well as other traditional cajun cuisine. It was quite the scene, even during intermittent rain showers.
After a brief siesta, that wasn't really a nap but more like an opportunity for the older members of the group to recharge their batteries for the night's festivities, we set out for dinner at Acme Seafood in the Quarter to get our fill of chargrilled oysters (the only kind of oyster I'll eat). Acme was closed for a private event but I had gotten a discount coupon from Oceana the night before and they serve the oysters too so we headed there.
We were seated on the third floor and served by Alex. Our waiter was full of energy and earned every dime of his tip. The food there wasn't great, it seemed mass produced and not really made with love, but Alex's excellent service more than made up for what the food lacked. We were full and happy, no real complaints.
We headed back out to the Quarter. I can't remember where, all the neon lights on Bourbon start to look the same after you've been there so many times, but I randomly ran into some of my high school classmates. It had been about 14 years since I'd seen them last.
The club inside Harrah's is way more jumpy on Saturday nights than Friday. So half of us migrated there while the other half jumped on the tables. Again, I don't gamble sooooo.....not interesting to me. The DJ was awesome that night...fun times.
The next morning, we jumped a few hurdles before we were able to get back on the road, but nothing too hot too handle, and we were back in Htine around 3pm. That's just enough time to recover and get your mind right for work on Monday.
Great weekend....but then again, New Orleans is always a good idea.