Visiting New Orleans has been on my bucket list for-ev-er. A town dedicated to nothing but having a good time? I mean…that is the motto of my LIFE. How is it that in my thirty-plus years, the opportunity hadn’t presented itself?
But when I found out my Gators were a lock for the Sugar Bowl in NOLA, me and my friends were on the job immediately. Within days, hotels were booked, flight plans were made and the countdown began. And it was worth it. New Orleans is unlike any other city I’ve visited in the US. The architecture is so different from anything else I’ve seen, the drinks were cheap and delivered in twos or threes for the price of one..and the food. Good God the food. We’ll get to that tomorrow because it deserves its own post. Today, we’ll talk about the rest of the trip. Seriously, the food deserves its own starring role.
First, I have to talk about how awesome our hotel was. We stayed at the Hotel Monteleone, located on the corner of Royal and Iberville. I can’t stress it enough – this was the PERFECT location. Getting anywhere from here was a snap because of it’s central location and the service was impeccable. Plus, it’s home to a fancy bar called Carousel Bar which rotates. We didn’t spend any time in there, unfortunately, but a lot of other people seemed to so I’m guessing it’s a hot spot! And Royal was a really awesome street, filled with really cute art and jewelry stores. It was a nice break from the otherwise hectic/busy nature of Bourbon Street which was one street over.
Second, I really loved the famed balconies around the city. No two buildings approached balcony decoration in the same way, which I thought was cool. Also, being that it was still somewhat of the holiday season, I thought we were treated to some extra pretty decorations still up for Christmas. No matter how pretty the balcony though, I couldn’t help but picture people leaning over drunkenly and raining beads down on everyone. This town was crazy for a Bowl Game. I can’t even imagine what Mardi Gras looks like.
Some other cool things I noticed around town included….
The Cornstalk Hotel. Apparently the owner built this cornstalk fence out of iron so his wife would feel more at home (they were from the midwest.I t’s hard to see in this photo, but every dot of yellow is corn.) I thought that was a pretty story.
I also thought that instead of regular bike posts, these horsehead posts were kind of cool/spooky/eccentric:
I also loved that we passed by this former residence of William Faulkner and where he wrote his first book in the 1920s. I love seeing where famous writers got inspired and hunkered down. Gives me hope that maybe some day there will be a plaque outside my current apartment one day haha. (There won’t be.)
Next on my list was a ghost tour! I am obsessed with ghosts and the paranormal, even though I never want to experience it first hand. One time I thought I heard a ghost in my apartment and I didn’t sleep for three weeks. Same when I saw the movie Paranormal Activity. (Also, the first night after I saw it I slept with the light on and fully clothed, jacket and all.) However, that didn’t stop me from wanting to see all the haunted places in the city.
My friend and I signed up for a tour with Haunted History. Our tour guide, Jerry, was super unique…I found him almost as amusing as the tour itself. Jerry seemed to know a lot about New Orleans. And probably a lot about marijuana, too. Also, he had a lot of ghost stories. So put all together, I kind of loved Jerry. He took us to a few spots, including:
The Hotel Provincial, which was a civil war hospital when it first opened. Apparently, several guests have had elevator doors open to their floors…only to see a fully-operational civil war hospital busy at work. Doors close/doors open again – the scene is gone, replaced by the present day. Oooooooooooooh!
This bar and restaurant, which was a brothel when New Orleans was still a place for sailors. One young girl, waiting for her love to return from sea and take her away, committed suicide in the back when his ship came back without him because he had died. Ooooooohhhh!
Apparently she hung herself from this tree. She likes to flirt with males in the bar by tickling the back of their necks. So naturally, I spent the entire rest of the day finding ways to tickle the back of my friend’s neck while standing as far away from him as I could.
Perhaps the most truly spooky place though was the LaLaurie Mansion, which is really supposed to be the most haunted place in America. The home of a former socialite who used to torture her slaves, the home has passed from owner to owner to owner (including one Nicolas Cage) but no one will stay because of the horrors that are experienced within. It was actually the most interesting part of the tour, because it’s weird to see this huge piece of prime real estate sit totally empty. It did seem to be a really creepy place. Here’s a shot of the outside:
Here is an upclose of the balcony where one slave once jumped to her death. Despite my hopes, no ghostly face showed up thanks to the camera. (You wouldn’t believe how many window shots I took during this tour, all of which have been studied for apparitions with no dice. Yes, I know I’m weird.)
Even the the door is creepy. Check out those urns!
I also stepped right on this during the tour which made me say ew:
Another really gorgeous area of town was the Garden District, which is known for its huge and beautiful houses. This was on the complete opposite side of town from Bourbon Street and the French Quarter…and you can tell. It’s so calm and peaceful! A good friend told me residents of the Garden District avoid the other side of town like the plague.
Finally, after all this sightseeing it was time for the game! I’ll keep that short since it was the most disappointing part of the trip (hint: we lost) but here is all the fun we had until kick off:
A symbolic representation of the game we were supposed to have. If only it had actually been a collision. Alas.
Of course, the boys wanted their pictures with the cheerleaders. Some things never change.
Excited on the way in:
Our tickets, which we were hoping would be records of something memorable. Alas x2:
Gators running out:
And that is more or less where the fun ended until I SPIED TIM TEBOW ON THE SIDELINES AND THEN STARED AT HIM FOR FOUR HOURS.
Tomorrow, the food. Oh the food, you guys. The food.