So one of my top 20 bucket list items (I have over a hundred on my list currently so that's a pretty high number) is to attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Welp.... CHECK!
I wish that I could honestly describe the experience to you properly. I'm going to try, but it seems almost impossible for me to adequately put the experience into words. Because honestly, it was unlike anything I've ever done, or likely ever will do again. It was crazy, beautiful, eclectic, exhausting, and exhilarating. It was cultural, historical, and whimsical. It was frightening, but in a good way if that makes any sense.
To preface this all, I've never been to New Orleans before. So even though I definitely haven't experience anything like Mardi Gras, I hadn't even experienced the city and it's amazing appeal. So let me first start with my impression on the city itself.... WOW. Just wow! I've been to a lot of different cities i the U.S. and of course they are all different and unique, but New Orleans truly is like nothing else.
The combination of French and Spanish influence on the architecture makes it simply the most darling, charming, southern yet European place you've ever seen. I was amazed around every corner of both the beautiful, ornate, large houses as well as the smaller, yet whimsical and artistic smaller houses. They were all just so unique and full of the 'home' feeling that I couldn't help but picture myself living there and drinking coffee on my porch every morning and wine every night.
There's also such a cool culture surrounding voodoo, ghosts, and other supernatural phenomenon. We took a walking tour that highlighted a lot of different stories that date back to the founding of the city all the way to a recent story from 2006. These stories are incredibly freaky but also incredibly honest that give anyone traveling there a greater understanding of the beliefs of some of the people of New Orleans.
And let's talk about the food. O my God. The food. We ate so much delicious cuisine in New Orleans. From creole to beignets to seafood we ate it all and loved every single bite. We of course checked out Cafe du Monde for beignets and they did not disappoint. As I'm sitting here writing this I'm devastated to not have a plate of them in front of me. We also checked out Mother's Restaurant, which was highly recommended, and got delicious stick-to-the-rib southern creole dishes. Another recommendation was Port of Call, which we ended up visiting twice because it was just that good. They serve burgers with baked potatoes on the side and i don't know what they do to this food, but it's absolutely fantastic. Definitely make sure all three are added into your itinerary!
Now for Mardi Gras! This holiday was unlike anything I've ever seen. I've done party holidays like St. Patricks Day in huge cities with huge celebrations, but I've never seen a city come to life like New Orleans does for Mardi Gras. The entire city is decorated. The entire city is partying. The entire city is excited. It's just this extreme wave of energy that comes over New Orleans and all of the people and it's so much fun to be apart of.
After my first visit I would say that I could probably only do another Mardi Gras trip for 2 or 3 days because the events are just exhausting. But, I could spend an entire full week doing the more cultural and architectural aspect of it all. I really can't say enough about my visit to New Orleans and I even feel like my writing in this post doesn't do it justice. It really is it's own little world, and a world I'm delighted to have been a part of.