Around this time 12 months ago, I had just returned from an absolutely epic New Orleans trip, thanks to being invited to attend a friend’s wedding.
It’s only because Facebook is now spamming me with ‘memory’ posts that I realised that I never got around to blogging about our time spent in one of the coolest places on earth. So here I am, making up for it, with a round-up of how we spent 48 (well, more like 96) hours in New Orleans.
Drinking sophisticated cocktails at Hotel Monteleone
This hotel bar is fequently named as one of the best bars in the world. The minute you set eyes on the grand, revolving, 25-seater circus-themed carousel at the 4* Hotel Monteleone, you’ll see why. Putting on your glad rags and slurping a strong cocktail as the bar slowly revolves is a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed. The rooftop pool is pretty lush, too. hotelmonteleone.com
2. Having our fortunes told in Jackson Square
Louisiana Voodoo, also known as New Orleans Voodoo, is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions developed by enslaved West Africans and the French, Spanish, and Creole populations of Louisiana. There are references to it all over the city, and that includes all kinds of psychics and mystics in Jackson Square, offering to read the palms, Tarot cards, and fortunes of passing tourists. I had my Tarot cards read by a woman who couldn’t possibly have known some of the things she came out with. Whether you’re a believer or not, it’s something you have to try whilst you’re in town. neworleansvoodoocrossroads.com
3. Heading to Frenchman Night Market for the coolest souvenirs
Featuring authentic art, dazzling jewellery and creative crafts produced by local artists, we stumbled on to the Frenchmen Street night market completely by accident, but we were so glad we did. You can take a break from the bustling clubs of the high street and hangout in one of the ‘outdoor living rooms’ before buying some truly original art to take home. One woman was selling belt buckles made from diamond-encrusted cat skulls when we visted (we were ensured that these were ethically sourced from the local vet)! frenchmenartmarket.com
4. Going gator-spotting on the Bayou
If you yearn for some nature and are keen to get out of the city for the day, this is the trip for you. We arranged transfers from our hotel and spent the day touring the Bayou swaps in an Airboat (one of those big ones with the fan on the back), spotting so many alligators! And they are not afraid of getting too close either… louisianaswamp.com
5. Partying (with our own motorcade)
Ok, not everyone who visits New Orleans will get the chance to experience the sheer spectacle that is a big, fat New Orleans wedding. But if you do notice a huge street-party celebration going on while you’re there (and it isn’t Mardi Gras)- chances are, that’s what it is.
The welcome party might start, like ours did, with drinks on the porch of a family friend or neighbour’s house (read: MASSIVE MANSION).
The wedding itself could be held in the same abandoned church-come-operahouse where Solange Knowles got hitched (yes, I am talking about Beyonce’s sister).
If you’re out drinking in the French Quarter later on, you might be interrupted by a huge celebratory motorcade for the Bride & Groom. This is something only those born in New Orleans are entitled to.
Excuse the shoddy camera-work! Last night I was lucky enough to attend an absolutely fabulous wedding in #NewOrleans – which ended in the entire wedding party starting a parade – waving hankies and following the bride and groom through the streets of the #FrenchQuarter to the sounds of a marching jazz band. What a night! 🙌🙌🙌
And even the next day, the celebrations won’t stop. It’s likely that the local members’ club will be overrun with still-celebrating friends and family!
The moral of the story: epic wedding invitations aside, 48 hours is nowhere near enough time to spend in New Orleans. Make sure you stay for longer, and party hard! 🙂