After one day of almost rest for Christmas, New Orleans came back to live on 26th December and we were ready to take on as much of the lively city as possible.
Sticking with Boxing Day tradition we hit up the sales! Outlet mall RiverWalk was only a short 20 minute walk away from our hotel and had plenty of shops to help me burn through that Christmas cash. After a quick wander around the packed out mall I found the Coach store and blew my entire budget, so we made a quick exit to find a cheaper way to spend the rest of the day.
Deciding to steer clear of the tourist heavy French Quarter until later on in the evening we made our way along the river in the opposite direction taking in some of New Orleans less well trodden streets. Walking in the humidity we worked up quite the appetite so stopped to grab a bite at vegan cafe, Seed. The food was fresh, creative and well worth the walk. Enjoying a slow stroll back to our hotel through The Garden District it was great to see the more residential side of the city and the mix of poverty, creativity and opulence that live side by side just outside the city centre.
Being total workaholics Pablo and I both had a bunch of admin to catch up on after taking two days off over the festive period, so we took our laptops up to The Ace Hotel rooftop bar and enjoyed a beer and views of the city as we typed away.
Soon the sun was setting so we went back to our room and prepared ourselves for a night on Bourbon Street.
The bar lined street was much livelier than the day before with music blaring from each bar and various types of street performers all competing for our attention. Many of the bars were crowded with wasted party goes who swayed and hollered along to the various live artists. Despite my love of live music the vibe kind of reminded me of the strip on a European party island which, while fun, isn’t really my scene.
After a checking out what was on offer, we joined the tamer crowd at Legends Square for some beer and live Jazz. Now feeling a little more settled in our surroundings we aimed to head onto famed Preservation Hall but as we turned the corner we were greeted with a queue that spiralled around the block. Deciding to asses the situation from the Boondocks themed bar across the street, we gabbed another beer and were kept far too entertained by a lady who had a cat on a lead perched on the bar. Waiting around 45 minutes it was obvious that the Preservation Hall line was not going to be moving anytime soon, so we came up with a plan B.
Emma from Adventures of a London Kiwi had given me a bunch of great recommendations for New Orleans, so we took her advice and headed towards The Spotted Cat to get our live jazz fix. Leaving the buzz of the French Quarter behind we were met with rows of completely unique houses that were like something straight out of a fairytale.
Soon the quiet was taken over by the sound of brass welcoming us into the Frenchman Market area. Though we could not get into The Spotted Cat as people spilled out onto the street from the tiny bar, we did find a great little art market to potter round.
Each of the bars we passed were as busy at the next, but soon we found ourselves joining in a spontaneous street party where a bunch of musicians had literally stopped traffic with their catchy tunes.
Having danced in the streets, and enjoyed a few beers, New Orleans’ laid back spirit was beginning to grow on me with each hour we spent in the city.