When we spent my birthday in New Orleans, we were only in town for a very short time (48 hours!). Our second day started bright and early in the Garden District. We grabbed breakfast from District Donuts before our cemetery/Garden District tour.
I found our tour on Groupon and it was only $15 for both of us. I was unsure of what to expect, but can confidently say that having a tour guide for the cemeteries is an absolute must. Without him, we would not been aware of any of the history of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. It is the first planned cemetery in New Orleans, and contains more than 1,000 family tombs. The guide pointed out many notable spots, including a filming location for one of my favorite movies, “Double Jeopardy.” (Note: Lafayette No. 1 has been closed to the public since Fall 2019 for refurbishment. You can still visit Lafayette No. 2 and No. 3.)
We continued the tour along the streets of the Garden District, admiring the architecture. Then, we stopped in for lunch at Red Dog Diner. Brandon and I split some small plates and a salad, and it was my favorite meal of the trip. I’d return to NOLA for their crab & corn fritters any time! We devoured them too quickly for a photo.
In the afternoon, we visited Audubon Park before heading back to the French Quarter. We didn’t have a set plan until later in the evening, so we took another stroll down Bourbon Street. We stopped for a slice of pizza and a daiquiri before making our way to Louis Armstrong Park.
Around this time, we realized that people seemed to be setting up for a parade. Chairs were set out in front of houses, handmade signs were hung on fences, and I began to notice similar flags everywhere…
Some quick Googling informed me that we were in town the weekend of New Orleans Pride, and the parade would be held in a few short hours. Hooray! We stopped near Jackson Square to watch a second line band. Then, as the sun began to set we staked out a spot on Decatur Street to watch the parade. Brandon was quite a popular bystander, and amassed a large quantity of beads that were flung at him from floats as they passed by.
We left the parade route a little early to make our way over to Preservation Hall. I mentioned in my first New Orleans post that I had been waiting forever to see Preservation Hall Jazz Band in New Orleans. Prior to COVID-19, they packed patrons into a tiny venue on St. Peter Street twice nightly for a short 45-minute set. I splurged on reserved seats for my birthday, and it was $100 well-spent to skip the line and not have to stand for the duration of the show. Seeing them perform was so special to me, and something I’ll never forget.
Preservation Hall has an incredible musical legacy, and I’m so happy we were able witness it firsthand. Photos/videos were not allowed during the show, but here’s a video from their YouTube channel of them performing in the venue:
After leaving Preservation Hall, we ate a very late dinner at Deanie’s for a last bit of Gulf seafood before flying home the next morning.
I complained endlessly about the heat and humidity while we were in NOLA (sorry, Brandon), but I’m also dying to go back as soon as possible. We loved this trip, and accomplished so much in a short period of time. The flight from Raleigh was easy, and our accommodations in the French Quarter were perfect. We didn’t miss having a rental car at all.
On a return trip, I want to explore some museums to learn more about the history of the city and its music. There are also a million more restaurants and bars we need to visit as well. 😉 We never ended up riding on a streetcar, and I feel like we should do that at some point to be proper tourists.