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New Orleans 2024: Attractions

In this post I was in New Orleans for the very first time. Visiting for 4 days and 4 nights, and on top of eating and drinking my way through the culture, I wanted to see as many sights as I could and explore some museums.

I am actually not a fan of tours or guided experiences as I find that they can take up a lot of time, when I am the type of person to take in as much as I can, as quick as I can, to be able to see and do more.

Here are some of the attractions we did experience and the sights we took in. In the order that we did and saw them.

Bourbon Street
When you see photos of Mardi Gras and hear tales of beads being given out it is along this party street within the French Quarter.

Known for their second floor balconies. Some had a collection of beads draped over the railing; others more serene, decorated with greenery.

At street level it is lined with bars and staff soliciting you in, be it with a friendly greeting or coming out of hiding with a giant plastic bottle of beer tied to their genitalia.

There are also several strip clubs here to foster the rowdy vibe. Hustlers magazine had their gentleman’s club exterior papered with classic magazine cover models. And Barely Legal gave you a sample with a fresh face manning the front podium.

I was more interested in the architecture. Sadly, most of the historic homes had tall concrete walls to protect and hide them from those passing by.

The busiest intersections had their cross walk divided and each segment with contrasting walk and/or stop instructions. I learned to look at the light closest to my intended direction on what to do, and/or to travel in a pack to avoid being hit by incoming traffic.

The city also had street cars that travelled on rails, but I did not have a need to travel on any.

Swamp Tour
One of the things I absolutely wanted to do was to visit a swamp, not knowing when would be the next time I travelled this far South. So we booked a tour on an airboat, in search of gators. More on that in its own post.

Airboat Adventures (NOLA)

Plantation Tour
Another thing I wanted to do was learn more about the history of the South, and that included the slavery that ran rampant in these parts. This too required a booked tour and a long drive out of the city. We would visit a once active plantation turned memorial on a self guided audio tour. Full review of that experience and the learnings I walked away with come in a separate post.

Whitney Plantation Tour, Louisiana

Sazerac House
We made separate attempts to visit the Sazerac House, a multi-levelled distillery with guided tours, tasting rooms, and a gift shop; all centred around Sazerac Whiskey. Although our timing was always off and their tours ended early, so we only got a look at their ground level shop.

Harrah’s Casino
My host is a fan of gambling, so wanted to stop by the casino for its complimentary drinks if you continue to play their table and slot games. I found it very akin to casinos and buildings in Vegas.

Riverwalk Outlet Collection Mall
Seeing that it was within walking distance to our hotel and that we would have a cruise launch at the nearby dock, we decided to check out the Riverwalk Outlet Collection Mall. It was a mall that ran down the direction of the river. We wanted to stop at the food court and Nordstrom’s Rack, which was at the very end of the building, and this required a very long walk back and forth to enter and leave. There were nice pieces that caught my eye, but I was not willing to pay for it or more luggage room.

Paddle Boat Cruise
Against my best judgement we went on a paddle boat cruise, which is one of those cliche things to do as a tourist in New Orleans. I liked the idea of being able to travel on the Mississippi River, on a tradition vessel. For the full experience that I in hindsight regret, visit the link below.

Paddle Boat Cruise (NOLA)

I did enjoy the rickshaw ride we splurged on to get back to the hotel and out of the cold. I was impressed how much weight the woman could peddle on a non-electric bike to boot.

Pirate King Coffee
On my last day in New Orleans I had the morning to myself and set out to check out a few of the museums and anything that caught my eye. Like the pirate coffee house: Lafitte Trading House.

Here you you can grab a beverage and a pastry to go while shopping for pirate memorabilia and collectables. There were also many photo worthy displays.

The show stopper was definitely the captains’s quarters with a leather bed frame dressed in black and gold sheets and pillows.

Bevolo Lamps
Bevolo opens his shop for public consumption. Visitors can watch him craft his custom and hand made lamps, many of which can be found in and around the city, with plenty of international orders as well. He also took the time to engage in conversation with those passing through.

Museum of Death
The Museum of Death was on my list, given the city’s strong ties to voodoo and it to death. Here, you can only take photos at the entrance/reception.

It starts starts off, pretty macabre with foetal animals, skeleton bones, and taxidermy. And then moves into more hard hitting topics surrounding death in great presentation and detail. Stations with audio and video footage, official documents, original photos, and actual historic paraphernalia.

You learn about the history and advancement of human cremation and the embalming process, as well as funeral customs and the whole after death process with historic accoutrement.

The museum also covers larger historic deaths and a handful of unsolved murders: Sharon Tate, OJ, -and Osama to name a few. There was also a nod to Dr. Kevorkian and the topic of assisted suicide. Next the walking path led you to serial killers, cult leaders, terrorism, and cannibals.

Overall this was more educational and less scary than I thought it would be. Although it does still fall in line with the city’s history and its culture built on spooky.

Hermann-Grima House
I took a pause at a lovely courtyard to discover that it had a gift shop. This is the Hermann-Grima House. A a historic house/museum in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. The meticulously-restored home reflects the “Golden Age” of New Orleans. Built in 1831, this was once a Federal-style mansion with courtyard garden.

Worth mentioning is all the buskers to enjoy, set up and performing on closed-off roads. It was an excuse for spectators to take a spill and enjoy the live music.

Bourbon French Parfumes
This was a lovely shop where you could custom make your own fragrance to be bottled in delicate collectable miniature bottles as pictured.

Voodoo Museum
The voodoo museum was similar to the size and the feel of the death one. Nothing officially, more like a collection of artifacts and excerpts for you to read at your leisure.

It was interesting to learn about the different voodoo deities, and contrary to belief most of them were good. And like other multiple gods religions, there is one for every profession and attribute from death to child birthing.

Here, you could also get readings and pick up charms and ingredients for what ails you mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Shops at the Colonnade
This was like an outdoor market with a French history. Think a cross between an Asian night Market and a farmer’s market featuring local artists.

All in a covered corridor that is well maintained and orderly, with plenty of space in between vendors and stalls. I didn’t purchase anything, but did window shop.

Mississippi River
And nearby you can walk to the water’s edge to enjoy a view of the Mississippi River and the Crescent City Connection Bridge at the distance.

Cafe Du Monde
I stopped by the original location of Cafe Du Monde, which is a giant gift shop offering their coffee and beignet mix for sale, along side branded clothing and keepsake souvenirs. You can’t buy any of their food and drink here, but you can visit any of their multiple locations for that. I would later get my taste at the airport out of the city.

Pharmacy Museum
Sadly, the historic pharmacy museum was closed. Had I gotten in I would have been able to visit the American Cocktail Museum within it as well.

East Riverside
We took an Uber to the East Riverside district for a Distillery Tour and ended up exploring the area. It felt like the richer side of town, but with just as much history in the traditional homes and buildings preserved.

Here, all the retail stores are refurbished and renovated heritage homes. A row of pastel exteriors. It feels like you’re walking into someone’s home when you visit each. Here you can shop fashion, insurance, antiques, and art.

It was neat to see international brands like Gong Cha (bubbletea), Freepeople (women’s fashion & apparel), and even CVS getting this Southern treatment. It was here I saw the first poke and bbt shop during my week in New Orleans.

I would love to live in this neighbourhood and shop in frequent all its businesses. Two storey homes: rectangular with pointed roof and several columns running down its expanse. It is also common to see flickering electric lanterns, window shutters, and hanging basket plants. Many of these homes are painted in dual colours with pops of contrasting hues. Felt like out of a story book.

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