The Low Down on NOLA

6:17 PM

Alright ladies, it’s time to recap the four days I spent down south in Louisiana. If you don’t want a boat load of advice on where to stay, what to eat and what to do – then the buck stops here for you and you are more than welcome to check out some of my fashion posts here and here :)

However, if you’ve ever contemplated taking a trip to the Big easy or just want to know what Joe and I did while we were there, then this post is for you and you should definitely keep reading!

Where We Stayed
When I travel, I am a huge fan of staying in boutique hotels, and almost always prefer those rather than the ‘chain’ hotels. There is something unique about a boutique hotel that just adds to the travel experience, and I feel like that little something extra just completes a trip.

For New Orleans, Joe and I struggled back and forth on where to stay for quite some time, but ultimately decided upon The Old No 77 Hotel and Chandlery on Tchoupitoulas St. (say that 5 times fast!). The old rustic interior reminded me of a Restoration Hardware, except with this one, I could afford something more than a pair of slippers! The décor was on point, the service was nice and the coffee in the morning was unmatched…seriously, Joe and I got coffee from there every single morning!

Our room was small, but unique and had updated features, but I would recommend to anyone staying or planning to stay at this hotel, to request a room with a window. That’s right folks, we stayed in a room without a single window. Joe was insistent on switching rooms, but I persuaded him that this was all part of the experience and we should just go with it. And while I did sleep very well given the lack of light and noise, it began to feel very claustrophobic as we neared the end of our trip, and not something I would be all too interested in doing again. On the bright side, the lack of windows really added to my motivation to get my lazy butt out of bed each morning…so I guess you could say there was one positive!

The location was great too because we were close enough to walk to Bourbon St., the French Quarters and Canal St, but still far enough away that the hotel wasn’t overly crowded and busy. The hotel also had a restaurant and bar attached to it, but then again everything in New Orleans is centered around eating and drinking, so why wouldn’t it, right?!

What We Did
Day #1: We literally put on good shoes and walked everywhere we could before our feet started to hurt. We started down Canal St and hit up a few of the souvenir shops, then started the exploration down Bourbon Street. Can I also just add that it was only 10:30 in the am – which I wouldn’t necessarily recommend, as the streets were being heavily cleaned from Mardi Gras, and some places were still not open. Nevertheless, Joe and I hopped from place to place before settling into Absinthe…an old bar, with business cards as the wallpaper…I am sure this place is a hoot later in the day, but one glass of water later – Joe and I were ready to hit up the next place. We walked down to Royal Street where we saw St. Cathedrals Church, and spotted our first place to score beignets (more on that later).

Next we headed down through the French Quarters and settled into another bar with a roof top balcony, perfect for soaking up the sun and seeing the sights.  We stayed here, hoping to plan the remainder of our day, but ultimately ended up just chit chatting. Next we wandered through the streets so I could take pictures of some of the beautiful architecture before Joe found the one bar he HAD to visit while in New Orleans…Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (Piano Bar & Lounge). Dubbed as the oldest bar in New Orleans, we entered only to find the walls filled with photos of celebrities who’d visited the bar over the years. By this time, it was later in the day and we decided that Bourbon Street was most likely a better area to visit again at night, so we found an outlet mall (I could literally find an outlet mall in a desert!) and stopped in to buy some weather appropriate clothes. Disclaimer – I planned to wear a bunch of sun dresses while in New Orleans because the weather called for upper 70s and sunny every day…guess what, I forgot to pack all the dresses and instead left then hanging on the door at home – OOPS! So all I had were pants, sweaters and more pants, which was simply too hot for the southern heat. Thankfully I was able to score some cute little items that will most likely be featured on the blog some other time J

Day #2: Joe is a huge fan of Banksy art…I’m talking HUGE! For his 30th birthday I got him a canvas painting of some Banksy art that now resides in our living room! If you don’t know who Banksy is, it is certainly worth a google of the name. The story behind him is one that is very intriguing and I can certainly understand why the name has all the hype. Nevertheless, there are three, untouched pieces of Banksy art located around New Orleans – so Joe and I started the hunt to find them. I would not recommend doing as we did, which was to wander around the city – ON FOOT – until we found one, but nevertheless it was a fun experience and Joe was so excited to find his first Banksy. Plus a local took the time to explain where the other Banksy artworks were located and explain why the others in the city were destroyed. It was certainly a cool experience!

Next we walked back down Royal Street, and watched some of the local street artists as they painted or performed. Matter of fact, I took part in a magic show, which was super fun for me because I LOVE magic shows…totally brings out the kid in me! Next we ventured to more of the local bars, which ultimately ended in the purchase of a drink called a ‘hand grenade’. If you are looking for the full New Orleans experience, you definitely have to get one of these from Tropical Isles, but like the name – this drink is not for everyone and is rumored to be named the strongest drink in NOLA, consisting of a whole lot of alcohol, some of which is pure grain. YUCK!

Day #3: The trip was nearing the end, so on the recommendation of a local, we took a ferry across the Mississippi River to Algiers Island to hit up an old English pub called Crowns & Anchors. Definitely an old bar, but Joe and I had fun playing darts and just relaxing on our last day of vacation. We explored a lot this day too, and what do you know – we found Banksy #2! But enough about that….let’s talk about what you really want to know.

Where I Ate
Day #1: For breakfast we went to a place called Mothers…it was DELICIOUS! I love me some grits, so of course my breakfast involved eggs, grits and a homemade biscuit! If you are visiting NOLA, Mother’s in an absolutely must…but be prepared to wait in line!

We also happened upon a place called Cafe Du Monde, in which case we had coffee and, hello deliciousness!!! It's like a funnel cake, for breakfast - so that alone should tell you that you can't go wrong starting your day with that in your stomach!

For dinner we went to a place called Drago’s, as this place was ranked as having the best oysters. While I personally do not care for oysters – Joe does agree that they were the best he’s ever had, so if that’s your thing, definitely give this place a try. If oysters are not for you, their shrimp and grits were very yummy!

Day #2: For breakfast we had donuts from District Donuts, which were really delicious and super cheap! Joe being the foodie that he is (seriously I am trying to get him to start a food blog!) had a siracha and maple donut that he said was really good…I had a regular glazed donut lol. Obviously I put all my creativity into my style, not my eating habits!

Dinner was at the Bourbon House and this was by far the best customer service I have ever experienced. The dinner was great, but the service made everything that much better. I also may have had a piece of very yummy pecan pie too…I’m not sorry, it was phenomenal.

Day #3: At this rate, we were really starting to slow down and ready to get home to our sweet puppies, so we ate both breakfast and dinner at the hotel restaurant called Compere Lapin. Turns out, the chef there was on Top Chef and apparently getting reservations there is really difficult! Nevertheless, we lucked out twice that day, and for both breakfast and dinner the food was ah-mazing! I even ate goat…and pig ears, and I don’t regret it! If there is one thing New Orleans has down, it’s food!

The trip was a lot of fun, but I was surprised by the lack of things to do. Sure there are plenty of restaurants and bars, but there aren’t a whole lot of museums, and not a lot of great boutique shopping. While the vacation was a success, and I would absolutely go back – I did leave New Orleans thinking that perhaps the city would have been more fun had I still been in college. That said, NOLA would be the ultimate stop for a bachelor party, one of which Joe has already started planning J

Now, where should Joe and I go to next??

Outfit Details
Dress; Forever 21
Shoes; Nike
Jacket; BB Dakota (old) - similar here and here