Louisiana,  New Orleans,  North America,  Travel,  United States

Exploring The Big Easy: What To Do In New Orleans

I’d wanted to visit New Orleans for a long time, the history and architecture always looked so picturesque. The closest I’d ever gotten was New Orleans Square in Disneyland. Surely the original inspiration would be just as beautiful?

I was staying at Disney’s Art of Animation with my friend Emily for two nights prior to the trip.

My Friend Hollie was joining me on the trip, and met me at Art of Animation the night before. This way we could get the Magical Express to the airport for free. Our bus was leaving at 3:30am.

Last Minute Frenzy

As we boarded the bus I logged into my emails to double check our hotel booking. My booking had been cancelled due to incorrect credit card information. There we were on the way to the airport with no hotel for the next 4 days. I it worked in our favour, as I managed to find a better hotel for $30 more through booking.com

Where Did We Stay?

Upon arriving at our hotel in New Orleans, we found our room and had what seemed like a three-hour nap. I was exhausted.

Our hotel during our stay was Hotel Royal on Royal Street. This hotel was fantastic; we checked in early, had comfy beds and a spacious room. The staff were all very helpful and location was great for walking everywhere.

What Did We Do?

I met with my friend Kate, who was like our tour guide for the day. She gave us an overview of the city and where to get the best food, which you can read about in my food series here.

Museum Of Death

Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but we’re a creepy bunch I guess. I wouldn’t say this museum was gory, but there are definitely things in here that are not for the faint hearted. I personally found it really interesting. There is a no photography policy here, so no photos I’m afraid.

Jackson Square

An icon of New Orleans, Jackson Square was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960. The Louisiana Purchase took place in Jackson Square in 1803 and the United States acquired 827,00 square miles, the largest in U.S. history.

Jackson Square is a relaxing place to take time out from the hustle and bustle of New Orleans and has great views of St. Louis Cathedral.

Mississippi River

Enjoy a walk along the Mississippi River. There is a walkway that allows you to enjoy the views here, and steps that lead down towards the river. We spent a few moments just sitting here watching the boats go by.

The steamboat Natchez departs from the same area if you wish to do a steamboat tour. I never had time during my stay in New Orleans but I’ve heard good things.

Frenchman Street

If you’re looking for good Jazz Clubs in the city, Frenchman is where you’ll want to head. There is a Jazz band that plays on the street corner almost every night. Grab a seat and a drink on the Dat-Dog balcony and watch from above.

Get Up Close With Aligators

When in the Deep South, you have to check out a swamp! The tour I took was approximately 2 hours long and took us down the Honey Island Swamp.

Our tour guide took us to an area of the swamp where the majority of Alligators hang out. Using a hot dog on a stick, he was able to tempt them out of the water and up the side of the boat, not something I was expecting! I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of Alligators, but when one has its face right next to you it’s definitely intimidating. We managed to spot some more wildlife along the way, a swamp pig!

It rained throughout our tour, so we were rather wet by the end of it. At one point I did notice lightning in the distance but thankfully it eased up early into the tour.

We took this tour through Cajun Encounters, it was $56 USD per person and they pick you up in the heart of New Orleans.

Take A Tour Through One Of New Orleans’ Cemeteries

New Orleans is famous for burying it’s dead above ground, due to the city being built on swampland. We toured the hauntingly beautiful Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden district. We were given a self-guided tour of the cemetery, which gives you a insight into its history.

Only I could go to a cemetery and find a black cat

Discover the Garden District Via Cable Car

On my last day in New Orleans, we took the green line on the cable car system to the Garden District. The Garden District is located in the American Sector of New Orleans. We boarded our cable car at Canal Street.

Canal Street was originally intended to be a canal to separate the French and American sections of the city. The French creoles did not want the Americans to move in, so they created this wide road to separate the two. This is also where you’ll notice the street names change. Royal Street becomes St. Charles and Bourbon becomes Carondelet etc.

The Garden District is filled with beautiful gingerbread style houses and is a great area to take a walk. We stumbled upon the house that was supposedly Walt Disney’s inspiration for The Haunted Mansion.

Lalaurie Mansion

One thing I regret not doing in New Orleans is a ghost tour. I always think these things are made up to make money, but after learning about some of the residences in New Orleans, it spiked my interest.

It’s rumoured the Lalaurie Mansion is the most haunted house in New Orleans. The Lalaurie Mansion was a couple of streets down from our hotel. (Trust me to book a hotel near the most haunted house in New Orleans!)

“Madame LaLaurie, was a New Orleans Creole socialite and serial killer, noted for torturing and murdering slaves in her household.”

Well then. What a creepy history!

You can book Ghost Tours through a number of companies. Trip Advisor rates Witches Brew Tours as one of the top Ghost Tours.

I visited New Orleans during the month of June so the humidity was still very high, it also rained a lot while we were there. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in New Orleans, learning about it’s unique history and culture.

Have you ever visited the city of New Orleans? 

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