A Travellerspoint blog

The Big Easy

New Orleans Jazz, Soul Food and Swamps

I'd heard nothing but good things about New Orleans, so I was pretty excited as we arrived at our hotel at 2am Sunday night/Monday morning after another long drive. We thought we'd try and get a quick drink before bed and asked the receptionist if any bars would still be open. She laughed and pointed us to Bourbon St. Turns out the bars here are pretty good, and were indeed still open, as they were until we left at 6am. Heading home through a bit of a seedy bar area we were accosted by a young "dancer" outside a strip club.

"Hey, y'all wanna come in and get a dance with me honey?"
I tried to be polite:
"Erm, no thanks. Maybe tomorrow."
"But I got school tomorrow!"
Quite.

After a revitalising milkshake the next morning we went for a proper look around. The city's really cool and just oozes character, with old european architecture, steamer boats still running on the river, and some incredibly elaborate cemetaries.

62A65166F5FA8BDDB61CB4E8F1F226AB.jpgCemetary.jpg

We took a swamp tour to see some 'gators, but the biggest surprise wasjust how beautiful the swamps are! I really hadn't expected this - "swamp" doesn't really bring forth images of Eagles flying overhead, Ospreys nesting, 'gators, Giant Blue Herons and Egrets everywhere and really stunning waterways. Definitely worth a trip.

large_Swamp.jpg

New Orleans is known as the Jazz capital of the US, so that night we headed out onto Frenchmen St. for the live music. We'd been told to go there by several people, and even though I'm not really a fan of jazz, we'd been told not to worry - we'd love New Orleans jazz, so we thought we'd give it a try.
They weren't wrong. Every bar, nomatter how small, has live jazz, and we didn't see one band that wasn't fantastic. There was none of the pretentious nonsense that I'd come to associate with jazz - with performers trying to do the most technically challenging things possible - this was just people having as much fun and making the best music they could.
You can't really get it from a phone video, but here's a taste of "Rebirth".

So good! I think this was one of the best nights out of my life, and I'm going to be searching out some CD's by some New Orleans residents when I get back. Throw in some amazing soul food - spicy deep fried catfish and oysters were probably the highlight, and you've got an amazing city. Definitely recommend visiting it to anybody!

Posted by Matt Cocken 04:11 Archived in USA Tagged swamp jazz new_orleans

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