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Featured Destination: New Orleans

New Orleans-home of creole cooking and one of the few places in the USA where you can walk around town with open containers and not get arrested:)

I took a week long trip out there in 2010, and I've already been plotting my return. I booked into the Prince Conti Hotel, located in the famous French Quarter right on the corner of Conti & Bourbon Streets, which makes it the perfect base for a week of exploring and partying. Our Junior Suite had cathedral ceilings and a ton of space. We booked a deal that gave us free continental breakfast everyday, and what was awesome was that we would take the credit for free breakfast and put it towards their made to order breakfast menu. So if we wanted Pancakes and sausage, it only costed us about $2. As an added bonus, the hotel has a carriage house which contains the Bombay Club. It's a tiny, intimate little bar with an impressive menu of 100+ different martinis. I samples 2-3 every night of vacation of course. Book your stay in advance for a great price!

Our Junior Suite
 Without further adieu, let's check out a few of my favorite spots!

Bourbon Street

No trip to New Orleans is complete without a trip to the famous Bourbon Street. It's located in the French Quarter, and parts of it date back to 1718. This street has it all-music, clubs, food, and most importantly-BOOZE! At night, most places have live music and bands-we spent some time just wondering in and out of them, bar hopping. It definitely gets a little wild at night!

Jackson Square

Jackson Square is an easy walking distance from the French Quarter hotels. It's named for the Andrew Jackson statue in the middle of the square.

St. Louis Cathedral provides the magnificent backdrop to your photos, located directly behind the statue. People have worshipped on the site of the church since 1727, and it has been built and redesigned a few times over the years.

Behind the cathedral, you can find a ton of street vendors selling some pretty unique stuff, along with a few street musicians. Perfect to spend an afternoon wandering.

You can also take a carriage ride around the French Quarter-you can pick one up smack in front of Jackson Square for a few dollars.

Audobon Zoo

New Orleans is home to the world famous Audobon Zoo. It's located about a 20 minute ride from the French Quarter, so plan on taking a cab to and / or from there. (Note: On the way back, the zoo offers a free service that drops you off at a bus stop for their historic street car, which we took back into town). 

The zoo is HUGE! We spent several hours here and weren't able to see the entire thing. They have several big exhibits, with their featured one (when I was there) being a rare albino white alligator. 

Audobon Zoo also owns and operates the Audobon Aquarium of the Americas, which you can find down by the river. We spent a few hours wandering around here also. It's a nice way to spend an afternoon when it's 100 degrees out.

Oak Alley Plantation

About 45 minutes outside of New Orleans is Oak Alley Plantation. You may recognize it-it's featured in several movies, including Interview with a Vampire. And of course, it's main draw is it's beautiful oak alley.

The easiest way to get out there is to book a tour, which usually visits one-two plantations. You can book one in advance at viator.com, or in person once you get to New Orelans through either your hotel or one of the sidewalk tour guide booths.

New Orleans Cemeteries

Did you really think that I'd get through this post without touching on their cemeteries? They're quite unique, with most burials being "above ground" since New Orleans is well below sea level.

The most famous of all is St. Louis Cemetery #1. This was actually only a few blocks away from our hotel, so we walked over there on our last morning to check it out. It's home to the most famous grave in the city, that of the Voo Doo Queen Marie Laveau. Both believers and non-believers make the trip over there to leave her offerings. Legend has it that if you draw an "X" on the grave,  turn around three times, knock on the grave, and yell out your wish, she would grant it. After it was granted, you're supposed to go back and circle your "X" and leave an offering.

I don't get creeped out easily-I work with the dead for a living. But as we were walking into the cemetery, this black cat walked in front of us, and followed us for the entire trip. St. Louis #1 is home to some very unusual graves-check them out!

Oh shit it's a creepy black cat-quick lets all take a picture!!!
It looks like Charles tried to get out!

We also made a trip to St. Louis #3 cemetery. If you follow me on Instagram, some of these will look familiar (and if you don't already follow me, what are you waiting for! CLICK ME)

And, for the cemetery grand finale, I did a walking cemetery tour....at night.

That's all for now! Check back soon for part two....FOOD! It's so good that it's worthy of it's own post.

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