Forget everything I’ve ever said before. I have a new favourite city in America. It’s official….
I love NOLA.
What is NOLA? New Orleans, Louisiana. Of course.
After visiting NOLA this November, I now understand why some many people love it. There is really something special about this city. When I told people I was visiting NOLA, they instantly gushed about New Orleans. So… why do people love New Orleans? Why is New Orleans so great?
I’ll tell you the three reasons I fell in love with NOLA.
Every corner you turn, on almost every street in the French Quarter, there is music. Musicians jamming out jazzy tunes, solo crooners, big bands stopping traffic in the middle of the street, banjos, crazy people dancing to portable stereos. Music is everywhere in New Orleans. And it’s infectious.
The street music scene in NOLA really helps to set this city apart from others in the US. It doesn’t seem controlled or contrived. The music blends comfortably and organically into the city. Like it’s always been there. I love it. You’ll find anything from a guy just singing the blues unaccompanied on a corner, a 10 piece big band jumping like mad or a lady tap dancing like crazy in a tiny bar.
Food is definitely a reason to fall in love with a place and New Orleans has some amazing food. New Orleans foods are unique compared to what you’ll find to eat in the rest of the US. New Orleans cuisine is some of the most interesting I’ve ever tasted – Southern flavours with a French twist. Creole, cajun, I’m not sure exactly what the right term is. All I know is… yum!
There are some things that only NOLA knows how to do. Like perfectly fried crawfish, light & fluffy beignets and freshly shucked oysters on the half shell. New Orleans foods are fun to eat and go best with a glass of something in hand.
I’m going to go more into some of the great New Orleans foods in an upcoming post on a self-guided food tour of NOLA. You’ll fall in love with NOLA cuisine after this. Trust me. Once you get a taste of New Orleans you’ll be hooked.
The French Quarter has beautiful architecture, narrow streets and charming squares. You could wander around day and night, listening to music, admiring the colours and reading the historical plaques on the sides of buildings. Outside of the French Quarter, the Garden District makes for a beautiful drive and really puts you back in time to wonder about who lived in these magnificent mansions. Over in Tremé, small colourful houses liven up the streets and make you think about the African American history of the city.
New Orleans, in the French Quarter and Bourbon Street particularly, is a lot like Las Vegas – a city which I also love. NOLA, New Orleans is somewhere that knows what it is. Where people come to party, to have a good time. Or, as the famous New Orleans quotes say “Laissez les bon temps rouler”…. Let the good times roll.
The difference is, New Orleans feels totally authentic. Unlike Las Vegas, there’s no marketing machine pumping out gimmicks to draw in the masses. NOLA just is what it is. It’s cool and it knows it. I love NOLA and so, it seems, does the rest of America.
I’ve fallen in love with NOLA and I’ll be coming back for more. How about you?