My decision to go to New Orleans, like all my decisions in life, was a sporadic one. I had recently gone back to school, and I was in a desperate need of a holiday. So when the first semester was over, I headed to New Orleans for a change of scenery and a little bit of soul searching. It would be my first trip being solo for the entire duration of the holiday. While the trip would not end up being what I expected, I think it was an important journey to take. It was an important journey to take because it made me realize I was capable of travelling completely alone.
One fantastic thing about New Orleans is their public transit system. The streetcar lines that run through the city will get you to all the main spots of where you want to go. Simply download the CTA transit app on your phone and you can buy unlimited ride passes for 1,3 or 7 day passes to be used on the streetcars. It should be noted that these passes are only valid for the CTA transit routes, so make sure when planning your transit travels to check which transit operators you will need to use before purchasing passes.
Another good thing about New Orleans is the abundance of seafood that can be found. A great place for local cuisine is a place called Neyow’s Creole Cafe. The wait to be seated in this place is painfully long but it is so worth it. Looking for great breakfast food? Check out The Bean Gallery located near City Park for delicious paninis and sandwiches.
Speaking of City Park, this lovely park is a must see before you leave New Orleans. This park is full of beautiful greenery and has an amusement park for children called Storyland. For the adults visiting, The New Orleans Museum of Art is located within the park and attached has the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. In other words, City Park is your one stop shop for art, nature, and amusement.
Now, if you are into partying hard then Bourbon Street is where you want to head on down to. If you’ve been to Phuket, Thailand, consider this the equivalent of Bangla Road. It is full of people with over-sized drinks in their hands, partying in the streets, and music blaring from various establishments. While I avoided this street like the plague due to travelling alone, my brief walk through it to get to my destination said it all. Want to party? Bourbon Street will be your best friend.
If you’re looking to enjoy New Orleans fantastic music scene without the havoc and mayhem, check out Frenchmen Street instead. I made it a point to visit Balcony Music Club while in this area and I am glad I did. The place was fairly large and offered great live music that soothed the soul.
Aside from music, don’t forget to check out their incredible art scene in New Orleans and consider supporting their economy by investing in some pieces. Before heading to Balcony Music Club, I checked out Secondline Arts And Antiques. Like everyone else in New Orleans, the staff were incredibly pleasant and made my experience shopping there an absolutely great one.
Other things to do in New Orleans include taking a swamp tour (avoid in the winter, as alligators hibernate during this time), going on ghost tours to acquaint yourself with New Orleans haunted history, and checking out some of the plantations in Louisiana to acquaint yourself with America’s dark history. Maybe it’s because I majored in history but the history provided on the plantation tours were very simplistic and didn’t truly convey what truly went on during the period of time when slavery operated. That being said, to those not familiar with America’s history it is a decent introduction to what occurred.
New Orleans is still a city very much struggling from the events from Hurricane Katrina which left over 1,800 dead and caused $125 billion in damage. As a result, there are many parts of the city that remain rundown and impoverished. The best way to help, is to invest in their economy and support their local businesses when you go down to visit. New Orleans has so much potential and one only has to look at their French Quarter with its beautifully coloured buildings to see its beauty. So head on over to New Orleans and help make it become the city it is capable of being.