#MyBestFriendsWedding Chapter 7 Part 2 – Nola Bach Weekend Activities (#TravelTuesdays)

You guys know by now that I can write for days on end, which is why I put the bach items in a separate post. Ready to dive right in to the day-by-day itinerary of the bachelorette I planned for my biff Michelle? Buckle up!

Oh, one thing. Michelle had one request: no strippers. Disclaimer: it wasn’t me!

*If you want a version of the plain hourly itinerary without my schpeal, here you go!*

Thursday, March 1st: Arrivals, Set-up, Welcome! 

I flew out early on Thursday morning to set up the apartment. Vanessa (Michelle’s future SIL) and Stephanie (day of coordinator) were also flying in early for a meeting with a client, and Ashtine (bridesmaid) would land in the afternoon. The bride and the rest of the crew would arrive at night. I headed to our HomeAway rental (Michelle wanted us all together, so a hotel was not an option) as soon as I landed. The location was PERFECT, near Bourbon and Frenchmen but not in the midst of the party craze. Stephanie put together the welcome boxes for the girls before heading out to her meeting (thank you Steph!), and I had lunch at Cafe Envie across the street while I waited for Ashtine to land. When she got to the apartment, we went to Walmart (the one on Tchoupitulas, which has a full Liquor Store inside) to stock up on supplies for the apartment. Here’s our shopping list. I ordered Uber Eats from Louisiana Pizza Kitchen for dinner to be ready at the apartment while we got the girls at the airport. Caro (bridesmaid) had this awesome idea to get picked up at the airport in a party bus, so we booked with Luxe Limousine, and our driver Darrow was AWESOME! He was there early, and even accommodated our request to stop for a drink before dropping us off. Thanks Darrow! Once we got to the apartment, we quickly changed, ate, and headed out to party on Bourbon! The best stop of the night was undoubtedly Cats Meow, which is always a great time with karaoke and consistently great MCs running the show! We even got on stage for a rendition of single ladies 😉 (video at the end!)

 

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Friday, March 2nd: NON-STOP Activities! 

We started off our morning with light breakfast in the apartment, and surprised Michelle with the Panty Line Poem. We caught her totally off guard and she loved it! For brunch, we headed to the most memorable meal of the whole trip – Atchafalaya. Then, it was time for the Gray Line Original Walking Cocktail Tour, where the group got to try Absinthe, Sazeracs, Sidecars (my favorite), Hurricanes (the good kind, stay away from the Pat O’Brien’s blend), and more! After the tour we headed back to the apartment to get ready for the nighttime activity: a Diva Royale “Real Housewives of New Orleans” Drag Show! They actually called us earlier in the day to let us know that they were merging the drag show with a Hunk-O-Mania… aka male strippers (remember, not my fault?!). We just rolled with it. When we got to Mags 940 (show bar), I was approached by the owner of the drag show to ask if we wanted to put Michelle in the hot seat. With Michelle’s consent, I said it was fine as long as she was only in a drag segment and not with a stripper. They respected our wishes and Michelle had an awesome experience on stage with a gorgeous, funny and great queen (video at the end!). The brides from other groups in attendance got the full Hunk-O-Mania treatment and we had A LOT of fun watching it, but Michelle (or her fiance) definitely would not have been ok with that lol! The show ran long and we were INCREDIBLY late for our dinner reservation at Three Muses, but they were SUPER accommodating and accepted our rescheduling needs. The food was delicious and the night ended partying on Frenchmen Street!

 

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Saturday, March 3rd: Sisters, Beignets & Aphrodisiacs! 

During my first trip to Nola in 2014, I had Sunday brunch at the Court of Two Sisters. Envisioning a floral brunch outside in the courtyard with a live jazz band, I pulled the trigger and made the reservation. The said they couldn’t guarantee courtyard seating but they made it happen and it was GORGEOUS. We couldn’t have asked for better weather that entire weekend, and the brunch was  whimsically beautiful AND delicious. After brunch, we had free time to walk around, try Cafe Du Monde/Cafe Beignet, visit the French Market, and have a lax afternoon until our 4:00pm Aphrodisiac Tour from Witches Brew Tours. Our tour guide Marillyn was just a delight, so funny and knowledgeable and she had a blast with our group. She gave us background stories on aphrodisiacs and then took us to experience them first-hand – chocolates from Sucré, hot sauces from the Pepper Palace, a quick look at toys and other fun items at Mr. Binky’s Boutique, oyster shooters from honestly I can’t remember where, and if the group is up for it, you can also fit in a quick visit to a Voodoo shop which is part of the Nola charm. For our last Nawlins supper, I booked us dinner at Criollo inside the Monteleone hotel, so we could pass by the Carousel Bar. I told the girls even before the trip not to get excited about the bar as it’s IMPOSSIBLE to get a seat on it, no matter the time of the day, so they knew it was more of a picture opp than anything else. To our huge surprise because of our party size, the Criollo staff welcomed us in one of their private rooms. We felt like the Real Housewives of all the cities rolled into one, getting VIP treatment! It really was the perfect closing to the trip. We actually sang happy birthday to Michelle here because her birthday was coming up that following week, so we got those festivities started. After dinner, we headed out to enjoy our last night in Bourbon and then made our way back to the apartment for a few hours of sleep, before catching our flights back home.

