How to See New Orleans?

Our New Orleans visit was not during the Mardi Gras season, but it was still spectacular.  We happened to be in New Orleans for a day following a cruise.  Having never been to New Orlean we wanted to experience its culture.  We did not know where to find a tour or guide, so we asked the hotel desk clerk for suggestions.

He immediately gave us a name and telephone number of “The Best Guide in New Orleans”.  I am sure that he was a little biased, but we gave the gentleman a call.  He quoted us a price that was unbelievable, $75 for 4 people for 4 hours of a private tour.  Right up frugal Traveling Wease’s alley.  Of course, we accepted.

When he picked us up at the hotel and he asked us what we wanted to see.  We informed him that we had never been in New Orleans and wanted to see it all. 

Stop 1 Beignets

He said we had to have some beignets.  Never heard of them.

They are an icon of New Orleans. They are similar to a sweet scone covered with powdered sugar.  The whole floor of the café was covered with a fine coating of powdered sugar.  They were amazing.

Stop 2 Bourbon Street

A drive down Bourbon Street.

Bourbon Street is 13 blocks long.  The streets are lined with Jazz Clubs, eateries, and bars. This is the entertainment strip of New Orleans. 

Stop 3 French Quarter

The French Quarter.

The French Quarter is the city’s historic heart, famous for its colorful buildings with cast-iron balconies. The quieter streets of the French Quarter have street performers entertaining the crowd.  We rolled the windows down so we could hear the music.

Stop 4 Garden District

This is a quiet, relaxing break from touristy places like the French Quarter.  The garden district is full of well-preserved, gorgeous mansions.  It is named the garden district because each house has Manicured lawns and gardens.

Stop 5 Lunch Time

Our guide looped back around to Bourbon Street to drop us off for lunch at an open-air café.  We shared some gumbo and po-boys (a type of sandwich).  We ended the amazing lunch with a banana foster.  All very New Orleans and amazing to the taste buds.

Stop 6 Cemetery

On our way to the next stop, he took us to a cemetery.  He wanted us to see a true New Orleans cemetery with the Mausoleums.

It was during Halloween time.  Luckily, it was in the afternoon, or I would not have gotten out of the car.  Spooky.  He explained that a family owned each mausoleum.  There were no graves because the water table was too high.  When a member of the family dies, the casket is placed in the mausoleum and then the door is sealed.  The temperature is so hot in New Orleans, the mausoleum acts like a crematory. When the next family member passes away, they just sweep the ashes to the back and put the new casket in.  YUCK!!!

We could not leave fast enough for me.

Stop 7 Chalmette Battlefield

War of 1812 ended at Chalmette Battlefield.

The last land battle ever fought on American soil between the United States and a foreign enemy took place on January 8, 1815 in Chalmette, just outside of New Orleans, on a site now known as The Chalmette Battlefield.

It is a large open field, on which markers show the approximate locations of the American and British positions. A ring road circles the battlefield, with convenient pull-offs where signs describe the various aspects of the battle. A plantation house is on the grounds and serves as a museum.

Each year, this battle is reenacted on the closest weekend to the anniversary date.  I would love to see that.

Stop 8 Hurrican Katrina

Hurricane Katrina aftermath.

The devastation of Hurricane Katrina was still very evident, after nearly 6 years.  There are still abandoned houses, wrecked cars, muddy or no streets, empty foundations, and more.  The feeling was so sad.  It really affected me to see the scars left by Katrina.  Very emotional.

Stop 9 Shotgun Houses

This was more of a drive-by than a stop.

These are shotgun houses and are all over New Orleans.  The name was derived from the fact that you can stand in the front door and shoot a shotgun out the back door.  They are long narrow homes.  They are painted in bright fun colors.  I loved them and wished I could have rung the doorbell on some to see what was inside.

Stop 10 French Market

The last destination was the French Market.

Our guide dropped us off at the large, and I mean LARGE French market.  This was like a combined flea market, farmers market, and craft expo.  We shopped to our hearts content. 

We had such a great time touring New Orleans and was able to taste the food, explore the history, and revel in the culture.

If you ever need to find a guide for a city tour, just ask the hotel staff.  They know the city the best, and they know the inexpensive and enjoyable ways to experience their city.

Have you had a great experience in New Orleans?  Leave a comment below to tell me about it.  I would love to hear from you.

See Ya Makin’ Memories.

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I am Wease, and my traveling days started early with a father that loved to travel. As a family, a large one, we always traveled and always by car. No matter how far we went, we made the famous road trip. My father’s mantra on these trips was “we are making memories”. No matter what happened on those trips, whether good or bad, we always made memories. These memories are very precious to me. My husband and I have continued this tradition in our family, with our children, of traveling and making memories. I have learned some valuable lessons and tricks and I plan to share these with you here. Here is what I live by: “The best things in life are the people we love, the places we have been, and the memories we have made along the way”. Anonymous

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