Two weeks into dating, Neesha and I toyed with the idea of taking a trip together during Memorial Day weekend. I laughed off the idea because I thought it was crazy – we JUST started dating! Then she said, “We can do whatever we want – there aren’t any rules to follow.” We booked our flights to New Orleans that night!
We decided to head to New Orleans because we’ve never visited the city and we were intrigued by the vibrant culture. Most importantly, the plane tickets were relatively cheap for a holiday weekend. We each paid $292.00 for one roundtrip ticket from New York to New Orleans. To avoid buying an expensive ticket during a holiday weekend, we traveled out of Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday night and returned on the first flight Wednesday morning (and we went to work). Traveling on Saturday night instead of Thursday or Friday saved us more than $100.00 on each on our plane tickets and we only used one vacation day. The caveat was that traveling during the holiday weekend usually means higher costs for accommodations.
Sexuality & Race
We felt extremely safe and comfortable during our stay in New Orleans. We didn’t feel like walking targets or received any stares that we’re aware of. We don’t necessarily show too much public affection but at some points during our trip we did and felt comfortable doing so. New Orleans is also extremely diverse so there were definitely a lot of black folks around, though in the French Quarter, it was mostly filled with white tourists (to be expected). Honestly, we felt right at home.
Neesha and I opted to use Airbnb because of costs but also, we both enjoy being in the community. Finding an Airbnb brought up some fears for both of us – what if the owner meets us and decides to not let us stay in the property? What if they’re racist? What if they’re homophobic? Should we have booked an apartment with two beds instead of one? We booked a lovely accommodation in Marigny (not listed anymore) and walking distance from Frenchman Street.
We both breathed a sigh of relief when we met our host, Ashley. She was a young, black woman who rushed to put fresh sheets on the bed while giving us tips on traveling in New Orleans. It was refreshing to know that we related to our host in multiple ways and we felt safe in her presence. She even invited us to attend the Second Line with her.
For four nights, Neesha and I spent a total of $622.00 or $311.00 per person. While it was more than what we would’ve liked to have spent, we recognized that it was a holiday weekend and we wanted to be cofmortable (within reason). We were walking distance from all the attractions in the French Quarter and also used multiple modes of transportation (Uber, streetcar, bus) which were affordable.
Sightseeing & Eats
This is a MUST-EAT café in New Orleans! Located right by the French Quarter, open 24/7 and home to the very popular beignets. While we were walked by Café Du Monde during the day, there was an extremely long line and full tables at the outdoor café so we opted to not stop by. However, the night before our flight, we realized we didn’t grab beignets and couldn’t leave New Orleans without tasting them. We took an Uber in the middle of the night to grab our beignets – totally worth it.
Paladar was the first restaurant we went to in New Orleans and we LOVED it! It’s located in a renovated warehouse building and while it is further away from the central locations, it was worth the walk. After brunch, we were a short walk away from the water and a park that was once an airplane hangar. Food, drinks and service were superb and we had to stop ourselves from eating there more than once.
We heard a lot of hype about The Ruby Slipper and decided to go there for our Sunday Brunch. By the time we arrived (around 1 PM), there was a long wait so we walked around the downtown area before heading back. Being able to buy and sip on drinks outside while waiting for our table sped up the time for us. The food was decent and while we would go back again, we don’t really understand the hype (but that’s just our opinion).
Magazine Street is a beautiful street to walk down. There are many little shops, beautiful houses, and cute restaurants. To satisfy our sweet tooth, we headed to Sucre, where we had our choice between many desserts including gelato and cannoli. We were satisfied.
Prior to researching restaurants in New Orleans, we had no idea what a Po Boy (a hero sandwich filled with whatever goodness you want) was and didn’t know how good it was until we got to Gene’s. It’s a local, no-frills spot where most folks take their Po Boy to go but there is space to sit and eat. The Po Boys were HUGE and cheap!
We also stopped by…
- WWII Museum – Great if you are intrigued by the United States or World War II history
- Audobon Park – Adorable park accessible by street cart
- French Quarter
- Frenchman Street
- The French Market
- Old U.S Mint Museum (free!)
- Magazine Street
- Nonstop airfare: $292.00
- Airbnb: $311.00 (3 nights/4 days)
- Uber (roundtrip) from Airport: $60.00 USD
- Uber (traveling to and from various locations): $30 (for two)
- Public Transportation (Bus and Streetcar): $1.25/one way (total spent: $5.00 – $7.00)
- WWII Museum: $16.50 w/student ID each
- Food and Drinks: $125.00 (estimate for two)
Tell us about your experiences in New Orleans!