We’ll we finally did it. I got my husband to see my hometown for the very first time and I returned after being displaced due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and another 10 years away.
After Katrina, in August 2005, my Dad and I went back to live in New Orleans for another year, I had just started my Junior Year at Belle Chasse High School, like, it was still fresh. We moved to Missouri after having been an official High School Junior for only two weeks. So it was August of 2006 when we made the move to Missouri.
Why’d we move? Funny story. My Dad met someone on the internet and she just happened to live around where my grandparents lived and he was retiring so he wanted to go where family was. It was a huge mixture of a lot of things. 1) My Dad retiring from the U.S. Navy, 2) He had just recently got a divorce 3) Hurricane Katrina left a mighty big scar on the City of New Orleans and 4) My Dad met a woman on the internet.
I was only 17 (and like I said, a Junior in High School) at the time so I had no other choice but to move where my Dad wanted to plant us.
Anyway, back to the story, after 10 whole long years away – I finally bought up the courage to buy a couple plane tickets, reserve a rental car, and book a hotel room for a few nights then we were off!
Our plane tickets were about $700.00 round trip for two people. We flew on a myriad of different airlines but American Airlines was our favorite because the seating was good, lots of space, nice cabin temperature, many amenities for the traveler and enough hot coffee and Biscoff cookies to entertain an adult with ADHD (not me).
We rented a Chevy Malibu that was charcoal grey in color from Enterprise Car Rental and stayed that the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel which is located right in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans. Because we were right in the heart of the city we didn’t need to use our rental car until we drove all the way out to Valcherie, Louisiana to visit Oak Alley Plantation. So if that tells you anything, we walked everywhere. Literally. Everywhere.
Day 1: August 3, 2016
Arrived around 1:30PM into New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport which we noticed immediately smelled like piss and vomit. Being a native of New Orleans, I expected this. My husband, however, was very taken aback and his first impression of New Orleans was not a pleasant one. I told him that the smell that he was smelling was the swamps that surround the city. They give off a very dirty, sweaty smell, that feels the atmosphere all around you and permeates into your clothing.
Day 1 wasn’t feel with too much activity. After we landed, we picked up our rental car and made our way to our hotel. Once at the hotel, which we had no problem finding, we put away our stuff then headed out on foot to explore the French Quarter. By this time, it was around 3:00pm but it felt like much later because, believe it or not, traveling takes a lot out of you; you’re just mentally and emotionally exhausted. We had planned on going to a strip club or too or get a real genuine feel for the New Orleans night life but by 5:00pm we were tired and hungry. Our dinner consisted of Oyster Po’ Boys from a local dive (apologies, I forget the name). Then we headed back to the hotel and ordered some adult drinks from room service (Sazerac anyone?). Then we showered because planes make you feel gross and went to bed super early for normal people (around 8pm)
Day 2: August 4, 2016
On the second day, we woke up pretty early because we were excited to see what New Orleans had for us. However, the whole idea of our New Orleans trip was more to enjoy it and less about seeing every little thing we could possibly see. So we made our eventual way out of the hotel and wound up at St. Louis cathedral. This was particularly special because it was still relatively early where there wasn’t a whole lot of people out doing anything yet. It had to have been around 8am, the sun was still coming up and everything was still dewey. We went into the cathedral where people were rhythmically chanting a singing. We sat down in one of the back pews and just soaked up the ambience of it all. We stayed there for a good while just listening and absorbing the vibe of the place then headed out. We decided to go shopping next, we went to Fleurty Girl which is a local boutique that sells all kinds of quirky things. We went to PJs Coffee (which, by the way is the best coffee in the entire world), then we made our way over to the River Walk and walked around the shops there obviously stopping at Cafe Du Monde to enjoy some coffee and beignets.
Towards the noon hour, we started to get bored so I thought it was a great idea to head over to Valcherie, Louisiana to visit Oak Alley Plantation. It took about 45 minutes to drive there and we were only there exploring many an hour. I really just wanted to drive out there so my husband could see and experience the coolest plantation known to man.
At night, we had the crazy idea again that we might want to enjoy an authentic night life experience but then quickly realized that neither of us were into that sort of thing. We were sort of afraid to be out after dark because at the time of our trip there were a lot of news stories about tourists be robbed, stabbed or robbed and stabbed. Needless to say, we didn’t venture out after dark for too long.
Day 3: August 5, 2016
On the third day, we slept in a little bit, waking up around 10:30am and not being humanly ready for life until around noon. Realizing that it was our last real day in New Orleans we frantically began looking for presents to bring back to everyone at home. We stopped in cliche tourist shops and bought some t-shirts, jewelry, pralines, and other such items that we thought our family and friends might enjoy. We walked around the French Quarter for the last time, passing shops and restaurants that we had passed so many times before.
At night, we panicked just a little and headed over the the airport around 8pm even though our flight didn’t leave until 7AM the next morning. I think, really, both of us just wanted to go home at that point.
Day 4: August 6, 2016
Since we had slept at the airport, when we woke up, we noticed that the airport was beginning to open up for business. We got biscuits and gravy from a shop that opened early and just watched as the crowd grew thicker with every hour that passed. At 7AM, it was time for our flight back home.