As I boarded the plane to begin my trip to NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) I was so excited. I was going to spend the next several days doing exactly what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted. Some of my family and friends questioned whether or not I had gone off the deep end when they realized I was serious about traveling alone. Others thought that I was just being secretive and there would be some wonderful hunk of a man waiting for me when I landed in NOLA. 🙂 Neither was true! I simply wanted some time where I did not have to deal with the demands of my life as a mother or career woman. Traveling with friends and family would not have allowed me to completely break away from all of the responsibility that I was trying to leave behind for a few days. So, after securing a flight and a hotel I was off for a five night “mecation” in the lively city of New Orleans.
My primary reason for picking NOLA was because I had been promising myself, after reading an article in the New York Times, that I was going to visit the Whitney Plantation. Unlike other plantations, the Whitney Plantation focused on telling its story from the perspective of the enslaved, specifically enslaved children.
Knowing from previous trips that NOLA is packed with a rich and vibrant culture, I was confident that I would find other interesting things to do during my “mecation”.
The Q&C Hotel Bar, Autograph Collection was my home away from home for five nights and it was perfect. Situated in the heart of the city it allowed me to walk around and explore at my leisure. When I was ready to relax I was able to enjoy a drink at the quaint hotel bar and chat with some new people. My room, while snug, was extremely comfortable and tastefully decorated.
I spent my first full day on the hop on/hop off city sightseeing bus. This gave me an opportunity to get a big picture of everything the city had to offer. I ended up hopping off at the French Market and doing a little leisurely shopping. While in the French Market, I met Mr. Gore, the proud designer of jewelry handcrafted in the Ghetto. Along with some of Mr. Gore’s handcrafted jewelry, I purchased some wonderfully scented homemade soap and some beautiful earrings just for me.
With no particular destination in mind after my retail therapy session I went in search of nourishment. With so many options available, unbeknownst to me, I walked into BB King’s Blues Club. This was a great random choice on my part, between the music and the entertaining bartender I could not think of a better place to just hang out and chill.
After hanging at BB King’s I headed to Bourbon St. for a little more fun and adventure. In no rush, I stopped and tried on hats, watched the street entertainment, looked at all of the art work displayed, and just enjoyed the energy of the city.
Bourbon St. never disappoints when it comes to entertainment. People walking around sipping hurricanes in fish bowls, people on balconies tossing beads, tourist like me taking it all in. After being accosted by King Kong and his mate, I decided to dance and enjoy a little hip-hop at one of the many bars on Bourbon St. before returning to my home away from home.
While entertaining, Bourbon St. no longer held the allure for me that it had when I was in my twenties always ready for a party. I was told that Frenchmen Square is the place where “grown-ups” hang. Unfortunately I did not get to check out the “grown-up” scene on this trip, but, NOLA will definitely see me again in the near future.
My walking tours were absolutely amazing.
During my walking tour of Treme’, I learned so much about the oldest African-American neighborhood in the United States. For example, NOLA was considered one of the more “liberal” slave states (whatever that means). Thanks to the “liberal” mindset, Congo Square was the place where slaves were allowed to gather on Sundays to sing and dance in authentic West African style.
I received such a wealth of information during the Treme’ tour that I had to ask my tour guide, Malika, a graduate of Bennett College, how she was able to keep all of the information she was sharing in her head.
I highly recommend the Treme’ walking tour if you are in NOLA. And if you want to meet Malika, she works with French Quarter Phantoms.
I learned more about burials in NOLA than I cared to know during my cemetery and Garden District Walking Tour. But, I must say the information was quite intriguing. For example, the term “saved by the bell” came about because people used to bury the “dead” with bells around their arms so that in the event they were buried alive they could shake their arms and the cemetery keeper could hear the bells and set them free. Unfortunately, the tour guide also shared that no one had been saved as a result of this practice.
Being a young fan of Anne Rice and slightly obsessed with beautiful homes, I have always been fascinated with the Garden District. The walking tour allowed me to take the homes in while learning some history.
With so much left to explore I am definitely planning to return to NOLA. Maybe I will drag my road dog Gabby along with me and see what the city is like from a mother’s perspective. I already know that walking around looking at big homes in the Garden District will be out of the question! 🙂
Have you all been to NOLA? What would you recommend I see and do during my next visit?