Banksy umbrella girl street art

New Orleans, Louisiana: Road from The Big D to The Big Easy

Earlier this spring a couple friends and I took a road trip to New Orleans and discovered happiness is a Hurricane on Bourbon Street. Not only was it our first time to visit NOLA, but Louisiana in general, and a road trip was the way to go.

We made an impromptu amendment to our trip and decided to hit the road a day early and stay in Shreveport, Louisiana for a night. We stopped for dinner on the way at Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q in Tyler, Texas where I ordered the Super Deluxe. Please make sure to stop here if you’re ever near Tyler. The jalapeño cheese sourdough bun was so good; I didn’t even have time to snap a picture.

A couple hours later we were in Shreveport and checking into Sam’s Town where we had a blast trying our luck at the slots. I found one called Inca Sun where all three of us came out big winners! After a bagel and latte at a cute little coffee shop the next morning, we were destined for New Orleans.

We took the more scenic route down Route 71 through small towns and fresh air. The timing was just right for lunch when we stopped at the deliciously adorable Lea’s Lunchroom for comfort food and a variety of meringue pie.

Some traffic and almost 200 miles later, we were finally in New Orleans and walking into our cozy apartment in the Bywater neighborhood we found on Airbnb. The neighborhood was quiet, friendly and home to some great art and restaurants. It’s also a reasonable walk or taxi ride to and from the French Quarter. I’d recommend any New Orleans visitor to take a break from the busy tourist hubs and have brunch at Elizabeth’s then walk down to Dr. Bob’s Art Gallery.

View from Crescent Park, a short walk from our apartment

View of Mississippi River from Crescent Park, a short walk from our “borrowed” apartment.

Charbroiled oysters While I was just happy to be in New Orleans taking in the beautiful, colorful homes and scenery, we knew we had places to be! Our four days were filled with lots of walking around the French Quarter, live Jazz, hurricanes and hand grenades on Bourbon Street, TWO trips to Café du Monde, awing at graffiti art and the best seafood I’ve had.

During my usual crowd source for recommendations I was told, “Go to Drago’s and get the charbroiled oysters. Seriously don’t go anywhere else until you’ve had these.” While it wasn’t the first place I went, I now know the magic of charbroiled oysters – wow!

The options of restaurants and bars are overwhelming at first, but realize you can’t go wrong in New Orleans. I really enjoyed the frozen Irish coffee at Erin Rose and the Pimm’s Cup at Carousel Bar. We also fueled our tired bodies with fresh Cajun food at the French Market and Italian food with a creole twist at Adolfo’s on Frenchman Street.

I am a huge fan of Banksy, a street artist in the UK, and geek-ed out over seeing one of his artworks in real life. He went to New Orleans in 2008 on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and after some research, I found the umbrella girl is one of the only (or maybe THE only) piece of his in New Orleans still in good shape.

The road trip to New Orleans is not one I’ll forget. This city is like no other place in the world with so much to discover for all types of people. I wouldn’t have done my trip any other way, but will definitely come back and try it again.

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