New Orleans Day 3

I took a bit of a break from writing as I’m back to school and my life is now crazy again… On the bright side, I’m so glad to share my highlights of Day 3 with you!

In the morning, my family and I went to get breakfast at the Ruby Slipper. There are multiple locations for this breakfast and lunch restaurant, but this location is especially interesting because it used to be an old bank. The crazy thing about it was that the bank was robbed by Bonnie and Clyde and was their last robbery before they died. Our waitress showed us the holes in the outside of the building that are rumored to be bullet holes from the robbery.

In addition to the dramatic backstory, the breakfast food was amazing! I got their cinnamon pancakes with a vanilla cream cheese frosting spread which I loved. It was light, sweet, and perfect for the morning. There were a ton of classic southern breakfast items on the menu as well such as eggs, grits, and fried green tomatoes.

After walking around the French Quarter for a little, we went back to our Air B and B to get ready for our Bayou tour. If you don’t know what a Bayou is, they are the swamps of Louisiana. This state is known for their swamps as they have alligators, snakes, and even wild pigs that roam the waters. We decided it was worth checking out. The company that gave us a tour was called Cajun Encounters, in Slidell, LA. They’re a large company and had at least a hundred people waiting for their tour by the time we got to the Bayou. The experience was interesting overall as we learned a lot about the Bayou ecosystem. Sadly, we didn’t see any alligators because in March, it’s not warm enough for alligators to come out of hibernation. It’s very rare that you see them in that until April so if you go on a swamp tour, I highly suggest that you wait until after March!

Our last stop of the day was at a seafood shack called Kenney Seafood. It’s far from fancy, but if you’re looking for some fried seafood, it’s the perfect place to be. You could choose between combinations of crawfish, shrimp, oysters, and more. I had a mixture of fried shrimp and crawfish which was so delicious. You can also get sides of fries, coleslaw, chowder, and other sides.  There was a plaque on the wall which  showed the waterline of where water flooded the restaurant during Hurricane Katrina. It was shocking to me because the plaque was about 5 1/2 feet above the floor. This day opened my eyes to the horror and destruction that Hurricane Katrina made. Even as we were on the swamp tours, we saw houses that were built on the Bayou, where residents resided in their day-to-day lives. During Katrina, almost all of them were destroyed, and because they were built on the Bayou, it was impossible for them to get house insurance. Many people rebuilt their houses from scratch or abandoned the scraps completely. We saw multiple houses that were flat as pancakes, forgotten by the owners. It was eye opening to see the  remaining destruction from the hurricane as it happened when I was eight, and I wasn’t there to experience and understand the horror of it myself.

Overall, it was another great day of exploring Louisiana. Not only did I learn a lot, but I was able to see the world from a deeper perspective. I hope you enjoyed and I cannot wait to share more of my adventures with you!

NOLA Day 2

Day  2:

New Orleans has been so wonderful! I’m so glad that I’ve gotten the chance to explore this city because there’s so much to see. My mom and I walked around the French Quarter because we didn’t have the chance to see as much of it on the first day. There are a ton of boutique stores, antique shops, pastry shops, and lots more.

My mom and I started our morning at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. It was a smaller museum, but had a variety of art ranging from photography to paintings and sculptures. They have Impressionist pieces and floors of modern and contemporary works. They also have student, senior, and child discounts if you are on a budget. I highly recommend checking it out.

After we wandered through the museum, our stomachs were growling so we ended up going to a cafe called Envie for lunch. There are multiple Envie cafes throughout the city, but this one looked like one of the cuter ones as it has armchairs, small booths, and plants hanging in the space. The lunch menu was average overall. They had a lot of sandwiches and other brunch foods. Luckily, there was a larger coffee menu and you could mix and match a lot of options. (I got a coconut latte.)

Walking in and out of stores in the French Quarter was an adventure in itself. Many of the stores had artistic courtyards and outdoor paths to walk through, which were very picturesque. Even if you don’t buy anything, the stores are a fun experience.

Towards the evening, my entire family collected at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. It’s accredited to be one of the oldest surviving structures in New Orleans. It was built in the 1770’s and has served alcoholic beverages since then. It still looks the way it probably did when it was first built, but it’s nothing special as far as drinks go. You can get beers and other dive bar drinks for a reasonable price. The lighting is pretty much nonexistent, but blindness is part of the experience, right?

Our final stop of the day was Willie Mae’s Scotch House, which is known for their INCREDIBLE fried chicken. Every part of the meal is as stereotypical “southern” as you can get. My meal consisted of fried chicken, mac and cheese, steamed green beans in spices, corn bread, and it was absolutely fantastic! We had to wait in line to get in, so if you want to skip the wait, I would suggest going around 6 pm to get in before it gets busy. They stop letting people in after 8 pm so you need to be in line by at least that time to be served. It’s not on the main drag by any means and you either walk a ways from the French Quarter to get there, or you can Uber/Lyft. It’s totally worth it though.

 And just like that, Day 2 comes to a close. As always, thank you for reading and I hope you’re inspired to check out some new places in NOLA!

