How to Spend a Weekend in New Orleans

I'm sitting at a table in the middle of Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The sweet scent of freshly deep-fried dough swirls around me. The servers run around with overfilled serving trays of cafe au laits and beignets. 

Martin and I sit gingerly at our dirty table. Eventually our overworked server busses our table while taking our order. Powdered sugar permeates the air. 

I take a bite of a piping hot beignet. It tastes as you would expect - sweet, soft, deep fried goodness. My overly sweet treat comes with a side of car horns, street performers, and One Direction fans. I’m happy. After spending the past few weeks isolated on Pine Island, I’m loving the chaos of this cafe. 

I had been feeling restless. Since arriving on Pine Island at the end of August, I have been rejuvenating. Nothing else but dolphins, swimming, and coconuts. Yet after living in paradise for 4 weeks, I was ready for some city chaos. So, we decided to drive 12 hours to visit New Orleans for a weekend. 

What does one do in New Orleans for a weekend? 

Of course we ate beignets. Morning Call Cafe in City Park won my vote for the best beignets in NOLA. 

Of course we saw the Mississippi River near its end. Having started our journey near the start of the famous river, it seemed apt. 

Of course we visited the French Quarter and walked along Bourbon street. 

A mini parade! Either celebrating a birthday or a wedding. They were having A LOT of fun. 
Of course we ate some cajun food. Amazingly, I found some vegan cajun food at Cajun Cafe in the French Market. Their veggie jambalaya was subtly spicy and soul comforting. 

Of course we visited a cemetery in the Garden District, taking a trolly to get there. 

Yet, while we did do a lot of the typical things tourists do in New Orleans, we also had fun experiencing the city in non-typical ways. 

I ran down Esplanade Avenue to attend a free Jazz Yoga class. What?! A jazz pianist played soft music throughout the class. The teacher was silly, quirky, kooky, playful, yet caring and connected. It was like no other yoga class I’d ever attended. These were not stoic Minnesotans. They celebrated loud breathing noises. They laughed out loud during class. No one was in a rush to do anything or go anywhere. It was wonderful. 

Martin downloaded a free admission ticket to the National World War II Museum and proceeded to spend five hours thoroughly enjoying himself. 

We went to the New Orleans On Tap beer festival in City Park, which was just a 10 minute walk from where we were staying. Our couchsurfing host was able to join us while we tasted many of the home-brews. New Orleans has a plethora of festivals; one nearly every weekend. 

My favorite place in all of New Orleans is City Park. Touted at being twice as big as NYC’s Central Park, this New Orleans landmark has a botanical garden, sculpture garden, festival grounds, and even horse riding lessons.  

And then there was the food. So delicious. 

Angelo Brocato Italian Ice Cream and Pastry

Fried Oysters at Treo

Costa Rican Breakfast at the Ruby Slipper Cafe

This little trip was just the motivation I needed to refocus my energies on leaving the country. Little by little we are getting closer to being ready. One major milestone: we sold the car today!  

Also, this blog is undergoing a makeover. I hope to reveal its new look - and new address, eee!! - within the next few days. Stay tuned!

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