I was so lucky to be able to join my husband on his work conference trip to New Orleans. We made the trip into a little babymoon knowing that a vacation with just the two of us probably isn’t going to happen again any time soon.
Planning this trip I was a little worried about mosquitoes because of the recent Zika issues surrounding pregnancy. I was being given conflicting advice about going to New Orleans but thankfully I listened to my doctor and went on the trip anyway. I didn’t see/feel one mosquito the entire time! October was a good month to go to Louisiana.
After smooth flights, Alex and I checked in to our hotel (Hilton) and we were pleasantly surprised by the awesome river view. Even better, I later found out, is that the hotel has a streetcar stop directly at its entrance! My only complaint is that the pool was very chilly at times because it was not blocked from wind at all and only had limited sunlight during the day.
Alex and I were hungry after our morning of travel so we went to Mother’s – famous for its po’ boys. I didn’t exactly see what all the hype was about. The sandwiches were good but to warrant lines out the door on many days, I don’t think so.
Later on we ventured out to meet up with some of our Landscape Architecture friends and to check out the Packer game. We decided to eat at Manning’s because it is a sports bar with tons of televisions and happens to be close to our hotel. I was not super impressed with the food at all and the staff wasn’t very willing to turn the television closest to us on to the game we wanted to watch. For the first day NOLA was really letting us down with the food but I knew it would get better. As a group we did get to enjoy the lovely weather by heading across the street to Fulton Alley to enjoy some drinks (I had water) outside and catch up.
The day started with Alex going to his ASLA conference so I got to play tourist. Obviously, I had researched and planned things for me to do knowing that I would be on my own during the day for most of the trip. I started by becoming a pro at the streetcar transportation. The streetcars are so easy and cheap! I was incredibly thankful I could just hop on one directly outside of my hotel.
I took the streetcar down to Jackson Square. By this time I was starving because I had slept in a little and was starting to feel very nauseous (thank you pregnancy). There was no way I was going to wait in line at Cafe du Monde without vomiting so I went to the very next block to the New Orleans Famous Beignets and Coffee Shop. I took my beignets and chocolate milk to eat them on the steps of Washington Artillery Park overlooking the beautiful Jackson Square. As soon as I had that deliciousness in my stomach I felt a lot better.
Naturally, I then walked around Jackson Square taking in all the great music, artists, and people-watching. Earlier that morning I had signed myself up for a French Quarter walking tour – yes I am a nerd! I love history and learning more about the places I’ve traveled to. Better yet the walking tour was FREE!! You know I’m a cheap-o and with these Free Tours By Foot you just tip what you can/what you want at the end of the tour. I learned a lot of interesting information on the tour that I was able to pull out later for interesting topics of conversation at dinner.
Before heading back to the hotel I needed a snack to hold me over. Indulging in creme brulee gelato while relaxing in Jackson Square, I was in heaven.
Alex caught me in a deep nap from my long day of walking around the French Quarter. My legs were even sore, I had no idea how much trekking I had done that day.
For dinner we met our friends at Tujague’s – so yummy! I had the Louisianna Lump Crab & Wild Mushroom Gnocchi. All the food today definitely made up the so-so food from the day before. We all then headed to Frenchman’s Street (much classier than Bourbon Street) for some drinks and music to end the night.
Alex and I had breakfast at Legacy Kitchen in the Warehouse District close to the convention center so Alex could head straight to his conference and me to another streetcar line to head off on more adventures.
I took the street car all the way to Audubon Park. I walked around the entire park taking in the beautiful scenery and then found scenic places to read my Kindle along the way (another proud nerd moment). The park was pretty, and free, but not something a visitor would have to see. I would say if you do go to the Audubon Park make sure to make a day of it and go to the zoo that is adjacent to it as well. I was just too much of a cheapskate to go that day.
Back at the hotel I headed to the pool for a little while until I was too cold to enjoy it and went back for a nap in the room. Pregnancy sure does make you tired.
That night was the Halloween parade Krewe of Boo. Alex and I really enjoyed watching the parade especially since we were blessed to stand next to locals who gave us really cool tidbits on the different groups within the parade (plus all their beads).
Alex wanted to check out Bourbon Street and it is just a frat party on steroids – totally gross but I was also as sober as you can be. We did have a lovely dinner on Bourbon at the Pier 424 Seafood Market. I would highly recommend the sauteed crab claws.
Alex headed once again to his conference while I took another free walking tour. This time I signed up for the VooDoo tour that started in the Louis Armstrong Park. The history was fascinating but there was less walking and more standing around listening than I thought there would be.
Alex was able to take some time off and I got to play tour guide. First, I made sure he had a walking drink before taking him around Jackson Square and exploring the French Market.
Sunday night we met up with our friends at the Royal House for dinner, we listened to music on Frenchmen Street again, and had a midnight snack of beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Unfortunately, the streetcars don’t run all night and we had to walk a few extra blocks back to our hotel.
I relaxed poolside Monday morning (apparently this is the best time for sun) while Alex attended more of his conference. We met up for lunch on the pier and then spent the afternoon at City Park.
City Park is huge and includes an art museum, sculpture garden, paths around the park, amusement park, and gardens. Plus, more beignets at the cafe! Some of the areas do cost money (art museum, amusement park, etc) but you really could spend the entire day at City Park for very cheap.
We went out with more LA folks for dinner at Cochon. The food was fine but in my opinion not worth the prices plus I was getting a little irritated having to share Alex with others. I love vacationing with my husband and wanted more alone time with him but it was his work trip I was crashing.
We started our departure day with more beignets at Cafe du Monde – no line at all. For the last time, Alex and I walked around the French Quarter and even got a few stamps in our National Park Service Passport (see – I am not the only nerd in this relationship!). We went to the Jean Lafitte French Quarter Visitor Center and the old U.S. Mint that currently was also housing the Louis Armstrong Visitor’s Center.
After catching the streetcar back to our hotel one last time we said goodbye to NOLA and hopped in our Uber.
I absolutely loved New Orleans and would go back in a heartbeat. Next time I would spend the money and go to the WW2 Museum, the Barataria Preserve, and the Audobon Zoo. I might even try to squeeze in one more free walking tour. I would not cut down on the number of beignets I consumed.
(Originally published October 27, 2016)