NOLArette in New Orleans

Once upon a time, I was an attention-seeking brat (honestly, not much has changed) and sent a girl in my kindergarten class to the principal’s office. If you ask her why she will tell you that I over-embellished and tattled on her for insulting another girl’s hair. I don’t remember any of this, but I also can’t deny it didn’t happen. Needless to say, this girl did not like me very much. A few years later, as fate would have it, she and I ended up on the same soccer team – an all-boys soccer team. Seeing as we were the only two girls on a team of cootie-infested boys, we quickly put our differences aside and became best friends.

It’s been nearly 25 years since the kindergarten mishap and Laura is still one of my oldest and closest friends. Despite both of our busy schedules, living in different states and navigating adulthood, we have maintained a friendship that I am so grateful for. She is getting married this month and I am so excited to be one of her bridesmaids.

One fun fact about Laura: she is a chef. Which, by default, means she has amazing taste in food. So when she chose New Orleans as her bachelorette party destination, I was selfishly thrilled. Not only would the weekend be filled with amazing southern comfort food, but I could also knock another city off my bucket list. Laura’s bachelorette had the perfect combo of fun nights out, calm nights in, and, of course, incredible food and jazz music. Most of the things we did are things anyone could do in a long weekend. The proof is in the pudding beignets!

Friday Night: Crawfish Boil
Picture this: Louisiana shrimp, fresh crawfish, corn cobbettes, boiled potatoes, sausage, jambalaya, and jalapeño mac and cheese. Is your mouth watering? Now imagine having that delivered to your AirBnB and eating it atop of your roof as you watch the sunset. That was our first night in New Orleans and, despite an excessive amount of leftovers, it was heavenly. If you’ve never experienced a crawfish boil, you are denying your taste buds of a mouthwatering adventure. Disclaimer: if you’re allergic to shellfish, you’re not missing anything other than a trip to the emergency room.

Friday Late Night: Blue Nile

After our extravagant dinner, we were looking for a place on Frenchman Street to have a drink and we stumbled upon Blue Nile. Boy, did we find a gem. No cover fee. No drink minimum. Just awesome music and a great atmosphere. Blue Nile features live music every night of the week. From funk and blues to brass to jazz, the band that night played it all (I loved their jazz rendition of No Diggity). And, when we needed a breather in between sets, there was a great outdoor balcony that looked over Frenchman Street.

Saturday Afternoon: Bacchanal Winery
Wine and jazz music are two of my favorite things, so it’s not a surprise that Bacchanal was one of my favorite stops on our trip. Imagine a wine shop, live music venue, and charming courtyard combined into one. That’s Bacchanal. Guests enter through a cellar-like wine and cheese shop where they can pick out bottles of wine and charcuterie plates before stepping out into their expansive backyard covered in mismatched patio furniture. Bacchanal offers more than 400 wines by the glass or bottle and a variety of meats and cheese for guests to design their own charcuterie plates. It was the perfect place to hang out on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Saturday Night: Cat’s Meow
After an entire afternoon of drinking, we were all feeling a little rowdy and wanted a place to let loose. And let’s be real, what better way to let loose than a karaoke bar? The Cat’s Meow may be a tourist trap, but it had such a fun atmosphere. One of our friends got up and sang You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette and she had the entire bar singing along. And when we needed to take a breather, there was a small outdoor bar where we could grab another drink and watch the karaokers on a big television screen.
Sunday Afternoon: French Quarter Festival
If you’re fortunate enough to be in NOLA during the French Quarter Festival, make sure you bring your appetite. More than 60 food and beverage booths are scattered throughout the festival with items including (but not limited to) jambalaya, catfish po-boys, beignets, cajun meat pies and deep-fried cupcakes. The festival also features nearly two dozen stages playing all different types of music. After stuffing our faces with deep-fried goodies, we wandered around the French Quarter, which is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods I’ve ever visited.
And, don’t forget to grab a cocktail on a carousel!

In the historic French Quarter lives one of the most famous bars in the city located inside Hotel Monteleone. The hotel is home to a carousel bar which actually rotates (very slowly) as you sit down. The bar does get quite busy so if you’re hoping to sit down, you may want to get to the bar early. This bar is a great place to grab a mid-afternoon cocktail before heading back out on the town!


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