Although the purpose of our US trip was not primarily for holidaying, neither of us felt like we could go half way around the world and not have some sort of adventure. Since my teen years of reading Anne Rice novels, New Orleans has always been a place that has fascinated me. Louisiana is only an hour’s flight from Texas so we decided to pop over there for a few days after the craziness of the World Cup. New Orleans was probably the most “un-American” feeling place that we visited. This is probably due to the fact that it was founded by the French Canadians and was occupied by the Spanish for quite a while. We stayed in the picturesque French Quarter which runs alongside the famous Mississippi River. After dropping our bags at the beautiful house we rented in the French Quarter (gotta love Air BnB!) we immediately set out to explore this incredibly atmospheric suburb. While Andy was buying what he says was the best coffee of his life, I stumbled into Jackson Square and was immeadiately hit with the tangible energy of New Orleans. I was suddenly surrounded by artists, fortune tellers, jazz bands and other busking musicians all sharing space around the colonial Plaza de Armas. I hope these pictures do some justice to the energy and quirky beauty we felt on our first day in New Orleans.
While some parts of New Orleans are painstakingly restored, a lot of places lie in aesthetically pleasing deriliction after Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005.
Streets all have Spanish and French names which add to the European feel to this part of the city.
My entry to Jackson square which was a barrage of my senses being surrounded by painters, fortune teller, bands and hippies.
The best coffee in the world…
I ended up chatting to a couple of snake charmers/crackheads who despite appearance were actually really cool people. The amazing and weird people you meet while travelling is definitely one of the huge benefits of exploring our world.
Local women eating some “crawfish” with the view of Jackson Square.
The famous Mississippi. The French Quarter is below the level of the river which is pretty creepy and explains why it floods so easily!
We saw SO many crews filming all over the city, this was for CSI New Orleans.
Probably one of the most famous streets in New Orleans is definitely Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street was crazy even on the Monday night we arrived and there were people all over the place punting 4 for 1 drink specials in amongst the gaudy but surprisingly endearing neon signs and jazz and blues bands playing in virtually every window we passed. Despite Bourbon Street smelling of a mix of cheap booze, vomit, urine, embarrassment and regret, it was great to experience the famous carnival-esque street.
Frenchman Street about a 10 minute walk from the bacchic Bourbon street had a much calmer Bluesy and artsy vibe that we really enjoyed and warmed to. We had the most amazing spicy Bloody Mary’s which no doubt helped to enhance the vibe and energy of this part of town…
We hung out quite a bit at the Spotted Cat which is a famous bar and music spot on Frenchman Street. The bands we encountered everywhere in New Orleans were all exceptionally good. I have never been a big jazz fan, but that cuz I realised I have never heard jazz like the kind that lives in New Orleans!
Right next door to the Spotted Cat was a fantastic little art market where local artists come and sell their work. There was some amazing stuff on offer and getting to chat to some of the artists was so great. I only wish we had had more money to support more of them.