Or Nawhlins, as all of the locals call it, is a very cool city. I was really excited to go there, and I am happy to report that it lived up to all of my expectations. It was a 12 hour drive to get there from Charleston, SC so I didn’t arrive until late Wednesday night, and I stayed with my friend Kelsey in Gonzales, about 45 minutes outside of the city.
Thursday morning I was up early and found my way to the French Quarter of the city, which is where everyone recommended that I go. That whole area of the city is very interesting, it’s very historic, but also very tourist oriented and modern. Most of the businesses are restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, strip clubs, or art galleries. Because there are so many restaurants and bars they are in fierce competition for business, so many have specials like buy 1 drink, get 2 free, or really cheap deals on food. There is also no law against drinking on the street (which should be a national law!), so all of the bars put your drinks in plastic cups and you can move around, it’s right up my alley. New Orleans is also apparently famous for daiquiris, there were lots of daiquiri bars that just had machines, like Icee machines, full of alcoholic daiquiris of every flavor you can imagine, they’re good, but definitely more flavor than alcohol, and not the best bang for your buck.
The first place I stopped and ate was Spirit, because they had $2 jumbo, which was really good and full of shellfish and chorizo. I also had dinner at a restaurant named Galvez, which had an awesome happy hour menu, and over looked the water. I also had my first buttered rum there, which is apparently a southern tradition for the holiday and it was excellent!
The discovery of the trip however were wine smoothies. There were several of these bars in New Orleans that had smoothies, much like the daiquiris, made with flavored wine, and they offered free samples to try all the flavors (which is how they got me). They were delicious, and I can’t even tell you how many I had over the course of the two days I was there.
The first day I also found a street that was mostly art galleries, and I must say that New Orleans had the best of any city I’ve seen so far. There is a style that is unique to New Orleans, which uses really brightly colored oils and acrylic paint, often to paint musicians and the art is awesome. I also found The Craig Tracy Gallery, and Craig paints people’s bodies and then puts them in front of a backdrop and photographs them, some of those were incredible as well. I can’t pick a favorite, but Tom Everhart‘s work was fantastic as well. He did paintings of characters from “Peanuts” in a really unique way. If I had thousands of dollars more than I had, I would have left New Orleans with some very cool art!
The first night I skipped most of the night life in the city in favor of getting some sleep. However, the second day I was there my friend Kelsey took her last final of the semester so she, her roommate and myself went out to party on Bourbon St., the legendary party spot in New Orleans. Despite both of the girls being under 21, we didn’t encounter any problems. We wandered up, down, and around Bourbon St. drank many different drinks, danced, went to Marie Laveau’s legendary voodoo shop, yelled, partied, I rode a bull? There is live music in many places, with no cover and people throw beads from the balconies above the street. There are street performers up and down the street and its closed to traffic after 5pm so the whole street is like a big party. If you look down the street all you can see are people having fun and neon signs, and at this time of year, Christmas lights. Bourbon Street is a very awesome place to be when the sun goes down.
New Orleans, to me, was much like Las Vegas except more my style. Everything is very close together, in about 1 square mile you can see everything that you need to. It’s like Vegas in that it’s definitely a party atmosphere, people run up and down the street wasted and no one cares and there are nearly naked people everywhere. It’s like an adult playground. However there is much more culture and history than Vegas, and unlike Vegas, you can have a great time without spending too much money. It’s a city I would love to visit again.