Ever since I was a young boy, I have been drawn to New Orleans. There is something about the city that I am pulled towards; a vibrant energy that calls to me every time I see photos of it, or like a siren song calling me when I hear jazz music in the streets blaring out lively tunes.
Growing up, it was regular to hear similar tunes blaring out of the old stereo, and I couldn’t go a week without my father calling me downstairs to listen to “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals.
That bar room in the basement; old records along the ceiling, brass and stained-glass bar lamps giving the space a warm glow. Those were my favorite times with Pops; a smile on his scruffy bearded face as he rigorously searched through tapes, CDs, and vinyls to find something next to play.
As the Crescent Amtrak train slowly creaked out of Union Station, there was that old familiar strum of the guitar and the soaring organs that came on my playlist. A knot formed in my throat, a smile took over, and the sense of adventure filled me as the 26hr train journey began to a place that I have always wanted to visit.
“There is a house in New Orleans,
they call the Rising Sun.
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy,
and god I know I’m one.”
Even though I have never been to “The Big Easy”, over the years I have watched enough television shows featuring the city, seen enough photos, and heard enough about it to give me an insatiable curiosity for it. Or maybe it’s the food. Either way, I thought I would list out a few things I am most excited to experience on my brief visit.
New Orleans oozes history. After the city was founded in 1700’s by a french chap, it’s continuously been one of the largest and busiest port cities of the United States. In it’s heyday, New Orleans was the third richest city in the Union, a strategic port during the American Revolutionary War, the birthplace of Jazz, and much more historical awesomeness.
Beignets. That’s all I have to say really. Fried bread puffs with powdered sugar, can you get any more heavenly than that? Apparently so. New Orleans is world-renowned for its culinary diversity; Cajun and French Creole, hints of Spanish influence, and sprinkled with the Irish and German immigrant history. It is a hodgepodge of tantalizing world-flavors and I cannot wait to indulge. And gain a tasty 10lbs.
I know I already mentioned it was the birthplace of Jazz, but I had to reiterate. Plus, anybody who has visited tells me that musicians are on every street corner playing a tune. Who doesn’t love street performers? If you don’t…well you dislike happiness then…
New Orleans is said to have a soul different from any city. At the same time, New Orleans is said to be one of the most haunted cities in the United States. With over 200 years of history ranging from pirates to slavery, the cities is a hotpot for the paranormal. I LOVE anything involving spirits, hauntings, and ghosts, and I intend to go in search of some.
You can’t hear New Orleans and not think of Mardi Gras or Bourbon Street. I mean, seriously, it has a street named after one of my favorite liquors. Though Mardi Gras is passed and I have no plans to party TOO hard, I will be checking out the nightlife.
With the mix of French, Haitian, Spanish, Irish, German, and African cultures, New Orleans has created one of its own. This mash-up is extremely potent as you walk around and see Catholic statues just feet away from Voodoo shops.
I will be making detailed posts about all of these topics after I have a chance to explore this exciting and diverse city so subscribe on the left hand widgets and stay tuned!
Have you been to New Orleans? Any recommendations?