I am so thrilled to finally be sharing with you the trip I took to New Orleans with my compliments of Tap Influence and New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. In fact, when they first asked me to join 5 other bloggers to tour the city and be wined and dined by them I literally thought “This must be a scam!” But it wasn’t and I had the time of my life discovering what a beautiful city New Orleans is. Make sure you come back for my follow up posts on what you need to eat in New Orleans and where to find it as well as where to find the best family friendly entertainment in New Orleans.
I must admit that the extent of my understanding of New Orleans comes from very few sources; the Disney movie, “The Princess and the Frog”, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, and a Katrina rebuild project done by Brad Pitt. Hurricane Katrina impressed upon me the enormity of loss that was experienced by so many people that love this great city and now I have a much greater understanding as to why. If there is any one thing that sticks out to me more about this city than anything else, it would be the pride and the rich history of this beautiful city. There is something everyone wants to share about it and everyone has a restaurant that you MUST try before ending your visit. I am happy to say I was able to experience some of the very best.
I was lucky enough to visit New Orleans just as it was preparing for the Mardi Gras, I am sad that I didn’t get to see the actually parade, but the city was abuzz with all the preparations for it. It is a celebration that lasts for weeks and ending with a big party the night night before Ash Wednesday before they give up an indulgence with the starting of Lent. I had to laugh because of few of the ladies that I spoke to said they don’t even consider a “New Years Resolution until after Mardi Gras because it would indefinitely fail. Everyone is a buzz with preparations, ordering costumes, meal planning and decorating. I would love to come back to experience it some time.
I am going to take you on a mini journey with me through my next few posts and tell you some of the tops spots that you must see while visiting New Orleans. First, a walking tour of the city…and to happy discovery these girls I was able to tour the city with and spend the next few days discovering music, food, and culture were a lot of fun! We each represent different parts of the country.
From left to right, Melody is from Philadephia, PA and writes the blog Being Melody, she is such a fun person to be around and knows a lot about make up! Erin is from Gilbert, AZ and writes the blog My Thirty Spot, for all of us ladies who now find ourselves in our thirties! She is super fun and she and I had a lot of fun touring some of the more historical parts of the city together. Becky writes the blog The Cookie Rookie, she is from Missouri, a brilliant cook and an awesome friend. Elise, from San Fransisco, writes the fashion blog WTFab and is an absolutely gorgeous girl inside and out. Annetta, who is not pictured here, her flight came in a little later, is from Portland Oregon and writes the blog The Wanderlust Kitchen, which I am now a big fan of. She was a super fun gal to have on the go and was always ready for the next adventure. So as you can see, great city + amazing people = having an amazing, beautiful, inspiring time.
This was one of my favorite stops, Jackson Square in the French quarter. We climbed to the top of a hotel and gazed over the whole city. Jackson Square was developed by a French woman who had inherited her father’s wealth. At the time of this city developing the inheritance of a family was given to the SMARTEST child, not necessarily the oldest son (as was the French tradition of the time) and this beautiful square was born. Not only is it one of the most beautiful parts of the city but it is a place where many fortune tellers, street performers, and musicians gather to enjoy a beautiful day.
It is not uncommon to find beautiful chandeliers and fine, detailed work throughout the finer hotels of New Orleans. There are so many beautiful building, antique shops, local artisans, and musicians. It would be easy to fill a day just taking in the sights!
As we walked through the city we couldn’t help but stop in front of this gorgeous shop. All of the hats are hand made by the same artisan and photography is strictly prohibited. Because photography is allowed on the street I was able to take this shot of course, but I was in awe of all of the gorgeous hats on the inside.
The streets of New Orleans are simply charming. There are a lot of balconies for people to sit and sip some tea. Most of the buildings have commercial shops in the bottom level and living quarters on the floors above.This building in Antoine’s, one of the oldest operating restaurants that has been owned by the same family for over 100 years. We didn’t get to eat here, but I would love to try it on my next visit. I would love to see the city in the Spring and Summer when the flowers begin to blossom on these beautiful balconies.
We had so much fun standing on the balcony of Arnaud’s where you can rent out a room upstairs during the Mardi Gras to throw beads! I don’t know if I will ever have an opportunity like that again! The staff was so kind to show us around and the food was amazing! (More on that tomorrow!) The buildings each have a unique story to share as they hold so much history within their walls.
The People. I was overwhelmed with the hospitality and kindness of everyone I came in contact with. Whether it was a local shop owner, cab driver, artist, or musician they were all lovely.
Beautiful organic linen shop owner with her hand picked products. They even had their pet chihuahua as a permanent associate to greet you at the door.
Live musicians playing music at Arnaud’s. They had such a fun sense of humor and where happy to take requests.
Amy from Langlois showing us the ropes of cooking. She even has a pet chicken she walks down the street. Such a fun experience to meet her. You can sign up for cooking classes with her HERE.
We stayed at the International Hotel right in the heart of the city and I had such a nice time staying there. The ambiance was beautiful and the staff was very attentive and accommodating. It even had a really cozy bar to hang out in if you would like to meet some friends to catch up or plan your night out on the town!
I hope you will come back the next few days to find out where you should go and what you should do for the best food and activities in New Orleans! Where is your favorite spot to visit in New Orleans?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. The opinions and text are all mine.