Exploring New Orleans

One day Blake and I wanted to go somewhere new for vacation, somewhere we both haven't gone to. We decided to visit...New Orleans, Louisiana. Personally, I've never been to the South except Florida. I knew this was definitely going to be a great experience!

Well, let's see... other than having my flight cancelled since the snow storm was messing up traveling for everyone I luckily found a ticket that could take me to New Orleans on time for New Years. I mean, that was my plan! Let's just say the airline I was originally flying couldn't take me until 4 days later...WHAT! I KNOW! I literally had a mini heart attack talking to this poor lady on the phone. Yes, I had to pay a little extra within my budget but overall my experience with the city was unforgettable.

When I arrived, I met up with Blake and his awesome parents. They picked me up at the airport since they drove from Kansas to New Orleans. My first impressions of New Orleans was that they had palm trees. I wasn't expecting NOLA to have tall palm trees! One of the first things we did was attend a FREE Usher concert. Did I say free? We ubered our way to Jackson Square where Usher was performing. Even though I've seen Usher live before it will never get old. Next, we visited good old Bourbon Street. Aside from the drunken people, the buildings were beautiful. I couldn't stop staring at them thinking I was in a different country. I loved the iron railings, the elegant windows and the brick roads.

The next day, we explored outside from downtown. One of the places we explored was the historical cemeteries. Most cemeteries in Louisiana are above ground. Before the trip, I absolutely had no interest in seeing them since I am the biggest scaredy cat but I am so glad I did. Yeah, maybe I stayed in the car while Blake's mom walked up to the tombstones but eventually I wasn’t even scared at all. It was more of a “wow” feeling since a lot of the tombstones were gigantic. I now want a big tombstone like the people in Louisiana. The interesting part was some of the tombstones were from the 1800s. And still...they were gigantic. Later that night we celebrated New Years Eve around the French Quarter. Bourbon street was crazy. Jackson Square is where they have a Fleur-de-lis drop on top of the Jackson Brewery and afterwards they have fireworks above the Mississippi River. The fireworks were HUGEEEE! It was an amazing experience and was a great start to the beginning of my new year.

My favorite part of the trip was holding a baby alligator. That is right, an alligator. We did a tour around the swamps hoping to see some big alligators, but apparently they hide under ground during the “winter”. I quoted winter because 50 degrees with no snow is not winter to me. Anyways, even though we didn’t get to see big alligators the tour guide had one on the boat. We passed the baby alligator around while he continued driving the boat. I am still surprised he didn’t watch us one by one holding the baby alligator. We passed it like it was a toy for show and tell. I got to hold the baby alligator first. I was nervous since..again its a freaken alligator! But the baby alligator was pretty darn cute and behaved itself. Next was Blake who held the baby alligator. His picture looks like he was choking it. LOL. Next, was Blake's dad and he did a good job. It was actually on his bucket list to hold one so he was pretty amazed. Finally, it was Blake's moms turn. She did well at first but then got nervous when it started squirming. We were all thinking she was about to throw it out the boat HAHA! The tour guide told us if the baby alligator started moving put it against you like a baby and it will stay still. Eventually we got some good pictures with it and and passed the baby alligator to the next family.

Another favorite part of the trip was…the FOOOOD!!! I never experienced different dishes that exploded in your month with tons of flavor. I tried tons of Cajun Seasoned dishes, Shrimp Po Boys, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Seafood Platters, Banana Fosters, and Alligator Bites which is a bit ironic since I just recently talked about how the baby alligator was so cute…haha I only had a bite though. Plus, I did it so I can say I have tried it. Secretly, it was good. Moving along, the food there is to die for. I bought some Cajun seasoning there so hopefully I can play around with it and start cooking. I am already obsessed with shrimp....and the shrimp there was by far the juiciest shrimp in the world. My best advice when you go to New Orleans is to just try everything. You can't go wrong because you most likely won't dislike the dish. Other than great dishes, let me start talking about the beignets. Beignets...are..a bite of heaven. Basically its a fried donut with tons of powder sugar. Of course, I went to Cafe De Monde, where apparently they're the ones who made the delicious bites of heaven. Every person I talked to told me to visit Cafe De Monde, and now I know why. Also I tried a Praline Beignet around the farmers market. I loved both, but you can't go wrong with any type of Beignets. I am actually craving a beignet right now...

The last part I want to talk was the Jazz music. Secretly, I have an old soul. I love listening to music from the 70s & 80s. Love listening to singers who have that Frank Sinatra voice. On Frenchman Street (still in the French Quarter) were venues, bars, and restaurants full of Live Jazz bands. At one part, I caught myself smiling because I was so happy! Similar to the feeling you get when you watch The Voice and the singer gave you the goose bumps. Yes, that feeling! I was tapping my toe, swinging side to side, and just wanted to twirl. If you have old soul like me, or enjoy live music definitely visit Frenchman Street.

My last day in New Orleans was walking around saying farewell to the great city. At first, we decided to have breakfast together at this one diner that has pancakes the size of pizzas. It was fun to eat since its huge but then you realize its so good that you can eat the whole thing. Blake's parents had to head back a little earlier since they had a long drive ahead of them. It was sad knowing our vacation is coming to the end. Blake and I walked around our favorite places. It was such a nice day out that there were more activites going on. We saw these kids playing jazz music together. Probably 6 of them playing the saxaphone, trumpet, tuba, trombone, and drums. Blake and I probably watched them for half an hour enjoying it. Cool to see kids passionate about music. Later at night, we were getting tired from walking around and wanted to catch the Vikings vs Packers game. We ended the trip with pizza and Vikings winning! SKOL! What an amazing trip.

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