New Orleans Travel Guide
Since I was a teenager, my mom has wanted to take me to her favorite city in the country, New Orleans! This year we decided to finally make it happen, so she flew in from DC and I flew in from LA and we hit the city together, mother-daughter style!
Now, as a foodie, the main purpose of the trip had to be everything that I had heard about the wonderful delectables that the city has to offer. I scouted the real-deal recommendations from a friend that's a NOLA local. I also had my flight-attendant girlfriend who had some time off, fly down and meet us half way through the week so I had someone to get into some trouble with when mom turned in for the night. We had such a great time! Check out my "how to do the Big Easy" travel guide below!
My aunt gifted us her beaaaautiful timeshare at the Wyndham La Belle Maison for the week. It was lovely. Tucked away off of Magazine Street in the French Quarter, it was quaint and quiet but just blocks away from all of the action. It was also perfect because it was directly across the street from a yummy cafe called The Ruby Slipper, which ended up being our daily breakfast spot. My favorite dishes there were the Bananas Foster Pain Perdu and the Chicken Saint Charles. Both were full of flavor and so filling!
One morning we skipped Ruby Slipper for a sugar coma at Cafe Du Monde, famous for their beignets and chicory coffee. We spent the afternoons doing a ton of people watching. They say the city is a "Southern Las Vegas" and from the sights we saw, that was definitely the case! We also ventured over to the French Market and did a little shopping. We bought each other these fabulous hats, perfect for blocking out the sun and a little momento we will always have to remember our trip!
Our hats came in handy later for our Natchez Riverboat Cruise that took us on a historical journey up the Mississippi River. I love how the city is so rich in culture and history.
I thought it would be fun to get henna done while I was there so through Yelp, I found a wonderful woman who has a company called Henna by Mehwish who freelanced a beautiful design for me using homemade organic henna. In true Nola fashion, she accentuated it with purple and gold glitter :)
New Orleans in August is BLAZING! People were telling us it was the hottest it has been in years. So a lot of time, we Ubered around town. We got flack from some locals about using Uber vs. Taxi's, but later found out that Uber was in an 18-month lawsuit and had just recently been introduced in the city a few months back. The Uber drivers were super nice and gave great recommendations on things to do! Taking the pedi-cabs was also really fun. We had one young guy that took us on a tour and showed us cool areas and the different parishes. What made the trip even better and more sentimental was that it was the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. We talked to many people that shared stories of how Katrina has affected them and their families, even 10 years later. It was truly heartwarming and eye opening.
When my girlfriend came into town, we had to do our favorite thing - find a hookah bar! Yelp again led us in the right direction to a cute hookah bar with yummy food as well. The staff at Attiki were helpful and fun, and their drinks, great... it was just what we were looking for. We weren't able to hit up Frenchman Street, famous for their live bands and music, but apparently it's also a MUST.
On a mission for coffee, we wandered into Surce - the cutest dessert boutique and got a selection of really yummy macaroons - the watermelon was my favorite! While exploring the shops in the Lower Garden District on Magazine Street, we had refreshing margaritas at Mayas and also discovered a gem - Elle Boutique. Apparently they grew from doing trunk shows to owning their own shop in the city, which made them even more awesome! I wanted to purchase everything!
Bourbon Street was prettyyyy insane (which was to be expected), but also fun. You can see all types of people parading the street, including live bands playing in almost every bar. We tried a few of the signature drinks including the hand granade (it was WAY too sweet for me!), and the daiquiris. My friend and I spent many days sipping those just to stay cool ;)
I would have to say that one of my favorite parts about New Orleans is the pride that the people have in their city. Everyone had a smile to share and a story to tell. The oysters were also pretty darn amazing. While I didn't really enjoy the charbroiled, as everyone suggested, Red Fish Grill topped the list for raw oysters. We pretty much ate them everyday! (no, really lol)
One of the only other things on my list was to swing past Solange's (if you aren't familiar, she's an amazing performer and also Beyonce's sister!) sweet little shop called Exodus Goods. I had been admiring their goods on Instagram for months and couldn't wait to see the shop in person. It was full of artisan pieces and the cutest clothes, as if you were shopping directly in her closet yourself! I'm obsessed!!
New Orleans is a beautiful city, full of love and memories I will now never forget with my mom and one of my closest friends. It meant a lot that my mom and I were able to make it happen, after all of this time. I will definitely be back to see more of the city (and eat more food, of course!) - and who knows, maybe it'll become a yearly vacation for my mom and I!?
Until we meet again, New Orleans!