A New Orleans Experience written by guest writer: Cherie Payne
A few years back, my husband and I booked a trip to New Orleans. He had been in the past for business, I had always wanted to go to the town nicknamed ‘The Big Easy’ resting on the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartin. We landed on a muggy fall afternoon, made our way out of the airport and hailed a cab. The humid warm air was much heavier than I was use to. Once outside you could see the thunder clouds in the distance rolling in. I love a good storm! By the time we made it into downtown it was clear the storm was heading our direction.
We checked in, dropped our bags off in our hotel room and quickly ran back downstairs to storm watch. The rain had just started and thunder roared over the city, clapping so viciously you could feel the storms energy. This was my place, I was captivated. How can city slam into your soul so energetically? We spent a week on our first trip of now any together in New Orleans. The longer we were there the more enamored we became. We were attracted to the City of New Orleans history, architecture and resilience.
A massive tourist destination, with locals working and playing contently alongside visitors from all over the world. It makes it very easy to lose yourself here. The French Quarter can’t be missed. I urge you to explore outside of it. City Park is beautiful, and you can easily spend a day wandering. The market is another don’t miss. Grab a picnic lunch and some beignets, get on the streetcar and head out. Explore Magazine Street and the Garden District.
The St. Charles Streetcar through the Garden District to Audubon Park is mesmerizing. Walk the park till you reach Magazine Street and walk back towards downtown along Magazine. Many fabulous boutiques and independent shops, restaurants and street artists. There is so much to see and explore in this unique historical town. I have met a few people that have said they would never go back. Some can’t see past the dirt and smells. Some even say the French quarter is vulgar. I say, yes the city is not sparkly, it is no Disneyland.
The French Quarter is more than just Bourbon Street! The rest of the quarter is full of antique stores, boutiques and restaurants. New Orleans is a 300-year-old city with historical buildings scattered randomly throughout that have been able to withstand the tests of time the city has endured. Surviving hurricanes, fires, humidity, sinking foundations and content tourism, especially during the famous Mardi Gras in February. Allow all the history and hardship speak to you when you take in this beautiful city full of folklore and mystery. Wander the streets with an open mind and heart, and appreciate the resilience, and unique culture it has to offer. The Big Easy might sweep you off your feet and get into your soul, if not you can always count on lots of fun.