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  • Weekend Getaway Idea: New Orleans, Louisiana

    Fat Tuesday is fast approaching, and if you’re looking to get away for a quick weekend trip for a little Mardi Gras fun, look no further than the king {no pun intended} of southern getaways — New Orleans, Louisiana. We’re sharing a recent #HobokenTravels itinerary that can be done in a weekend. We’ll have you leaving Hudson County and arriving on Bourbon Street within about five or six hours. Here’s how:

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    ^The French Quarter in all its glory

    Plane Flights

    Request an Uber to Newark Airport and hop on a United flight to New Orleans {MSY airport code}. It takes about three hours in total, and although the plane is smaller than your average, you’ll pretty much listen to 2 podcasts or a movie on Netflix {I watched Twilight —[I know, don’t judge]} and be there. The airport is about 20 minutes from downtown New Orleans, so hop in an Uber and you’ll be there in no time.  If you’re into renting a car when you travel, this is one city that we’d recommending holding off on doing so, as there are Ubers everywhere and it’s a pretty walkable city during the day {ummm hello, Bourbon Street? no ride needed}.

    Hotel Picks

    1870 Banana Courtyard B&B {Bed & Breakfast}

    A beautiful 1870s home, the Banana Courtyard B&B is located just 30 yards from the French Quarter, three blocks to world-famous Bourbon Street, and it boasts streetcar line in front so you can go anywhere}. This urban oasis is actually hidden behind a garden wall and surrounded by a lush, tropical courtyard, where there are several niches for guest seating, including a balcony. Every room is unique, and if you’re a history buff take note: In the late 1800s and early 1900s, prostitution was legal in New Orleans and brothels flourished. Although this home was not in the famous Storyville District known for its ‘hanky panky’, it was a bordello for only the most discriminating clientele. The double parlors {a fancy way of saying ‘living room’} where the ladies waited, have since been turned into stunning guest rooms filled with antiques — preserving the feeling of history while providing more modern amenities.

    Omni Royal {Historic Hotel}

    Established in February 1838, the hotel was called The City Exchange at the time — after the popular café and bar already on the site. This locale was known to be THE spot to have created “Gumbo” soup, the delicious, thick Creole soup of seafood and okra that is a ‘must-try’ while in Louisiana. Now, the present hotel {Editor’s note: we stayed here, and it was amazing!} keeps the historic charm mixed with an updated, classic twist on old luxury. Walk out the door to the right, and you’re steps away from Bourbon and Royal, which are ideal streets to enjoy quintessential New Orleans. For those going in the warmer weather, there’s a rooftop pool to enjoy as well.

    Royal Sonesta {Hotel in the Heart of All the Action}

    Located right on Bourbon Street {aka not for the faint of heart}, the Royal Sonesta is a blend of luxury and comfort, just steps from all of the action. Don’t be fooled by its location — the Royal Sonesta is one of the cleanest and nicest hotels in the French Quarter, perfect for large groups {hello, bachelorette parties} who want to stay in the middle of all the action but be classy while doing so.

    W Hotel, New Orleans {Luxe Spa Hotel}

    Obviously we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the W Hotel in NOLA. Just as you’d expect, it’s a luxury spa-meets-Southern-charm hotel in the heart of downtown — right near all of the action. They have an illuminated pool and a 24-hour fitness center to boot. It’s pretty snazzy, but totally worth it if you’re into a splurge for your weekend away.

    Places to Eat Lunch/Brunch

    New Orleans has a host of delicious and quintessential “Southern” food, mixed with its Creole/French roots. While we’re only listing a few of our faves, there are a TON of restaurants we highly urge you to check out. Here are just a few of the top picks:

    Cafe DuMonde {The Best Beignets in Town!}

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    No matter where you eat in New Orleans, a morning or afternoon beignet is is essential for your trip. Powdered sugar on top of fried dough with a cafe latte, where could you go wrong? The line can be long for take out in the afternoon and the line for a seat can be long in the morning, so plan accordingly.

    K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen {Authentic Southern-Style Brunch}

    Stuffed pork chop, turtle soup, fried oysters…just a few of the best picks on the menu that are finger-lickin good. K-Paul’s is known in foodie circles as one of the best restaurants in NOLA, so if you’re going for menu rather than ambience, this is your spot. It is a homey restaurant with several levels, and legendary food by Chef Paul Miller and Chef Paul Prudhomme.

    Commanders Palace {Brunch and Dinner Spot}

    Traditional American joint with Creole/Cajun spin, and boy is it delicious. On Saturdays and Sundays, they offer a jazz brunch which is immensely popular. Dinner is just as elegant, with the waiters bringing out food in a synchronized manner. HG Tip: try the braised pork belly and turtle soup. Out.Of. This. World.

    Antoine’s {Oldest Restaurant in NOLA}

    World-renown French-Creole food and the birthplace of Oysters Rockefeller {oysters on the half-shell that have been topped with various other ingredients and are then baked or broiled} as well as the oldest restaurant in New Orleans, Antoines is a pick that won’t disappoint. Try the Creole soup and crab salad — yum!

    Two Sisters {Jazz Brunch Buffet}

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    For a an easy brunch spot with a big group {where you’ll get to taste-test a variety of Southern cuisine, buffet-style} that also includes live jazz, Two Sisters is a pick in the French Quarter that can accommodate large groups {great for a bachelorette sitch!}.

