Katie, Casey, and I went down a few days early to see the sights before the other girls got in. Our first little outing took us to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. We were duped right away to hold a Big Ass Beer sign and then buy one, which we gladly did. As we were walking down Bourbon Street with our beers, an official looking guy announced us to stop. We thought there were only certain streets you could drink on and we were in trouble, but turns out he was trying to get us to buy hats. We laughed and then turned away from Bourbon Street. The rest of the French Quarter is actually quite peaceful and beautiful.
The next day we rented bikes and toured the Garden District and some of the university area. We saw the Mississippi River and rode around the zoo. On our way biking home we saw NCIS New Orleans filming with a live crocodile...cool.
We loved our bikes so much we continued the next day with them when Brooke joined us. We were headed west again when I asked Katie to take a picture of me in front of a lovely house near the Garden District. The owner got home at the exact same moment, parked his car, and struck up a conversation with us. Pretty soon we were on the porch chatting with his wife and grandkids. Turns out the wife's grandfather invented Tabasco sauce. True story. Right place at the right time I suppose! We also toured a cemetery. The plots are kept up by the families and some old plots are deteriorating. There are a lot of non-profits trying to save the unmaintained crypts. (We overheard this info from a paying tour.) Then we ate delicious oysters and took advantage of the open container law in the city.
We went out at night and the music was unbelievable!!! Big bands of high school kids were around every corner playing upbeat jazz. Every single bar had music, and you could come and go with your drink and no cover. Art is everywhere and people call you baby. We had an absolute blast going out at night in New Orleans! Our big night out included eye patches in honor of our friend Brooke who had eye surgery and really needed the eye patch. A few wigs were thrown in to turn some more heads.
During the trip we went to the French Market, ate alligator sausage and po' boys, ate beignets at Café du Monde, and stayed in a pink mansion that still had a fully decorated Christmas tree standing in the living room.
It was an awesome destination and trip to say the least. And people were genuinely kind and friendly. Everyone wanted to talk and help with directions or sights to see. It really was its own culture and I'm grateful I was able to see New Orleans in such a fun way!