Thursday, December 6, 2018

Bourbon Street and Beyond: A New Orleans Adventure

 A Memorable Weekend Getaway in the Big Easy

Myniece, her boyfriend and myself in New Orleans

I was invited to a weekend getaway to the Big Easy with my niece and her boyfriend. I went down to conquer Bourbon Street and came back with so much more than I ever expected. New Orleans is an amazing place with a vibe that no words can describe, a vibe you can only experience. The city is immensely rich in history, one weekend isn't enough to take it all in.

Discovering the French Quarter's Hidden Treasures

Uncovering the History 

The French Quarter

The French Quarter has so much more to offer than music and drinking. Like most cities in the South with many historic stories to be told, the stories New Orleans has to offer gave me chill bumps.

Haunted New Orleans

Haunted Hotel

New Orleans is known to be the Most Haunted City in America. Knowing that, we took a Vampires and Ghosts Walking Tour and a St. Louis Cemetery Tour to explore the city's spooky side.

Bourbon Street: All-Day and All-Night Party

Downtown New Orleans Selfie

We spent most of our time exploring the French Quarter, New Orleans' oldest neighborhood. The nights were spent carousing up and down Bourbon Street dancing, drinking, and people watching. Plus, grabbing a string of beads or two. There is no other street like this in America. It's an all-day and night party with bars, jazz and blues clubs, restaurants, shops, and strip clubs lining the sidewalks.

New Orleans' Unique Culture and History

Known for its Mardi Gras party all year long, Bourbon Street is lined with jazz and blues clubs and "take-out" bars. You can party to the wee hours of the morning and drink in the streets, taking your drink from one bar to the next.

Sampling New Orleans' Iconic Drinks

Collage of New Orleans specialty drinks

During these jaunts up and down Bourbon Street, we made several stops to our favorite bars and, of course, tried out the several "must-try" drinks New Orleans has to offer.

Sugary Delights

Drinking a fish bowl

First, we started our day at Fais Deaux Deaux, sharing a Fish Bowl, which is a sugary concoction of fruit punch, vodka, tequila, rum, and Everclear.

Haunted Adventures at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar

Sign of the oldest bar in America

Our next stop was Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, a haunted venue on Bourbon Street. The Purple VooDoo Daiquiri was a must-try at this historic bar, the oldest bar in America.

Hand Grenades and Shark Attacks

Shark Attack Drink

Next was the Tropical Isle Bar for a Hand Grenade, a melon-flavored slushy. We made several stops at this bar and even had a surprise experience involving a Shark Attack.

The Famous Hurricane and Beyond

The Hurricane, one of New Orleans' most famous drinks, was on our list. We picked up Hurricanes at the VooDoo Lounge and enjoyed a buy one get one free deal.

Uncovering the Supernatural

Ghosts and Vampires Galore

We joined a ghosts and vampires walk and explored New Orleans' oldest cemetery, learning about the historical basis for the ghost stories and encountering tales of real-life vampire sightings.  To this day,  there have been many sightings of the Carter brothers, John and Wayne, even by the new owner of the apartment building where the Carter's once called home.  

Ghosts of the Andrew Jackson Hotel

You can even book a stay at local hotels and spend the night with ghosts like at the Andrew Jackson Hotel, where several boys died in a fire decades ago when it was an orphanage.

Ghosts of the French Quarter

Haunted Hotel

New Orleans has a rich history of crime and murder, and some of the city's luxurious mansions are rumored to be haunted. 

Marie Laveau: The Queen of VooDoo

Marie Laveau

We took a walking tour to learn about Marie Laveau, the Queen of VooDoo, and the misunderstood nature of Louisiana VooDoo, a spiritual religion with roots in West Africa and Native American traditions.

VooDoo has a bad connotation, culturally we think of VooDoo as something evil. Hollywood has sensationalized VooDoo giving it a bad name.

Louisiana VooDoo is a spiritual religion brought to New Orleans from the slaves of West Africa along with traditions from the Native Americans using herbs, poisons, and ritual creation of charms and amulets intended to protect oneself.

Marie Laveau was dedicated to her practice but she couldn't read or write. When she saw her "patient" she would make a doll of them. She would then stick a pin in the doll of where the injury or pain was. New Orleans residents would walk by her shop and see the dolls then see the patient walking down the street looking sickly.

This is how the rumors started with VooDoo dolls. People would say she would stick the doll "in the knee" and the person would have knee pain. When it was just the opposite. 

Exploring the French Market

The French Market, originally a Native American trading post, now offers a bazaar-like atmosphere with food, music, and shopping.

Cafe Du Monde is known for its beignets, but my experience left me less than impressed. 

On a tour bus

A relaxing trolley ride down St. Charles Avenue offered a different perspective of the city.

New Orleans Selfie

New Orleans is a city filled with history, culture, and unique experiences that go beyond Bourbon Street. From haunted tours to delicious drinks and hidden gems in the French Quarter, it's a place where a weekend isn't enough to explore everything. Swamp tours, plantations, riverboat cruises, the Old Abisnthe House, and Pirates Alley are just a few of the many other activities waiting to be discovered in this vibrant city. My next trip to New Orleans is already in the works to explore even more of what this remarkable city has to offer.

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