We took a quick, nonstop flight from Denver to New Orleans this afternoon, and Chris and I got this vacation started by enjoying our free drinks courtesy of Southwest coupons I had been sent! The New Orleans Airport terminal we flew in to is nice and new, though shockingly, Aly didn’t comment on this being an airport that she hadn’t seen before! We grabbed our bags, got in the most efficient line systems for Lyft ever, and were on the road. It’s about a half hour trip down to the French Quarter area from the airport. We were actually staying across from the Convention Center, in the neighborhood just next to the French Quarter. I had read that it’s a little hard to sleep if you’re staying right in the French Quarter (after our brief trip down Bourbon Street at 5 pm on a Thursday, I could understand this) so I opted not to stay there. Our first day in New Orleans was cloudy, overcast, and a little chilly. We all wore the one pair of pants and one sweatshirt we had brought on the trip, and set out to explore on foot.
We were all pretty hungry, so we decided to check out Gus’ Famous Fried Chicken. The promise of world’s best, plus the chandelier we could see through the window and the stellar reviews on a place just around the corner, and we were sold! Super friendly employees, and even at the odd hour of 4 pm, there were others in there eating. Aly went for the grilled cheese, but Chris and I both had the special of the day (every day), fried chicken. It was a little spicy, juicy, and came out piping hot. Plus, the sides were fab— we tried the baked beans, slaw, fries, and Mac n cheese, and though we liked them all, the mac was a favorite.
With our bellies (super) full, we decided to walk around town. We were about a 15-20 min walk to the French Quarter. Chris wanted to at least see Bourbon Street. I was hoping to hit up one of the National Park sites, but alas, everything (except Bourbon St, it seems) closes pretty early, between 4:30 and 5:00 pm. There is no uncertainty about when you make it to Bourbon Street. It is literally bar, after bar, after bar, sprinkled with a few souvenir shops and gentlemen’s clubs. I felt about 15 years too old to be there anymore, so we quickly walked down, ready to move over a block.
There were various street performers, mostly playing some sort of music (a lot of kids playing buckets like drums), some tarot card readers, and random people that were trying to be statues. There was also Chris’ favorite performer, the guy who simply made fart noises on the microphone as people walked by. Interesting place. We headed one block over to Royal Street, and decided to walk down to Jackson Square. It was beautiful at night, all lit up with the horses/donkeys and carriages all lined up in front.
We were all eagerly anticipating our first bite of hot beignets in N. O., and as luck would have it, we stumbled upon Cafe Beignet. Let me tell you, New Orleans must be the # 1 consumer of powdered sugar in the US, because holy moly there was about 1/2 bag of the stuff on top of our piping hot beignets! We may have dumped most of the sugar off, but the pastry itself was just what we were looking for. Yum! Satisfied for the evening (we’ll be back for more, Cafe Beignet), we walked the 20 minutes back to the hotel.