Oh yesssssss, The Big Easy...
We recently travelled to New Orleans for M's annual fraternity convention. Usually he goes to these things alone, but heck no, I wanted to go to New Orleans too! We stayed at the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street, which was pretty much the perfect location and close to everything.
Bourbon street in the early mornings reminded us of Barcelona - totally empty with a lingering smell of urine, sweat, and vomit. It was great.
The convention kept M pretty busy but I walked around a lot and became pretty familiar with the French quarter by the end of our four days. Jackson Square, in the picture above, is full of artists, horse carriages, and homeless people :)
One of the organized events for the ladies was a 2.5 hour bus tour, which was a great way to get a feel for the city. The tour took us to the 9th Ward which was hit extremely hard by Katrina and it's unbelievable to see the damage that still lingers, 5 years later.
The tour also let us off at a cemetery for a bit, kinda odd, but it was interesting to see how different their tombs are from our gravestones.
One evening, the fraternity arranged a dinner for us at Mardi Gras World, which is essentially a warehouse full of old Mardi Gras parade floats.
It was so creepy.
Straight out of my nightmares.
If you ever travel to New Orleans, you should take the St. Charles streetcar up past the Garden District to Audubon Park, where you'll see a ton of historic mansions and plantation houses. Just beautiful! I walked around the park for a while, then crossed the street to visit the Tulane University campus, which was so pretty with all of its old buildings. I love this tree that I found with hundreds of Mardi Gras beads hanging from it!
I also visited a free exhibit at The Historic New Orleans Collection called Katrina + 5 which documents the recovery efforts made over the last five years, with tons of pictures and audio clips from the first responders. Ugh, so sad, but hopeful too. This museum was a great place to spend a couple of hours, I'd highly recommend it.
We (mostly M) also did a lot of drinking - hurricanes, hand grenades, 190 antifreeze - you name it, we drank it! I loved the bars that had 30+ flavours of daiquiris spinning around in the machines. I tried a peach colada and almost went into a sugar coma, but it sure was delicious!
N'awlins is amazing - full of history, culture, and music (and booze and stippers) and FOOD! I'll get to that is a later post though!