My visit to the southern USA was a soulful experience. I quickly found out that New Orleans, Louisiana, also referred to as NOLA, is rich with 1) A fusion of culture, 2) Delicious eats and 3) Soulful melodies.
FUSION OF CULTURE
The first morning there I signed up for a tour of the city. Not an ordinary tour, but a 10km run of the city with a personal tour guide. NOLA’s jogging tour appeared in my trip advisor search proclaiming “Run the city, sweat, and learn about the southern culture”. After reading that I thought: Sign me up!
In less than 2 hours our friendly and knowledgeable jogging tour guide Marcus provided us with a comprehensive breakdown of New Orleans Culture while getting in a solid 10km run. A great way to see the city, especially at 8AM on a Sunday when the majority of people are just getting home from their evening festivities.
Here are a few highlights of the tour:
- An in depth explanation of the Spanish versus French influence.
- Stops at houses featured in Hollywood movies such as Sandra Bullock’s humble abode and Brad & Angie’s French Quarter mansion. Along with a history lesson of how the various neighbourhoods like the one below came to be.
- Running the traditional streetcar pathways.
- Some of the most unique cemeteries I’ve ever seen.
- Challenging Marcus in a 100m sprint to get my 30 dollar tour for free. I had to pay.
Thank you Marcus and New Orleans Jogging Tours for a great snapshot into a rich culture! I highly recommend this tour to anyone heading to NOLA. This was the first time I ever participated in a running tour in any city and I’m now hooked. A creative business idea that maybe I can be inspired to bring over here to Ottawa?
Now for my foodies out there, if you have never been you need to put this city on your bucket list! Especially if you love fresh seafood! Every restaurant I visited served scrumptious home style cooking with a generous side of that famous southern hospitality. Here are some of my favourites:
Le Bayou Restaurant: BBQ Style Oysters
Hedges Bar & Grill Sheraton Metairie
Cafe Du Monde
Cochon Very appropriate name for my food consumption this week…
No visit to New Orleans would be complete without a stop at the famous Frenchmen street. A compact and quaint area where the hip and talented locals hang out. This district is only 2 blocks long but rest assured no matter what day of the week it is, it’s bustling with a soulful and eclectic mix of Jazz, Blues, Reggae and Latin. In about 3 hours we visited 5 establishments. My two favourites being The Spotted Cat and Maison. The best thing is that the majority of the clubs are free and you can just walk in and out. The only courtesy is that you do leave a small tip in the jar if you enjoyed the music!
Our final stop was at a music club on Bourbon Street. We were lucky to discover this amazing band busting out some good time ballads, old school tracks and singable top 40 with passion and conviction. The two singers had the room begging for more and were so good that the audience was offering up to 60 dollars a pop to request tracks. The beauty was that they could perform anything on demand, going from Rock to Funk and back to a ballad in a heartbeat. With the crowd on fire and the energy at its peak, this was a perfect and unforgettable way to end my visit to NOLA!
I will be back NOLA, see you soon!