We’ve all heard stories of The Big Easy. Stories of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. Stories of Voodoo sacrifices and ghost hauntings. Stories of jazz bars and art galleries. Stories of Hurricane Katrina and a city reborn. And we can’t forget the food! We’ve all heard about about the gumbo and beignets…let’s just be honest. Most of these stories are good, some are bad, and a few are just plain scary. Or at least this is my history with hearing tales of what some consider America’s most haunted city.
When Robby and I decided to go to New Orleans on our honeymoon, we thought it would be something different. Everyone goes somewhere tropical, or to the mountains, but not New Orleans. So we loaded up the car with all of these stories in mind and headed to Louisiana looking forward to a week filled with romantic sidewalk strolls, ghost tours, carriage rides, wonderful pastries, and learning all about Voodoo. Sounds exciting, right?
Well that is exactly what we got…kind of. All the typical characteristics were there: the ghost tours, the carriage rides, the pastries, and all the voodoo experiences you could ask for. But beyond that, there was a lot that we were not expecting. Starting with the parking.
No one tells you this before hand, but you will spend just as much on parking as you do your hotel room. We were there for one week and spent $200 on parking at the hotel alone. Everywhere you go is an automatic $20 for parking and it just gets more expensive the more hours you are parked there. New Orleans is a very walk-able city, in fact, walking is the main method of transportation in the French Quarter but depending on where you are staying, you will probably take your car to the Quarter.
Next, the smells. The entire city smells like a mixture of trash, alcohol, and pot. And you can’t escape it. I walked around holding my breath so many times it wasn’t even funny.
And the homeless population. There are literally homeless cities set up under bridges lined up with tents. As you walk through the city, these individuals surround you. There is nothing wrong with them, and most of them are harmless. It’s just heartbreaking.
Then there are the beignets…the famous beignets. I was sooo excited to go to Cafe Du Monde and try these amazing pastries. It turns out they are just funnel cakes that look a little different. Yes, that’s right funnel cakes…just like the ones you get at fairs and festivals everywhere. But of course, they are very good!
The biggest disappointment about New Orleans that I wish I had known, it is that it is basically just a big tourist trap. The city is filled with history and character but it is very hard to find. Everyone says come experience The Big Easy but there is not really an authentic New Orleans to experience anymore in my opinion.
My final thoughts on New Orleans are positive though. It is a great city full of vibrant night life, friendly people, and great food! Is it a honeymoon destination? Not really but it does make for a great vacation.