Day 20 – New Orleans

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On Monday it was off to New Orleans!
I can’t remember how the bus ride was but I most likely just slept most of the way.
It’s great to have a little nap on the bus because I’m all prepared for our nights out!

imageWe arrived into New Orleans around 4pm and went straight to pick up a local tour guide.
Apparently if you’re not a registered tour guide of New Orleans you can’t ‘legally’ give tours – which is why our Contiki Guide had to organise someone else to do it for us.imageWe did learn a lot about New Orleans though!
Such as how it got it’s name (after the Duke of Orleans) and that it was established by French colonists way back in the day. This is why New Orleans has such distinct French and Spanish Creole architecture everywhere.
While we drove through the city, we got to see the ‘French Quarter’ (the oldest area of New Orleans) where all the streets are named in French and there’s lots of markets and restaurants to eat at.
We also drove past Bourbon Street which is famous for it’s nightlife in the French Quarter. There’s live jazz music, Burlesque Clubs, DJs, bars and clubs at night-time which I’m sure we were all about to experience that night!

imageNew Orleans is famous for their Mardi Gras festival too!
I thought it was just a one-off event but apparently it’s a whole season like Christmas is. They have a day called Fat Tuesday which is the biggest day for Mardi Gras. The date it falls on moves around so it can be any time between Tuesday Feb. 3rd and March 9th.

If you’re in New Orleans over Mardi Gras, you’ll get to experience all the floats and parades covered in Purple, Green and Gold. These apparently stand for Justice, Faith and Power.
I didn’t know this but by law, float riders must always wear mask. imageNow to my favorite part, FOOD!
New Orleans’s are pretty well known for their seafood and soulfood. As the city is located near the Mississippi River, they have access to a variety of both saltwater and freshwater fish and shellfish.SFS_Beignet-33They also have something called beignets (locally pronounced like “ben-yays”) brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by French colonists. They’re fried square-shaped pastries served for breakfast (or dessert) with powdered sugar on top. Yum!

Another New Orleans specialty is the Praline. A local a candy made with brown and granulated sugar, cream, butter, and pecans. Pralines were one of the more popular recipes adapted from the old French tradition.
When Almonds were in short supply, cooks began substituting the nuts of the native Louisiana pecan trees, and that’s how the modern pecan pralines were born
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Oak_Street_Po-Boy_Festival_2011_Lobster_Po-BoysLastly, the Po-boy’s and Italian Muffuletta sandwiches!
Po-boy’s are a traditional sandwich that’s filled with some type of meat or seafood and served on a baguette either hot or cold. A “dressed” po’boy has added extra’s like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayonnaise with melted butter. You can find these babies pretty much everywhere from the grocery store, deli-counters or neighborhood restaurants.
imagefro-yo-frozen-yogurtWhen we arrived at our hotel after the tour, we all went to our rooms to put our stuff away. My room mate needed the room to make some phone calls (she was going home early the next day) so I let her do her thing and went out for a walk with one of the couple’s from our Contiki,  Brodie & Mark.
We walked down to one of the main streets in New Orleans – Canal Street and got some fro-yo which was refreshing on the hot New Orleans day!

After walking around for about an hour, I went back to the hotel and starting getting ready for our usual Contiki night out.  Lots of the other people on the tour had attended an optional dinner (when I say optional, it means you have to sign up for it and pay for it if you want to do it but you don’t have to)
I’m a bit of a fussy eater (no seafood or pork stuff for me) so I didn’t put my name down.
It worked out well anyways because I had more time to get ready 🙂

Around 8pm, Marcus & Lauren (2 others on Contiki) came to my room and we took a cab down to Bourbon Street to get something to eat.
New Orleans isn’t the best place for people like me who don’t eat Seafood as everywhere we walked by had fish, lobster, oysters etc… I ended up just getting some type of Hamburger somewhere while the others ate the Seafood haha!

After dinner, we met up with the others from our Contiki at a bar on Bourbon Street. When we got there everyone was pretty much “on form” which is Kiwi slang for being drunk and having a good time!
I caught up to their level pretty quickly and we all ended up going to another bar for more drinks. In New Orleans you’re actually allowed to walk around and drink alcoholic drinks on the street and travel from bar to bar with a drink in hand.  Kind of reminded me of Las Vegas… If you don’t want to finish off your drink in the current bar you’re at, just ask for a go-cup and you can take it with you.
A few of us ended up meeting some locals from New Orleans which we hung out with for the rest of the night. My night ended at 3am with shots of patron and tequila and who knows what else!imageEventually in my lovely drunken state I took a cab back to the hotel and as I forgot my room key, my room mate had to let me in 🙈
I got all ready for bed and as soon as I lay down I didn’t feel quite well. It was either from that burger I ate or the litres of alcohol 😒
I then proceeded to spew in the bathroom like 10 times and went to sleep with the hotel bin next to my face. (Sorry Mum I know you’re reading this)

Hahahaha! That was probably the most drunk I’ve gotten on Contiki and I didn’t even think I was that bad.

Also, apologies to the Sleep & Suite Inn in New Orleans for their rubbish bin with no bag in it and my vomit. 🙊🙊

Love & peace xx

More Things I learnt about New Orleans:

  • If you don’t want to go to seedy Bourbon street – Head to Frenchman street instead (it has brass bands and music inside and outside the clubs)
  • Uber isn’t that reliable here
  • Canal Street, once the widest street in the world, was named for a canal that was planned for, but never built
  • The Superdome is the largest enclosed arena in the world.
  • Bars can stay open all night
  • They invented Poker
  • They’re the birthplace of Jazz Music
  • The Tombstones are above the ground in cemeteries as they get quite high water at certain times of the year

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