Things I Learned About New Orleans:
- New Orleans is perhaps one of the coolest cities in the US; it also smells THE WORST…even worse than NYC. If New Orleans had a perfume, it would smell like a conglomeration of garbage, pee, barf, body odor, shrimp, and beer.
- It is global warming hot there. Like, guys, the earth is officially warming. How do I know? NOLA is melting.
- NOLA is haunted. I want to be New Orleans for Halloween.
- Rated-R: People like to walk around mostly naked and say it’s for “charity.” We will talk about that later.
- Despite the streets smelling…weird, at best and vomit-inducing, at worst…you’ll be met with some of the best food ever created once you walk into basically any restaurant. However, Mothers is not good. People will recommend you go to Mothers. Don’t do it. Also, gumbo is hit and miss.
- NOLA jazz is basically as fun as 90s hip-hop, and I don’t say that lightly.
- Alligators are cool. Cajun dudes feed them marshmallows.
- Lanyap is a word from New Orleans that means “a little bit extra.”
Okay, enough with my list. Let’s talk about what went down on NOLA SUMMER OF ACTION PARTY 2017…WOOP.
Day 1: Airplane and Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Did you know that flying without children is actually part of the vacation? All of you people who think flying is such a drag, let me remind you RIGHT NOW that you aren’t toting around crying little stinkers. Flying with another adult is not a drag. It’s awesome. You get to talk to a friend without the constant “mom mom mom”, someone brings YOU drinks and snacks, you don’t have to wipe anyone’s butt (hopefully), and you can watch movies uninterrupted for HOURS.
Anyway, once we got into NOLA, I kind of felt like I was in a foreign country. Maybe that sounds weird, but I haven’t spent much time in the South and it was all new to me and super exciting.
Since Jean and I are fun-havers, we didn’t waste any time. We hopped on the trolley to get some dinner and go to see the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, but not before our evening was interrupted by a party of people wearing red lingerie and prancing about (?!?!?). Apparently, there is a festival where a bunch of people wear red dresses and bar hop and it’s for charity, but no one knows what charity, and it kind of reminded me of The Office when they run for rabies awareness. Anyway, it was really wild.
We went to this place called Sylvain’s for dinner and it was so good that I almost died. Jean literally licked the plate.
The Preservation Hall Jazz band was such a treat. We got the “big shots” tickets, so we didn’t have to sit on the floor because we like to be fancy. The room is super tiny (like miniature) and the band members are all so old and so cute and really good at music (FYI: I’m music illiterate…that’s what Brandon is for in this marriage). Also, I learned that apparently Jean and I are the ONLY people in the room beside the musicians who knew the second verse to “You Are My Sunshine.” Isn’t that one kind of a staple? Come on Americans! You can do better.
Day 2: SWAMP TOUR
Let me spare you most of my words, and just show you this video. I will say this. It was raining so hard at one point that I had my face completely covered and was peeping through a tiny hole I made between my fingers, and my eyeballs were still getting pelted by the rain.
Also, I held an alligator.
On the way home from the swamp tour, the bus driver said to eat at Mothers. We had also gotten this recommendation from others on Facebook. We were starving so we hopped off the bus and walked to Mothers. There was a huge line out the door, so I was expecting the most delicious food I’ve ever eaten. It was NOT the most delicious food ever. It was gross. If you go to New Orleans, don’t go there. It’s not good.
Day 3: WWII Museum and SPOT ON Food Day
To redeem ourselves from falling for the tourist trap, Mothers, we made it a priority to eat at only at delicious places this day. And, let me tell you, we hit the nail right on the head.
We ate at Restaurant R’evolution, Cafe Du Monde, and Peche. We took lots of obligatory Instagram pictures of our food. I’ll just share the most important one with you. Can you guess what it’s going to be?
That’s right! Beignets from Cafe Du Monde. Yum.
We also spent some time at the WWII Museum, which was awesome, educational, and really touching. I wish I spent more time there and I want to return soon.
When you get there, they give you a dog tag with a real person from the war. You can scan the dog tag and follow the person’s personal story as you walk through the museum. Each time you go to the museum, you can get a different dog tag to learn about someone else’s story.
I think the thing that impressed me most about the museum was how it was laid out. Rather than having random artifacts here and there, the whole museum was planned and followed a path throughout history. For example, the first room was about events leading up to the war. Another room was all about the bombing of Pearl Harbor followed by a section about the Japanese internment camps. There was also a part of the museum dedicated to specific troops including African American troops, laborers at home, and big industrial players.
Another section of the museum walked you through the whole floor with a chronological presentation of what happened in the Pacific while the basement of the same building walked you through what was happening in Europe.
I also liked how they pointed out the hypocrisy and disconnect in American mentality during the war. For example, America was fighting a war to end bigotry and hatred in Europe and yet at home, they were sending Japanese-Americans to internment camps and segregating African American troops. The museum didn’t gloss over these parts of history.
The whole museum was really cohesive, interesting, and educational. I learned a ton, and I want to go back asap.
Day 4: Mississippi River and Ghost Tour
Jean got to visit her old friend the Mississippi River and we also went on the world’s creepiest ghost tour. I’m trying to decide if I should withhold the details, so I don’t ruin the surprise, or If I should be a spoiler alert and tell you everything.
This post is getting long, so I’ll just say go on a ghost tour and learn about the vampires in the Ursuline Convent, the LaLarie Mansion (shiver shiver shiver), voodoo, and more. New Orleans is haunted. Here are some scary pics…
Day 5: Prancing around the French Quarter and Eating Fried Chicken
On our last day, we just walked around the French Quarter, ate more good food (you know…to make up for all the walking), and then ate more good food…namely, FRIED CHICKEN at Willie Mays. Yum.