New Orleans

A few nights ago my social networking sights were been abuzz with endless chatter about the Super Bowl. And when I mean Super Bowl, I really mean to say Beyonce’s superb performance with her Destiny’s Child ladies.

As most of you know the Super Bowl is an annual American Football frenzy, and this year it was held in America’s ‘most unique city’, New Orleans.

I was lucky enough to visit New Orleans in 2010 when travelling from New York to Los Angeles for my gap yahhh and I can firmly say it is one of my favourite places I’ve been. If you’re looking to travel through America, here are a few reasons why you should definitely stop off in New Orleans:

1. History – NOLA truly is Americas most unique city, it’s history is rich in different cultures and it has a multilingual heritage which you can feel throughout the city thanks to the French Creole style buildings. Stroll through the elaborate French Quarter for a culture fix then make your way to the Mississippi River where you can hop on board a traditional steamboat to see more of the city. Cameras at the ready please.

2. Jazz Culture – New Orleans is known as the birth place of jazz and wherever you go there are constant reminders of the vibrant musical history.  Dotted throughout the city there are numerous jazz clubs where you can enjoy local musicians, head to the Preservation Hall early to make sure you get let in.  If you’re visiting in late April, early May then you’re in luck.  NOLA holds a Jazz & Heritage Festival every year and John Mayer, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Ocean and the Black Keys are among the headliners.  I’m considering selling a kidney to fund a flight and ticket!

3.  Nightlife – Even though I was only 19 when I visited I was still able to experience NOLA’s legendary nightlife (shhh…).  In New Orleans you can drink on the street, so transfer your drink from glass to plastic and take the party to the road!  Head to Bourbon Street which is famous for its numerous bars (and strip clubs…) for some hedonistic fun.  Make sure to order a Hand Grenade, a drink which is notorious for its high alcohol content – responsible drinking please – and then make your way to the Cats Meow on the street for some karaoke – just make sure you know the song otherwise you will be booed off stage.  Awkward.  Of course, I could not mention New Orleans and nightlife without alluding to Mardi Gras, an all day extravaganza with parades, live music and plenty of beads and elaborate masks.  Make sure to dress in purple, green and gold to mix in with the locals!

4. Voodoo – The state of Louisiana is famous for the voodoo religious practises which developed among the French, Spanish and Creole speaking residents of the state.  Head to the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, to learn some more then visit one of the voodoo shops throughout the city, just make sure you don’t take photos – I learnt the hard way.  

5. Food – Saving the best til last.  When I learnt that I was visiting New Orleans, I could not help but think of the food.  Prepare for a foodgasm.  First port of call for the day should definitely be Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter for a self-indulgent breakfast of beignets.  Beignets are deep fried choux pastry topped with a generous helping of powdered sugar – I’m craving some now.  Then for a spot of lunch head to the famous Mother’s Restaurant, featured in Man v. Food and a favourite of Beyonce’s, so you know its good.  Order a Ferdi Special Po Boy (a super sized sandwich) filled with baked ham, roast beef and gravy, or if you fancy some chicken, go for the fried chicken Po Boy, I can confirm it is tasty.  Dinner is at the Gumbo Shop where you can sample all of the cities traditional dishes, including Gumbo, Jambalaya and Shrimp Creole.  I’m hungry at the thought!  

If your anything like me, you’ll now be checking flights to the US and looking at hotel prices for your prospective trip.  I stayed at French Quarter Suites Hotel which does beautiful rooms for reasonable prices at a central location, but if your looking for a piece of luxury, stay at The Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel which is part of the Waldorf Astoria Group.  Following the devestating impact of Hurricane Katrina, NOLA is still a work in progress, so don’t be put off by some boarded up houses, and embrace the unique atmosphere of the city!

I want to go back!


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