Our trip to New Orleans may have been the most interesting of all. We booked a hotel during Halloween weekend and stayed just a block from Bourbon St. All main quarters were walking distance besides our favorite destination, Franklin St. Be sure to fit in a Beignet somewhere between the guidelines below. They are all the hype, but I admittedly didn’t finish mine. When visiting, we stayed five nights and I could go on for days about the Museum of Death, the coffee shop at the corner and late night pizza; but we'll keep it at this short list for now.
Here is my recommended itinerary for a quick trip to one of my all-time favorite cities:
F R I D A Y
2. Stop in for some absinthe at Pirate Alley Cafe. They'll give you the traditional show, sugar cube and all.
3. Book. A. Vampire. Tour. I cannot stress this enough. You will be introduced to the beautiful and tragic history of the French Quarter right off the bat while being scared to bits. If you think your tour guide may be a vampire, you’re probably right. Make best friends with your tour guide, you’ll find out why in a moment.
4. Grab a Lyft, set the destination to Franklin St and walk into the first full bar that you see. We spent Halloween night on Franklin and ended up, quite literally, dancing in the rain (and in black cloaks).
S A T U R D A Y
1. Breakfast at Atchafalaya is a must. It is a good distance away from the French Quarter, but absolutely worth the trip. What could go wrong with a build-your-own bloody mary bar and what might be the best breakfast sandwich on the planet. Don't take my word for it, try it yourself.
2. The trip out of town will lead you sit you near the next best thing - Plantation tours! Walk off the liquor from the night before and step inside some of the oldest, most historic homes in Louisiana. Here you will learn of the style and architecture behind these french buildings. Look at all that iron!
3. Head back near Bourbon St. Eat anywhere with a balcony. Request to sit on said balcony. Enjoy.
4. Start your night at Lafitte’s Black Smith Shop, the oldest bar in the country will be sure to spook you out. It is known to have the ghost of Jean Lafitte who apparently sits in dark corners and supervises while you order beer, after beer, after beer.
5. Work your way back up Bourbon St. for the night and watch the madness unfold. Or be the madness, whichever.
S U N D A Y
1. Brunch hard at Brennan’s. If you're recovering from an expected one-too-many drinks, sip on the Caribbean Milk Punch. There is also a Sage Mimosa cocktail off the menu that will do more than lift your spirits. Move on to the Roasted Gulf Oysters smoked in a chili butter with a Manchego crust. Finish with the Eggs Cardinal. A beautiful crispy lobster and shrimp boudin benny-style dish with spinach and a Creole mustard hollandaise. This last plate has me dreaming of Brennan’s on a daily basis.
2. Pay your respects in passing at some of the best VooDoo shops in the country. Stop in and explore the unique hand-made dolls, candles and one-of-a-kind murals to many VooDoo icons.
3. Have your new best friend give you a private tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 2. Be sure to bring your offerings for Marie Laveau. She particularly enjoys cigars, money and candy - but cigarettes will suffice.
But hey, you can always book a longer trip. We stayed for five days and there was never a dull moment. An additional tour that I did not mention here was the Steam Boat Natchez Sunday Jazz Brunch Tour. It was amazing with great views - but rather long so I would not recommend it to everyone. Side note: Weed is not legal in NOLA just yet, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.