As I get older, I’m trying to make events like birthdays and holidays more about memorable experiences than gifts. So, this year, I was all on board to do something I’d never done before: become a tourist in my own state. My family and I packed up and made the hour drive to New Orleans, and actually saw the city in a whole different light for the weekend.
I’m one to usually avoid crowds, but New Orleans makes them seem a bit more welcoming. There’s just something about the hustle and bustle of Jackson Square on a sunny Saturday morning.
Although NOLA is mostly known for it’s night time scene and food districts, there is so much history around every corner. We visited the Louisiana State Museum Cabildo, which I would highly recommend especially for the low price point. Each floor of the 3-story building is separated by an “era” of Louisiana history starting with colonial life then the War of 1812, and ending with the Civil War and plantation life.
The entertainment in New Orleans has no boundaries. In fact, people make entertainment literally by doing nothing! As odd as it sounds, I could’ve watched this man sit there for hours. It’s amazing how, even in person, I still wasn’t convinced he wasn’t a statue. That’s how incredibly still he was.
You can’t visit NOLA without witnessing some sort of wedding festivities. Ironically, we were trying to find a restaurant at one point during our trip and accidentally walked in to a wedding reception! So they’re even pretty much unavoidable. However, I’d never actually seen a wedding dance through the streets of New Orleans until last weekend. And I must say, the live spirits and music are just so contagious. I was ready to join in and start dancing with them!
There’s no traditional New Orleans wedding without a bit of live jazz music!
Something as simple as having the names tiled into every street just makes a New Orleans experience even more authentic.
After our event-filled days in New Orleans, we decided to continue our little adventure from the heart of the city to the open country. I’ve always been a bit of a history buff and loved plantation homes. Seeing as we hadn’t visited Oak Alley Plantation in years, taking a tour again was on the top of my must-do list since the drive from NOLA already put us halfway there.
Oak Alley is a plantation home built in the 1800’s and was extravagantly renovated in the early 1900’s. The home and surrounding grounds were purchased for the purpose of cattle ranching and would later be used for sugar cane. Josephine Stewart, wife of the gentleman that purchased the home, began the non-profit Oak Alley Foundation right before her passing to ensure that the beauty and history of the home would continue being shared for years to come.
From the lavish bedrooms to even the light fixtures, the extravagant architecture of the late 1800’s never fails to be breathtaking.
As the final part of our tour through the house, we were led to the balcony overlooking the famous quarter-mile walkway covered by 300-year-old Oak trees. Because this walkway is such a statement piece for the home and GPS wasn’t quite invented yet, many travelers of the early 1900’s marked this point as a halfway mark from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.
Finally, I couldn’t miss an opportunity to take that picture-perfect shot with the house in view. Just imagine taking this stroll to your front door every day.