I must say that I didn’t know what to expect from New Orleans when I first booked my trip to go there for French Quarter Fest weekend. I knew that there would be jazz, beads, and that I should probably spend some time on Bourbon Street – that’s about it. Instead of doing online research, I asked a few frequent Nola travelers what they recommended. I was surprised with the passion that people had for certain things like the “BEST po’ boy – ever!!!,” and decided to follow their tips, which led me to an amazing weekend!
FRIDAY: Flew in late and went straight to Blue Nile on Frenchmen Street. Frenchmen Street is a little strip with bars and live music, short enough to walk the entire strip – but long enough to have a variety of options. Blue Nile had live jazz music by The Soul Rebels – perfect way to kick off the weekend and get into the vibe of the city. A few late night food options on Frenchman – Cafe Negril (great tacos!), Three Muses, 13.
SATURDAY: Saturday started off with brunch at Commanders Palace – which easily could be one of my top meals in life. Everything was perfection from start to finish! I sat in the outside courtyard which had an old Southern feel, A++ for ambiance. But of course the best part was the food. I started out with a Bourbon Milk Punch. I’m pretty much an exclusive Bloody Mary brunch drinker, but this choice felt right for where I was. Each entree came with an appetizer and dessert. I chose the crawfish omelette as my main, with a baby blue salad to start, and creole bread pudding souffle to end. The bread pudding was absolutely the highlight. It was light & fluffy, yet rich and topped with whiskey sauce that brought it to an unreal level! If I went back, I would order the exact same thing!
After this pretty indulgent brunch, it was time to walk it off with a tour of the Garden District. A block away from Commanders Palace is a book store which sells walking tours of the historic neighborhood. It took about 2 hours, and was full of really interesting information. It was the perfect post-brunch activity, and a great way to see another side of Nola.
After a nap, it was time to head to Bourbon Street! Ironically, the one place I most closely associated New Orleans with, was my least favorite. It was definitely good to experience, but it had a general grimey/dirty feel. But before it was time to start partying, it was time for dinner! Acme was recommended for oysters, and it was so so so good! Started with grilled oysters (their specialty), and then got their famous oyster and shrimp po’ boy. All amazing!! Also recommend getting a hurricane across the street at 21st Amendment after dinner. Over the weekend I ordered about 5 hurricanes from different places to see who had the best one, and they by far did! Out of the 10 or so places I wandered in and out of on Bourbon, Pat O’Brien’s Piano Bar was the only place I really liked, because it had a relaxed and chill vibe.
SUNDAY: Sunday was spent at French Quarter Fest – which consisted of live music in various areas in the French Quarter. I’m not a huge jazz fan, but I definitely appreciated the music, and talent. Started off with brunch at Mother’s, which is a historic local spot. It almost feels like a diner, with a super home-y feel – the name “Mother’s” is entirely appropriate. You order food from a register and then it’s brought to your table. I started with their famous Bloody Mary – which was pretty amazing. Then had a crawfish omelette, grits and a biscuit. While everything was great, I must say the highlight was the biscuit. After that I just walked around the French Quarter, popped into several stores, got my tarot cards read at Marie Laveau’s, and bought a few souvenirs. Everyone said a trip to Nola wouldn’t be complete without going to Cafe du Monde for beignets and coffee – they were right. And as if I didn’t consume enough food, I had one last po’ boy at Stanley’s as a final meal. It was good – but the Acme one was definitely better!
Overall, the weekend was great and I wouldn’t do anything differently. Everyone I met was genuinely nice and so prideful of their city. The history and meshing of cultures was evident everywhere, and it really is what makes the city so unique – I can’t really compare it to anywhere else I’ve been. Can’t wait to go back and visit again!