In honor of our 40th birthdays (his was in May and mine is in November), Dave and I took a small trip to New Orleans. Since neither of us had been there before and since Louisiana was a state we needed to check off on our quest to visit all 50 states, we knew we wanted to visit New Orleans. We also knew it wasn’t a place we wanted to bring the kids, so we arranged for Dave’s parents to visit and then watch the kids while we went on our trip. Being that we are about 20 years past the typical age of a New Orleans tourist, here are some tips for visiting New Orleans when you’re not in college!
1. Stay in the Garden District. We stayed at the Pontchartain Hotel, which was quiet and comfortable while still being on the streetcar route with easy access to Bourbon Street. There is also a rooftop bar and some interesting décor to check out!
2. If you want to learn about the history of New Orleans, there are tour guides walking the streets and you can join their tours if you choose. When we visited the Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District, we met Carla of Phantoms, Facts, and Folklore and she taught us all about the customs and stories of the cemetery. We later met her for an evening tour of the French Quarter, which was very interesting and unique!
3. If you don’t want to make use of a tour guide, you can also do a self-guided tour. We used this site to explore the Garden District and learn about the houses and architecture. I will do a post dedicated to the interesting things we discovered soon!
4. Have an open mind. We happened to be in New Orleans on the weekend of the annual Southern Decadence gay pride event. It was extremely crowded on Bourbon Street on our first night in the city, so much so that we were unable to walk down the street without getting stuck! There was a lot of partying going on and plenty of people in almost no clothing, so one would have to be open to seeing such things even if not participating.
5. Eat. Many times on my trips I can’t be a foodie, but New Orleans actually has a lot of kosher food options! I got to try jambalaya at the Kosher Cajun NY Deli and Grocery and the famous Café du Monde is kosher too!
6. Drink. 40 year olds can drink too, but we didn’t go crazy! We checked out some of the bars on this list. My favorite is the Carousel bar, where the bar area actually rotates!
7. Explore! There are so many colors and textures to see, if you pay attention!
Have you been to New Orleans?