After you’ve spent an evening in The French Quarter barhopping on Bourbon Street, dodging strip club barkers, and looking at souvenir shops all selling the same YOLO NOLA shirt and you’ve had your fill of 3-1 drinks, jello shots, and mysterious green daiquiris; you may be wondering what there is to do when the sun is up. Check out our New Orleans Guide for what to do in New Orleans for some trip ideas of your own.
First thing on my list after an evening in New Orleans is getting rid of the pesky hangover. While some of my friends and relatives might recommend a bit of the old “hair of the dog” and start their day with a celery packed bloody mary, I prefer to save my drinking strength for the evening, and start off with that my good ole’ trusted confidant, coffee. Start your day off right with a trip down Decatur Street and a trip to the Original Cafe Du Monde. They are most famous for their chicory laced Cafe-Au-Lait (that’s fancy NOLA speak for coffee with milk) and beignets.
I recommend the same for you, just order the coffee large and if you need an extra kick you can always snort up the remaining sugar from your beignets before you leave your table (please don’t).
After breakfast take a shaded stroll through the attached French Market for a mix of souvenirs, pralines, and locally crafted art work. On the far east end of the market there is a flea market that has more local wares and artists and the occasional table filled with questionable goods.
Leaving the market we wandered along several blocks enjoying the architecture and the scenery. Inevitably, you’ll find yourself on Chartres St in front the St.Louis Cathedral and be presented with a large collection of street peddlers, magicians, psychics, and tarot card readers. Be careful here, for I suspect they are much more skilled at separating you from your dollars than they are actually predicting your future. If you continue into the heart of the French Quarter you’ll find many more shops and boutiques that may be a better place to pick up souvenirs and spend your cash.
The French Quarter is sprinkled with shops that sell the blend of rockabilly, goth, punk, vintage, retro, and voodoo inspired clothing that give NOLA natives their unique personal style. One of our faves is Wicked Orleans. The shop actually has a good selection of clothing for both men and women along with the requisite leather goods, bags, and accessories. On this trip I spent some time picking up a new backpack and we found the stores prices reasonable while the owner was extremely helpful and pleasant and even gave us some tips on what to check out during our trip. After our shopping trip we continued to wander around the city and poke around a few more shops.
All the shopping and hiking through the city had Lauren and I both pretty hungry at this point. We decided to have ourselves a bite to eat and asked around for some recommendations. We were pointed to Coop’s Place a local pub and eatery on Decatur St. We stopped in and found it welcoming and inviting and had great food at reasonable prices.
After lunch we did more sight-seeing and walking around the city. Along the way we found some great fresh rolled cigars at Esteli, and some great stuff at Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo. NOLA is a great walking city and as we milled the streets we could feel the city’s vibe calling out to us. It’s a luring mix of debauchery, lust, and passion that seeps from every pore in the city. It seems to even come from mother nature, as this is a city that is constantly pummeled by a combination of torrential rains, floods, and strangling heat, which neatly dovetails into its dark traditions blended with voodoo and spirituality. It’s a city that can mesmerize you and at times haunt you.
With that thought in mind and the day growing long behind us and our thirst growing stronger we headed back to the familiar Bourbon St. We began our evening as the sun set at La Bayou with a seat on the balcony overlooking the strange blend of frat boys and locals just showing up to begin their drinking, and families shocked with the sudden realization that Bourbon St at night is not a place for their pre-teen sons and daughters.
We enjoyed cocktails and our earlier purchased cigars along with a dozen fresh oysters and a hot bowl of gumbo. After that our evening was ready to start and we did the only sensible thing to do in New Orleans, headed down the stairs to Bourbon St and began working on the next day’s hangover…