For my money, the 3 best cities in America are New Orleans, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., in that order. I like them all for different reasons, and I'll be explaining that as I review them all in this blog in the coming months (San Fran will be last since my wife and I are going back in May). Now, I'm not going to tell you how to see it. No, I'm going to show 30 pictures from my trip and list 12 positives and 12 issues with the city as well a soundtrack that reflected the trip. Oh, and I'll tell you my 12 favorite parts of my trip and 12 more I'd like to see.
It's up to you to make your own fun with them and the links I provide you. The key is to investigate the Web using pictures and video to establish an itinerary based on your interests, not the overwhelming lists of guide books.
If I went again, I would do a Friday to the following Sunday. Of the things that I'd want to see that I didn't, I would do the following.
1) See a show at Preservation Hall.
2) See the Battle of New Orleans site.
3) Spend an entire day at the cemeteries of Metairie
4) See the other half of Lafayette Cemetery
5) Try a hand grenade (drink)
6) See the levees properly
7) See the other half of the WW2 Museum
8) More time in the French Quarter to include riding in a horse drawn carriage
9) Visit more plantations
10) See a New Orleans Saints game
11) Spend more time at Congo Square
12) Spend time in a place named after Louis Armstrong
1) The cemeteries were awesome. St. Louis Cemetery #1 is the big one with Marie Laveau
2) The houses of the Garden District
3) The balconies of the French Quarter
4) Lafayette Cemetery and Anne Rice stuff
5) Trying on Mardis Gras costumes at the costume museum.
6) Singing "Paper Planes" in a chicken place with Heather while doing the gun and cash register sound effects. Despite being the biggest "honky" around, "no one on the corner has swagger like" me.
7) The haunted tours
8) The nonhaunted tours
9) Seeing how the Mardis Gras floats were made
10) Houmas House
11) The live oaks. Everyone has their redwoods cool on, but the live oaks are incredibly shaped and huge, too
12) Riding in a steamboat down the Mississippi
Thus, for me, New Orleans has:
1) American, French, Spanish, and Caribbean history
2) Cajun culture / Mardis Gras
3) Distinct architecture
4) Music everywhere, especially jazz
5) Lots of entertainment in all varieties to include a strong sports presence
6) Those graveyards and the undead, ghostly world
7) The mighty Mississippi and its huge cargo vessels
8) The remnants of plantation days with attention paid to slaves' lives as well
9) A certain "cool" seediness that permeates outward from its core
10) The surrounding swamps and gators
11) The shadow of Jesus on St. Louis Cathedral
12) A healthy respect for its ability to bring people in with all of these things for dining, hotels, nightlife, daytime experiences, and so much more.
1) Expensive parking around Bourbon Street and the French Quarter (up to $40 a day)
2) A lot of crime / opportunist thieves
3) A lot of drunks / drinking problems
4) That isn't water in those potholes
5) A lot of trash on the streets, especially at Mardis Gras time
6) Having your friends invited into orgies that are only spectatorial - not participatorial.
7) Having your friend expose your nipple to a drunk guy for tweaking purposes so that his wife isn't accosted instead as he asked her to show hers first.
8) A difficult time finding bathrooms without paying big prices for drinks.
9) Watered down, overpriced drinks
10) Souvenir statues of women fornicating with alligators - who thinks of this?
11) No pictures or videos allowed in voodoo shops - we can't let Baphomet's hermaphroditic Satanic goat self be exposed to the sun
12) Summers are sweltering hot and humid as the Mississippi adjusts accordingly.
To me, the pluses beat the minuses every time, though I think I should be allowed to take photos of Baphomet to mock him ridiculously because, well, he's a frickin' idiot half goat / half sidekick of Satan, but that could just be me.
Then again, look at that mug! That's not even a face that a mother could love!
Alas, as I said, my wife and I went to New Orleans in December. It was my 5th time and her first. I never saw as much before as I did on this trip.
Yes, it was that good.
Normally when I travel, I make CDs for the trip ahead of time. They're geared around music that can be associated with that place, music I love, music my wife digs, and other upbeat things that could reflect the mood of the trip.
This time, I let things grow organically and become real after the trip.
As we wandered around the streets, I took in all of the songs and started compiling a list. When I was done, I mixed it with Louisiana musicians, voodoo, New Orleans, and songs that reflected the pneumonia I got right after I got home.
Yes, I really did get pneumonia.
It's important to have a sense of humor.
Anyway... here's the soundtrack of New Orleans at Christmastime 2017.
1) Joy to the World by 3 Dog Night
2) Beyond the Sea by Bobby Darin
3) Marshmallow World by Johnny Mathis
4) All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey
5) Last Christmas by Taylor Swift
6) There, Right There by Laura Bell Bundy
7) When the Saints Go Marching in by Louis Armstrong
8) Havana by Camilla Cabello with Young Thug
9) Toxic by Britney Spears
10) Paper Planes by MIA
11) Hot and Cold by Katy Perry
12) Mr. Heatmiser by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
13) Chills and Fever by Tom Jones
14) 24K Magic by Bruno Mars
15) California Love by 2Pac
16) Brass Monkey by The Beastie Boys
17) Alabama Song by The Doors
18) Low Rider by War
19) Give It Away by Red Hot Chilipeppers
20) All Star by Smashmouth
21) Jump, Jive, and Wail by Brian Setzer Orchestra
22) I Still Get Jealous by Louis Armstrong
23) Nothing's Too Good for My Baby by Keely Smith
24) Kyrie Eleison / Mardis Gras by The Electric Prunes
25) Iko Iko (live) by Grateful Dead
26) Next of Kin by Alvvays
27) Kate by Ben Folds Five
28) Zydeco Christmas by CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band
29) Born on the Bayou by Credence Clearwater Revival
30) Mustang Sally by Sam and Dave
31) Voodoo Cadillac by Southern Culture on the Skids
32) Life Sucking Voodoo Woman by The Flametrick Subs
33) Voodoo Child (Slight Return) by Jimi Hendrix
34) Sympathy for the Devil
35) Love Me 2 Times by The Doors
36) Spend a Night in the Box by Reverend Horton Heat
37) Niteclub by Old 97s
38) Santeria by Sublime
39) Witchy Woman by The Eagles
40) No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley
41) I Belong to the Band / Hallelujah by Reverend Gary Davis
42) Marie Laveau by Bobby Bare
43) The House of the Rising Sun by The Animals
44) New Orleans by Silver Jews
45) Voodoo by Godsmack
46) I Put a Spell on You by Screaming Jay Hawkins
47) Miles Runs the Voodoo Down by Miles Davis
48) Voodoo by King Diamond
49) Voodoo by Yngwie Malmsteen
50) Voodoo Child (Slight Return) Live by Stevie Ray Vaughn
51) Tower of Song by Nick Cave
52) Voodoo Candle by Jay Farrar
53) Hoodoo Voodoo by Billy Bragg and Wilco
54) City of New Orleans by Willie Nelson
55) Still the One by Orleans
So with that, it looks like I owe you 17 more photos... better make 'em good!
You can find MANY albums of NOLA (and more) pictures HERE!