    Mother’s {For Po Boys}

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    If you haven’t had a po boy, have you really lived? Truth be told, it’s a fancy way of saying ‘sub’ or ‘sandwich,’ but hey, it sounds pretty Southern and you need to try one. Mother’s is an excellent choice, and regardless of the usually sloppy roast beef or fried seafood you pick {includes shrimp, crawfish, oysters and crab}, you’re bound to enjoy it. This is a bit of a trek — but worth it — so definitely take an Uber.

     

    Places to Go Out/Have Cocktails

    Bourbon Street

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    Who are we kidding? Bourbon Street bars are open 24 hours per day {literally}, making it actually impossible not to have a good time. You definitely have to hang on Bourbon Street and want to enjoy a little mid-afternoon fun. The bars are pretty much all the same as far as drinks go, with many boasting live music for much of the day.

    Tropical Isle {Home of the ‘Hand Grenade’}

    When looking for a drink that will knock your socks off true NOLA-style, Tropical Isle is hoe of the ‘Hand Grenade,’ a mixed drink that is a funky green color in a funky green cup — but the recipe is a secret.

    Bourbon Cowboy {Balcony Fun}

    If looking for a spot to hand out beads to innocent passers-by, look no further than Bourbon Cowboy. This spot is usually not crowded early in the night, and has an excellent balcony for people watching while handing out some beads. Shot girls also come around so you can get your buzz on with little-to-no effort.

    Pat O’Brien’s {Dueling Pianos and Hurricanes}

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    Don’t expect a fine dining experience at Patty O’s; instead, come here around 4 or 5pm for the dueling pianos and have a hurricane {and then leave around 9 or 10pm and eat some street food — tried and true, it’s a solid plan}. If you didn’t know, hurricanes are made with rum, fruit juice, and grenadine, and when enjoyed over time can be lethal, so proceed with caution…

    We won’t insult your intelligence on this aspect, as there are an infinite # of bars to wander into at any time of day. Just know: hurricanes = yum, NOLA pizza on the street = not up to snuff with Hoboken slices. We warned ya.

    Sightseeing MUSTS

    Swamp Tours

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    If The Rescuers movie taught us anything, it’s that the Bayou is definitely the place to be to spot some wildlife and gators. Before you leave NOLA, you *must* take a swamp tour. It will most likely be the most interesting thing you do all trip. It will take about half a day, so make sure you pick a day where you don’t have early dinner plans.

    Jackson Square

    The main square of town at the edge of the French Quarter. A must-see, on the edge of all the FQ action.

    The French Quarter

    The French Quarter is a small rectangle — 13 blocks wide and about seven long. It is the oldest part of the city and is designated a National Historic Landmark. In it: Bourbon Street, Royal Street, and a host of other unique alleys and streets to explore.

    French Market

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    Of course no trip is complete without a little market shopping. Enjoy the french market, which is right near Cafe DuMonde, and pick up some beads, tees, and other touristy goodies.

    Frenchman Street

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    For an off-the-beaten path jazz experience, head to Frenchman Street. There, you’ll find real jazz and lots of cute little bars and eateries with jazz music {there is even a record/CD store that houses musicians who play live on the weekends, so fun!}.

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    ^Pop your head into any cafe or lounge, and you’re guaranteed a musical act that will have you snapping your fingers.

    HG Insider Tips:

    • Make sure to try the NOLA foodie essentials: turtle soup, gumbo, pralines, king’s cake, and beignets. There are a host of other unique-to-Louisiana menu items, but those definitely stick out as musts.

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    ^Praline cookies. Mmmmm.

    • If you’re trying to spot a wedding, hang out near the wedding venue Latrobe’s on Royal. It’s guaranteed spotting of a New Orleans wedding processional before they head into the reception on a Saturday night.
    • Drinking outside on Bourbon Street with an open container is LEGAL, so enjoy it. Some bars do not allow you to bring in cups bigger than a certain size, so drink up before you head into each new spot.
    • The French Quarter is a small rectangle — 13 blocks wide and about seven long. That being said, be very careful when walking anywhere at night — and if in doubt, take an Uber. One of our drivers born-and-raised in NOLA actually warned us that if you feel yourself as being “alone” as you walk down a certain street, head back right where you came from and don’t look back. Bourbon Street is fun, but the area is also known for its crimes and robberies late at night. Just be careful, and use any precaution that you would walking at night in any city.

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    Never taken an Uber? Click here and use the promo code HGTAKE20 to get your first ride free (up to $20).

    So there you have it; a quick trip to New Orleans which can be done in 3 days, max 7 hours of travel time from Hoboken to NOLA [start-to-finish].  This post was sponsored by Uber, but having just visited New Orleans, know that we’d never steer you {no pun intended} wrong!

    Let us know where we should cover next in our #HobokenTravels!

     


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HobokenGirl.com. She started the site to discover the wealth of fun things happening in Hoboken and Jersey City and surrounding Hudson County areas. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event or #HobokenGirlHelps volunteer project, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog Pierre, or watching some really bad {but oh-so-good} reality TV and ordering takeout with her husband.


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