The month of May kept me BUSY. Ben closed on the house on the 6th, I coached a soccer tournament in Nashville that weekend, we went to two weddings, had a three day lake weekend, and spent the last weekend in New Orleans, which this blog is all about! If you’ve never been to New Orleans, there are a few things you should know right away: it gets next-level HOT in the summer, when walking around the city, you will experience a frequent waft of garbage mixed with the aroma of sweat, and you will learn very quickly that people can be anything they want to be – especially in the French Quarter.
We got in to our Airbnb late Friday night, after attending a beautiful wedding in Plaquemine. We stayed in this cute little studio apartment in MidCity, which is one of the more residential neighborhoods. I highly recommend staying here as a solo traveler or as a couple if you’re ever visiting New Orleans!
We were about 15 minutes from the French Quarter, and walking distance to several restaurants and shops. On Saturday morning we walked about 7 minutes down the street to Biscuits and Buns on Banks for some brunch. They have everything from breakfast classics to unique dishes like the Crab-cake Benedict with Chorizo sauce (pictured below) that I ordered. After eating, we asked our waiter how to use the “trolley” and he was nice enough not to make fun of us for calling it a trolley. He explained that it was an easy walking distance away, and you can buy a day pass for $2.00 and it’ll get you basically all over the city. Sweating and completely stuffed, we made our way to the Streetcar like happy little tourists.
The streetcar itself is a beast on its own. It only takes cash, first of all. Secondly, the first one we rode had no AC, and it makes several stops along the way, so if you decide to take the streetcar be sure to add about 40 full minutes to your travel time. It also gets pretty crowded, which makes it even hotter honestly than just standing outside in the sun. Also, when riding the streetcar, remember what I said about frequent aromas of sweat. This is not a good time for anyone to forget deodorant. ANYWAY, we rode the streetcar into the French Quarter area, and walked about two miles down the river and through all the shops and bars and interesting people. There are so many unique bars and pubs and restaurants in the French Quarter, offering beautiful architecture, unique food, and straight up New Orleans culture. You can stay entertained for days just taking everything in. We eventually stopped in at 801 Royal for a drink (and some air conditioning). One thing that is really awesome about New Orleans is their open container law. We took our drinks to go, and kept on our way.
After exploring in the French Quarter, we eventually took the Streetcar back to MidCity where we both showered and changed clothes (you’ll want to do this after a few hours of walking in that kind of heat) for the sunset jazz cruise we preordered tickets for. There are a couple different options for the cruise, we rode on the Steamboat Natchez which happens to be the last remaining authentic steamboat left on the river. I decided to wear my lightweight romper and wedges on the boat, and I didn’t have time to wash and dry my hair but a few sprays of dry shampoo did the trick. We bought the day pass to ride the Streetcar, but we didn’t want to risk missing the boat so we called an Uber. We were in front of the river in no less more than 10 minutes. For dinner, we grabbed a sandwich at the food court inside the old brewery right across from the dock and boarded the boat a few minutes early, so we grabbed a cocktail and two seats on the deck railing.
The sunset cruise was my favorite thing we did on our short little trip, and even though we didn’t opt in for the dinner I think it was worth the $50. The boat docked and let us out around 9:00 pm, and we walked back into the French Quarter and onto Bourbon Street for a small taste of the night life. We wandered into 2 different bars and had a beer at both of them, and that was about as much nightlife as we wanted. In true New Orleans fashion, Ben and I had silver beads draped around our necks by a random dancing guy before we left the last bar. Sunday morning we slept in and headed back to Birmingham early. We didn’t get a chance to visit the Garden District or stroll down Magazine Street like I wanted, but that just gives us a reason to go back! New Orleans is a magical, quirky and culture-filled city with so much to offer. Next time, we’re doing the swamp tours and we definitely won’t make the mistake of referring to the streetcar as “the trolley”.