Food. Booze. Jazz music. There you have it; do I really need to list anything else? Those were reasons enough for me to pack a bag, find a sitter for my dog, and join my cousin on a road trip from North Carolina to New Orleans, LA. What I discovered was that New Orleans is a magical place, and is my new favorite city. Here are some reasons why:
1. Drinks to-go. When you walk up to a bar and order a drink, the bartender asks “would like that here or to-go?” Um WHAT?! That’s right, there’s no open container law in the beautiful city of New Orleans. Sobering up between bars or on your walk home? No need in Nola…
2. There is music everywhere. Who needs a plan for your day when you can roam around and find beautiful, live music in the streets or streaming out of a bar on every corner, even in the middle of the week? And at night you can head on over to Frenchmen Street where music is pouring out of every venue and overflows onto the sidewalk. I spent half of my nights in New Orleans on Frenchmen Street, discovering amazing talent and letting the music take me away. Favorites? Treme Brass Band and Shotgun Jazz Band.
3. The booze. Every place has their specialty cocktail, and some places are even famous for it. Our first night in Nola, we visited The Sazerac Bar and ordered The Sazerac. I’ve had the best cocktails of my life in Nola. New favorite drink- a white russian milkshake from Stanley’s.
4. The Bayou. Spending too much time partying in Nola and need a day off to sober up and get some air? Well, the bayou is a gorgeous escape. We took a nice long country drive with the top down and hats up. Nothing better.
5. Po’boys. I ate too many po’boys in New Orleans and I do not regret it. Best one I had? Dark and Stormy pork belly po’boy at Killer Po’boys in Erin Rose Bar. It’s easy to miss this amazing place, so I am beyond thankful for Yelp. Here’s the place’s description of the sandwich for my fellow foodies out there:
“We marinate the bellies in the flavors of the Dark and Stormy rum cocktail, because rum, ginger and pork sing so well together. Althought traditionally the cocktail is made with very dark rum, we use Old New Orleans cajun spiced rum mixed with Steen’s Cane Syrup ( another great product ) and copious amounts of fresh ginger. The addition of the cane syrup gives that mollasses aroma and body that is present in the cocktail, while the ginger creeps with a pleasant bite, balanced with the heady aroma of rum. After a rub of kosher salt and a massage of marinade we let the belly ride for at least 12 hours in the cooler, and then gently roast them, cool them and eventually slice and glaze them with more of that killer sauce for each Poboy. Glazed, hot and sticky we dress the belly up with a squeeze of fresh lime, our mellow house aioli, and a crunchy and pleasantly sour lime cabbage slaw.”
6. Drive-thru daiquiris. Not only can you get a drink to-go at the bar, but you can also get a daiquiri to-go from your car. It’s hard to believe, but you can find a number of places in New Orleans where you can get a giant daiquiri at the drive-thru. We looked up the law, just to be certain. In New Orleans, you can have the daiquiri in your car with the lid on and without a straw and not get fined for driving with an open container. If you do get caught, though, it’s only a $40 fine. Now if you’re drunk, you are out of luck. But hey, picking up those daiquiris and heading to the Bayou sounds pretty great right about now, doesn’t it?
7. The seafood. I ate an incredible amount of seafood in Nola, including trying oysters and crawfish for the first time- and I am such a fan. Everything is fresh and absolutely prepared the way it should be.
8. The daytime nightlife. No need to wait until dusk for things to pick up in Nola. You can party all day where day-drinking is not only encouraged, it’s expected.
9. There’s history and culture. I keep describing Nola to my friends by saying “it’s what I imagine Vegas would be like, but with history and culture.” Obviously, New Orleans has a long history filled with tradition and pride. With a fusion of multiple cultures, Nola is a place unlike any other in the US.
10. Creole cuisine. I had to save the best for last. Nothing compares to creole food in New Orleans. Absolutely nothing. My favorite meal that I will dream about to this day is creole shrimp with white truffle grits. My mouth just watered.
**Despite some of the above reasons and recommendations, TwentySomethingLiving does not support irresponsible drinking of any kind.**