THE BIG EASY
New Orleans was never a place that was on my travel map when I was planning a trip to the USA. That was until I caught up for a beer with my mate to roughly plan the trip as he had recently been to the country. “Mate… you HAVE to go to NOLA” he said.
“NOLA?” I asked.
“New Orleans, Louisiana” he replied.
New Orleans is at the very bottom of this massive country, smack bang in the middle. It’s hot, humid, and has everything you could hope for in a southern USA experience. And by ‘southern USA experience’… I really mean swamps, fried chicken, friendly hospitality and their awesomely addictive accent.
WHAT I DID
One thing you might hear people ask about your New Orleans trip is ‘did you go down Bourbon St?’ And one thing you’ll want to be able to reply is ‘hell yes I did!’ Bourbon St is the main entertainment strip in New Orleans. Lined with bars, restaurants, jazz clubs, voodoo shops, trinket markets, sex shops and strip clubs, Bourbon St could be accurately described as the love child of bohemian Paris and the Las Vegas strip.
Another absolutely insane experience (one of the best sporting experiences of my life) was going to the Sugar Bowl. College Sport in America really is something else. This was 80,000 screaming, crazy, nutbag American Football fans packed into an indoor stadium for a 4-hour entertainment extravaganza.
It’s not just the sport. It’s the noise, the beer, the hot dogs, the fans, the tailgating, the bands, the pre-match entertainment and the general vibe and build up in the city for the days prior to the event. This was the loudest thing I have ever heard in my life and would recommend it for anyone who has ever enjoyed watching massively built blokes completing their Bachelor of Arts double degrees running into each other really, really hard.
Lastly, I can highly recommend a swamp tour on a houseboat through the Louisiana swamps surrounded by alligators, raccoons and Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler) from The Waterboy.
HOW I GOT AROUND
There is a cool old cable car that goes around the major parts of the city and it costs $USD1.50 for a ride. They were often packed though and I just ended up walking because New Orleans is a really cool city to just walk around. As a caveat to that… I would recommend being very careful if you decide to walk too far out of the French Quarter (the main entertainment district).
The taxi’s here are relatively cheap but they aren’t as easy to pick up off the street as they are in other countries around the world. Also, there are pretty clearly defined signs in the back of the taxis about NOT murdering the taxi driver after you’ve paid him because they have the death penalty for stuff like that in Louisiana. Just saying.
WHAT I ATE
Gumbo (a sort of seafood meat stew). Jambalaya (a sort of spicy rice). Extremely alcoholic concoctions served from a grenade (a sort of ‘have-two-of-these-and-you’re-absolutely-done’ type drink). If it’s hot, spicy or alcoholic…you’ll find it in NOLA.
Jazz. There is jazz everywhere! Its so god damn cool too. There is a jazz bar on just about every corner where you can find a place to chill out, drink, dance or have a dueling piano battle.
Finally… a common way for people in New Orleans to say goodbye to a foreigner is to remark in their awesome southern accent; ‘you have a good day now’… *pause*… ‘and stay safe’… *slow wink and cheesy smile*. Go on… practice it. You know you want to 😉
CAPTURED ON THE STREET
‘You have a good day now… and stay safe ;)’
PS. Are you thinking of going to New Orleans? Have questions? Ask us in the comments section below.
Have you been to New Orleans? We would love to hear your travel stories also!