The Big Easy: NOLA Soul

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.

Jackson Square

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.
Located in the Garden district of New Orleans, this is the house featured in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - yours for a cool 2.85M

Located in the Garden district of New Orleans, this is the house featured in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – yours for a cool 2.85M

  • Running the traditional streetcar pathways.
Something about running on dirt that makes you feel like a true runner!

Something about running on dirt that makes you feel like a true runner!

  • Some of the most unique cemeteries I’ve ever seen.
Wayne played a trick on us when he walked by this particular grave, took a step back & look worried. As you can see from my nervous laugh, he got me good!

Marcus played a trick on us when he walked by this particular grave, took a step back & look worried. As you can see from my nervous laugh, he got me good!

  • Challenging Marcus in a 100m sprint to get my 30 dollar tour for free.  I had to pay.
NOLA group

Caitlin, Wayne and myself post tour

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?

DELICIOUS EATS

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

Six on the half shell, topped with creamy spinach, artichokes, applewood smoked bacon and parmesan cheese

Six on the half shell, topped with creamy spinach, artichokes, applewood smoked bacon and parmesan cheese

Hedges Bar & Grill Sheraton Metairie

Grilled Shrimp Avocado Tomato Arugula Salad

Grilled Shrimp Avocado Tomato Arugula Salad

Cafe Du Monde

Beignets (NOLA's version of the beavertail) Warning! You will be covered in powdered sugar after trying these.

Beignets (NOLA’s version of the beavertail) Warning! You will be covered in powdered sugar after trying these.

Cochon Very appropriate name for my food consumption this week…

Onion braised beef shoulder with mushrooms, field peas & green beans

Onion braised beef shoulder with mushrooms, field peas & green beans

Cochon  Dessert

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with candied spicy peanuts (I had to share it but I recommend ordering one for yourself!)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with candied spicy peanuts (I had to share it but I recommend ordering one for yourself!)

Butcher

Muffaletta with House Meats

Muffaletta with House Meats

SOULFUL MELODIES

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!

Frenchmen St.

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!

Soulful Melodies

I will be back NOLA, see you soon!

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About THRIVEwithjoe

Running a marathon on all 7 continents for Charity, Les Mills Fitness Instructor, lululemon alumni Ambassador, 2014 canfitpro Fitness Professional of the Year Top 3 Finalist, Run 4 a Cause- #RUN4AC
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One Response to The Big Easy: NOLA Soul

  1. smorand01 says:

    Sounds like a fabulous trip! Glad you enjoyed yourself and trust me that after seeing all those delicious pics of your mouth watering dishes, NOLA is certainly on my travel bucket list!

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