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.

 

Three Reasons to Fall in Love with New Orleans

 

The Music

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.

 

Street Band Playing in New Orleans

Street Band Playing in New Orleans

 

Lady Tap Dancing in Club in New Orleans

Lady Tap Dancing in Club in New Orleans

 

Big Band Playing on the Streets of New Orleans

Big Band Playing on the Streets of New Orleans

 

The Food

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.

 

Grilled Oysters at Acme Oyster Bar in New Orleans

New Orleans called… they want to know how you like your oysters! Grilled?

 

Raw Oysters at Acme Oyster Bar, New Orleans

Or raw??

 

Cafe au Lait and Beignets, Cafe du Monde, New Orleans

Cafe au Lait and Beignets, Cafe du Monde, New Orleans

 

 

The Atmosphere

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.

 

Man Dancing on Bourbon Street in New Orleans

Man Dancing on Bourbon Street in New Orleans

 

Jackson Square New Orleans at Night

Jackson Square New Orleans at Night

 

Boubon Street at Night, New Orleans

Boubon Street at Night, New Orleans

 

Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Bourbon Street, New Orleans

 

 

I’ve fallen in love with NOLA and I’ll be coming back for more. How about you?

 

 

Bethaney Cheers, NOLA New Orleans

Let the good times roll!

 

Cheers Lee! New Orleans

Cheers to NOLA!

 

Wondering where to stay in New Orleans with kids? Check out my post here!

Bethaney Davies
A traveller for over ten years, Bethaney started blogging here on Flashpacker Family in early 2012. She founded the site to encourage and inspire travel and travel with small children and to share her own stories from the road.
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Showing 7 comments
  • Leah
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts- I love food and music (who doesn’t?) so I’m on board! What is your perspective on being there with kids? Are there things for the kids to do (or maybe I missed that post). We are considering a trip to NOLA in January!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      That post is coming Leah! There were lots of kid-friendly things to do in town. A lot of people we spoke to were quite anti bringing kids to NOLA. We had no problem taking our kids there though but we are quite relaxed parents! Bourbon Street after dark does get a bit crazy but we really on stuck around for the first hour or so after dark. We had one old lady come up and tell us this was no place for children! We were watching a street performer dancing in very little clothing at the time but I honestly thought it was no big deal. Stay tuned for my post on things to do with kids.

      • Bethaney Davies
        Reply

        Oh I do have a post up already on where to stay with kids in New Orleans –

  • Meg Bradley
    Reply

    I am a New Orleans native, have lived here my entire life and still love this city.
    I love Audubon Park, the Zoo, the Fly ( near the river at the back of Audubon Park, the Garden District, the Cemeteries, Magazine St, the fabulous neighborhood restaurants, City Park, the Ogden Museum, the WWII museum, soooooo much more.

    Next time you visit step out of the French Quarter and check out the rest of our wonderful city…you’ll be glad you did!

    • Bethaney Davies
      Reply

      Thanks Meg! We did venture out from the French Quarter to many of the places you mention during our visit, for sure! We went to the zoo, drove through the Garden District, Treme, wandered the cemeteries. It was fantastic. I can’t wait to return to NOLA for longer!

  • Mama Munchkin
    Reply

    I have never had the opportunity to visit NOLA. I really want to someday it sounds amazing. And, those beignets I’ve heard are to die for so obviously I’ll need a few dozen 😉

  • Alyson
    Reply

    Same here! We only had 3 nights in NOLA and it was Mardi Gras, it was sensational, one day we’ll be back for more.

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