There is so much to be said for this culturally rich city. Which is probably why it’s always a stop we make on our way to the east coast. There’s just something magical about this place. For instance, everything here as something to do with witches, vampires, or voodoo. It is one of the oldest cities in America, founded in 1718 by the French Mississippi Company, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne. Originally founded by the French, then under Spanish control for a period, and then back under French control briefly, until it was finally acquired by the United States in 1803. NOLA is best known for its Creole culture, vibrant history, and significant battles that were fought over the city. Here is a couple of things I suggest while visiting mystical place:
Roam the streets and take in the architecture
The architecture is colonial Spanish or French style, however only a handful of the buildings in the French Quarter preserve their original, colonial Spanish or French architectural style, concentrated mainly around the cathedral and Chartres Street. Two-thirds of the French Quarter structures date from the first half of the 19th century, the most pronounced decade being the 1820s, when the city was growing rapidly. I suggest checking out the buildings at 500 St. Ann and 500 St. Peter street that frame Jackson square. They were built in the late 1840’s and are definitely picturesque! Truman Capote described the Parisian-style row house buildings as “…the oldest, in some ways most somberly elegant, apartment houses in America.”
Location: 500 Saint Ann Street, New Orleans, LA
Take a beignet and hot chocolate break
No trip to New Orleans should be complete with out a beignet or two. There’s two different restaurants that sell beignets: café du monde and café beignet. Café du monde is definitely the superior choice of the two. There are eight different cafés du monde locations but the one on Decatur street is the original. Established in 1862, this restaurant is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! That’s a lot of beignets! Head over there and taste these fluffy, melt in your mouth donuts yourself!
Location: 800 Decatur Street 70116 New Orleans
The center of this square is the St. Louis Cathedral, a 17th-century French style church. With its triple spires and stunning vaulted nave, it is the perfect example of French architecture. The cathedral was built for St. Louis, who was then King of France. All around the cathedral local artists gather to sell their pieces, definitely check it out!
Location: 700 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Grab creole food for dinner
Creole food is such a unique flavor, it blends Spanish, French, West African, Amerindian, Haitian, German, Italian, British, and Irish influences; what a melting pot! Louisiana sits at an intersection for a variety of immigrants. Like mentioned previously, Louisiana was founded by the French, giving Louisiana Creole a French aesthetic, with amazing sauces and slow-cooking!
This charming 19th century neighborhood is full of oak shade, and lined with a variety of different style homes. You can find lavish, historic mansions right next to humble cottages. There a number of different historic homes that you can check out while here, such as Walter Grinnan Robinson House, Payne-Strachan House, Brevard House, and so many more! I chose to visit the Buckner Mansion because I love the showAmerican Horror Story. If you’ve watched it, you’ll remember this mansion from season 3, which was the coven house the student witches lived in! In the same area you can find antique and boutique shops, upscale restaurants, as well as casual cafes, and local bars on and around Magazine street.
Location: 1410 Jackson Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
In the heart of the French quarter, you’ll find bourbon street. Best known for it bars and strip clubs, Bourbon Street provides insight into New Orleans’ past. What distinguished New Orleans from other southern cities was its unique heritage from the French and Spanish. Because of this it drew many tourists to its city; the French quarter was central to this cultural image and quickly became the best known part of the city. The area became known for gambling, drinking, and prostitution. Jazz music is also said to have originated here. Artists such as King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton providing music for the brothels.
Location: Bourbon St. New Orleans, LA