Despite my utter disdain for the s[Aints], New Orleans is my absolute favorite city outside of Atlanta. So when my friend-twin Jas invited us to join her and husband in NOLA for her birthday we were totally in. Marcus and I both had our bachelor and bachelorette parties in New Orleans (separate weekends of course), so I was dying to show him what a “normal” visit would be like since that was his first time.
There is enough to see and do in New Orleans to satisfy both the over-planner and the ‘go-with-the-flow” visitor alike. Beautiful colors, great music, interesting people, rich culture, delicious food and good times. What draws me to New Orleans is the melting pot of cultures that came together to form the beautiful history in the city. Season 3 of American Horror Story, may have helped a little too…
Royal Sonesta New Orleans
We stayed at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans, which was absolutely beautiful and oozed of southern charm and elegance. It was the weekend before Christmas, so the wintry decor in the lobby was a welcomed contrast to the fall-like weather outside. The location is in the French Quarter, directly in the action on Bourbon Street, but insulated enough to block out the noise. Marcus is a pianist so we were both thrilled to see the hotel had a nice courtyard jazz playhouse with a large piano. Marcus even played me a Christmas song. Play the video below!
We took an evening flight so our next stop after hotel check-in was food! We walked down Bourbon to find Olde N’awlins Cookery. I enjoyed a tasty Fried Oyster Po Boy and Marcus got the Cajun Jambalaya Pasta. After taking one bite, his exact words were “the best seafood pasta I’ve ever tasted“. Great food, strong drinks, low prices. Can’t beat it. Afterwards, we hit a few of the bars on the strip and went to bed around 1 AM.
Tastebud Food Tour
We got up the next morning for the Tastebud Food Tour. I highly recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in learning the history of New Orleans cuisine and actually tasting the goodness. It’s a three-hour walking tour, guided by a knowledgeable man named Richard. He visited New Orleans for the first time with his wife several years ago, and fell for the city so hard that they bought a house and moved there months later. The tour takes you to about five or six different restaurants in the French Quarter, with samples from the famous red beans ‘n rice to pralines to muffalettas, and a history lesson at each stop. I first heard about the tour when my amazing bridesmaids included it as one of our daytime bachelorette activities (love them), and will remain a loyal customer anytime I visit New Orleans with enough time to spare.
Craig Tracy Gallery
The food tour briefly stopped at the Craig Tracy Gallery. Marcus was super intrigued so we went back the next day to check it out. All the art was painted on human canvases, and often times you had to look extra hard to even find the person behind all the paint. We spent a good hour deciding on which paintings to buy. Marcus selected a painting for his home office, with a piano painted on beautiful, brown skin. I went with a painting done on an actual Olympic swimmer, with bright colors and a white background.
The gallery manager was one of the friendliest people we knew. After making our purchase, we sat for 30 more minutes and just talked with him about education, acting, artistry, politics, socioeconomics, and more.
The Scam of the Year – Falcons vs. Saints
This was our last event of the weekend. The only good part of this game was getting to attend with Marcus and seeing some close friends/teammates. My wonderful coach was able to get us field passes to watch the players warm up from the sidelines, so it was nice that Marcus got a chance to see things from my usual game day vantage point.
We were having fun at this point, but by the time the game started those Aints fans were showing their obnoxious colors. We ended up leaving the game at the end of the 3rd because we knew there was no competing with the refs — don’t argue with me on this. The bright side: on our walk back we decided to check out Felix’s Oyster Bar before heading to the airport. Marcus convinced me to try charbroiled oysters, but I didn’t like them so I stuck with my usual dozen on a half shell.
For me, every trip to NOLA is a good time. I’m just glad I got to show Marcus around a little bit. What are your favorite things to do in New Orleans? Share below!