This past weekend I made one of the more spontaneous decisions in my life and joined one of my best friends Erica (you’ve heard about her before from our trip to Stone Mountain) and a group of her co-workers for a last minute trip to New Orleans. I’ve been to the Big Easy once before, almost exactly 2 years prior for my 21st birthday, but what made the trip this year so hard to resist was not only that it was the weekend before my 23rd birthday, it was also during the peak of Mardi Gras! That combined made it too good of an opportunity for me to turn down so a few days before the trip I pulled some strings to get Friday off of work, a person to watch my cat, and the adventures began!There were 8 of us that went on this trip, myself included, and we all split the cost of a 1 bed 1 bath airbnb about a mile outside of all the touristy action in the Garden District. We arrived in New Orleans at about 2pm Friday and almost immediately after dropping our things off we headed out to our first stop: NOLA Brewery. This place was a great way to ease into all the action that lied ahead as we relaxed from the long drive with some brews, food, and a game of Cards Against Humanity. After a while we wrapped everything up here, freshened up at the apartment, and then we were back on the streets ready to experience Mardi Gras after dark.
On our walk from the airbnb to Bourbon Street we saw the very start of a parade and caught our first beads of the weekend! We also walked by Harrah’s and stopped inside to try our hands at gambling. I lost $2 on the slots almost immediately and I’m assuming nobody else did much better as we were all ready to leave soon after we got there. I did buy myself a birthday cigar while we were there though so the stop was worth it for sure. Eventually we did make it onto Bourbon Street and from there I’ll let your imagination take over. Although Erica got her phone stolen (BEWARE of pickpockets!) and her and I had a quick brush with death after running through traffic trying to cross the street on our walk home, all 8 of us did eventually make it home safe for a successful night 1.
The next morning 6 of us woke up starving so we immediately headed out to brunch at a cute little place called Two Chicks Cafe. After brunch we took our time getting ready for the day and sipping mimosas before walking down the road to St Charles Ave to get some more Mardi Gras parade action. Each parade during Mardi Gras is put on by a different Krewe and the one we ended up watching was the Krewe of Iris which was a special one because they were celebrating their 100 year anniversary. One thing to note is you definitely can’t cross the street while a parade is happening in NOLA, we had to walk along the parade route for quite awhile to eventually be able to cross and get to our next stop: LUNCH!
We went to this super cool hole in the wall bar called Erin Rose for lunch because word was they had some of the best shrimp po-boys in town. I’m a huge fan of hole in the wall places and this was no different. Definitely recommend stopping here if you’re ever in town; the food was great, the whole vibe of the place was awesome, AND they had frozen Irish Coffee’s in a cool little souvenir cup for only 6 bucks. After we were all fat and happy we wandered around the French Quarter and stopped into Jax Brewery in Jackson square. We soaked in the live music, brews, and views of the Mississippi River before taking our drinks outside (yay no open container laws!) and enjoying authentic New Orleans street music on Royal Street.For dinner we made our way to Frenchman Street and ended up at another little hole in the wall type of place called Adolfo’s. Part of our group split off and tried another restaurant on Frenchman but 5 of us stayed at Adolfo’s and we all ended up ordering the same thing; the special of Flounder stuffed with crab meat and topped with ocean sauce that had shrimp and crawfish in it. We all agreed that it was one of the best things we’d eaten and savored every bite.We spent the rest of the night listening to live music in the different bars on Frenchman St. One was called DBA and had an awesome 1920’s-ish band complete with saxophones and everything. Another bar had one of the best reggae bands I’ve ever heard and we had a blast dancing with the packed crowd to their music. Before we headed home for the night we decided to try walking down Bourbon Street again to soak in all the Mardi Gras madness one last time. We all ended up holding hands and basically being pushed by the massive crowds as we went down it but as crazy as it was it was an experience I’ll never forget. We even saw some guys with iguanas on their heads holding pythons, only in NOLA! After getting tacos at a place called Felipe’s we passed on our way out of the chaos we were back at the airbnb & had officially survived night 2.The next day we had brunch reservations at another really cool place on Frenchman St called The Maison. Before our reservation we decided to stroll around Frenchman in the daytime and get some Irish coffee’s and a pre-brunch avocado toast at another little place called Cafe Rose Nicaud (YUM). The Maison was delicious and had a really good band performing jazz music and swing dancing and it was just overall a great time. After brunch we decided to wander down Royal St some more and swing into a souvenir shop and a voodoo-ish store before deciding we should make our way home. We realized after leaving the stores though that none of us could really remember where we had parked our car before brunch so we took the scenic route walking up and down different streets and past the French Market until we recognized our surroundings again. None of us were too eager to get back to reality so once we knew the car was right around the corner we made another quick detour into another bar on Frenchman St for our last taste of NOLA jazz and some beers.I couldn’t be more thankful that Erica and all of her friends had me join them on this trip! It just goes to show that you never know what opportunities are waiting for you just around the corner. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my 23rd birthday than in one of my favorite cities with such a fun group of people.