This past March, I had the privilege of visiting Scottsdale, AZ to watch the SF Giants play a MLB Spring Training game, and then hopped over to New Orleans, LA for St. Patricks Day. Both cities offered a plethora of new experiences, and let me tell you, events in New Orleans are quite a spectacle!
At the Spring Training game, Hunter Strickland signed my baseball and glove, and was even nice enough to ask how my day was going *swoon.* But seriously, I just feel lucky enough to have been at the game and to have spent some fun time with my grandparents and dad.
New Orleans was a unique experience and definitely one for the books. Hearing about southern jazz and soul food is completely different than experiencing the rich culture and history through traditional cuisine and artists in the streets. We stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites, just off Bourbon Street, which worked out well as it was quieter and within walking distance of everything.
My mom, dad and I traveled on St. Patrick’s Day, also known as my dad’s birthday, then had dinner at Pat O’Brien’s. If you’re looking for the all around best place in town, go no farther than O’Brien’s!! From there we spent the night around Bourbon Street and hit Café du Monde for dessert. While having the original and best beignets and coffee with chicory, a parade started. I knew New Orleans was famous for Mardi Gras and their crazy parties, but parades for every holiday? Needless to say we watched the parade and even accepted/gave a few innocent cheek kisses for beads, all the while watching an intense storm roll in. Lightning storms in the south are a whole other story compared to anything California can brew up! That night I also met up with a friend from study abroad and casually rode a mechanical bull.
The next day, we wandered the French Quarter, stopping at every cute store and alleyway we found (if you’ve been, you understand we basically stopped every 10 feet). Included in those stores was a hand-rolled cigar shop and a traditional hand-made lamp maker. We then went on a food tour where we stopped in many traditional and local restaurants to try local cuisine. If you’re ever hungry, I promise you any place that sells poboys or mufaladas is a good enough place to eat. Best. sandwiches. ever. Later that night we saw the original jazz band in the original jazz spot at Preservation Hall. My dad saw them play when he was a wee lad, so he had to take us there to experience it as well. With smoke on the walls so thick you could slice it, the place really showed its age and brought us back in time. I also ran into a DG from Alabama State after, yay sisterhood and friendship, so overall the French Quarter offered us everything and did not at all fail to disappoint!
On the 19th, we started the day a little late, so didn’t get out for breakfast until noon. Luckily I found the cutest place on Yelp that we were able to walk to! Surrey’s is a breakfast spot built into a house in the residential part of New Orleans closer to Magazine Street. I highly recommend the french toast and fresh pressed juice! After, it started raining so we figured it was a good idea to walk through the Garden District and admire the old southern mansions. It was actually fun once we got over the wet and cold, and we saw a couple houses that famous writers now live in. I may have to buy a house there too it was just such a cute area! We had walked all the way out there and back, which was 6 miles round trip, but in the future I suggest taking the green trolley. It would have saved a lot of time and sore legs. We made it back to the French Quarter just in time for yet another random parade! Turns out it was an Italian holiday so the beads I got had lots of plastic spaghetti on them! We then got dinner at the famous and delicious ACME Oyster House, another place I’d highly recommend.
Overall, New Orleans left quite the impression and I wish I could have gone into more detail about all the amazing experiences we had! I know they don’t say what happens in Nola stays there, but from the times we had and how hard it is to describe the fun, they should say that. Would I go back? YES in a heartbeat! If you need me next spring break you know where to look!
Life is an adventure, so keep exploring it!