New Orleans ~ Our first taste of beads, Mardi Gras, and all that jazz!

Bucket list item has been checked! New Orleans was a weekend that I won’t soon forget. The music, atmosphere, food, drink and everything else can be summed up as one epic adventure.

We arrived at our AirBNB crash pad and literally that is all that it was.  A small living room area, a bar fridge with a coffee maker, a bed and a bathroom.  No television but it was needed for this weekend that we were there.  We were only there to sleep, shower and go.

Our night began by walking to Bourbon Street.  As we walked we both couldn’t stop looking at the unique, small, narrow homes.  Each one was different from the other.  Some in vibrant colors where as others kept brick but ALL beamed Mardi Gras pride!  Wreaths, mask, and beads all hung from trees, balconies, gates, fences or wherever they could be hung they were.  It was fantastic.  As we walked we on you would find a tiny bar, pub or restaurant at the end of a corner nestled in to a neighborhood.  Bars and restaurants here are open 24/7 so the party never stops for some people.

As we got to Bourbon Street the music came from every direction.  Piano bars, jazz bars, street performers all playing their tunes. Neon signs lit up the street and people hung out of the windows or balconies throwing beads of every shape, size and color at you.  No boobs required! LOL!! We found a great restaurant called the Cornet and sat up on the balcony over looking Bourbon Street.

cornet-dinner

The street is somewhat closed to vehicles other than the ones that are trying to cross over which is almost near impossible and requires an amount of patience that I do not have.  The emergency vehicles are supped up ATV’s and are quick and speedy.  Police are at every corner so you don’t feel unsafe but obviously that doesn’t mean that you should keep your wallet or purse close.  You can drink openly in New Orleans from bar to bar and restaurant to pub.  They just put your drink into a to-go cup and just about every establishment sells booze.  You could walk into a t-shirt store and they will serve you a pina colada…it was crazy!

We drank our way down the street and were headed to catch a parade on Canal St.  We were smart to wear our rain jackets as it began to rain around 7pm and continued the entire night.  But that doesn’t shut anything down.  You party no matter what!  And so we did!  We watched the parade, caught the toys and beads thrown at us.  Matt was smart and went to a Walgreen’s and bought booze there instead of the bars.  So much cheaper!!

We took a break from the rain and stopped into the Hard Rock Cafe and I warmed up with a Irish Whiskey coffee.

From there we started to head over to Cafe du Monde for beignets!! You could smell this place 3 blocks away.  I was so excited!!  Along the way I had my tarot cards read.  Tarot card readers are everywhere.  They don’t bother you and you pay by a donation.  My lady was great and I had a great reading.  She hit dead on with a few things which made my night.

tarot-cards

Cafe du Monde is 24/7 and it was always packed when we got there…and yes we were there a few times!! LOL!! Those beignets are AMAZING!!! You get three of them and a coffee for $4.95 USD and I swear they are covered in an inch deep of powdered sugar.  Matt who isn’t a sweets person always had a bite of one, and then I would eat one and take the other two with me to eat as we explored.  It was a cute in/outdoor cafe that just serves coffee and beignets.  That’s it.  It is a MUST do when you visit New Orleans.

After that we walked and window shopped.  We hit up our last place of the night…I was able to rally back as I am not a huge drinker and when I drink I like the fun and fruity drinks.  That means sugar with some added sugar.  My tummy hated me that night but I made it! We stopped into what looked like a tiny home but it was a very cool pub called Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop ~ Piano bar and lounge.  It was a very cool, dimly-lit, old pub vibe.  They had a piano in the back where you could sit around with your drink and belt out the songs that where being played.  On the cups it says that it is the “Oldest Bar in the USA since 1772.”  We had a nightcap, laughed and got warm by the fire.  We were soaked from the rain and still had a 15 minute walk back to our place.  But none of that mattered!! Our first night in New Orleans was awesome!!!

After we got somewhat dry we started to head home.  It was still pouring rain but it didn’t bother us.  I had two beignets stashed away safe from the rain that I was going to devour and Brady was waiting for us back at our crash pad.  Night one was a success!!  Day two is on its way so stayed tuned!

 

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Countdown to MARDI GRAS!

With New Orleans only a 5 hour drive from Panama City Beach we decided that we would do a weekend road trip to experience MARDI GRAS in New Orleans!!  So we found an AirBNB a block off Bourbon Street that is pet-friendly and we are on to our next adventure!!

If you don’t know what Mardi Gras is all about – well first come out from under the rock you’ve been living under LOL!! and read on…

Mardi Gras is all about music, parades, floats, beads, food, drinks, and all the excitement that you can handle.  People will typically wear costumes or at the very least wear purple, green and gold! I plan on wearing as much purple as I can get away with LOL!! It is my signature color.

On the subject of colors of Mardi Gras, do you know what the colors mean?  Purple represents Justice.  Green represents Faith and Gold represents Power. “The official Mardi Gras colors [were chosen] in 1872 to honor the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Alexis Alexandrovich Romanoff, whose house colors were purple, green and gold. The 1892 Rex Parade theme “Symbolism of Colors” affirmed the colors’ meaning.”  http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/mgcolors.html

bourbon-street-beads

Pretty interesting, right? You can’t really imagine any other colors for Mardi Gras.  Now, what I notice here at the grocery stores are these desserts called “King Cakes.” I’ve never heard of them but the week before we go I do plan on trying one.  I will also indulge in another “real” King Cake while I am there.  From what I have read about these cakes is that there is a plastic baby inserted into them.  Back in the day, whoever received the piece of cake with the baby in it would then host the next King Cake party.  Sounds like my kind-of party…eat cake, find a prize, repeat!

They are a pretty cake…dazzled in the Mardi Gras colors.  They’re round in shape and sprinkled with sugar deliciousness.  I am sure that they are calorie-free during Mardi Gras as with any holiday desserts. 😉  I have even found them as k-cups for my Keurig coffee machine at home!! I will be bringing back a few of those LOL!!

king-cake_8017

Well…this is all that I am going to tease you with for now…next up will be Bourbon Street!!

And I promise you that I will be taking a ton of pictures and video while I am there!!  I want to make sure that you feel all of the Mardi Gras excitement with me!

15 days and counting…