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May 22, 2022

Top 10 Tips on how to Travel in New Orleans

New Orleans lore lures many folks to visit the Big Easy. 

The history, the supernatural, the food and don’t forget the PARTY. Which you can read more about all of that here. However read tips on traversing as well as enjoying this jazzy city to the fullest, down below. There is so much to see in the city where the party marches onward. Here are some tips for when you go.

New Orleans Trolly Ride

Stay aware of your surroundings.

Seems like a no-brainer right? Actually, if you are doing the Nola bar crawl, it is more difficult than it seems! You see New Orleans is the Crescent City that parties all day, e’raday. Literally, restaurants just restock in the morning, and prep bloody mary mixes to keep the party going. So it is actually very difficult to stay aware of your surroundings. So although you must enjoy the marching party, bar crawls, and bourbon street festivities. While you are enjoying, be sure to watch your drinks, and watch how many drinks one intakes… before the surroundings become blurry or not important. Also, New Orleans has beautifully historical views. So being aware of surroundings actually helps one enjoy all of what New Orleans has to offer. So be aware of your surroundings and take all of New Orleans, instead of just partaking in festivities! It will not only let you take in the sights but also use your sight to keep an eye out for self! 

Traveling in New Orleans

Don’t fall for pickpocketers’ mimicked Southern Hospitality.

It is easy to tout, “Don’t talk to strangers.” 

However let’s go over why.

Pickpocketers pray on tourists more than locals by impersonating friendly locals. When in Nola, you are in the south of the United States of America. Which comes with southern hospitality. For those who are not used to how it works: smiling, saying hello, making chit-chat with everyone who walks by and wave. Which Pickpocketers then mimic to stop ya. Add in festive drinking, and long hours of such… one can easily be talked to and pickpocketed. So make sure you grab a nifty under-clothing fanny pack. This allows you to keep your funds close at hand, but even when partaking in festivities one will notice when a hand slips undershirt. So the under-clothes fannypack will prevent pickpocketers from enjoying your festivities enjoyment. This is the one we use. Another tip for keeping funds closer look into bracelet wraps that hide cards too. Here is one if you prefer stacking bracelets ontop of it! Some prefer a lanyard card holder around the neck even, however, keep in mind how easy it is to cut off without your knowledge. This ties into being aware of your surroundings, for you see it is not just at night where mischief lurks in New Orleans but also in broad daylight when one is recovering to get back to partying. 

New Orleans festival mask

Just know the locals are known for Southern Hospitality.

All that being said, the locals are friendly. We have asked waitresses for places to see and things to do. We also asked friends who used to frequent New Orleans or were locals in good ole Nola! You can almost always bet, that a local will stop and chit-chat with you. Now if you do not mind playing the game of “are you a pickpocketer”, we highly recommend chitchatting with locals. They will know more than any overpriced tour guide. If you don’t like playing “are you a pickpocketer” maybe join a few social media groups based in New Orleans and chat with locals there. In meantime, to make playing the Pickpocketer roullette game easier, keep your distance when chatting. Never discuss funds, or show money openly. As well as never show where you are hiding valuables, where you are staying, or valuable information. Same rules over do not talk to strangers! 

Statue of Street Performers and musicians

New Orleans has more lore that lures, rather lasting lore. 

New Orleans is known for its fantasy lore. Vampires, Witches, Werewolves, and voodoo… Heck, the tv series The Originals definitely revitalized Nola’s lore of luring! Where many shows hype the history and many forge fake voodoo stores on canal street. Nola actually created the infamous creole voodoo. It is why many locals believe in The Cursed Carnival of Two. To be candid, the infamous creole voodoo actually has had a rise in popularity in recent years, but it is still not practiced the way it once was to set slaves free. There is still magic in New Orleans, but take a historical tour instead of buying a hex bag. The luring effect of lore has many fooled into what they want to imagine New Orleans is. If you do not feel like paying for a tourist tour, just read up on the history of voodoo prior to going. Add in the history of the land, you should have plenty to skip the tourist tour! Especially if you take the advice above about finding locals on social media and asking them q’s before heading to their neighborhood.

New Orleans Voodoo history

Historical Lore created the streets, but Corporate America is renovating old New Orleans away under more marketable attractions.

