After passing through Memphis, I began paying closer attention to the view outside my car window. Tree branches were suddenly as thick as cobwebs, held aloft by lean, tall trunks. Deep patches of green poked up through the dead leaves on the ground; a big change from Nebraska, where our little green buds are only just finding the courage to sprout.
As we neared the end of our drive, we encountered the wetlands. Algae — bringing another shade of green to the palette — covered the bogs and marshes, vying for space underneath numerous clumps of cattails. Houses on stilts stood proudly in the murky water, reminding me deeply of Beasts of the Southern Wild. It suddenly felt like we were driving into another country entirely.
New Orleans: a grand music scene with amazing cuisine. A city with plenty of distractions to stave off the hot, humid weather.
To a certain extent, that is.
We were down there for about a week, eating and drinking our way through the French Quarter. We went on three vastly different tours, ranging from a walk in a cemetery to a boat ride through a bayou. And the museums! Oh, the museums. I’ll elaborate on these things in later posts, but for now, I need to make this point:
New Orleans is a fun place to visit. Once. Truly, it feels like a one-and-done kind of place. At least for me.
New Orleans — also known as “NOLA” — is essentially the French Quarter. Outside of the area that’s dedicated to tourism, the suburbs take over and locals simply go about their business. There are cities where it’s interesting to see the suburban architecture, to talk to locals, to explore. NOLA doesn’t have this quality.
With tourists limited to the French Quarter, everyone is trapped. Everyone is loud. Particularly on Bourbon Street, which — I cannot recommend this enough — should be avoided at all costs. It is Times Square shrunk down into a smaller area, filled with bars blasting Top-40 music that no one’s heard since 2010, and drunken tourists.
And every bartender I met looked exhausted. The whole city, really, felt fatigued.
Granted, there are a plethora of shops, bars, and restaurants to explore in the French Quarter. It’s a great place for foodies. And a solid theory is that we were simply there at a strange time: right after Mardi Gras. The city could have seemed tired because it was still recovering from the big ol’ party it hosted the week before.
So my personal recommendation, for those thinking about traveling down there, is to make it a fun weekend excursion instead of going for an entire week. Or bite the bullet and go during Mardi Gras, when it’ll surely be a hoppin’ place.
…That all being said, I can’t wait to elaborate on why NOLA is a grand ol’ time anyway, and worthy of visiting. Once.
Stay tuned, and thanks for reading,