Last summer while visiting friends and relatives in the mid-west, we decided to take a short trip to New Orleans. I first became interested in NOLA because of Anne Rice. I love reading her vampires series when I was in high school. Also, being a francophile, I’ve always wanted to visit NOLA for its rich French culture and the famous beignets at Cafe du Monde. So when Steve suggested a trip to the mid-west as our babymoon trip (i.e., last trip until we both became crazily busy with two kids), I insisted on taking a side trip to NOLA for a few days. It was a quick 2-day trip with lots of great foods and magnificent architecture.
10:00am – Arrived at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
11:30am – Took Jefferson Transit’s E2 Airport Express to the intersection of Tulane Ave. and Loyola Ave. Headed over to our hotel in the Central Business District (CBD).
1:00pm – Took the St. Charles Streetcar toward the Garden District and walked to District Donuts for lunch.
2:00pm -4:00pm – Took a self-guided walking tour around Garden District.
5:00pm – Went to Domilise’s Po-Boys and realized it was closed for renovation that week. Went to Hansen’s Sno-Bliz for snowballs. Took local bus to Parkway Bakery & Tavern for po-boys instead.
8:00pm – Returned to the hotel and called it a day.
9:00am -10:30am – Took a ranger-led tour at the Jean Lafitte’s French Quarter Visitor Center and ended up at the Plaza de Arms.
10:30am – Headed to Cafe du Monde for some beignets.
12:00pm – Checked out from hotel.
1:00pm – Took the Canal Streetcar to Willie Mae’s Scotch House for lunch.
2:00pm – Walked back to the French Quarter and stopped by The Gumbo Shop for take-out gumbo, jambalaya, and bread puddings to eat at the airport.
3:00pm -4:00pm – Grabbed our luggage from the hotel concierges and took the Jefferson Transit’s E2 Airport Express back to the airport.
P.S. I found that the city is not very strollers-friendly as a whole, especially in the Garden District where we took our toddler on the walking tour. Also, local bus drivers are not very friendly, so stick with streetcars if you can.
(1) French Quarter
Drop by the Jean Lafitte’s French Quarter Visitor Center at 9:00am to sign up for the free tour that starts at 9:30am. It’s an hour long ranger-led walking tour around the French Quarter where you can learn about the history of the area.
419 Decatur Street
Tues – Sat 9:00am – 4:30pm
(2) Garden District / Magazine Street
Take a self-guided tour to look at some of the (gigantic!!) historic houses in the neighborhood. We did this Garden District Self-Guided Walking Tour from Frommer’s.
It seems like every blog I read recommend District Donuts, so this is the first place I went after arriving New Orleans. They have some really cool flavors but we opted for a more traditional one. The Nutella donut did not disappoint. We also really liked the sliders as well.
2209 Magazine St.
Mon – Sun 7:00am – 9:00pm
Domilise’s is located a bit far from the main roads and is sort of a hole-in-the-wall place, hidden within the residential area. They are supposed to have the best po-boys, but it was closed for renovation during the week we were there. Bummer! Go try it out and let me know if it’s worth the hype!
5240 Annunciation St.
Mon – Fri 10:00am – 6:30pm, Sat 10:30am – 7:00pm
Hansen’s is also located in the middle of nowhere, but luckily it’s not a far walk away from Domilise’s. So after trekking a long way to Domilise’s and found out it was closed, we headed over the Hansen’s for some snowballs to cool down. Afterward, we took the local bus nearby and headed over to Parkway Tavern.
4801 Tchoupitoulas St.
Mon – Sun 1:00pm – 7:00pm
It wasn’t my first choice for po-boys but since Domilise’s was closed, we asked the locals for recommendation and they pointed us to Parkway Tavern. They are famous for their fried shrimp po-boys.
538 Hagan Ave
Wed – Mon 11:00am – 10:00pm
(5) Cafe du Monde
Get the beignets. Each order comes with 3 freshly fried beignets, share with two other friends or eat it all by yourself.
800 Decatur St.
24 hours a day, every day
I love fried chickens, and I’ve had a lot of fried chickens in my life, so I didn’t think there’s really a perfectly fried chicken out there. But I’m impressed with Willie Mae’s. So impressed I wished I regret not eating more of it.
2401 St. Ann Street
Mon – Thurs 11:00am – 8:00pm, Fri – Sat 11:00am – 9:00pm
(7) Gumbo Shop
I had to have my gumbo / jambalaya / bread pudding before leaving New Orleans but was running out of time, so we grabbed some take-out for one last meal at the airport. They would probably taste better if served hot at the restaurant, but it was pretty good already. I never liked bread pudding but I LOVE their bread pudding with whisky sauce. It is divine and a great dessert to end my NOLA trip.
630 St. Peters St.
Sun – Thurs 11:00am – 10:00pm, Fri – Sat 11:00am – 11:00pm
Costs $2 per person per trip and takes you to the CBD that is about 10-15 minutes walk to the French Quarters.
Costs $3 for a 24-hour unlimited pass for all streetcars and local buses (excluding the E2 Airport Express). I prefer streetcars over local buses as the streetcar drivers are much more tourist-friendly (i.e., polite). Streetcars are actually pretty convenient and take you to most major roads. Most destinations are probably just a 15 minutes walk away from the main roads.
Photos taken by Vean Chen