There’s more to NOLA than Bourbon Street, but you still have to go
Bourbon Street could be renamed the seventh circle of hell and it would stick. A sticky, sleazy street, Bourbon is fun, and some people never leave. They literally just spend years of their life’s consuming Hand Grenades (only on Bourbon St would this sentence make sense…) and flashing strangers for beads.
There is always a festival going on
If you think that only Mardis Gras will get your hips swinging, you’re dead wrong. NOLA celebrates everything, including the humble chicken tender and the tomato. Even the biggest curmudgeon on the planet will find themselves sucked into a swirl of reference for something that you would otherwise not give a crap about. You’ll become a ‘woo-woo’ girl (or boy) despite yourself…
The smell is…interesting
NOLA smells like an intoxicating combination of alcohol, spew and urine. My first morning walking down Bourbon, my nose wondered what on earth it had done wrong. What fresh hell was I subjecting my nasal passages to? I have never smelt anything so bad, and I live in LONDON.
Halloween is the vibe
NOLA has Halloween hardwired into its very fabric. If the state of Louisiana were a film, it would be Beetlejuice. Not only is there a historic connection to the ancient practice of voodoo, the city leans into a dark, sultry, decadent, deathly aura that is right up my street. You’ll feel like you’re in an adult adaption of Mona the Vampire.
It’s American France
If American’s did France, it would look like NOLA. Hell, it is NOLA. NOLA is a French/Spanish/African/Creole city and in many ways feels more European than American, but with added brashness courtesy of Uncle Sam.
It’s its own microcosm
Partly because of its European feel, and partly because it’s NOLA, there is nowhere else quite like it, neither in American nor the world. A lot of places are reminiscent of somewhere else. NOLA simply isn’t like anywhere else.
It was safer than I thought
NOLA has one of the highest crime rates in America, but as long as you stick to the centre and are with company, it’s mostly very safe. I felt very comfortable here although I’d encourage visitors to extend the same precautions they would when travelling anywhere else in the world.
It’s got a special kind of heat
The heat here is not the dry kind. It’s the make-you-sweat-and-need-three-showers-a-day-kind. I felt like a human puddle loosely held together by skin. It’s great for the pores though.
Intermittent storms are not your friend
I went to NOLA in June, the rainiest month and there would be at least one big storm a day. The heavens would open, and I’d be required to take shelter. Before you knew it, the storm would pass, that unrelenting heat would be back, and the sun would be casually popping back into the sky. It’s very exciting if you like storms and also vaguely terrifying.
There’s a lot more to NOLA than the usual tourist traps
You’ll have a blast if you just stick to Bourbon, Frenchman Street and Jackson Square, but there is so much else to see too. NOLA is relatively compact but relative to its size, has BIG things to offer.
All my love