Day 1: Getting There
Maybe it is because I am a new traveler, or maybe it is because I am young. But I LOVE the airport so much, I always feel like I am going on a life altering adventure.The moment I step into the terminal and wait in unnecessary lines is when my life truly begins, like where ever that big bird in the sky lands is where I will find happiness and comfort. Of course none of this is true and the realization dawns on me when I sit between a crying baby and drunk man for three hours, or when I have to run across the airport to a connecting flight.
There is nothing more exciting than traveling. To see new places, eat new foods, see different people and escape from your own life. Everything is usually good until you get home, check your bank account and realize that you spent too much and now have to live off of stale bread until the next payday.
Day 3: New Orleans love
We drove from Jackson, where my mom and step-dad live, to New Orleans on our second day. As someone from Arizona, traveling to the south for the first time is a sensory overload. There is so much history, green landscape,and interesting people that Arizona does not provide. We drove over the 24-mile Lake Pontchartrain Causeway on our way and looking out the window was a treat of it’s own. Swampy isles with houses randomly thrown on marshland, which is questionable and hilarious, was our view.
We stopped at DON’S Seafood on the way down, and boy oh boy was this place good. The Po Boy was tasty but nothing can top the appetizer, Grilled Oysters on half shell. I dream about those oysters. They tasted like steak. STEAK! How and why, I have no idea, but they were amazing.
Our first hour in New Orleans, after getting settled into our hotel, was spent at Café du Monde. The line was down the street, but in the end didn’t take very long to find a seat in the cramped outdoor eating area. The waiters and waitresses hurried around with trays full of coffee and beignets pilled high and aprons smeared in powder sugar. Much like everything in the south, the menu consisted of 2 items (they are all about simplicity), which we ordered and devoured in about 15 minutes. I didn’t particular care for the coffee but the beignets lived up to all the anticipation.
As Café du Monde is right next to Jackson Square, walking around was next on the list. Artists were setting up shop on the iron gates of the square, fortune tellers were camping out for miles in front of St. Louis Cathedral, street performs by the tenfold. It felt slightly like Venice Beach in California but more historically and culturally rich.
Street Performers on Royal were as common as a selfie stick at the Grand Canyon. Beads were being thrown from every possible opening in the city. Locals and travelers alike were drinking way to early into the day, nothing ruining their fun. Talking to strangers in NOLA is very easy-going, if something like that gives you anxiety that is, and taking pictures of them is even better. Might sound strange, but I love taking pictures of strangers. On vacation especially! I always feel like Lilo,
The bars and fun cocktails were plentiful in this town. There was one bar in particular that I wanted to visit – Hotel Monteleone, home to the Carousal Bar. Fist thing, I simply adore with all my heart, Carousal’s. They are just so simple and magical at the same time. How can you not! Unfortunately there was no room to sit at the actual bar, which does indeed slowly turn around the bartenders. But we were able to snag a seat and get perfect view of it in all of it’s beauty.
Bourbon street was everything that it looked like in the movies, and that is how you know it’s going to be a good time. Pat O’Briens was next on my step-father’s agenda (God Bless that man and his spread sheets) and the dueling pianist were so such a joy to kick back and watch after a day of walking around the narrow streets of New Orleans. A highlight was the classic Sweet Caroline (BUM, BUM BUM) and my requested One Direction.
The architecture of New Orleans is like nothing I have seen before. I feel like I woke up in a history book and had been walking through time for days. Everything felt old and new all at once. My senses were trying hard to keep up with the city.
Everything was beautiful. Everything was glowing. Everything was worth looking at more than once.
Day 1 in New Orleans was everything that I expected and then some.
Day 4: The outskirts of NOLA
Day 2 in New Orleans started at the World War 2 museum.This was a must for me as a history lover, especially with this museum being one of the top in country. It seems strange that this particular museum settled in New Orleans, Louisiana, but it was by far one of the better museums that I have been to.
When I went in March there was some construction going on. We started out in one building with a small presentation and then walked across the street to the main museum. We saw the 4D movie narrated by Tom Hanks (NATIONAL TREASURE!) and it was so well done. Hats off to the museum curator because it was beautiful. And Tom Hanks!! Love that man.
The museum itself is so well designed and the story and layout flowed perfectly, especially with a lot of traffic. I never felt like I was in the way of somebody or that my view was being blocked. The story they told of this war was just amazing. I am so happy that we got to go here on our first trip. I would strongly encourage you to visit if you haven’t been already.
My favorite part of the day, truly, was Metairie Cemetery. This place was hauntingly beautiful. We found the sweetest caretakers of the cemetery and they gave us a small tour of the place. They unlocked the mortuary where the famous Weeping Angel statue is held. It was very Dr. Who!
The eeriness was very much present and I couldn’t have asked for better weather. The overcast was a photographers dream. I could wander around that place all day and be perfectly content to just take pictures in solitude. We left too soon.
City Park was the last stop in NOLA and it was nothing short of spectacular. We stopped at Morning Cafe, the home rival of Café du Monde. It was a beautiful cafe and their menu was larger,but not by much. We sat outside, and this cafe offered both inside and outside seating, because the weather was just right! We ordered the beignets and coffee, or in my case tea, as well as their gator sausage and muffuletta. I must say I liked Morning Cafe better than du Monde. Their beignets were fluffier and crispier.
We got to explore only a small portion of City Park before heading back to Mississippi. This place is HUGE. With 13000 acres; there is an amusement park, statue garden, kids amusement park, art museum, botanical garden, golfing, fishing, baseball field, playground, gift shop and cafe. We only had time to walk through the botanical garden and that alone was beautiful. I believe that we paid $3 for each of us to enter the botanical garden and that price also included the Story-land park and the amusement park. The botanical garden itself was enough to loose half a day walking around.
City Park is one of the best state parks in the country and for good reason. If you are down in New Orleans, I would strongly recommend getting away from the French Quarter for a few hours and to walk through City Park.
Day 6: Vicksburg here we come!
After leaving New Orleans for Jackson, my mother, cousin and I headed to Vicksburg, Mississippi the next day. This day was very low-key and a darling girl’s trip. We stopped at the Vicksburg Battlefield Museum first, driving through the sites and exploring some local Civil War history.
Upon reaching downtown Vicksburg we visited the cutest shops they had to offer. I love small town boutiques, they are usually expensive, but they are something special. The casino was next on the list. Whenever a casino is nearby, my mother will soon be there. The Riverwalk Casino and Hotel wasn’t anything to talk about but it was fun. I am rather cheap when I gamble, but I pride myself on making $40 go a long way.
On our way back to Jackson we found a really cute stand called The Tomato Place. It was a small produce store with a cafe in the back. Very quaint and unique.
They had this freezer full of frozen smoothie cups and whatever you chose, they would unfreeze and blend. And it was delish!
We headed back to Arizona the following day. Sad to go, but good to get home. This trip was definitely one for the books and I want to go back and explore more of New Orleans.
I love traveling so much. Getting to explore all of the cultures, personalities, history and stories that are so different then mine. I’m blessed that I am able to do it as much as I can and I enjoyed writing this entry. I have a few other trips that I will be writing about in the future and I cannot wait to share my stories and pictures with you all.
Thank you for reading and God bless.
**All the pictures above were taken by me unless credited**
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