Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Remember That Time I Went to New Orleans? (A Travel Guide)

Better late than never, right? Last August, I took a trip to New Orleans for a fraternity convention and I'm just now getting around to sharing my adventures. I had such a great time that I needed almost a whole year to reflect on the experience. Read on to see what I would recommend... and not recommend (stories included).
     A fraternity convention?
You're probably wondering why I'd go to a fraternity convention. No, I was not in a fraternity (technically). In my senior year of college, I was voted to be the sweetheart for the Lambda Gamma chapter of TKE. Every other year, they hold a national convention in some random awesome city. That year, it happened to be New Orleans, and a bunch of the sweethearts attend to support their chapters, so of course, I went.

     I definitely drank too much.
Spirits on Bourbon:
I mean, I'm an adult and I'm on vacation. The first night we were there, we headed to Bourbon Street. Spirits on Bourbon was the place to be. They had dueling pianos, and my favorite part was when someone tipped them to play the University of Michigan's fight song, so we tipped them more to not play the University of Michigan's fight song. We ended up getting the whole bar to sing O-H-I-O and "Hang on Sloopy".

Turtle Bay:
One of the other bars we went to was Turtle Bay. I don't remember much from my nighttime adventures, I just know that I have a pint glass that I stole with this bar's name on it.

Storytime: Drunk Victoria poured a drink on a guy because he was an asshole. Again,  I really don't remember too much but I'm super thankful for the group of people that I was with because they got me back to the hotel that night. Waking up the next day was a struggle. We will leave it at that.

     The food was heavenly.*
*On this trip, I found out that I'm mildly allergic to shellfish. It didn't stop me though.

Little Gem Saloon:
Our first stop upon arrival was Little Gem Saloon for an event for non-fraternity members. There, I got to listen to live jazz music, have my first taste of jambalaya and gumbo, and connect with some awesome ladies. Definitely a good start to the trip.

Blake's on Poydras:
After our crazy first night on Bourbon Street, we went to Blake's for brunch the next day. Their bottomless mimosas were only $16, which I totally would have partaken in if I didn't feel like crap from drinking so much the night before. Definitely was a fan of the food though, I would recommend "Blake's Breakfast".

Café Du Monde:
We couldn't go to New Orleans without making a stop at Café Du Monde. While we were in New Orleans, we actually visited the establishment twice. Our first experience was while completely drunk, for a late-night beignet at 2AM (since the café is open 24 hours). Our second trip was the next day, mainly for the purpose of taking Instagram photos. Yes, I can be super basic.

Oceana Grill:
Our last meal of the trip was at Oceana Grill. We felt that they had the most variety when it came to experiencing all of the amazing food of NOLA. From alligator sausage to blackened chicken (since I can no longer eat shellfish), the best way to end our time in New Orleans was with happy stomachs.

     What else did we do?
New Orleans School of Cooking:
Our first "outing" was lunch at the New Orleans School of Cooking. The menu consisted of shrimp and artichoke soup, crawfish etouffee and bread pudding with a bourbon sauce, which was all cooked in front of us by Gumbo Marie. She was awesome and explained every little detail about the food and the spices and really gave us a first "taste" of New Orleans.

National World War II Museum:
On the second night, we had a fraternity "brotherhood" event at the National World War II Museum. We had a legit New Orleans style parade (horns and drums and all) to the venue and they opened up one of the exhibits just for the fraternity. We got to eat food and learn all about the planes and equipment used during the war. The exhibit was nice, but the next day, we decided it would be a great idea to go explore the rest of the museum.

I absolutely love history museums, so this was right up my alley. All visitors are given a "ticket" to experience life during the war as someone who actually lived it. I was given the ticket of a female fighter pilot, whose name I don't remember and probably couldn't pronounce. Spoiler alert, she survived the war.

Bourbon Street:
Bourbon Street isn't just for late-night drinking. We did venture out there during the day when the streets are filled with live jazz bands, good food, and tourist shops. If you're trying to get those good Instagram photos, definitely go when it's not filled with drunk people.

Destrehan Plantation:
Located about 30 minutes outside of New Orleans, the Destrehan Plantation is one of the oldest plantations in the Lower Mississippi Valley. The tour guides were dressed in vintage hoop skirts and bonnets, and the views and history of the plantation made me believe that I was born in the wrong century. I seriously wish I had taken more photos of this location, but it decided to rain that day and the plantation was very much underwater.

Jackson Square:
Jackson Square is a must-see for visitors to the city. The St. Louis Cathedral is one of the features of the square, for sure. I was hoping that we would be able to tour the inside of the cathedral, but it wasn't open for tourists that day. One of the other things we added to our bucket list was a tarot card reading, and there was no short of psychics here. (I'm pretty sure we picked the lady who looked the most eccentric.) On the square, there was a ton of live music, art, and pop-up food vendors. I really wish I could have spent more time here.

For a four day trip to New Orleans, I think we hit all of the big things to do, and a ton of the smaller things, as well. Obviously, it was enough for me to write a blog post about. I definitely want to go back to NOLA one day and explore some of the other things that we didn't hit, like the Swamp Tours and the Ghost Tours.

If you want any other recommendations about this awesome city, don't hesitate to ask! I'll try to remember as much as I can.


  1. I enjoyed reading about your trip to New Orleans! It looked like you had a lot of fun. I would love to travel there one day

  2. I was just thinking about this trip the other day! We had so much fun! I hope I can make it back there again someday.

  3. Wow, is it ever beautiful there! Awesome pics :)