Why New Orleans?
If you’ve ever been to The Big Easy, you know that “Why New Orleans?” is kind of a silly question. There are plenty of reasons to love New Orleans outside of Mardi Gras season, but for this trip to the home of the Saints, I was specifically going to check out one of the biggest parties in the country. Usually my monthly escapes are to whatever destination is the cheapest for me to get to, but in this case, getting the chance to experience New Orleans Mardi Gras was worth the little splurge on the flight. The fact that I have a friend who lives in New Orleans and was willing to host me just made my decision that much easier.
Where I Stayed
Hotels in New Orleans are basically a bunch of extortionists during Mardi Gras season. They know you want to be there and are willing to pay almost anything so they jack up the prices, especially in the French Quarter. If you ever plan on going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, I highly suggest checking out Airbnb home rentals or anything similar like Flip Key or Home Away. I was lucky enough to have a friend there who I could stay with so I didn’t have to worry about any of that. I love the perks of having friends all over the world *slightly smug smile*
Where I Ate
New Orleans is known for having delicious food and with good reason. The clashing of so many cultures there gave birth to the unique cuisine the city is famous for. Since most of my trip involved waking up late, and eating at weird hours of the day, I didn’t get to enjoy as many of New Orleans typical dishes as I would have liked, but I did get to sink my teeth in some tasty food.
As the name suggests, this place sells mostly pizza, but they also have huge calzones (that’s what I ate and it was delicious), salads, and a few New Orleans staples like gumbo and boudin. It’s a good place to have a relatively quick sit down meal away from the huge crowds.
When people think of beignets in New Orleans, they typically think of the world famous Cafe Du Monde. Their beignets are delicious, don’t get me wrong, but they’re not the only ones who serve up some tasty fried dough. Morning Call is inside the New Orleans City Park, but it’s open 24 hours (like Cafe Du Monde) so you can get your beignet fix in a less crowded place at any hour of the day. Unlike most places in the city, they serve their beignets with the powdered sugar on the side so you can decide how much or how little you want.
Danny & Clyde’s Po-Boys & More
Danny & Clyde’s is far outside of the center of New Orleans where all the action is, but when my friend said they had one of the best po-boys she’s ever had, I knew it was worth a drive to the suburbs. Pulling up to Danny & Clyde’s is very underwhelming and even confusing because well, the place is inside of a gas station. You might think it’s crazy to order seafood from a gas station, and normally I’d agree with you, but the shrimp po-boys from Danny & Clyde’s was on point. Soft bread and tons of perfectly breaded/not dry shrimp with all the fixings inside. It was one of the best po-boys I had ever had to!
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going way out of your way to go to Danny & Clyde’s, but if you happen to be driving into the city, it could definitely be worth a quick stop.
The place isn’t actually crawfish, but I did get to eat a whole bag of crawfish from some random little place off the side of the road. It was my first time eating this NOLA classic, and I struggled at first to awkwardly rip off their heads and suck all their guts out. In the end, I got the hang of it, though. If you’re ever in New Orleans during crawfish season (early-March through mid-June for the peak), make sure to get your hands on some of these.
What I Did
I went to New Orleans specifically to check out their Mardi Gras celebrations, so my trip basically was: Eat. Sleep. Rave. Repeat.
It was part debauchery, part cultural experience, and part good, wholesome fun. You can read more about my first Mardi Gras experience here.