La Nouvelle-Orleans inspires pure indulgence with its distinctive French and Spanish Creole architecture, its old streetcars gliding under a lush canopy of live oaks, its hanging gardens that spill over the iron-lace balconies, its stunning tropical courtyards, its exuberant shopping district that winds along the river, and of course, its delectable cuisine scene just begging to be discovered.
The French-founded Crescent City captivated me from the very beginning. Maybe it was the extraordinary mélange of cultures that makes New orleans a city unlike any other, or its delicately seductive fragant of sweet olive trees and honeysuckle azaleas floating in the breeze. Or the summer sultry air. Or maybe some kind of voodoo magic, but I was completely under the spell of New Orleans as soon as our plane touched ground.
I remember being in a constant awe as the taxi drove me along narrow sidewalks flanked by century-old Southern Magnolia trees bursting with evanescense blooms. The elegant, dreamy homes from Neoclassic to the lavish and ornamented Beaux Arts incredibly exuded old-world charm. I came looking for the real soul of America, and I just had found it. The spirit of the Old South still lives on New Orleans.
That certain je ne sais quoi of the buzzing French Quarter is definitely in the air as you wander its dizzying streets and alleys. Adorned with exuberant floral baskets, the intricate wrought-iron balconies are an absolute visual delight. The French Quarter is definitely enough to make an architecture lover weak in the knees.
Formerly the Place d’Armes around which New Orleans was built, the historic park is one of the city´s most recognizable landmarks. Surrounded by original 18th-century buildings, the square has been a gathering place for local artists and musicians since the 1920s. From beautiful oil paintings to unique creative drawings, the art varies widely.
Café Du Monde
World famous for its cafe’ au lait and beignets, Café Du Monde is an open-air coffee shop on Decatur Street in the French Quarter. Recognizable by its green-and-white striped awning, this local institution was originally established back in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. Click here to read about our wonderful experience at the historic Café Du Monde.
Who does not remember that mythical scene from the 1939 American Romantic Epic “Gone With The Wind” in which Scarlett runs from the iconic antebellum home on the cotton plantation called Tara? Captivated by Scarlett’s childhood home, I could not leave the Big Easy without visiting an exact replica of Scarlett’ s opulent mansion.
Click here to know more about this Southern gem.
Wild Weekend Atmosphere
Everything in NOLA is really theatrical. It´s always fun no matter what time of year it is. Swirling rhythms float from every street corner as incredible artists, musicians, tarot-card readers and fortune tellers, artists, jugglers, clowns, tap dancers and many other characters create such a unique atmosphere. New Orleans is definitely full of unexpected surprises, so “laissez les bons temps rouler” (let the good times roll)!
New Orleans lives on the verge of events. During our visit, we stumbled onto a unique festival known as the “Bourbon Street Extravaganza”, the largest event of Southern Decadence. Worlds can hardly describe how much we enjoyed our time in this wonderful city!
Evening Jazz Cruise
Taking a cruise on the Mighty Mississippi river should top every visitor’s bucket list. We indulged in a memorable evening on the Steamboat Natchez, the last authentic steam-powered sternwheeler in the entire river. Built in 1925, the paddle-wheel steamboat was modeled after the Hudson, a packet boat that was in operation from 1886 to 1905.
Cruising on the Natchez was like taking a step back in time. I remember boarding the three-deck vessel in the French Quarter just as the sun was starting to set. We took a seat on the open deck to savor the romance of New Orleans‘ skyline as we tapped our feet to the live jazz music from a talented group of musicians.
After going on a private boat and engine room tour, we settled into our reserved seats in the dining room to have a wonderful buffet dinner as we listened to the grammy nominated Dukes Of Dixieland. Back on the open deck, we sipped cocktails and relaxed as we sailed under the skylight.
A night out in the largest city in Louisiana involve going for bespoke seasonal cocktails, subjecting yourself to the voodoo powers of the bartenders, meeting and greeting new and old friends, dancing non stop, and then, finishing up in one of its famed jazz joint to jam until dawn.
Excursions From NOLA
OAK ALLEY PLANTATION
An hour west of New Orleans is located the historic Oak Alley Plantation, an architectural treasure which has been regarded as The Grande Dame of the Great River Road. Nowhere else in the south will you find such a spectacular setting!
Click here to read about our visit to the classic Greek-revival style antebellum home.
During our stay in NOLA, we still had time to explore Southern Louisana’s mysterious marshlands. The sultry serenity this wilderness area exudes is indescribable. Imagine moss-draped cypress trees rising from muddy bayous, beautiful herons preening themselves on low-hanging branches and alligators slipping quietly in and out of the water.