Day 4 of our trip gave us 24 hours in New Orleans. I have to say, 24 hours is just not enough. I immediately fell in love with this city and have been dreaming about going back ever since. But our trip was only half-way through and 24 hours is all we had, so we made the absolute best of it!
We left Tuscaloosa in the afternoon and reached New Orleans just in time to watch the sunset.
There is also an embarrassing video of us singing car karaoke along to “Summer Nights’ from the Grease soundtrack, but I won’t torture you with that.
My first impression, driving into the city, was panic. There were so many people walking through the streets that I was a little overwhelmed trying to get to our hotel in the French Quarter.
After two nights of camping, we were so excited to have a bed and a shower.
The French Market Inn is absolutely gorgeous and is a great place to stay in the French Quarter. The staff were so friendly and helpful (I love to ask questions) and the room was super clean.
We had to pass through an adorable courtyard, enter another building, and take an elevator to our room. An English woman sharing the elevator with us blurted out that she was so nervous staying here. She had read all kinds of stories about how the place was haunted.
I AM TERRIFIED OF GHOSTS, YOU GUYS! I hadn’t read anything about hauntings before booking the hotel and my sister and I debated doing some late night internet research. We decided to wait until morning.
We took all of the super excited photos (trying to ignore the ghost stories), took showers to freshen up, and then headed out for a night on the town.
Walking Bourbon Street in the French Quarter
Bourbon Street dates back to 1798 and hosts many landmark buildings. It’s blocked off to vehicles and the streets, even on a Wednesday in August, were crowded with people.
The neon lights were almost romantic. Live jazz and rock music poured out of the open air bars. You could smell delicious food from the bars and restaurants you passed. We decided to get some dinner at Deja Vu Bar & Grill – open 24 hours.
My sister was thrilled that she was allowed to carry her drink out in the street as we walked.
The architecture, the amazing live music, and the alcohol made everything feel so beautiful, but not everything is as it seems. Walking down Bourbon street, you’ll be stopped every 5 feet with people asking you to come into their establishment- strip clubs, exclusive bars, and other things.
But we didn’t pay them any mind. After wandering around for a while, we decided to head back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.
Exploring the National WWII Museum
New Orleans in the daylight is even more gorgeous than I could have hoped.
I loved checking out everyone’s ornate balconies, with beautiful ironwork and hanging gardens.
For my sister, the U.S. history lover, our first stop had to be The National World War II Museum.
We got in as soon as it opened and walked around at our own pace.
At one point, a friendly employee approached us as we were checking out a certain display and started telling us about it. My sister immediately began a conversation with him (he seemed really excited to have someone so interested) and they talked for over an hour while I walked around, taking pictures.
I highly recommend checking out the National WWII Museum while you’re in New Orleans. There is so much to see and learn in there, it’s really worth the trip.
After leaving the museum, we decided to check out more of the French Quarter and found ourselves in Jackson Square (originally known as Place d’Armes).
Exploring Jackson Square in the French Quarter
It was such a beautiful, sunny day.
A large brass band was playing outside with a crowd of people gathered around, dancing. The upbeat music got me dancing as I walked, embarrassing my little sister.
Artists were set up in the square, selling their work. We stopped to watch them sketch or paint as they waited for customers.
The energy in New Orleans is infectious. It filled me with joy and wonder.
We walked through the St. Louis Cathedral and the shops on the ground floor of the Pontalba Apartments (the oldest apartment buildings in the U.S.).
The only thing I knew about before heading to New Orleans, was the Cafe du Monde (established in 1862). I’m a big Anne Rice fan and I remembered the Cafe du Monde being mentioned in her books and I couldn’t wait to experience it. There are very few menu options. Basically, you can get their delicious chicory coffee with or without milk and the most amazing beignets smothered in powdered sugar. SO DELICIOUS!
We couldn’t stay too long in New Orleans because we had to get to our campsite in Mississippi before nightfall.
This 24 hours in New Orleans has stayed with me since we took this trip almost 6 years ago. I fell in love with the spirit of New Orleans – the architecture, the art, and the food. I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to return and experience it all again.
On my next trip, I know there is so much more that I would like to make time for but I’m so thankful for that 24 hours!
Planning a trip to Louisiana?
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