Hello, New Orleans! Arriving in the Big Easy

I made it! After trying to get to New Orleans for over a decade, I’m giddy with excitement that I’m here. Finally…

And so far, this place is even better than I imagined. Bourbon Street’s got a bawdy decadence mixed with a never-ending energy that flows around you, tempting you to discover all of the tastes, sights and sounds of this vibrant city.

It also oozes with this magical vibe that puts you into vacation mode the moment you step into the famous French Quarter. 

dana new orleans

don’t let the shirt fool you. I’m indeed here in New Orleans, not New Hampshire (which is also quite lovely–just a wee bit further north).

I’m not sure how I’ve kept missing this place in all my travels throughout the U.S until now, but somehow New Orleans kept eluding me.

I got pretty close a few years ago when a friend and I ended up in Memphis on a road trip from Chicago. We thought about going to New Orleans from there, but it was hotter than the devil’s lair in Memphis at the time (it was August) so we figured driving even further south wasn’t such a hot idea (or, rather, too much of a hot idea… haha).

Good call– it turns out–because it’s already pretty darn hot ’round these parts now— and it’s only early Spring!

I also nearly came to New Orleans for Christmas with my parents one year, too. But my dad was starting to get more sick right before our trip so we decided to go to Florida instead for a more relaxing, low-key holiday. Once again, so close but it just didn’t pan out.

So when Cowboy and I planned this Deep South road trip, we both agreed: New Orleans was definitely on the list. It wasn’t an optional stop.

It was fairly late evening when we strolled into New Orleans and we were both exhausted. We were up extremely early (7am, which is much earlier than my usual noon wake-up time on the weekend) because we were camping and the sun wakes you up in your tent pretty darn fast. We spent the morning at Graceland , then spent the rest of the day driving (6 hours or so) through the Mississippi in 35 degree heat.

Even though we’re both extreme night owls, we felt like we could fall asleep right now if we sat down for even a minute. And it’s not even 10pm!

And.. we’re in New Orleans, dudes! This is one of the wild, party cities that never sleeps, right? (or is that New York?). I don’t normally fall asleep any other night ’til 2am, so there was NO way I was going to go to sleep early here in New Orleans.  That would just be crazy talk (yep, even for me).

But as soon as we started meandering through the French Quarter and soaked in some of the sights, our weary bones and sleepy haze quickly dissipated. This place has some incredible energy and even though we’ve only been here for 5 minutes, I suddenly felt like I’d just downed a couple (dozen) strong espressos.

IMG_9714Our first order of business though, is to find our hotel and check in.

The Bourbon Orleans is smack in the middle of the French Quarter but it’s not right on the busy, boisterous Bourbon Street either. It’s close enough to walk to everything and you still feel like you’re in the middle of it all, but far enough that you can actually get some peace and quiet–especially since we’d hoped to get some shut-eye… at least eventually.

IMG_9718We chose the Bourbon Orleans after reading plenty of reviews (Tripadvisor, of course) and we’re so glad we did. From the outside, the hotel has a luxurious look mixed with a bit of a Wild West theme (which, as you can probably imagine, suited this cowgirl-wannabe just fine). We looked into a few other highly-recommended hotels in the Quarter but when we saw where they are located during out tour of Bourbon Street, we were even happier with our choice.

If you’re coming to New Orleans and you’re like me–where you need sunshine to help wake you up in the morning– make sure your room has a window (many don’t, as we quickly learned). We chose the basic room since I knew we’d be spending most of our time out of the hotel anyway, but when we got to the room and saw that our ‘window’ actually faced a brick wall, we opted for the upgrade after all. 

We went from a teeny, windowless room where you can barely move to a gigantic, 2-level room with not only real windows, but a huge balcony as well. All for maybe $70 extra.


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What a difference, holy cow! Instead of $150 or so, we paid about $225 but still not bad considering the size difference and we are in New Orleans, after all.

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IMG_9897A sign on the back of the door told us this this room usually goes for $1,000, especially during festivals….like Mardi Gras, where I’m sure it may even be double that price. So we got ourselves an even better deal than we originally thought. Sweet!

IMG_9741The friendly woman at check-in also gave us the nicer room (so she said) because Cowboy told her we were celebrating my birthday  (we were, actually) so that was a really nice gesture. 

As I noticed everywhere in the Deep South, the people here are so unbelievably friendly. Not only do they say hi to you on the street, they’ll strike up a conversation too.

After getting into our room and dumping off all our luggage, I took a quick shower while Cowboy caught up on hockey, and then we made a couple of coffees to help wake us up (I was starting to fade again). Then, it was finally time to head out to see the famous French Quarter.

Remember my last post where I said I was going to write shorter posts? Yeah, me neither.

HA HA. Ok…

Stay tuned for Part 2: First Night in New Orleans, coming soon. It’s wild (well, sorta) wacky, and it involves a bar that used to be a circus Carousel. ooh  strong southern drinks combined with a MOVING bar? Sounds like trouble fun, doesn’t it? 😀

We’re on a big Deep South road trip!  In case you missed them and you wanna get caught up– here are my previous posts:

Louisville: Home of the Kentucky Derby, 

Nashville: The famous Honkey Town strip

Tour of the Grand Ole Opry,  the Belle Meade Plantation,

Dinner at a local…Drugstore?

Memphis: Arriving in Memphis, Roaming the Famous Beale Street and A Tour of Sun Studios.

For more stories, check out my new Road Trips link at the top. Thanks for reading, ya’ll!

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5 thoughts on “Hello, New Orleans! Arriving in the Big Easy

  1. Pingback: Bourbon Street, Music and a Carousel Bar! New Orleans, Part 2 | The Roadtrip Cowgirl

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