The husband and I are preparing to embark on yet another trip to New Orleans this weekend. We went to NOLA last year this time as well and had a great time just hanging around, drinking, eating and relaxing amidst the festivities of Southern Decadence, so we figured why not go back again this year?
I think saying that we had a blast last year is a bit of an understatement. We went with no expectations of Southern Decadence, not knowing what to expect and not knowing anyone who had been. Turned out that a friend from college ended up going as well and we ended up spending a good amount of time with him catching up and catching the sites, but we also met quite a few new people to talk to and hang around with.
New Orleans is one of my favorite places to visit. It has a very unique quality to it, a certain charm that is hard to define until you are there. There's a real, distinct old world feel to the French Quarter (and several of the nearby neighborhoods) that meshes with the modern world just enough to feel familiar yet old. And for the most part the bars and stores and such don't cheapen that. Most of the residents relish the cities uniqueness instead of trying to bastardize it into a tourist trap from hell.
That's not to say there isn't a little bit of tourist trapping going on. There are quite a few restaurants in the Quarter that claim to be "Cajun" or "New Orleans Style" yet deliver bland substitutes of Creole/Cajun cuisine. It takes a bit of trial and error to find the good stuff, but once you do you won't regret the search.
This year should be just a tad bit different for us. Like I said, we had no expectation last year and ended up having a great time, so we obviously aren't going into this blind. But we've also got quite a few friends and acquaintances that are going this year, whereas last year we barely knew anyone. Part of the charm of SD, for me at least, was forcing myself out of my usually tight shell to be social and meet new people, but with so many people we know going this year, I'll have to make the extra effort to open up to new people as it seems likely that we'll have people we know everywhere we go. That should be fun though too: sharing something as unique as NOLA with good people you already know should make the whole experience more robust.
This trip is coming at a really good time for us as well. After the past couple months, we're both ready for a getaway, particularly one that we've both been looking forward to so much. A very good friend is travelling with us this time as well and staying with us in the condo we rented right in the French Quarter, which will give us a chance to really bond and hang out, something that we just don't get to do as much these days with our work schedules.
The weather report for NOLA is looking bleak for this weekend, but every vacation we've ever took has had a bleak weather forecast going in to the trip only to turn out to be either mostly nice or perfectly wonderful. Humidity is inevitable this time of year in Louisiana, so I'm not worried about that, but I suppose we'll just have to wait and see if this weekend brings the rain and if that rain will stop the people from partying in the streets still.