Currently (still) reading Paris in Love by Eloisa James. The book is comprised of a series of short little quirky, funny, beautiful vignettes about family life in Paris. It’s partially making me want to visit Paris, and partially making me remember that my husband and I have absolutely no idea how to vacation in a city.
We visited New Orleans in 2011 for an obligatory American Library Association conference. I had to go to the conference because of my scholarship, but I wanted to visit NOLA because it was my high school Anne Rice fan girl dream vacation. Little did I know, we’d be spending the entirety of our visit broke and hangry. By the end, we hadn’t eaten anything Cajun and hand’t visited any of the historic landmarks on my to-do list. We entered the city totally unprepared and left in much the same fashion.
Our first couple of nights we spent at Queen Anne Hotel, an antebellum mansion turned hotel in the Garden District. It was old and a little creepy at night. Our room had the highest ceiling and and sturdiest build you could ever imagine. We spent a lot of time in the room arguing about what to eat and researching what to eat on my laptop. The best moment there was spent sitting on the creaky front porch splitting a Wal-Mart hoagie with Oliver, eating strawberries and watching the dusk descend on the little street in front of us as we downed some locally crafted Abita beer.
The Wal-Mart hoagie pretty much sums up our NOLA culinary experience. We kept searching for little local places to eat, being too broke to eat there, and then downing something totally unappetizing in sheer desperation. Every vacation of my entire life up to that point had been spent either camping with access to camp stove or renting a condo with a full kitchen. I was unprepared for having to pay for every single meal.
My favorite thing about New Orleans? Leaving it. We made a whole day out of leaving by the Great River Road which boarders the Mississippi and were able to stop at Oak Alley Plantation and Nottoway Plantation for tours. If I had a do-over I would’ve spent my entire vacation hopping from one plantation to the next, as most of them offer overnight accommodations.
My ideal Louisiana vacation would be to drive the Great River Road and do tours by day, and enjoy craft beers around a campfire by night. That would be the best. Let’s not talk about how I’m still broke, even in my dream vacation fantasies.