“You can live in any city in America, but New Orleans is the only city that lives in you”
New Orleans is a city of music, food, rich history and good ‘ole Southern hospitality, how could you not love this place? For me, there is no city like New Orleans. It’s a place full of soul and vibrations. You can get a good feel for what this city use to be and what is it in it’s current state, as they are celebrating their 300 years of an established city. I was excited when a girlfriend suggested we take a trip here. Although I had been here before, I hadn’t had the chance to take the city in for what it’s really worth. While the possibilities are endless in the N.O. here are some of my highlights of the Big Easy.
Things to Do
Mike B “BE” Studio
With a quick Uber ride and $10 admission fee this art gallery was definitely worth the trip. This warehouse host various artists who capture the black experience in a number of ways. From historical events to prominent figures within the black community. Outside the studio dawns magnificent graffiti art unlike any I’ve ever seen. It’s bold, captivating and thought-provoking. Not to mention the photos you can capture, just take a look!
For more details, check out the Studio BE Facebook page.
While these lands are often seen only as a harsh reality of the black American experience, the plantation tours are something I recommend for everyone. All ages, races and nationalities. What makes New Orleans unique is how integrated they were as people even during the time of slavery. Still very much enslaved, blacks had opportunities unlike their neighboring states in the south. For instance, there were free blacks who owned plantations, both blacks and whites were buried together, slaves were allowed to congregate every Sunday in today what is America’s oldest African American neighborhood, Tremé. In “Congo Square” people were allowed to dance, worship and celebrate their African heritage and roots, a practice that is still done by the diaspora in Cuba.
From start to finish the tour guides were witty, informative and was able to present the stories behind this places with such great detail. There are a number of tours ran everyday but I choose to go with Old River Road . For $150 I was able to get transfers, two plantations visits, a swamp tour and provided lunch. The next time I return I will be sure to join them on the other plantation tours they offer. This is a full day experience, something that is not only memorable, but you walk away with more knowledge.
Eat, Eat, Eat, and then Eat some more
Have you ever looked on Yelp and seen that majority of the restaurants are 4-4.5/5 stars? Why would you already make a difficult question like “What do you want to eat?” even more difficult to answer. What I learned about food in this city is that, you’ll rarely run into a bad meal. Seriously.
Recommendations are completely up to the individual. We had some people say this restaurant was the best, but others would say their competitor was the best. So to settle the matter? I’ll let my tastebuds be the judge of that and eat at both. Dining here is just as important as seeing historical sites and an experience in it’s own right. A few places I’d recommend is “Drago’s” the char-boiled oysters are phenomenal, “The Ruby Slipper” I think I ate the best biscuit in my life! (Just don’t tell my granny, she’s still old-school and makes biscuits from scratch.) and “Cafe Amelie” I could go on and on about how when the waiter arrived with my frittata and it was deep-dished. Never in my life have I seen such a beautiful brunch sight.
Of course you can’t go to New Orleans with having beignets, while all the rave was for “Cafe Du Monde” I found “Cafe Beignet” to be a bit more satisfying for my tastebuds.
If you haven’t already figured it out New Orleans is a big party city. It’s famous for Bourbon Street a place where anything can happen. I’m not the biggest fan of the area, but it is a must do when visiting the city for the first time. New Orleans apparently is also known for turning everything into a festival. We just happened to be in town for the “Fried Chicken Festival”. Believe me, it’s as good as it sounds. A wonderful Sunday eating multiple versions of fried chicken, drinking Moet and listening to Mannie Fresh DJ.
I can’t thank New Orleans enough for the hospitality, delicious food, endless drink, and never-ending laughs. May it always be the vibrant soul of America.