 

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I hope you enjoyed my endless recount of this weekend that I will forever cherish as I hope Michelle and the rest of the girls do. New Orleans is a very fun city, and a top choice destination for bachelor/bachelorette parties because of their chill party scene, yummy food (seriously, you have to make an effort to find bad food in Nola), and cheap drinks!

Made it this far? You unlocked our FINAL RECAP VIDEO! 😉  

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#TravelTuesdays – Weekend in N’awlins

Traveling is the greatest thing there is. Seeing the architecture, meeting the people, eating the food, etc. of a new place is the best kind of education and personal growth out there. This past weekend in New Orleans was one of the most fun and fulfilling experiences of my life. NOLA has it ALL: BEAUTIFUL sights, interesting people, and some of the best food I’ve ever had. Honestly, this trip was ALL about the food, so… Let’s just jump in!

  1. Mother’s – holy po’boys. Mother’s is a local right of passage type of place. It’s been around since the dawn of time, and its history is as rich as the bread pudding. BEST BREAD PUDDING IN ALL OF THE ENTIRE FACE OF THE EARTH. The end. Don’t debate me. The fried shrimp po’boys were off the charts too. Great introduction to the trip!
  2. Bourbon Street – if you didn’t come here, you didn’t go to New Orleans. We hit up a lot of bars, strip clubs (some by accident) and restaurants all around the area. There was fun in every corner! Some key nighttime stops in the area:
    1. Touchdown Jesus: someone told one of my friends about it, and we didn’t know what it was… until we saw it. Go towards the back of St. Louis Cathedral at night, and you’ll be greeted by the one and only!
    2. Pat O’Brien’s (Pat O’s if you’re cool): such a chill, cool, open bar, with some of the best hurricanes in town.
    3. Preservation Hall: oh man. What an experience! This was one of the unexpected stops we made. We were walking all around Bourbon and we saw a big line for this place, and we had no idea what it was for. We asked one of the people in line and they mentioned it was a Jazz show. That’s all we knew. We were too late to make it to the 7 o’clock show, so we lined up for 8. If you’ve ever wanted to travel in time, this is the place to do it. You walk in to this old, barely lit building, onto a very small area, standing room for the most part, with a small stage and some old chairs and instruments. The band starts playing. I don’t care how much jazz you’ve listened to in your life, you haven’t truly heard it until you’re here. The band was absolutely flawless and incredible. They took requests (donations required; go towards the back of your wallet if you want to listen to the classics, aka “The Saints”). Worth every minute, every penny. No food or drinks inside, it’s only a one-hour show.
  3. Atchafalaya: I can’t remember if we need to thank Yelp or Trip Advisor for this one, but holy brunch. We were trying to schedule a meal at The Court of Two Sisters, but their staff told us they were packed so we had to look elsewhere, and we found this GEM in the Garden District. It’s not one of the globally acclaimed stops, but rather a local hidden treasure, which we are so glad to have found and which I will recommend from here to the end of time. It’s about a 15 minute car ride from downtown. PS – we had multiple restaurant experiences all throughout the city where they told us long wait periods that turned out to be 10 minutes, or said they were full, but really weren’t. It seems like a common (stupid/douchey) practice in Nola. Go anyways.
  4. Pralines: typical New Orleans dessert. Best place to get them for the best price is right on Jackson Square at the New Orleans School of Cooking. Must try and must buy a few boxes to bring back as gifts (to yourself… so you can grieve the distance between you and your Nola trip).
  5. Criollo Restaurant & Carousel Lounge at Hotel Monteleone: delicious food (obviously need to try the bread pudding for dessert), great ambiance and awesome “digestive” setting a few feet over at the Carousel Bar! Never had a chance to actually sit on the carousel bar, but nonetheless it was an awesome sight.
  6. Court of Two Sisters: gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, king’s cake, bread pudding… This place has ALL of New Orleans’ gastronomic heritage under one roof. It’s not the best version of each food, but it’s definitely a fun experience and good value. Recognized throughout as a must for tourists.
  7. Garden District: beautiful walk. Also, if you’re a fan of the American Horror Story “Coven” season, you can pass by the house where they filmed, and picture yourself as the Supreme while you’re at it.

There are plenty more things to do (we also visited Frenchmen Street, the Mardi Gras warehouse, a number of cemeteries, and more!), but I’m going to stop the list here because I’m getting depressed I came back home 😦 Here’s a little highlight gallery for your reference and my continued weeping…