Why I Love (and Hate) New Orleans

“Y’all know what you’re havin’?” the friendly, weathered man said behind the counter.

“Oh yeah, we came here all the way from Portland for an ‘All That Jazz’ “ said my husband.

Well, we didn’t come to New Orleans JUST for that. We were at Verdi Mart on Royal St. around 1 am for the infamous, delectable and horribly fattening killer sandwich that gives the best NOLA po’boy a run for its money.

There was a local lady standing next to us who decided to put her two cents in. “I just ordered the catfish sandwich.”

I turned to her. “Yeah, is it really good?”

She eyed me then eyed my better half. “That your husband?”

I nodded.

“Get the catfish. It’ll bring you closer together.”

If that’s not a selling point, I don’t know what is! But we got the All That Jazz, anyway. Make no mistake, we’ll be back at some point for the catfish.

All That Jazz Sandwich

All That Jazz Sandwich

 

I have a love/hate relationship with New Orleans. It’s a town that’s been beaten to the quick but is steadily reinventing itself for the better. The Crescent City is all at once gorgeous and dirty, uplifting to the spirit but hard on the soul. Every time I go there I learn something new, and I appreciate that. But, here are the reasons for my animosity.

Hate It

The first time I went there, we headed straight for Bourbon St. (who doesn’t?) But really, I was over that whole scene in within a couple of hours. I like to call Bourbon St. the ‘cesspool of entertainment.’ You can only walk down its neon painted pavement, sipping an expensive, watered-down hurricane while dodging a plethora of drunk people and call girls for so long.

Another reason I’m wary of going to NOLA anytime between April and October is that its so…damn…hot and humid! Unless you’re used to the humid weather, be prepared to melt just walking down the street. I found myself constantly going into air-conditioned shops, and then, of course, you can spend hours indoors along the Mississippi Waterfront Mall.

Love It

Despite my animosity towards Bourbon Street, one of my favorite places to hang out is Old Absinthe House on Bourbon St.  This iconic bar is over a hundred years old. And yes, you can get a good old-fashioned Absinthe here, complete with the flaming sugar cube. Be prepared to part with some green though.

If you are ANY kind of a foodie…New Orleans can be heaven. I cannot begin to scratch the surface of all the culinary delights you can experience, but here are a few:

Antoine’s  Fancy – but oh-so authentic French-Creole cuisine.

Acme Oyster Bar Seafood and Cajun-Creole heaven!

Coop’s Place  Down-home Cajun, fried chicken, and drinks

Willie Mae’s Scotch House  Some of the BEST fried chicken in the country, y’all.

Mulate’s The Original Cajun

My delectable lunch at Mulate’s

I also love New Orleans because the people are just so welcoming. It’s the southern hospitality y’all! I haven’t come across an unfriendly local yet! Here are some other places I like to hit whilst in The Big Easy:

Museum of Death

Not for the squeamish! This macabre museum is kitschy and disturbing. They have loads of newpaper clippings of homicides, serial killer mementos, and various recordings and videos of all things death related.

Tipitinas

You have to catch some live local music at this iconic Nawlin’s venue. If those walls could talk…

Mardi Gras World

Take a tour to find out how the local crewes prepare for Fat Tuesday, and walk around the vast expanse of warehouse to view dozens of different floats that have been used during Mardi Gras of the years.

New Orleans Cemetery No. 1

North of the French Quarter, this is a famous cemetery that also offers tours. Nicholas Cage has put money down on a sweet crypt, fully intending to be ensconced here when his kicks it. Some infamous voodoo priestess’ have been laid to rest here, and there are always colorful offerings on display.

Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo

An authentic voodoo house and gift shop that is worth a peek inside. But DO NOT take pictures, they will steal the souls of those that reside there. No joke.

While New Orleans is not my favorite city, she does have a tiny piece of my heart. Even though there’s plenty here I don’t like (dirty streets, unfavorable weather, the rampant debauchery of Bourbon St.) there plenty I LOVE (the rich history, the people, and oh, the FOOD!)

New Orleans

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Hi, I’m Susan, a travel writer based in Portland, Oregon. THANKS for stopping by my Pacific Northwest travel site! This blog focuses on Pacific Northwest travel, but also is a place showcase all of my travels, and is a great place to start when planning your next vacation to my area of the world. Please e-mail me or leave a comment, I’m here to help!

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