It’s August. For one second, ignore the boobs, the beads, the booze and the beignets. Close your eyes and take a good long inhale of the sultry, humid air of the Mississippi River delta. Probably swat at a mosquito. Fan yourself with whatever paper you may have around you because you’re insanely hot. Now open your eyes and take in the sights of one of the most culturally rich cities in the United States- New Orleans, Louisiana.
There is no place in the world quite like New Orleans and it has a sort of rhythmic energy that makes you feel as if the city itself is swaying along to a soulful jazz melody of Louis Armstrong himself. It is the South in every sense; people move and talk slowly here, friendly, not in a frustrating way but in a way that could make even the most uptight visitor sip their coffee with a little more ease. Nicknamed The City that Care Forgot with good reason yet ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, subsequent poverty, violence and infrastructure problems, New Orleans is a cosmopolitan mixture of pure epicureanism mixed with a resilient population and Southern good-natured charm.
New Orleans in a weekend:
(1) Mo Pho – Located in Mid City, Mo Pho is classic Vietnamese with a Cajun twist, offering unique meat selections such as oxtail, pork belly, headcheese and cocks comb. It has a comfortable yet trendy atmosphere, incredibly friendly waitstaff and most importantly, great pho. Order the Violette Femme or a spiked bubble tea such as the Crepe Myrtle for cocktails and the pho as a main dish. You’ll be asking pho mo’, pho sho’. #phopuns
(2) City Park & New Orleans Museum of Art: Relax on benches under the Chime Tree in City Park, where a local artist hung windchimes that play coordinated melodies in one of the many giant oak trees in the park. Catch exhibitions on Spanish-American art, Orientalism, and from various Louisiana artists on a rainy afternoon.
(4) F&M Patio Bar: On any given night, make your way to F&M’s for good music, cheap drinks and cheese fries. CHEESE FRIES. Cheese fries? F&M’s doubles as a grill and bar serving amazing bar food to patrons 6 beers deep. A top choice for college students, F&M’s never disappoints. Then again, it’s hard to disappoint when there’s a drink in one hand, cheese fries in the other and Sweet Caroline blaring from the jukebox.
Obviously, you can’t leave New Orleans without walking around the French Quarter, down Bourbon Street, and trying a beignet at Cafe Du Monde. You’ll be stuck with lots of other tourists but the New Orleans vibe is strong.
(3) Cafe Rose Nicaud: Located on Frenchmen Street, the “locals Bourbon” and home to many popular live music venues such as The Spotted Cat, Cafe Rose Nicaud is definitely a local favorite. Get the breakfast burrito and an iced coffee before wandering around, taking in the Creole Cottages, a unique New Orleans style of architecture.