Happy Friday, y’all! Lemme tell ya… the last week has been a doozy. So many things have happened—some really good and some really bad—but we’ll leave it at that. I will say that our trip started off with Ryan getting a speeding ticket (his first ticket EVER) on our way to Savannah the night before we left for Louisiana.
We went to Baton Rouge for the wedding of one of Ryan’s college roommates, Juan, who also helped me pass Calculus in my Sophomore year. I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans, so we decided to make a full-blown trip out of it…
… not realizing that Juan’s wedding was right at the very end of Mardi Gras!
I want to kinda break this post up a little to talk about Baton Rouge & NOLA separately, because they were so different, so here goes:
To be completely honest, Baton Rouge (as a city) was a bit disappointing to me. We stayed downtown in the Hilton Capitol Center, which was an AMAZING hotel, and I expected that there would be lots of fun shops and restaurants all around. While the river-walk was right behind the hotel and there were a number of dining choices within walking distances, Baton Rouge didn’t have very many fun shops. We could’ve gone to the casinos (also within walking distance), but that wasn’t really what we wanted to do.
Despite that, we did enjoy our time in Baton Rouge. Juan’s wedding was at the Old State Capitol Building, which was only two blocks from our hotel, and it was a breathtaking venue! When the ceremony ended, the bride and groom led a Second Line back to the same hotel for the reception, and we had so much fun participating in that. (We chose to stay at the hotel because that’s where the reception was). Juan and Kate’s reception was so much fun! The food was delicious, and we danced so much!
(the wedding venue)
(Ryan and his two college roommates: Juan, middle, and Edgard, far right)
On Saturday, we experienced the Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade in Baton Rouge. Ryan and I woke up early to walk around and see all the floats lining up. I was surprised by how raunchy and inappropriate the they all were! The parade didn’t start till noon, but all morning long, people lined the streets, waiting.
(definitely needed coffee the morning after the wedding)
It was nearly three o’clock before the parade reached the hotel (the parade route ran right in front of the hotel), and I was so tired of standing and walking by then. If you’re going to a Mardi Gras Parade where you’ll be on your feet for hours, wear comfortable shoes!
We did get lots of beads at the parade. I actually got hit by strands of beads several times!
Later that night, when all the craziness was over, Ryan and I went out and walked through downtown. It looked like a war zone. Seriously. It was disgusting!
In Baton Rouge, we ate at Poor Boy Lloyd’s TWICE. Their shrimp po’boys were delicious, and the whole place just had a certain local charm and appeal to it! We tried their onion rings, too, and they were delicious! We ate at Milford’s on Third for breakfast on Saturday (which reminded me of my great-uncle Milford who passed away many years ago). It was such a cute spot, and the breakfast was yummy!
On Sunday morning, we woke up early and drove to New Orleans. It was a relatively quick drive—only about 1.5 hours— but most of the interstate was a bridge over swamps. What was the first thing we did in New Orleans? Visited Café du Monde, of course! The beignets were so, so good! (Travel Tip: Café du Monde only accepts cash). After we ate, we walked around the French Quarter for nearly two hours, exploring the city. We went through the French Market, several hot-sauce stores (for Ryan), and into a bunch of random gift shops. We did go into this really cute shop called Forever New Orleans. They had a couple locations in the French Quarter, and their items were different from the usual cheap souvenirs you find in a touristy area.
New Orleans was such a cool city, and as they day wore on, more and more people came out. The streets were PACKED! I don’t know if it was just because of Mardi Gras or if it’s an all-time-time thing, but New Orleans kinda… stunk. Seriously. The French Quarter smelled like a mixture of garbage, stale liquor, and other unpleasant things. When we returned to the hotel later that night, our clothes smelled too!
While in New Orleans, we ate at Mr. Ed’s Oyster Bar & Fish House. Our food was really good, especially my fried shrimp! Ryan really enjoyed his “taste of Cajun” food and really got his Cajun-food fix there!
We left New Orleans relatively early in the afternoon, which was our original plan. Storms were rolling in, and we had no desire to get caught in such a low-lying city during a deluge! Sure enough, barely thirty minutes outside the city, we ran into pouring rain.
Overall, we had a great trip! We had so much fun celebrating our friends, and I loved seeing new places and meeting new people. Despite the stress I was under (finding out about my sister Heather’s passing away and Poppy being sick while I was gone), we had a really good experience. The beignets alone were worth every mile we traveled!
My Thoughts on Mardi Gras:
It was really fun to see the city decorated for Mardi Gras and while we certainly had some great people-watching opportunities, I saw things that I will NEVER un-see. All I can say is that Mardi Gras is an excuse a lot of women use to go bra-less, which isn’t really an option for me! People definitely drank a LOT and, like I said, they left a trail of debris in their wake.
Who We Flew With:
I always hear nightmare stories about flying these days, but Ryan and I had a great experience with American Airlines. Our luggage didn’t get lost, and all the crew members were friendly and helpful!
Who We Rented A Car From:
Because of my history with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, we chose to rent from them. We ended up getting a 2019 Nissan Rogue with all the bells & whistles and let me tell you… a Nissan SUV will definitely be my next vehicle!
So that’s all! That was our trip! Our next trip will actually be more of a stay-cation out on on Folly Beach. Ryan’s parents are renting a house for several days, and we’re excited to spend time with them. Goose and Poppy will get to come along, too!
(Goose & Poppy wearing the Mardi Gras beads we brought home!)