Ok, before anyone starts! I know, I know it really has been a long time so I come with humble apologies. 2019 has been much of a Hamster wheel for me and I have been busy beyond belief, with life, work and everything that it has thrown at me however, I felt like it was definitely time to get back into the saddle and regroup, and figure out where this road to 2020 will take me.
So this year has been interesting, and as it stands I run away often to regain my sanity, so my best friend and I have sort of agreed to try to do a girl’s trip every year before summer says goodbye. Last year it was Vegas and this year we hummed and hawed over the next best destination. After much deliberation, (pretty much two weeks before my arrival, talk about procrastination) we settled on “NOLA, NAWLINS, New Orleans, The Big Easy”.
At first I was sketchy about NOLA cause I always viewed it as dirty and grimy (which it is) don’t even think you can do the 3 second pick something up off the ground or floor routine over there, whatever hits the ground, let it stay right there! But after hearing all the stories and fun adventures I heard about NOLA and the main determinant of my appearance…”Shrimp and Grits”, I was down for a little extra pollution. So we booked our tickets, and off we went, with much hand sanitizer in tow.
Now this was the first time we flew on a new carrier, yeah we rolled up on the big yellow bird Spirit! And as much as you guys be cussing the hell out of that bird, we had a great experience! Shout out to the Spirit Big Easy Crew, I actually could move all my body parts in my seat and had lots of leg room, more than I can say for an airline (Whom shall remain anonymous). And as we landed, the crew said their famous line; “Welcome to The Big Easy”! It was on like Donkey Kong.
Our Uber driver was a knowledgeable local who gave us a wealth of information and food spots to try. We got to our hotel fairly early and freshened up and hit the streets. We had the entire afternoon into the evening so we were rearing to get started. We walked about 12 minutes down to canal street and as we walked, I looked around and couldn’t help but think “damn this place stinks” but there was also a lot of historical culture to it.
As we stopped at a stoplight I hear a very familiar accent behind me, “IM Say IM a go ARD on ER lata” (thought to myself well there go a Jamaican) in the heart of Louisiana, we just everywhere us West Indians, huh?. As we got nearer, we saw the famous street cars and immediately fell in love and became obsessed with getting onto one… mission #2 ride those streetcars! As we approached, the much-expected Bourbon St. we could hear loud jazz music coming from inside the street, a large group of young boys were playing their heart and soul out and I thought to myself this is so amazing.
Now if you have ever visited NOLA, you know that Bourbon St.in the French Quarter is where it all goes down, and it surely does. If you’re lucky, you may catch a street parade, differently, it is where all the life and madness happens in NOLA. Our first mission was to get some good ole soul food, so we hit up the “Gumbo Shop” first and believe me when I say that the wait line stretched out into the street around the corner!
My bestie kept going on about this Boudain she had on her last trip to Nola, so it destined me to try it out. Now if you ever get to New Orleans, you must do The Gumbo Shop, it is the quaintest, noisiest, tightest little dig in restaurant in the French Quarter but the food is absolutely “Amazing”! We sat in a corner literally damn near in the kitchen, that’s how tight space was, but when that Boudain and Crab gumbo came out, the waiters could have hit me five times in the back I was happy.
After dinner we experienced Bourbon St. in its finest, now since this was a girl’s trip we figured we better do like the movie and find some “Grenades. A word to the wise, you only need two before your eyes cross. We eventually ended up in some club watching women act crazy on stage to the sounds of raggaeton and other r&b hits, the site was something, but it is Bourbon St. At about midnight we called it a night and then discovered the streetcar life, yes we took one of the streetcars back to our hotel and let me tell you when the conductor told us $3 for an entire day, we were ready for the next day to appear. Streetcars are life! Uber what????
The next day we headed out early because we needed to soak up our second to last day in Nola. We jumped onto the #49 street car which stopped right outside our hotel and headed straight for French Quarter again, this time we were hunting for Shrimp and Grits from the recommended spot Café Fleur de lis. Now this spot is like the Gumbo Shop but let me tell you about the get up and slap ya mama in the face breakfast variety at this place!!!!!! I stuck that spoon of shrimp and grits in my mouth and I swore I heard Jesus and his angels singing on their way down for me. Amazing…and their peach Bellinis are to die for, definitely a must do if you go.
After breakfast we toured the Garden District, which is basically an on foot tour of all the ancient and colonial mansions of new Orleans, this tour incorporated the Lafayette Cemetary however, we didn’t get to go inside as they were under construction. The weather was nice, so we were fine walking the beautiful colonial styled streets of the Garden District, our guide showed us famous homes belonging to Sandra Bullock and John Goodman, while giving us historic information on the houses and what it costs to keep them in the shape they are still in. For me the most fascinating thing was that the “Horse Posts” were still there (this is where back in the 1800s) they would tie the horses outside of their homes, it was amazing to see that every one of them were still there.
Next up was a little shopping and the infamous Café Du Monde, now people….if you do not go to Café Du Monde for Beignets and hot chocolate while in Nola, I’m just going to consider that you didn’t go a damn place, because this is signature! So please remember, that Beignets are a must! In the lower half of the French Quarter, we finally made it to Beignet heaven, and can I just say that the when we arrived it was like Antigua Recreation Grounds on Carnival Monday inside there, not to mention we sat for literally 15 minutes waiting. But I said to myself E, you’ve come too far to back out now, it will be worth it. Our little hospitable Philippine waiter came over to take our order and in about another 15 minutes, here it was that powdered soft heaven that everyone raves about in Nola with a cup of hot chocolate! Did I want to cuss every soul in that place for the wait time? YES, was the wait worth it though? ABSOLUTELY.
After walking around French Quarter and making our way to a psychic literally at the end of the street, yeah we went to a psychic, don’t judge and don’t ask either! like who goes to the Mecca of Voo Voo land and not see a psychic? It was amazing! After dinner at a quaint little spot called Deanies that night, and more grenades and a 7 ounce fish bowl of liquor which I had to leave on the side of the street, (me and my dumb ass), and watching a real cat lie in the middle of Bourbon St. in his cat bed taking tourists dollars (this was truly the highlight of my entire trip), we called it a night.
The next morning we wanted to have just one last taste of the Nola goodness before our flight and hit up Mr. Ed’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, another highly recommended spot. There we met AJ a wonderfully gay black waiter with Jamaican roots, who was nothing but superb! he made it so worth it, from the red beans and rice to the cornbread that melted in your mouth to the yes, I had it again, shrimp and grits! and this time it was even bigger! I sure hope the next time we go back we will see him he was everything and then some.
As we took our last ride on the #49 streetcar which we grew to love so much we couldn’t help but feel a little sad, it really was an adventure for us and New Orleans was fantastic, everyone was so hospitable and friendly and welcoming. Sometimes you just need to get away and experience something different to regroup. There was one spot we were a little disappointed that we did not get to experience eating at and that was Morrows, as fate would have it I recommended it a month later to some friends who went and they sent me videos of their experience there and were so thankful to me for recommending it, so I guess we will most definitely be going back to beautiful New Orleans, NAWLINS, The Big Easy!