In the spirit of Mardi Gras I could not help but return as an InACents guest blogger to share my experience in New Orleans this past December 2012.
My family and I visited New Orleans (NOLA) for a short weekend prior to a cruise leaving Monday morning. To put NOLA in a word, I would say – Culture. Culture was pouring out of the city from the architecture, to the pride of the locals, to the cuisine, and to the artists seemingly everywhere. We stayed about 15 minutes south of the French Quarter in a Knights Inn for $89 a night right off the highway. Nothing to write home about there but we did not plan to spend much time in the hotel after all.
Sunday morning we booked a New Orleans bus tour with Gray Line. We did the Super City Tour which was $43.00 a person, lasting 2 hours and had one stop to actually get out and walk around, which was at the St. Louis No 1 cemetery. We stopped there for about 15 minutes. The tour guide was amazing and we definitely enjoyed all the information and history of the Big Easy. The tour guide did a great job of showing all different areas of the city as well as some of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The trees have Spanish moss in them, which reminded me of my trip to Savannah last September, and there are Mardi Gras beads stuck in the trees everywhere you look!
We spent the rest of the afternoon in the French Quarter shopping and enjoying the local cuisine. Jackson Square was by far a favorite. Local artists come and set up shop every morning selling their artwork all along the perimeter of the square. The cathedral was breathtaking and street performers were simply everywhere. People painted like statues, kids tap-danced for spare change, people played instruments, others sang, there were open-air bars and voodoo shops everywhere you went; NOLA definitely has something for everyone! I cannot wait to go back.
One thing NOLA residents pride themselves on is their love of food, and trust me when I say you could eat your way through the town with all the local favorites. We stopped for lunch at The Famous Gumbo Pot. It was a pricy lunch, but well worth it. Very good authentic NOLA food. I had the gumbo, my parents shared a PoBoy. Excellent eats!
Afterwards, definitely be sure to stop by Aunt Sally’s praline shop for some Original Pralines, as well as Cafe Du Monde for some beignets (a light, fluffy French donut covered in powdered sugar usually served with a Cafe au Lait.)
The World War II museum in NOLA is supposed to be amazing; however, time did not permit us to visit, so that is on the list for the next trip.
Another spot I recommend to anyone visiting NOLA is Mardi Gras World. It is the biggest company that builds floats for the famous Mardi Gras parade all year round. The tour is actually through the warehouse with artists working away on floats for the upcoming Mardi Gras parade. The tour only costs $20 each and it was money well spent.
The tour lasts about an hour and then you are free to wander around on your own, checking out all the parts of the floats from years past. We ended up stopping there Monday morning on our way to our cruise and were so glad we did.
Mardi Gras is actually a 2 week long celebration and has over 52 parades! They also have old costumes you can take photographs in and photography is permitted throughout the warehouse.
Overall I cannot wait to go back to NOLA this year as it is truly a magical city with endless hours of entertainment. Enjoy the pictures and stay tuned for more guest blogging in the very near future!
Jill has a passion for traveling, and is situated out of St. Louis. Thanks Jill for the timely article!
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