14 January 2013

New Orleans, USA

New Orleans, USA was the next stop on my United States travel crusade. Completing my Industrial Placement called for a weekend away in the Deep South, I usually travel independently but my former Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse sister Fiorella joined me this time. I wasn't prepared for the torrential downpours that NOLA threw at us but we loved 'The Big Easy!' Yes N!

After working my final split shift at Newark Liberty International Airport for Virgin Atlantic as a Passenger Service Agent I had a 3am wake up call for my trip to New Orleans, USA! Travelling with my dear friend Fiorella, we took to the skies with Delta Air Lines from New York's LaGuardia Airport on the 8th of January 2013 with a whole lot of expectations for our Deep South trip! I'm always an independent traveller but I had finally found the perfect travel companion! Touching down into Louis Armstrong International Airport, New Orleans was at our feet ready for us to explore. As we made our way from the airport to the 'French Quarter' it was mad to pass through the city where the merciless 'Hurricane Katrina' tore her way through to cause an untold amount of destruction and turmoil. Fiorella had taken a nap on the flight but I was far too excited to sleep, I was in a state of delirium and it was still early! Get it!

Arriving in the 'French Quarter' we did not loose any time exploring the charms of this French Creole/Spanish looking neighbourhood. The weather wasn't strictly on our side but we didn't pay that any mind! Our hotel was located on Toulouse Street, just around the corner from the famous Bourbon Street. Of course, Bourbon Street amazed me and my dear travel companion! It appeared to be quite distasteful, boasting establishments that would cater for bachelor and stag parties, we all need a bit of 'Bad Girl, Gone Good' in our lives! Being frank I was not unimpressed by the fashion of Bourbon Street, along with the neighbouring streets I was living a dream during those first moments and for the rest of the trip. We looked closer at the fabric of this 'historic' corner of NOLA, those quirky parts gave us life because we didn't want ordinary! Voodoo? I didn't want that Hoodoo but we had a look at the gift shops that had me wanting to buy a Voodoo doll, I bought a NOLA shot glass.

If you haven't seen 'The Princess and The Frog' film then you probably won't share our delirium for this next part. I was serving my best 'Princess Tiana' persona as we made it to Jackson Square. The atmosphere within Jackson Square was simply amazing considering the gloomy weather that was looming! There was jazz music in the air and the sun was even shining a little bit, unfortunately the cold shadowed the warmness of the sun. One must have some imagination! Having experienced the mayhem of New York City it was so nice to be in a smaller place that had so much atmosphere, we could both agree on that point. Rolling on a river, the waters of the mighty Mississippi River flowed past us as we made our way towards a beignet cafe. Did we want our fortunes told? We passed on that offer, getting our lives once more it was time for a cocktail or three to toast our first day in New Orleans B!

Mother nature messed up our plans, after calling to reconfirm our upcoming Bayou river tour we had those plans shelved due to the heavy rain. Fiorella did some last minute research on her smartphone to find the 'Garden District' a leafy part of NOLA that served us a sense of regalness with the rows of the large white-washed colonial houses, we got the bus from Canal Street to the 'Garden District' and after living in Newark, NJ for almost one year I was not fazed by the urban flavour that was served during our ride! Taking our time we found some killer chocolate brownies, just spending time together away from the stresses of the airport was enough to complement of our day within New Orleans's 'Garden District'. Stopping by a darling coffee shop we people watched to the maximum, clocking my dopple-ganger who was every easy on the eye! Even though our planned Bayou trip had fallen through we made the best of a not-so-good situation! Those brownies were so damn good!

Bourbon Street served us some ice cold alcoholic smoothies! I'm sure my one was a Cajun Storm? Going hungry in New Orleans proved to be a very difficult task as there was so much choice! Beignets and coffee were on the menu! We loved our beignets and coffee even though the cafe was extremely bizarre! Moving through to our evening meal on the first night, we chose a place called 'Oceana Grill'. Our Cajun themed restaurant served a tasty platter of foods. I enjoyed the blackened Catfish, my demand was to eat Catfish whilst in New Orleans. Fiorella ordered a chicken Po'Boy sandwich that looked very nice. I adore the photo that we got taken for us on the first morning in New Orleans, we had literally just dropped and bags at our hotel, hot in-pursuit of adventure! After finishing work I was struck down by a horrid cold, we searched for some medicine but that CVS worker had too much attitude!

We discovered an absolute gem of a restaurant, located on the corner of Jackson Square was 'Stanley's'. This simple and contemporary looking restaurant served a grand breakfast that fueled our second of sightseeing. Myself and Fiorella absolutely loved 'Stanley's' that much that we ate there twice un the same day. I chose the Gumbo Shrimp Soup and Fiorella enjoyed another Po'Boy Sandwich, I had lost a lot of weight during my Industrial Placement year, so getting some wholesome food in my life was much needed! So, here's to a fantastic trip that took several twists and turns. We really tried to not let the weather get us down, looking back at our time in New Orleans we certainly did our best to enjoy ourselves! Choosing an earlier flight, me and Fiorella left for the airport to take our separate flights back to NY for I had to make my early morning connection onto Orlando on the 11th of January 2013! Our New Orleans weekend was unforgettable for all the right reasons! 

We Loved NOLA! 

Joseph Harrison

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