New Orleans, US

  • Visited October 2018

This was my second time in New Orleans – or nawlins as the locals say – and I was excited to return. My first visit was in 2012, seven years after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina left their mark on this glorious city. The New Orleans of 2018 is absolutely thriving, giving visitors welcoming southern hospitality, history, art, culture, and a damn good time!

The annual Voodoo music festival takes place over Halloween weekend and when one of my favourite bands, Mumford and Sons were announced as this year’s headlining act, I knew I had to come. It’s a three day event held at City Park and tickets can be bought in advance online with the lineup announced a few months beforehand. Wristbands can be collected from the box office then activated so you can go cashless to pay for your food and drinks. I had an excellent experience overall – the only negatives were it’s tricky to get back to your hotel at the end of each day (there was no taxi stand outside the venue and we had to walk 30 mins from the venue before being able to get an Uber) and the day before the festival began, it had rained all day so the venue  became very muddy (the true festival experience ha ha) and tricky to get around as the first day went on. The acoustics were good though and Mumford and Sons were amazing.

On my second day in the city I had some free time to go exploring as I didn’t want to see any of the early bands so I headed for the French Quarter. The French Quarter is full of beautiful balconied houses, quirky shops, restaurants and bars. If you are looking to party, then Bourbon Street is the place to go and it is always lively. You can walk around the area with an alcoholic drink in hand which adds to the party vibe. People like to stand on the balconies to eye-up the crowds, and the tradition is to throw beads of necklaces to anyone you find attractive to signal your appreciation. The karaoke bar, the Cat’s Meow is good fun – I had a great night in there. In this area you will also find the Voodoo museum, Museum of Death, Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo and the historic Hermann-Grima House. Jackson Square is where you will find street performers and a multitude of tarot card readers and the Mississippi River is just a short walk away.

You can’t come to New Orleans and not have beignets, a sweet treat made from deep-fried choux pastry. The famous Cafe Du Monde, open 24 hours a day, usually has long queues for their table service and take out counter but it was worth the wait for chicory coffee and three warm beignets – especially when I was hungover ha ha. An alternative if you don’t want to queue with all the tourists is Cafe Beignet, which serves equally as lovely beignets as Cafe Du Monde but without the crowds, in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Another highlight for me was a meal at Acme Oyster House. Again, there was a queue to get a table but the service was excellent, and the raw oysters were the biggest and best I’ve ever had – and I love me some oysters! Highly recommended.

Selection of pictures from my stay:

Voodoo Festival: