Dispatches from the Road: 24 Hours in New Orleans

‘In New Orleans, culture doesn’t come down from on high, it bubbles up from the streets.’ — Ellis Marsalis

If you have been a long time follower/reader, this will come as no surprise, but I can be kind of spontaneous and just hit the road to see/do/experience something cool. Well, my trip to New Orleans is one of those things. I am a big Zach Bryan fan and he was playing in New Orleans, where I have never been, so off I went for 3 days…driving 11 hours there and back, thus about 24 hours to cram as much of New Orleans as I could.

Since I had a bridal shower to attend that morning this didn’t leave until the afternoon, I slept at a rest area on the way there. Worked out pretty well and woke up to birds chirping. While it was early summer, the temperature at night was not too bad just humid. I was also able to stop at In-n-Out in San Antonio so a win! I arrived in New Orleans about 11 and decided to explore the famed Bourbon Street and French Quarter. It was so hot and humid. I had heard that about New Orleans due to its location and I cannot imagine being there in July or August. Stay hydrated! It wasn’t too crowded and, since I was there midday, there weren’t too many drunk tourists, ha!

I made sure to stop at the famed Cafe du Monde for their beignets. Very few times a place with such renown lives up to the hype but these beignets are sooooo good! I stood in the takeaway line and took them with me. The line moved quickly but don’t doddle when you get there, they’ll get annoyed and, due to the heat, the people behind you also will. You can dine in but it’s crowded and mostly outside. Again, stay hydrated!

The Zach Bryan concert was at the Smoothie King Arena, next to the Superdome. I booked my parking early via ParkWhiz and glad I did. It was cheaper I was able to go into the shorter line. The venue was really nice and I had a blast at the concert. My hotel was nearby, so getting in and out was convenient.

The following day, I crammed as much in as humanly possible. I got up early at hit up the New Orleans City Park and climbed to the highest point in the city…I use that term loosely as it was a small hill. It was raining, so a bit muddy and very wet but the temperature was nice. I didn’t stay for very long as my next stop was the National World War II Museum!

I got there right as it opened and spent a couple of hours wandering around. The gallery with WWII aircraft was really cool. My background is in the Age of War (and my grandfather was a member of the Army Air Corps, stationed near Liverpool where he met my Nana) and the museum was so well done! You are also given the card of a serviceman and you can see at the end if they survived (my did). It was incredible. Some of the galleries were more immersive experiences and I particularly enjoyed the ones dealing with the War in Europe, which tends to get overlooked (outside of D-Day) due to what happened in the Pacific Theatre. Walking through the Battle of the Bulge was very emotional. On a lighter note, they had a special exhibit about Walt Disney and all the animation company did to make military training videos as well as ones for the war effort at home. I just cannot recommend enough!

On my way out of town, I made one last stop to Oak Alley Plantation. While the Whitney Plantation was also recommended to me, I wanted to see the famed oak trees of this one. About an hour west of New Orleans, this was my first time going to a true plantation as a historic site. I had no idea what it was going to be like or how slavery would be addressed. I was so impressed that the National Park Service (of which this is a National Historic Landmark) did not shy away from the horrors of enslavement nor the culpability of the Roman Family. You can take a tour of the home itself but I did not have time and I have been in old houses before. The grounds are really lovely and the famed 300 year old oak trees were incredible. I am really glad that I made the trip out there, a little history and natural beauty.

So this was my whirlwind trip to New Orleans! While the trip was a lot, I don’t regret it at all and would do it again in a heart beat! I would like to the city to explore more of the history and culture. I was waitlisted for Taylor Swift’s show next year so finger’s crossed!

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