I'd been to NOLA once before and stayed in the Frenchman Hotel. I enjoyed it so much, we stayed there again. It's centrally located on Frenchman Street and it's got a lot of New Orleans charm (including wonky doors, buggy bathrooms, music in the air, and the sweetest little court yard pool!).
We mostly walked and took trolleys around the city and visited as many areas as we could in the short time we had. We went to Bourbon Street, of course, walked around the Merigny, the French Quarter, and East Carrolltown (where we had an amazing meal at Ba Chi Canteen). NOLA is a pretty great walking city, as long as you're accustomed to walking. The trolleys are easy to get the hang of. But remember, you buy your ticket on the trolley, there are no outside ticket machines. Being from NYC, this confused us at first.
We spent a large portion of one day at City Park. The museum was closed that day, but we were able to explore the NOMA Sculpture Garden. More on that in this post.
The Park is a little far out from our hotel for walking, but the bumpy trolley ride is perfect for seeing the city. The locals also take the trolleys so you'll see kids and commuters, as well as tourists.
The park is vast and we only scratched the surface. But we had a great time following ducks and taking in a bit of Southern nature.
I've never seen such a variety of moss!
We found a great spot in City Park for a snack. Morning Call had great beignets, a staple of any New Orleans visit.
Of course we also made a few stops at Cafe Du Monde!! Three trips for beignets in two days seem totally normal to me.
Finding vegetarian options in popular/traditional restaurants was a bit of a challenge at times. But there are so many great food options in NOLA, all sorts of varieties and ethnicities. There's something for everyone, you just need to search it out.
My first visit to the city was completely magical, and I wondered how this trip would compare. Walking around NOLA was a lot like I remembered. So bright and colorful, quiet and still in the hazy heat, but vibrant and living. I could easily just walk around for hours.
There seemed to be more people around this time, but that might be time of year. I have to say that I was surprised to see quite a few more people who seemed to be living on the streets, or in need. I think NOLA has a reputation as a hedonistic paradise, full of debauchery, but that the influx of down and out types might be a dark consequence.
Even we visited a casino, but just for a walk though. We went to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Look for a post all about that soon.
Not being one for a debaucherous lifestyle, I do absolutely believe one should indulge in life. For me, New Orleans has so much possibility for wonderful indulging, without the need to go totally crazy. Its strangely satisfying to drink on the street, but I rarely do it. I love to eat the town's powdered sugar staple, but find a great healthy option for dinner or lunch. For me, the eerie calmness that prevails in the residential areas is more enticing than the party town atmosphere on Bourbon St. New Orleans holds a mysterious balance for me, and I'm always eager to return.