One of the first things you notice when you arrive in New Orleans is how friendly everyone is.  From the cab drivers to the hotel staff I worked with, I couldn’t get over just how nice they were. My first evening there I sailed down the Mississippi River on the Steamboat Natchez.  I had phenomenal weather that night to enjoy the music and a drink on the deck while looking at the views of the New Orleans shoreline.  Even if you are not a fan of Jazz music, the band was amazing and the atmosphere was great.

General Jackson Show boat

The next morning (before my group arrived) I was up early to take in some sites on my own.  I enjoyed walking by the river that I had sailed down the night before.  It had a great path with benches and the streetcar runs by the river and is the oldest operating streetcar in the world.  I took the opportunity several nights later to ride it just for the experience.

Historic Streetcar

After walking along the river I made my way to Jackson Square where you find St Louis Cathedral and all the artists are out displaying their artwork.  There are some of the oldest buildings that are now retail shops, museums, galleries and restaurants on the main levels.  I stopped at world famous Cafe Du Monde for a beignet!  Absolutely delicious and a must do. A little further is the French Market that is full of restaurants, shops, and in the evening some great music as well. Walking around first thing in the morning it was quiet, but it doesn’t take long at all to fill up with tourists everywhere.

Beignet from Cafe Du Monde - Webpage format

Cafe Du Monde

Bourbon St also just a few blocks from our hotel was like no other place I have visited.  The amount of people coming and going, wearing their beads proudly and carrying their drinks while walking around the street looking for the next bar they want to go into, was unbelievable.  Something you have to experience firsthand to appreciate.  Very lively all night long and there is a bar for everyone.

All of this was within walking distance from our Hotel, the Bienville House Hotel.  The hotel itself was a true “French Quarter” hotel.  The decor, location and staff made it a fantastic experience.

Bienville House Hotel - Webpage format

A littlefurther is the Garden District, known for its’ mansions and homes of local families and then the homes of the rich and famous.  There are historic Plantation’s to visit, Oak Alley and Laura Plantation.  Then there are the swamps and bayous! You can check out the wildlife, the scenery and enjoy them onboard a flatboat or airboat.  Last but not least the cemeteries in New Orleans are quite historic.  Lafayette Cemetery #1, which is nearly 200 years old is located in the Garden District.  You can take a self guided walking tour through the cemetery.  It is full of above ground tombs and it still acts as a functional working cemetery.  I didn’t get a chance to walk through it during the day, but saw it at night.  Since it was closed I only got to peak in, but that was enough for me!

House in Garden District - webpage format

Lafayette Cemetery - Webpage format

All in all a fantastic city to visit.  Our trips are perfect and just long enough to see and do everything you want.  Can’t wait to go back.

Written by Jessica Swain.