I am excited to share highlights from last weekend’s travels to New Orleans and Atlanta. We spent two nights in New Orleans and then road tripped back to Charlotte with a stop in Atlanta. Today’s post is all about New Orleans and my next post will feature Atlanta and Mother’s Day!
I flew to New Orleans on Thursday afternoon to meet my boyfriend. As I mentioned in my last post, it’s a long story as to why we did this but we had to get a car from Texas to North Carolina and this was a fun way to make it happen!
THURSDAY ARRIVAL + CHECKING INTO HOTEL MONTELEONE
My flight got into New Orleans around 4p on Thursday afternoon. He picked me up at the airport and we navigated quite a lot of traffic to get to our hotel in the French Quarter.
We checked into Hotel Monteleone which is a historic fifth-generation family owned and operated hotel. It’s been in operation since 1886 and is known for its famous Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge. Hotel Monteleone is located on Royal Street and is extremely convenient to everything in the French Quarter. The hotel has 570 guest rooms, a restaurant, a spa, a heated rooftop pool, a rooftop fitness center and tons of meeting space. While our fourth floor suite lacked views, it had plenty of southern charm and comfortable accommodations. There were things in our room and around the hotel that needed “refreshing” but I give the hotel a HUGE pass on this after what the travel industry has been through and how far they have to go to recover.
Here’s the rooftop pool. There is a small bar up there and this area is reserved for hotel guests only. It has great views of the city!
Here is fitness facility. It has a handful of machines, a squat/bench press rack, dumbbells and cardio equipment.
The best part of the gym is the view from the treadmills. I watched the ships come up and down the Mississippi while I ran.
Back to Thursday evening…after getting settled into our room, showering and getting dressed for dinner, we stopped into the hotel bar for a pre-dinner drink. We weren’t able to snag a seat at the rotating Carousel Bar but we did enjoy great service at the non-moving bar. I had a dirty martini for the first time since WAY before Finn and it was a delicious treat!
DINNER AT GALATOIRE’S
We had dinner reservations at Galatoire’s on Thursday evening. This Bourbon Street restaurant is a New Orleans establishment that’s been in business since 1905. They serve French-Creole cuisine and the main downstairs dining room is quite the scene. It’s a jackets-required formal dining room that is first come, first serve and they pride themselves on not making exceptions. They do accept reservations in their upstairs dining room and they also seat in their next door space 33 Steak and serve the Galatoire’s menu.
I started with a cup of seafood gumbo and then chose the fresh catch topped with lump crab and a lemon caper butter sauce for my entree at our server’s recommendation. While my date and I both agreed that dinner didn’t blow our socks off, we had a great time and ended our meal by sharing two desserts – a key lime tart and a chocolate bottomed chocolate pecan pie.
After dinner we roamed around Bourbon Street and Royal Street for about 45-minutes before heading back to the hotel. It was a beautiful evening and the walk was so nice!
SATURDAY IN NEW ORLEANS
Saturday started with breakfast and coffee at the hotel restaurant before heading out for a day of walking and adventuring!
We had the most incredible weather for our time in New Orleans. Blue skies, high 70s/low 80s and very low humidity. A low-country miracle!
We eventually made our way to Jackson Square.
Where we found the lines for Cafe Du Monde to be too lengthy to choose to stand in. Y’all…I went to New Orleans and didn’t eat a single beignet. It just doesn’t seem right!
We took in the Mississippi, did a little shopping in a cute boutique and then grabbed lunch.
We shared some gulf oysters and then continued adventures.
AFTERNOON IN THE GARDEN DISTRICT
We decided to spent the afternoon exploring the Garden District. We took the St. Charles Streetcar from the French Quarter.
This area of New Orleans is known for its oak-shaded streets, historic Southern mansions, restaurants, shopping and Lafayette Cemetery.
The first thing we noticed and both commented on was how quiet and peaceful the Garden District felt in comparison to the French Quarter.
We wanted to walk by the iconic restaurant Commander’s Palace. We tried to get dinner reservations there prior to our trip but it was a no-go. Next time, for sure!
Next we headed over to Magazine Street where we got coffees and explored some of the shops. I got an iced New Orleans coffee at French Truck Coffee which was a blend of coffee, chicory and milk shaken and served over crushed ice. It was the perfect afternoon pick me up. So smooth and creamy.
As we were walking down Magazine Street, I spotted the cutest bakery and made a beeline in there. Sucre is a dessert and coffee boutique serving macrons, gelato, homemade desserts, chocolates and more. Apparently, it is operating under new ownership since 2020 and has received quite the lift.
I’m here to tell you that this brown butter carrot loaf was absolutely delicious and I ate it sitting on some steps on the side of the road. I couldn’t have asked for a better Friday afternoon. A delicious treat, beautiful scenery and sunshine on my face.
It did get even better from there! We decided to keep walking Magazine back towards our hotel in search of a spot to jump into for happy hour.
About 14,000 steps into our day we ended up at The Bower in the Lower Garden District. They had a beautiful patio so we enjoyed a glass of wine out there before Ubering to our hotel to get ready for dinner. FYI the menu at the Bower looked amazing. They highlight locally sourced food inspired by Louisiana farmers and their menus are ingredient driven, seasonal and on the healthier side of things.
DINNER AT COCHON
Back at the hotel, I took a quick shower and got dressed for dinner. We had reservations at Cochon at the recommendation of many Instagram friends!
Cochon is a located in the Warehouse/Central Business District and the restaurant is set in a renovated New Orleans Warehouse. They serve cajun southern dishes with a focus on locally sourced pork, fresh produce and seafood and traditional cooking methods. Any dinner that starts with a basket of warm, soft and perfectly yeasty rolls with salted butter has my attention.
Cochon is very relaxed (I was a tad overdressed but I love getting dressed up on trips!) but the food is excellent and the service is thorough and attentive. We started with some awesome chili roasted shrimp that were gone before I thought to snap a photo and then coursed out some other small plates to make it a meal. We wanted to try a little of a few different things. You’ll see chicken and andouille gumbo here along with marinated cucumbers. The cucumbers were the perfect “cooling” item to go with the spicy shrimp and gumbo.
Our next two dishes were all about crawfish. We had crawfish étouffée and a crawfish hand pie.
Definitely recommend dining at Cochon! It was our favorite restaurant during our time in New Orleans.
After dinner we Ubered back to Hotel Monteleone for a good night’s sleep before hitting the road for Atlanta the next morning.
TO WRAP IT ALL UP
I feel like we barely scratched the surface of all that New Orleans has to offer in our very short time in the city. Countless people told us that the city is just really reopening and everyone is grateful to begin getting back to normal. The people were gracious and friendly and the overall vibe of the city was celebratory and light. I very much enjoyed my time in this historic gem and look forward to returning in the future.
Do you have any weekend getaways planned soon?
What’s your favorite southern city?
Do you like Cajun food?