Following a fleeting overnight stop in Memphis, it was time to take the long bus to New Orleans. Everyone I’ve met so far on the trip has sworn that New Orleans is the place to go in the south, so it was going to be interesting to see whether the city would live up to the hype!
Using the hand-written guide that Dallas made me in Charleston, my exploration began in the famous cafe Du monde, specialising in coffee and beignets. Eating in Jefferson Square in the shadow of the cathedral, my first taste of new Orleans involved the smell of fried fish combining with the sound of the jazz bands warming up.
After exploring the french quarter extensively, I found it quite noticeable how different bourbon street was to the picturesque old style buildings! The more local bars on Frenchmen street in particular were really beautiful, with a faded glory about them that particularly came alive as the sun went down and the jazz groups fired up. The rest of the day was spent exploring the city park and mid town, including some beautiful cemeterys, noticeable because all of the graves were above ground, making quite a spectacular view of thousands of pristine white mausoleums.
Next day was spent in the garden district, the more upmarket part of town built on former plantation land, filled with stunning houses, often in antebellum style. Magazine street was particularly interesting because, like the french quarter there were loads of cool antique shops with things ranging from civil war weaponry to bits of driftwood from the hurricanes! Lunch consisted of a fantastic and huge catfish po ‘boy at Domilises, claimed to be the best sandwich I will ever have, which may well be true.
After heading to frenchmen street for an awesome jazz group, I retired early(ish) to save energy for the next day, where I went on a swamp tour in the local cajun community, where there were tonnes of alligators, raccoons and birds, as well as being guided by a really knowledgeable cajun local who seemed to know the swamp inside out. In particular it was interesting to hear about local folklore and about how the various hurricanes effect the local community and how the deal with them by just climbing a tree, safer than risking getting stuck out on the roads.
As a farewell to New Orleans I partook in a bourbon street bar crawl, taking advantage of some of the cheap drinks deals and listening to some great music. I won’t go into depth about what happened, mainly because I’m not exactly sure…