Xo, Brynne

 

NOLA Day 1

Hello wonderful people! It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to travel somewhere but my family and I are in the beautiful New Orleans, and I’ve decided to keep you updated on our adventures! Day 1 has already been so much fun and I’m pumped to tell you all about it! First of all, walking around NOLA was amazing because of the architecture. Even in the residential areas, the houses are painted in colorful pastels and have accents of Victorian swirls. They are so different from anything I’ve seen on the East Coast or Midwest. I couldn’t get enough!

 

We started the morning by going to mass at the St. Louis Cathedral. It was so beautiful in there and it was founded in 1720, but opened in 1794. I didn’t take pictures of the inside as I wanted to be respectful during mass, but it was so interesting. (Also, the priest must have been around 80 years old and he was adorable and made funny jokes aha.) Even if you aren’t Catholic, I highly recommend going to mass or other religious services when you travel somewhere because it can give you an experience of how people live.

 

For all my theatre nerds, this one is for you! You can actually see Tennessee William’s house in NOLA. Unless you’re specifically looking for it, it’s a little easy to miss. There’s a little plaque on the outside of the apartment, and you can’t go in because it’s a residential apartment which was very surprising to me. Sadly it doesn’t seem to be taken care of, but it’s definitely interesting to see where a such a famous playwright lived.

The Louis Armstrong Park was next on our list. It was very modern and simplistic, and there were some gorgeous art statues as well as one of Louis himself. It was a nice way to walk around in the sun and go across the bridges.

Next, my family and I got lunch at this place called Central Grocery, which is known for their sandwiches which they’ve dubbed ‘Muffulettas.’ They’re giant sandwiches with different kinds of Italian deli meats, cheeses, and olive spread on them. My family of 4 split the sandwich and were full. (It was about the size of my head and cost $20.) They were also sooooo good! You couldn’t take pictures in the store because they were afraid of people coming in and stealing the family recipe, but I snuck a couple away from the prep line so you could get a feel for the place. The entire store still looks like it’s paused in time as it opened in 1906. You could get old fashioned looking groceries, bottled sodas, and many different kinds of beers.

Apparently, you haven’t toured NOLA unless you’ve hit Cafe Beignet. There are multiple locations for this cafe, but the original one is way cuter! A beignet is basically fried dough with powdered sugar on top. You can also get lunch and coffee at the cafe, and the original location is a super long, artistically painted building with a courtyard. It’s every millennial/gen z’s Instagram dream.

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Since it’s our first day here, we decided we’d explore all over the French Quarter! You can walk along the Mississippi River and see the steam boats docked by the shore. Although there are lots of crappy tourist-trap stores and gross looking bars, there’s a mix of really cute stores and restaurants as well. They have a lot of antique shops, clothing boutiques, and art galleries. One of my favorite places to look in was Louisiana Loom Works. Ronda, the shop owner is so sweet and makes tons of stunning rugs! Not to mention, she adopted 8 cats and they all sleep in the shop and love to be pet by strangers!

For dinner, went to this pizza place called Pizza Delicious. It’s one of the best pizza places in all of NOLA and their thin crust is AMAZING. I’m also a fan of their Caesar salad. Sadly they were out of garlic knots, but apparently they’re super popular here.

Anyways, it’s been a great day to start off Day 1! I’m so excited to see what the next of the week has to offer! Have an incredible day and don’t forget to smile. 🙂

Xo, Brynne

Visiting le Jardin Botanique

Last week my family and I spent 3 days and 4 nights in Montreal, Canada as a long weekend vacation and it was well worth every second. For some people, going to Canada may not be too exciting because you may think it’s basically like the midwest with some French speaking areas, right? But Montreal is the hub for adventure and culture, making it feel like France is just a car ride away!

The first place we went to under my mom’s recommendation was le Jardin Botanique. This garden was huge and had different sections, whether it be pathways of flowers or a giant koi pond. That being said, the koi pond is a must-see because the fish will swim right up to you in hopes of food, and the whole pond is absolutely gorgeous! The boardwalk that I’m sitting on below allows visitors to cross the pond and get a closer look at our fishy friends.

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Another great aspect to le Jardin Botanique is that students get a reduced entry price which made it affordable (bring your school ID to get the discount) and my family spent at least two and a half hours going through as much of the garden as we could. We got our money’s worth out of the experience for sure. No matter where we went, none of us were bored for a second because each part of this garden was artistically planned out and beautiful.

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My all time favorite attraction was the jaw-dropping sculptures made from willow branches by the artist Patrick Dougherty. He and his artistic team created various sculptures that you can walk through such as huts and even a Celtic knot. Because these are installations, they are sadly temporary to the garden (we learned this the hard way after my mom was looking for a topiary exhibit), but there’s usually an artist’s installation within the garden at all times.

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If you ever travel through Montreal, le Jardin Botanique is a must-see! Make sure you go in the late spring or summer when the flowers have a chance to bloom. This was one of the best experiences I had over my vacation and is definitely worth spending half the day here.

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If you are planning your upcoming Montreal visit, bon chance! (Good luck!)