This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!
In October 2008, Ken and I took our first big road trip together. We drove from DC > Atlanta > New Orleans > San Antonio > Memphis > DC.
This post covers the first part of our visit to New Orleans, LA.
French Quarter: Bourbon Street
When we arrived in New Orleans, it was nearly dark. Our hotel was not in the French Quarter, but very close to it. We checked into our hotel, and walked about three or four blocks to Bourbon Street, which is in the French Quarter.
I’m going to be honest here, I did not have a very positive opinion of New Orleans our first night there.* We had several dudes come up to us and say, “Hey, I know where you got them shoes! I know where you got them mother-effin shoes!” And then, when we’d just ignore them, they’d say, “On YO FEET! That’s where you got them shoes!” in an insanely drunken voice.
As you can probably tell, both Ken and I really like to take photographs. Some folks, presumably locals, started following us and saying, “Clickety clack! What the eff you even taking pictures of?” Then some of them would jump in front of our photos. Some asked us to take photos of them.
At that point in my life, I had traveled to more than 30 countries, and had even lived in the Middle East, so I was certainly no stranger to street harassment. But I can definitively say that I had never experienced street harassment like what I did in New Orleans anywhere else in the USA.
**Spoiler alert! Our opinion of New Orleans greatly improved the next day when we started exploring the rest of the (Non-Bourbon Street) French Quarter. I even had to go back to New Orleans about a year later for work, and I downright enjoyed it that time!
It was just a few days before Halloween, so there were a lot of festive decorations up, like cobwebs and plastic spiders. We walked up and down Bourbon Street and we were trying to decide where to eat!
When we decided on a place (sorry, I can’t remember the name of it), I was thankful for this Cajun Glossary included on the menu!
We ate, and went back to the hotel. It was fairly late, and we were tired after our long drive from Atlanta!
French Quarter (non Bourbon Street)
The next morning, we set off to explore more of the French Quarter. We hopped on a street car and took it a few miles and got off right next to the Mississippi River!
As we were walking around, I said to Ken, “Okay, THIS is what I expected New Orleans to be like.” The architecture was stunning, and the street harassment was not nearly as bad!
Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral
We walked around Jackson Square for quite a while.
From across the street, I took this photograph from under a cannon. The photograph became (and still is) one of my favorites of all time.
We went inside St. Louis Cathedral for a while. If memory serves me correctly, the entrance was free, but we left a donation in the box.
Cafe du Monde
After walking around, we had worked up quite an appetite, so we set off to find the famous Cafe du Monde to try some of their beignets!
They’re apparently famous for their Cafe au Lait too, but strangely enough neither Ken or I like coffee, so we opted for hot chocolates instead.
We got our check, which was just hand written on a napkin.
We also chuckled at how the floors were just covered with powdered sugar!
Algiers Ferry and Algiers Point
A tour book that I brought with us suggested going to Algiers Point, a short (and free!) ferry ride across the Mississippi. The guide mentioned that the area had experienced some sort of redevelopment and that it was well worth a visit.
Well, I think the person who wrote that for the book must have been trying to lure business to the area, because it was really disappointing. The ferry ride itself was good for some views of the New Orleans skyline, but we basically walked around Algiers Point for 20 minutes and then took the next ferry back. Very disappointing. Oh, and some stranger started following us around asking us about our cameras and to take his photo. So we couldn’t even escape people trying to bother us there either!
The highlight was being able to see a levee up close, especially after hearing about them so much just a few years earlier when Hurricane Katrina hit.
New Orleans Ghost Tour
Unfortunately I can’t remember what company we used (there are dozens!), but after some rest back at the hotel, Ken and I decided to go on a guided ghost tour of New Orleans. It was silly, but still a fun way to see New Orleans by night!
A ghost purportedly used to haunt a restaurant located in this alley, so the owner always had to put out an empty table for the ghost to sit at so he wouldn’t disturb the rest of the guests. Seems legit, right? I was trying to capture the ghost’s orb here 🙂
And I think a young girl jumped out of this dormer window when she couldn’t marry the man she wanted (or something like that).
More than anything on the ghost tour, I thought the Jesus shadow on the back of St. Louis cathedral was very creepy!
Random story, there was a guy on our tour (which consisted of about 8 people), that was from the same small county in Pennsylvania that I’m from! Small world!
And with that, we wrapped up our first full day in New Orleans!
*I had been to New Orleans when I was three years old. My family drove to Louisiana to go to the 1984 World’s Fair. But unfortunately, I have zero memories of it.