Sunday, 20 May 2018

NOLA - New Orleans, Louisiana

One of my main highlights from the month of April is the trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. Not only because it was my first time there, but also, a very much needed and welcomed break as I was already at the brink of a burnt out given the last holiday I took was back in October 2017. Yes, I had time off work during Christmas and Easter but I stayed in London during both occasions as there were too much going on the work front.

I didn't know much about New Orleans - my travel buddy wanted to include it as part of our trip and I went along. I went with zero expectations and was completely ready to soak up new experiences that the City has to offer.

The trip definitely improved my prowess of the City. It has so much to offer - a mixture of history, culture, music and food - which is amazing!

If you know anything about New Orleans, you'll know that The French Quarter is one of its famous areas. As the name suggests, it got its name from the historical French ownership. Most of the building was built pre-1800. I was completely smitten and obsessed with the French-influenced architecture within the area. Intricately designed cast iron balcony was everywhere and they simply took my breath away.

New Orleans is also known as the birthplace of jazz as during the 19th Century, it was the only City which allows slaves to own drums. Until today, jazz music is still very big in New Orleans and it is the only place I've been where jazz could be enjoyed during midday in the middle of the street. How amazing is that?

Bourbon Street is the main strip of the City and if you are into partying, this is where you should be heading. Personally, it is not my preferred area to hang out at. I am sure things have changed over the years, but the current Bourbon Street has become too over commercialised with rows and rows of bars, strip and burlesque clubs and the music was loud, even during midday. By all means, do check it out as it is a big part of the Big Easy experience. But afterwards, when you ready for more tasteful jazz music and drinks, move away a street or two from Bourbon Street and you may find some hidden gems. The two that I stumbled upon and went back twice were Muriel's (by Jackson Square) and Beignets Cafe.

Jackson Square is another historical landmark and it overlooks the Mississippi River with the grandeur background of the St Louis Cathedral. You will also find plenty of street artists and psychic readers within the vicinity of the area. There are horse carriages which reminded me of the Central Park in NYC. There is also a big Cafe du Monde at the corner of Jackson Square if you fancy tucking into some beignets (yet another French influence).

The City is rather easy to navigate and can be easily done without necessarily requiring a tour guide. But if prefer to experience the City with guides, there are many walking tours available. I did the French Quarter History walking tour. Others which are available include The Swamp Tour and The Ghost Tour which are not my cup of tea.

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