New Orleans: Friends In The City That Care Forgot

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As I’ve gotten older, as one tends to do, and as friends have come and gone, I’ve found it more and more important to cherish the relationships in my life. And while some of my closest girlfriends no longer live on the east coast, it’s so important to take the time to nurture those friendships to ensure that they last. I’m in it for the long haul people! All this to say, that it was time I got a few of the girls together for a little getaway. And when my college bestie Meena relocated to NOLA I knew a trip was in order. So I called up my girl Lisa in California and set the plan in motion. We’d both be traveling from our respective coasts to meet Meena in New Orleans, for a weekend of reconnecting friendships and beignets of course!

meena_enjoyingsucreYay to Meena! Bestie and local guide through NOLA

Oh New Orleans. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? What isn’t there to love about the big easy, the city that care forgot? A place so spirited and majestic; where the sounds of live jazz follow you around as you make your way in and out of shops along the picturesque streets. It goes without saying that a trip to New Orleans should be on every one’s bucket list, for it is unlike any place in the world. Mysterious yet an open book, lively yet relaxed, this city breaks every mold and always leaves you coming back for more…

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me_jacksonsquareThree girlfriends, one weekend in an awesome city.

Where We Stayed
While we had the opportunity to stay with our friend Meena in the lovely Uptown neighborhood of NOLA, we opted to stay in the French Quarter at the historic Maison Dupuy Hotel. Nestled in the heart of the quarter, a stone’s throw away from Bourbon Street, and all the sights, the Maison Dupuy fit the bill for convenient location, comfort, and the ever important pool requirement. We checked in to our Deluxe King Balcony room and were pleasantly surprised by just how cozy and modern the room was. Complete with french doors and a balcony overlooking the pool and courtyard, the room was beautifully appointed and just what we needed after each day of exploring. The pool area also proved to be a great way to cool down and unwind after long days under the hot and humid Southern sun.

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What We Did
No trip to New Orleans is complete without an evening stroll (or stumble) down Bourbon Street. It’s noisy, reckless, and crowded but that’s par for the course in this boozy town. The street is lined with bars and clubs beckoning for your attention. The best thing about this town is that you can take your drinks to go and just roam as you please. You can grab a famous Hurricane at Pat O’Briens or sing at the piano bar in Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the oldest bar in America since 1722! Whatever your poison, you’re bound to find it on this historic street.

What I loved most about our trip was that no day was planned. We set out on foot each morning with the intent to just explore, eat, and see what the city had to offer. No agenda. New Orleans has this way of making you lose sense of all time, and we happily embraced it.

We followed our feet to the gorgeous church at Jackson Square, and the quaint shops along Royal Street. Favorites included Bourbon French Parfums (since 1845!) and Krewe Du Optic, a local handmade eyewear brand whose designs are inspired by the architecture of the city.

bourbonfrenchparfums_circa1843Lisa admiring the lovely fragrance choices at Bourbon French Parfums

We visited the Lafayette Cemetery and even made a wish at the Bead Tree on the campus of Tulane University before heading to the Garden District for more shopping and sweets.

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After a long morning of walking we posted up at the rooftop pool at the stunning Ace Hotel in the Warehouse District. No worries if you aren’t a hotel guest. They serve food and cocktails on the roof at the Alto Bar, and for a minimum purchase of $20 you can lounge by the pool all day. The drinks are carefully curated and the food menu is so tasty. We opted for the peach salad and skirt steak skewers. Yum! The perfect way to unwind for an afternoon as you enjoy the panoramic views of the city.

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Before we knew it, the days turned into nights and we found ourselves listening to live music on Frenchmen Street one minute, and the iconic Preservation Hall the next for the most amazing jazz set. The venue is so intimate, it feels as though you’re sitting in on a secret jam session with the coolest cats in town. Our front row seats (sitting on pillows) proved to be the best in the house as we were pulled on stage for an impromptu dance and sing-along with the band. Unfortunately for us, no cameras are allowed during show-time. Believe me when I say, it was the best part of the trip.

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Where We Ate
The main event for any stay in this city is eating! Creole, Cajun, or southern fare… the options are endless for any budget. The girls and I weren’t much of a breakfast crowd, but for lunch be sure to check out Killer PoBoys, a NOLA staple. Of course there is Cafe Du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait but if you want a truly spiritual experience with your plate be sure to dine at Drago’s for their famous charbroiled oysters. Full disclosure, I am NOT a seafood person, but this dish had me rethinking my entire life choices and what I’ve been missing! Other highlights included the Gumbo Shop for, you guessed it, gumbo and Jacques-imos for the biggest plate of fried chicken this side of the Mississippi (in my opinion).

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All in all, even if just for a fleeting weekend, New Orleans has stolen my heart. Friendships were reconnected, (adult) beverages were consumed, and beads were worn.

lafayettecemetary2They’ve mastered the album cover pose 

This city brings so much magic to those who visit and the people who inhabit it are some of the nicest people around. There’s something about this town that just can’t be captured in words. You’ll just have to see it to believe it. Check out the GirlGoneTravel YouTube channel for my video below to get a glimpse of what this amazing city has to offer!

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Stephanie Klose

Stephanie is a freelance writer who can be found snuggling up in bed with her two favorite dachshunds, Penny and Charlie, or gallivanting around New York City in search of the best chocolate ice cream cone. Whether it is stateside or across the pond, there isn’t a place she wouldn’t go for a little adventure. You can connect with her on on Twitter @StephGoneTravel and Instagram @SMKlose.

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