Okay, earlier it was mentioned that Nola has a lot to offer. You just have to be aware of your surroundings! Yet talk to the locals they will tell the tale of what is missing, haunting their memories of how it made New Orleans better. You see after Katrina hit, New Orleans needed quick turnover to get the party back to life. So many corporations bought out locally owned businesses, and swapped ma’s gumbo for some watered-down muddy brown water. Added a sticker shock and called it original Nola. Talk to a local, ask them about local gems, before you ask the all mighty google. Remember corporations can afford advertisements but locally owned businesses operate off of word of mouth. Just don’t get sucked into the tourist price traps, just because you are in the Paris of the South… do some research, ask some locals, and be wary of the pickpocketers. 

Historical building in NOLA

Uber/Lyft/Taxi, or walk. But stay on Canal Street. Leave your car in a secure parking garage, that requires a stub to leave.

So tying into a few previous points, Canal street is where all the partying goes down in New Orleans. It is what Nola is known for. You can openly walk with drinks on Canal St. Bourbon Street is right off of Canal so are many hotels. This means you do NOT need a car. You can walk, or easily uber. Uber/Lyft especially if you leave Canal street. Do not drive your car. Outside of the glitzy Canal street, the party lifestyle is not felt by many. Katrina left havoc. Add in Brad Pitt’s failed house project, and other charities leaving before projects were fully finished… New Orleans, or what people think is New Orleans… is really Canal Street. You leave Canal Street, you pull back the curtain. You see the anguish and forgotten. So if you must leave Canal Street, take an uber. Even when staying on Canal street, take a streetcar or walk.

Traveling through NOLA

The Big Easy, code for time to unwind and pause the breakneck speed of life.

So because Canal Street connects to all the major sites and attractions. There is really not much to rush off to do. So take your time, it is called the Big Easy for a reason. It is the opposite of New York’s apple. Time goes slower in Nola. You mosey around, you don’t sprint. You dance in the street, sloshing drinks to the sound of live performers. Marching along with performers, and refilling your hand with drinks to beat the heat and humidity. Explore the French Quarter, mosey on around and try all the locally sanctioned food spots, and dance to live music. Rest, and do it again. Nola is not for the busy, but the jazzy.

So get your jazz on, and ya drink! 

Then just forget your worries. 

That’s the lasting lore of New Orleans, a place where worries are no more.

Those street performers? Yeah, you better tip them.

Yes, it is a “free show”, but it is still expected to tip. So keep funds easily accessed and low bills handy. This is their “side hustle” on weekends. When the streets are crowded to the max. So stop, partake, applaud, AND TIP. This is New Orleans, yes that is a bucket, and yes they make it sound better than drums. Yes, that is a fire-breather, safely blowing fire and avoiding accidents on onlookers. Yes, that is the saxophone player painting the town red. Yes, they all deserve a little something in making your troubles seem farther away. Down in New Orleans, where the crawfish is fresh and the music fresher. Anyhow, imagery aside, bring designated tip money and don’t blow it all on one performer. 

Don’t expect it to smell nice.

So here is the thing, the more you drink, the less New Orleans stink affects you. So yes be aware of your surroundings but even the locals know Canal Street has its own fragrance. You have the Mississippi river right there, the humidity making body odors stronger… and not to mention liquor-induced throw-up. Oh and all the sloshed drinks in the streets, mixing with the smells from restaurants. Yeah, New Orleans very much lives up to the nickname, “Paris of the South”. 

Much like the actual Paris fragrance from the streets, Nola has her’s.

Some it can’t be helped, and some can. So remember to drink enough to dull the nose, or stay focused on the street performers to forget the smell along with your worries.

Mississippi River

Canal Street: the only place where you can openly drink…in clear containers. Buy your own booze, and save a little. 

Last one for you: You do not have to buy your alcohol from vendors. Typically they are marked up. So is the bulk alcohol on Canal Street. Go grab booze, in bulk, before landing on Canal Street. Get clear containers, and then make your own drinks. You can even drink on the trolley. As long as you have a clear drink container. So get a large clear water bottle, use ice from your hotel room, and make your own drinks. Use the walk back to the hotel room during the day to help take breaks from the heat. At night, leave the clear at home, and just go out and enjoy the festivities on bourbon street. 

drinking in public in New Orleans

That concludes the top 10 tips on how to travel to New Orleans. 

Now I know I sound like I am local to New Orleans, truth is, I have only ever been once! Would love to go back. However, I currently reside in the lovely state of Colorado, and have travel plans for incomparable couple photography and extraordinary elopements in the mountains in my own backyard… and on the golden west coastline of the USA. You can follow my travels along on my IG,  as well as read about them on my own Beehive of a blog! So sadly the Big Easy will have to wait until this busy bee, can travel to unwind again! Thanks again for reading and I look forward to the next guest blog! 

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