New Orleans

Day 89 – Lake Charles to New Orleans

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I was really looking forward to New Orleans as everybody always raves about the place, and we were also taking a nice break and staying there for three nights, meaning we didn’t have to pack up and move on every day! On the way to New Orleans I developed a silly notion that we may be missing out on seeing the ‘real’ Louisiana so made Brian drive on some smaller roads, which turned out to be a bloody awful decision as the road surface was rubbish! The only small consolation is that we found a Walmart and I got a Crawfish Pie which was quite nice – similar to a Jamaican patty kind of thing.
Other than seeing some swamps and trees covered in moss on the way to New Orleans the trip wasn’t too exciting – but it was very green! We tried checking into our hotel (Staybridge Suites New Orleans) about 3pm but were told check-in was only at 4pm and that our room wasn’t ready. When I went in after 10 minutes to check whether the room would definitely we ready by 4pm there was another girl on check-in and she said our room was ready and we could check in straight away! We were quite happy with that and the suite was ok, though it didn’t have a separate room, just an area with a sleeper-couch. It did have a kitchen however with an actual hot plate, cutlery and plates so we could have cooked a meal if we wanted to – not that I was planning to!
As we were in New Orleans for three days we weren’t in too much of a hurry to go out straight away and it was also Saturday night, meaning it was better to go out later and stay out later. When we eventually went out we walked along the river, past the steamboats and the streetcars. We also covered St Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square while enjoying the vibe and seeing some lovely old buildings and interesting shops. We walked through the French Market and on towards the Old US Mint where there was a Satchmo Summer Festival with live music on. It was funny, the entrance fee was only $5 but loads of people brought chairs and were sitting outside the festival just listening to the music and drinking beer! New Orleans is another town where EVERYBODY is walking around with some kind of (generally alcoholic) beverage in hand and often from quite early in the day! We had a drink at a bar that I don’t remember the name of where there was some live music and it was a really nice place. We then did the obligatory walk down Bourbon Street from the Esplanade side, at first not seeing much and not understanding why that is THE place to walk down! We stopped at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar where I had a Voodoo margarita or something like that, quite strong anyway! The place was packed though I’m not too sure why, I think it is just a very touristy thing that all the guidebooks tell you to do! From there Bourbon Street got steadily crazier and we went to Pat O’Briens for their famous Hurricane, which I really liked. The Hurricane unfortunately also has a serious kick, and piled on top of the one I had at Lafitte’s I was definitely feeling it! We wandered around some more and in and out of some bars with music and craziness, all the while keeping an eye out for the bars that came highly recommended. We ended up heading back to our hotel fairly early and in time for me to catch Mother’s Restaurant open so I could get something to eat. The queue was horrendous and I probably ended up waiting about 45 minutes for a po’boy! I had a Ralph, which is a Famous Ferdi Special (ham, roast beef with debris) with cheese. The long wait would have really wound me up under normal circumstances, but I was wasted enough and the people in the queue were chatty enough that it didn’t matter. The po’boy doesn’t look that great in the picture, but it sure tasted nice, especially with the debris which is essentially a meaty, stewy kind of au jus that just makes everything awesome and I went to bed very happy!

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