New Orleans NOLA: The Big Easy – More Than Just Po’ Boys

New Orleans

I always enjoyed my trips down south. There’s nothing like southern hospitality. The staff at the restaurants are usually super friendly and down to earth; and the food seems to be made with nothing but southern love. This was our first trip down to New Orleans (aka NOLA, which stands for New Orleans, Louisiana). Also called ‘The Big Easy” , it is home to a laid-back attitude permeated by Jazz and a French influence.

NOLA JAZZ

We stayed in the French Quarter, the oldest area of NOLA and also the downtown location of New Orleans.

NOLA Jackson Square

Our first stop was at Majoria’s Commerce Restaurant  in the Business District located on 300 Camp Street for some good old southern breakfast. We ordered 1 plate of eggs with grits and biscuit, the Commerce Breakfast Biscuit with two cups of coffee.

NOLA BREAKFAST

The “CBB” or the Commerce Breakfast Biscuit, consists of an over-easy egg topped with sauteed breakfast sausage, jalapeños, and a gooey, spicy, savory cheese sauce. The CBB especially packs a punch with creole seasoning rich and a salty balance. You can order a whole biscuit, but half of one sufficed for me. (Cost: $4.25)

NOLA-BREAKFAST-2

Don’t let the old diner atmosphere fool you; they have been serving good food since 1965. You can tell that from their ancient cash register.  Overall, we spent a total of $13.75 (tip not included). Now that’s some cheap, delicious eats! Make sure to grab yourself a cup of signature Southern sweet tea before you leave, as well.

NOLA BREAKFAST

NOLA is known for the creole food, ever-a buzzing nightlife, and historic attractions. There’s tons of things to do! One option is to take a Bike Taxi around the city, if you decide to to the tourist thing.

NOLA: BIKE TAXI

Another option is to take a boat ride. Catch a daytime jazz cruise,while sailing through the beautiful lower Mississippi River on the Steamboat Natchez .

NOLA BOAT

The tour is quite long, roughly 2 hours, so make sure to grab some food and drinks beforehand;  you can also purchase the buffet brunch on board for an additional $11 more.

NOLA-NATCHEZ-SOUTHERN-FRIED-FISH

Enjoy the amazing sounds of the live Jazz performance on the lower deck.

NOLA NATCHEZ JAZZ BAND

Take your time to relax over cocktails; you’re going to be on this boat for a while! Oh yeah, don’t forget to make the most of the free wifi, while you’re at it.

NOLA NATCHEZ BAR

Enjoy the delightful scene of the Mississippi river where NOLA was first founded.

NOLA BOAT TOUR

After ‘a 2 hour tour’…we are fresh off the boat, with nothing but smiles. Each of us enjoyed the experience immensely, so you should, too! 🙂

NOLA Fresh Of the Boat

Once you have done the touristy thing, now it’s time to take a walk down Bourbon Street during the daytime: You will see tons of free jazz street performances (not to say that the artists don’t make a buck or two). Don’t forget the beer, because you are allowed to drink on the streets.

NOLA

The nightlife on NOLA’s Bourbon Street is where the fun never stops. Did I mention you can drink on the streets? Reminded me of Vegas, somewhat. Make sure you stop by the Little Tropical Isle for the Hand Grenade drink. Apparently it’s the most potent potable in NOLA, so I gave it a try. Best while it’s icy, because once it melts down, the over induce alcohol becomes a sweet slush can that lead to a major  hangover the next day. 🙁

NOLA HAND GRENADE DRINK

After partying on Bourbon Street, make your way down to Cafe Du Monde. They serve nothing but coffee and beignet 24 hours. The historic hangout is packed during the daytime, and the line wraps around the cafe.

NOLA CAFE DU MONDU DAYTIME

Fortunately, we got there after peak hours, and there was no line at all. They are cash only.

NOLA CAFE DU MONDU NIGHT

You can tell how the employees are working hard at this time of night. Hahaha.

NOLA CAFE DU MONDE EMPLOYEES

Alev and I were in a complete zombie mode from the grenades drinks, and the humidity, and then rain; we decided to go for a coffee break at 2am!

NOLA-CAFE-DU-MONDE-COFFEE-2

The freshly brewed Cafe Au Lait coffee is super addictive with their signature  half chicory coffee and half hot milk.

NOLA CAFE DU MONDE COFFEE

Omm-nom-nom…Beignets! The fluffy donuts french fritter pastry topped with a heavy dose of powered sugar is doughy deliciousness and a perfect complement to the freshly brew Cafe Au Lait coffee.

NOLA CAFE-DU MONDE BEIGNET

COFFEE and BEIGNETS is all you need. What a great combination! They also sell souvenir cups and t-shirts.

NOLA CAFE DU MONDE MUG

Take a break from the hectic nightlife to enjoy the natural beauty of NOLA.

NOMA GARDEN

You can imagine why this city is called “The Big Easy”.  People are laid back. Jazz and art are everywhere.

NOLA-STREET-PAINTER

If you are on Canal Street, hop on a Street Car and pay a visit to NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Art), which is at the last stop (City Park).

NOLA-Canal-Streetcar City Park Museum

Make sure you have exact change. $1.50 for one ride or $3.00 for a day pass.

NOLA-Canal-Streetcar-FARE

Admission for students is only $8.50. Don’t worry: Graduation date is no object.

NOLA NOMA PRICES

Enjoy the wonderful art that NOMA has to offer.

NOLA NOMA ART 1

NOLA NOMA ART 2

I think Biggie Smalls had the exact same sweater…the artwork of John Graham is “Unbelievable“.

NOLA NOMA JOHN GRAHAM ARTWORK

All this walking in the humidity made us very hungry. Luckily, we found  Trenasse, elegant restaurant tucked away in the corner of the  Intercontinental New Orleans Hotel on   We escape the scattered showers and made it for Taco Tuedays…yay! 🙂

NOLA TRENASSE MENU

OK, we skipped the taco Tuesday specials and settled for  traditional Cajun-Creole dishes. (Top left: Grilled Oysters, top right: Buffalo Frog Legs, bottom left: Seafood Gumbo, bottom right: Shrimp Po’ Boy.)

NOLA TRENASSE FOOD

The grilled, stuffed oysters were charred to perfection covered by melting cheese on top; accompanied by a slice of a toasted garlic baguette and topped with cilantro.

NOLA TRENASSE OYSTERS

When visiting NOLA a classic Po’ Boy sandwich is a must. This particular one is with crispy shrimp, smothered in a spicy Cajun sauce.

NOLA TRENASSE POBOY

Monstrous frog legs the size of chicken drumsticks with buffalo sauce and and chunks of blue cheese garnish with scallions. Our favorite of out of the other two dishes. And it does taste like chicken.

NOLA TRENASSE FROGLEGS

Conclusion:

New Orleans is the perfect crash course in life: Enjoy one day at a time; stop to smell and savor the coffee (and the beignets); go explore, because you never  know what catchy tune will play next, and where.  No matter how much rain happens to fall (and there’s plenty in  NOLA!), just keep on playing. People in the Big Easy definitely play by their own rules. And the food is absolutely amazing; especially the seafood. There’s nothing like it. We can’t wait to return for another helping of jazz and joy.

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