Travel: Things to Do in NOLA

I work at a nonprofit after-school program for disadvantaged youth and Johnny is a grad student, which means we both have to deal with overwhelming stress sometimes. To get over this stressful semester, we decided to travel for Christmas.

At first, we hadn’t planned on visiting New Orleans. We considered New York City, Alaska, Yellow Stone and Miami. If it’s not obvious from our top choices, we weren’t sure what we wanted to do.

Here’s a list of some must-see stores, restaurants and attractions, starting with B on Canal. Some famous places probably won’t make this list, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recommend seeing those too.

B on Canal

B on Canal is a fantastic boutique hotel, located on Canal street. It’s within walking distance to many eateries and clothing stores. It’s less than a five minute drive from the French Quarter.

B on Canal has 155 smoke-free guest rooms. We stayed on the 16th floor, in a room that had gorgeous views of Canal Street, the French Quarter and the Mississippi. It has a gorgeous lobby and romantic rooms. However, the bathroom left room for extreme disappointment. Not exactly sure how the bathtub clogged on our last night, but dealing with that was not fun.

The hotel has a restaurant adjacent to the lobby. The restaurant has a simple meal and drink menu. I’d recommend eating elsewhere, unless you’re too lazy to explore (like I was the first night).

Your uber/taxi drivers may be confused by the exact location of the hotel, since the restaurant entrance is on one side of the street and the entrance to the hotel is on another.

Quality of stay: 3.5 overall.

Two Hotel Photos: Trip Advisor: no affiliation

World War II Museum

The National World War II Museum is located on Magazine Street, a couple blocks from Ogden Museum of Southern Art and several blocks from Lafayette Square.

This museum has got to be the largest and most expansive I’ve been to so far. However, I haven’t been to many. This museum covers almost every part of World War II, including the food and supply struggle on the home front, the struggle with segregation in the military, Normandy and so much more.

The museum handles social, cultural and military history competently and organizes events in an easy-to-follow format. The tickets are about $20 for standard, adult admission.

Photo Credit: IronyPoisoning, Flickr

Historic Voodoo Museum

This museum is interesting, but extremely small. It sits alone on Dumaine Street in the French quarter, flanked by residential buildings. Upon entering, you’ll immediately see a front desk. There are bookcases along the wall, holding interesting, but expensive spiritual books.

Delving further into the museum, there’s a narrow hallway packed with pictures and articles about Marie Laveau and her children. The narrow hallway leads to two rooms; one room is to the immediate left and the other is at the end of the hall. Both rooms are packed with voodoo items such as, dolls, skeletons, altars and totems.

Although the Museum is small, it has good content, which matters more to me. Being in the museum gave me a lot of inspiration, so I recommend this place.

There is an admission fee.

One of many altars within the museum.
A skull sitting on a small altar. Skulls in the Voodoo tradition represent ancestors.

Bourbon Street and Jazz Music

Bourbon Street is the place to go. Nestled in the French Quarter, at night, Bourbon Street comes alive, filled with street musicians, tourists and locals mingling under the stars. During the day, you’ll still find some street musicians, cool stores and bars and dive-ins with seriously good food.

Ruby Slipper

The Ruby Slipper is a popular diner sitting on Canal street. Luckily for us, it was about a ten minute walk from our hotel, B on Canal.

They offer fluffy pancakes, traditional southern breakfasts and hearty lunches for the weary traveler. I recommend trying their mimosas!

The Ruby Slipper
Delicious hot spiced latte

We Dat’s Chicken and Shrimp

If you’re looking for a quick bite during your stay, give this place a try. It has a nice atmosphere. The food is good, although I’m not personally a fan of eating fish without tartar sauce. They also make a few alcoholic beverages.

We Dat’s Chicken & Shrimp’s mural and restaurant.

Jackson Square

Jackson Square dates back to the 17th century, when it was called Place d’ Armes under Spain’s colonial rule. Through the years, this square was the location of public executions of slaves and criminals. Now, it’s a gorgeous place where artists, performers and musicians gather to entertain while basking in the warm, salty air from the nearby Mississippi.

The church of St. Louis stands in the middle of the picture below. The historically significant Cabildo, built in the 1790’s, sits to the left of the church. In one of the rooms, the Louisiana Purchase was signed. Before that, the Cabildo was the seat of Spain’s colonial government. The Presbytere, built in the 1790’s, sits to the right of the cathedral. Its initial purpose was to house priests, but was used for mostly commercial purposes. Later, the Presbytere was turned into a courthouse.

Each building can be toured.

The gorgeous St. Louis Cathedral, the seat of the archdiocese in New Orleans.
“Statue” Man performing for coin. Pikachu taking pictures with tourists.

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I'm a self-proclaimed aesthete, an amateur literary critic and a history buff with a BA in Political Science and History from Wesleyan College.

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