With the world reopening, my friend and I decided that we take a 3 day weekend trip to The Big Easy. I’ve always had my curiosity behind New Orleans but could never find it in my schedule to really go. New Orleans seemed to be the place to visit because there is a saying out there that goes “you have New York, LA, New Orleans, and everywhere else is Cleveland”. I don’t have much hate for Cleveland or the state or Ohio so I found the comment to be harsh but it means that New Orleans had high expectations from my end.
The trip itself seemed a bit cursed from the start as my flight was delayed by a couple of hours meaning that it would be somewhat into the night when I got there. As our plane finally landed, we found that everyone was grumpy from the trip and on edge. I arrived a few hours after my friend did and his report on the city was not very promising, talking about the amount of sketchy characters you find throughout. Given that it was late enough, I went to a shop at an airport that was the only one open to get myself a tuna sandwich with chips and Diet Coke, not what I had in mind for an ideal dinner.
Finally, get a taxi and we head over only to find that there is major traffic due to a crash as well as the fact that it is pouring rain. I had to also pee really bad but I hold it in for about a good 40 minutes before I get to my hotel, just ready to get the night started. Friend texted me an hour ago about him having had dinner already but I just munch down on my dinner like a pig after getting into my hotel. Exhausted, I take a 30 minute nap before showering and heading out to meet up with my friend.
A mess known as Bourbon St.
I already stepped out and saw the mess which was Bourbon St, vomit everywhere with what was one of the trashiest scenes you can think of. Luckily the bar we went to was more low-key so we have some drinks, I am just ready to get wasted at this point. After that, we bar-hopped a little before going to the Tropical Isle which is famous for having one of the strongest cocktails in the world, The Hand Grenade. We have it and were 3/4 of the way done before heading out, taking it to the hotel room with us and wondering how we even made it back to each other’s hotel rooms that night.
Even thinking back to it, there was not really that much opportunity on Bourbon St. Most of the women were not good looking but it was strange to see how the few good looking women around stuck out a lot. It made me realize how as New Yorkers, we are so spoiled where on any given night, you can see more than a handful of good looking women in the city.
The next morning, I woke up out of it and gone. My body was annihilated and did not want to get off the bed. Everything in me was just pushed down to the bed as my body felt a very hot sensation throughout but also nauseated. I slept in for another four hours before finally meeting up with my friend for lunch at a local seafood spot.
The food was definitely good.
New Orleans takes the cake for being a seafood lover’s paradise and we tried the gumbo as well, asking what was in it beforehand. I was never the one to like Jumbalaya but I tried it anyways, no complaints with the food at all. I tried the catfish as well as the crawfish as well, not the easiest to eat but definitely a hell of a meal. I’d say of all the southern cities so far, New Orleans is in my top three when it comes to the food and the cuisine it offers. Brunch was also amazing, finally got to try out what southerners call grits.
As for the ambiance, that was something else too as we noticed marching bands throughout the street. I am reminded of this skit on Family Guy now and how relevant it was. As annoying as it got, the bands gave the city its character so maybe there was truth to the saying around how New Orleans stuck out in a good way. Almost every bar we went to with a live jazz Band, it was great to see that everyone performing was older and likely had a daytime job. In my view, that spoke to the character of the city and its people, how they have lives outside of work instead of clocking out and watching Netflix.
Back to Bourbon.
I go back to my hotel room to find vomit all over the toilet seat, it was because of me the night before but I was in too much of a rush to initially see it. I had hoped it was me from the night before at least, the thought of having a stranger throw up in your toilet at a hotel room, scary and disgusting at the same time. Given the heavy brunch, I took a nap for a few hours and met my friend out. We did go out but started off slow at a quieter bar. After a few drinks, which was hard to do given that we still had our Hand Grenade hangover, we went back to Bourbon St.
Moving around was tough as it was a large crowd in the city, to say it was ratchet is an understatement. We ended up having to squeeze through some bands performing which blocked the street but my friend said he knew of a good bar. We go there but found that there is a cover charge and even looking inside, there is not much promising quality. Now we are feeling discouraged, this trip has been a mess and not much opportunities on Bourbon.
But I hear there is a more low-key part of town now, it’s called Frenchmen!
My friend remembers his friends telling him about Frenchmen St and given the mess Bourbon was, we decided to go there as a last ditch effort. The walk itself was through a neighborhood and it did seem somewhat scary, you always got that grungy vibe from New Orleans that if you do not watch your back, you might get robbed. After a long enough walk of seeing a naked drugged out homeless guy approaching cars, we make it to Frenchmen.
Breath of fresh air.
Frenchmen St was a breath of fresh air compared to what we saw at Bourbon. For one, the quality of women was ten times higher than Bourbon St itself. We went and had some drinks at the bar, seeing live bands perform. Frenchmen St was much less crowded and bars a lot less packed, it was narrow and a very short strip itself. We mainly saw couples who were out for an occasion and everyone else was in their crews, still better than the craziness of Bourbon.
As the night ended, we went to get food at a local stand. I made small talk with one of the guys who was selling and told him about our stay so far, him and a couple who were getting food laughed when we said we went out in Bourbon. I was told that it is usually a place to get shot or stabbed, never knew that! Come to find, as we take a cab back to my hotel (my friend deciding to walk to his as we arrived), the driver told us how we came at a bad time as well given that they were having New Orelan’s version of Freaknik. Our cab driver was a White Eastern European guy who said he voted for Trump, it was an interesting conversation on the way back…….
The next night, we decided that given it was our last night in the city, we would head there again. We knew that we were not going to like Bourbon St being our main going out place so we had to redeem ourselves. We went right back, there are only a handful of bars on Frenchmen St so it was slim pickings. Upon going back, we had a great vibe going with the music in one of the bars, it was Reggae. I found most girls were there with their boyfriends but a couple kept bumping into me, a lot.
Almost zero approach opportunities showed themselves to us when we were out in the city, be it Bourbon or Frenchmen St. If I have to rephrase that, let’s say zero opportunities of any quality presented themselves for the most part. Almost all women were either there with a guy and some maybe with a large enough crew. If I looked hard enough, I am sure I could have found some.
New Orleans had great food, a unique culture, and a one of a kind vibe that makes it a city that everyone needs to visit. I do think that it is worth a visit for almost everyone but only with the right expectations. Overall, it is a city for couples to visit or for tourists to visit to experience a unique culture. For most of my readers though, do not go there for the women. I am going to sound really harsh here and say that even Atlanta is worth a visit over New Orleans for a single guy and that is saying a lot.
If you manage your expectations right, New Orleans can be a fun time. Go there for the sights, the food, and for the historic tour. Go to Bourbon Street with the expectation that it is going to be a shitshow and appreciate it for that. Go to Frenchmen St for a classier scene and a fun time to look back on. Just don’t go there with the expectation that you are going to score with a random unless your standards are really really low.