This past weekend my friends and I made a trip down to New Orleans for Labor Day Weekend. New Orleans is somewhere that I have never been but have always been curious about. We decided to venture down there and see what it’s all about. Upon my arrival back in New York we promptly decided what were the best and worst things about the city.
New Orleans is like Vegas and Atlantic City got together on a drunken blacked out night, forgot the plan B, and had a baby…
The poverty- I was honestly shocked at how poverty stricken NOLA is. I was expecting more of a revival since Hurricane Katrina but I guess I was naive to believe that the city was fully recovered. You think New York City is bad with the homeless spread everywhere since DeBlasio became Mayor? Imagine twice that in New Orleans. Congrats DeBlasio! Someone is worse at running a city than you. One man we saw on the street was screaming and cursing violently into the air. He was either on crack or schizophrenic. Either way he should be in psychiatric care, not on the street as a harm to himself and others. Sadly, this was not a rare occurrence on the streets. The main roads of downtown and the French Quarter were littered with bums.
Southern Hospitality- This is a very REAL thing. I thought this was something you only saw in movies. I have never met friendlier people in my life. We decided to walk to LSU thinking it was about a mile walk from where we were staying. One mile later we realized we still had two more to go. If it were 70 degrees, sure why not? In 100 degree heat with 95% humidity? Not happening. We stopped at a gas station and asked a man in an Escalade who was going to the game if he could give us a ride. He said yes. I was speechless. Baffled beyond belief. If you couldn’t already tell, nothing really leaves me speechless so this was a big deal. If you tried to hitchhike in NY one of two things would happen to you: 1) They would laugh in your face and drive off or 2) You would get murdered. You’re lucky if you can even get someone to hold a door for you so if someone offers you a ride there’s probably a creepy alternative motive. You know the phrase “No new friends”? That is basically NYC’s motto. No one is interested in making new friends. We just want to blow by people, heads buried into our phones while we try to rush to our next destination. Well, that is quite the opposite here. I met such friendly people that talking to new people came with such ease.
The Food- Beignets and Raising Canes is all you need in your diet for your entire trip. Take me seriously on this. Chicken fingers are a food group right?
Bourbon Street- This is a drunken dream come true. Seriously, you need to be intoxicated to enjoy this strip of dive bars but it is a good time. The street is littered with stumbling tourists covered in mardi gras beads, dive bars with live music, and a strip club on every corner. Many of the street’s clientele look like meth heads and/or prostitutes but hey, when in Rome. Who doesn’t like cheap drinks and good music? This is definitely a must do if you come to New Orleans just because you need to see the craziness for yourself!
Strip clubs- You know how there is a Starbucks on every corner here? That’s strip clubs on Bourbon street. You have your pick of whatever you want. One night on our visit I said, “Let’s go to the strip club guys! I’ve never been and I’m so curious. Let’s see some boobies!” It’s not everyday that your girlfriend asks you to bring her to a strip club so when she does, you oblige (sorry Dad if you’re reading this). We decided to pick one that looked the least gross from the outside both in patrons entering and the decor itself. It turned out to be a place called “Barely Legal” Ha.Ha. The place was surprisingly nice on the inside and the girls were surprisingly good looking as well. Although 90% of them had breast implants, they weren’t the trashy people I was expecting (well the least trashy a stripper can possibly be). We ended up making friends with one of the dancers who was refreshingly normal. She found herself in the stripping industry because she couldn’t imagine herself in a desk job. Honey, join the club!! “I love my family. I’m not your typical stripper with daddy issues. I text my dad everyday,” she said. I give that man credit because I’m pretty sure my dad wouldn’t talk to me if I was letting guys motorboat me for fun at a club. Overall, it was a pretty eye opening experience and cool to meet someone who does something so carefree for a living.
The Garden District- The most beautiful part of New Orleans. Hands down, this was my favorite part of our entire visit. The historic mansions are breathtaking and make for a very scenic stroll around the uptown area of NOLA. If you take the trolley from the French Quarter to Jackson street, it is quite accessible. We even took a walk to the house from the set of American Horror Story: Coven. It was more massive and spooky looking in person! There is also great shopping to be done here. There are tons of antique and clothing boutiques lined up along Magazine Street. Here is where you will find the best stores and get a good bang for your buck. The same clothing brands that we have in overpriced New York boutiques for cheaper? Count me in! Most of the shops were having awesome sales to close out the summer. Buy 1 get 1 50% off and 50% off of summer clothing signs were on the windows of every store. This cleaner and nicer part of the city changed my opinion from what I had previously thought.
It was my first time in the “South” and I have to say I enjoyed it! It was a nice break from my usual fast paced life up here. Everyone needs some time away from that once in a while!