My Travel Diary: New Orleans, LA!

New Orleans is a different kind of city. It has such different vibes than most of the places that I had the pleasure of visiting last year. Even as you explore and move through different areas of the city, you get a different piece of history. The French Quarter has that wonderful historical grit that I love about old Southern cities. Downtown gives the essence of a typical concrete jungle in the South. There are plenty of parks, abandoned lots that are slightly sketchy but perfect for photo shoots, and tons of different and exciting people flooding in and out at all times. I think there have been more relevant sporting events than I can count that have been hosted in this iconic city. Home to my favorite professional football team {who dat? Am I right ladies & gents?}; I was super excited to head back to the big easy to finish out the holiday season.

My parents are originally from Louisiana and we visit family every so often! We spent a couple of days soaking up family time, before heading for a mini family vacation in NOLA. Unfortunately, windy and cold conditions but a slight damper on the overall experience. However, I was more than satisfied with the brilliant seafood and delicious desserts that I was able to consume during my trip there. Also, the daiquiris are brilliant. And yes, I did buy one in a styrofoam {gosh I’m so sorry planet Earth} cup while we were shopping in the outlets and I’m only partially ashamed.

If you’re interested in what I did while I was there for a couple of days and catch a glimpse of the gloomy and slightly eery pictures I was able to capture, then keep reading!

Mandina’s Seafood Restaurant

We got to New Orleans mid-day December 26th and went to check in our hotel. We stayed in the Riverfront Hilton which is a pretty great location if you don’t want to stay in the heart of French Quarter which is the other popular option when visiting. (It’s about a 15-minute walk to the heart of the French Quarter.) It is connected to an outlet mall; which thank goodness we drove because Forever 21 and Nordstrom Rack got me. A winter haul is probably coming soon!

We were starving once we got to our room and one of the ladies at the front desk recommended Mandina’s Seafood Restaurant. The great thing about seafood restaurants is that they offer ridiculous platters and samplers that can be split between 2-4 people. We decided to try the appetizer sampler and seafood sampler to split between everybody. Y’all, that catfish was amazing. Our waitress was the sweetest and the food was delicious. I’d give Mandina’s a solid 4.5/5.

They also have the cutest exterior. And of course, I snapped a picture in front of the pink walls!

New Orleans at Night

After dinner, we were going to try Cafe Beignet and see if they could actually be contenders for best beignet up against Cafe Du Monde. However, we made the mistake of trying to drive in French Quarter. Pro tip: Even as veterans, we still got sucked into trying to drive through this super old part of the city where pedestrians basically take to the streets especially at night. Stick to walking. At one point, it would have been faster for us to walk than drive back to our hotel and we never got beignets. Sad.

Or so we thought. Cafe Du Monde had a little shop in the outlet mall, so we did get a chance to have our sweet dessert after all. I was happy.

The Ruby Slipper Cafe

I did a horrible job prepping for this vacation, and as the family’s resident blogger and travel planner extraordinaire I was going to be in big trouble if I didn’t come up with a banging brunch spot. However, Kayla saved my butt again and on her recommendation, we tried The Ruby Slipper Cafe. We went to their new location in Mid City which was an area I hadn’t been to before.

I was starving and licked the plate after devouring my Cinnamon Swirl pancakes and side of breakfast potatoes. Everyone loved their meals, so I’d have to recommend the Ruby Slipper for any of your vacation breakfast needs! Also, their outdoor patio was the perfect backdrop for my ootd.

Gloomy Day Exploring

After breakfast, we were stuffed and wanted to work off our meals by walking to the French Quarter and then exploring. We basically stopped at every touristy gift shop looking for t-shirts, masks, seasoning, and pralines. Oh goodness, the pralines from Southern Candy Company are THE BEST. I also got some pretty although gloomy shots of the iconic architecture of the french quarter.

French Quarter Strolling

The street musicians and complex balcony gates and coverings are all breathtaking. The artisans that line the French Market were also exceptional. Somehow I resisted buying some of the most beautiful handmade jewelry.

I always feel some sort of pull when I visit and experience New Orleans. I have Creole {French & African} heritage that seems to come alive in this part of the city. The atmosphere is just oozing with a culture that I can’t help but feel a part of. I don’t know if that makes any sense at all, but that’s just how I feel whenever I come here.

You can’t go wrong just walking around and stopping in the countless shops and restaurants that you’ll inevitably pass while walking through. One of the best things to do in the city is to eat. So, take advantage of some of the best food in the world and step outside of your comfort zone.

And yes, I most definitely need a biscuit.

I totally recommend New Orleans if you like history and food. The architecture, the atmosphere, and the people are some of my favorite. It also gets pretty wild when there are big events being held in the city. It was about a week from the Clemson/Alabama game and fans were already arriving and filling the streets. That excitement is a permanent essence of the city except for maybe 6 am on a Monday.  And even then, Cafe Du Monde is still kicking out those delicious beignets. If you do visit send me all the pictures and pralines, please and thank you!

Have you ever been to New Orleans? What was your favorite part: the architecture, the food..? Sound off in the comments! I love hearing from you!

keep on keepin’ on,

  • This post made me even more excited for my trip to NOLA in March! The Ruby Slipper cafe was on my list and now it’s at the top haha. These photos look gorgeous!: )
    paige / eyeliner wings & pretty things

  • thetrendychick

    Love these pictures! I have never considered going to New Orleans before, but now I am totally adding it to my list!
    xo, Scarlett

  • I’ve never been to New Orleans, but after seeing many posts and videos about in the past few months, it has recently made its way into my bucket list. Your pictures (especially the food – YUM) really make me want to hop onto the next plane there!

  • I lived in Louisiana for three years but never made it to New Orleans so I’ve always wanted to take a trip back and visit. I used to go to Natchitoches quite often with my family though, and I really want to go back there too because I just remember it being so old and beautiful.

  • Great post! loved the pictures. It is a perfect insight to the wonderful city.