The Big 30 in the Big Easy
For my 30th birthday, I went to New Orleans and wanted to share a recap of my experience!
I stayed at a beautiful Airbnb in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. This is the oldest African American community in the United States and is filled with so much rich history and culture. My Airbnb host Truedell was super lit. She was accommodating and hospitable. Answered the phone anytime I called her for anything! Gave us free bud and everything when we needed it. Our flight landed 6 hours before check in time so we killed some time chilling at her home, which was 2 blocks from where we were staying. Her husband shared this expensive ass premier bourbon liquor with us and some weed. I was wavy as hell by noon. That set the tone for the whole trip. He gave us a tour of their gorgeous home that he constructed. They rent out various levels throughout their home to Airbnb. I will definitely stay with them anytime I go back.
New Orleans looks like the hoods of Newark to me. A lot of abandoned buildings and construction. If I can rephrase how my boyfriend described it “New Orleans is a hood black community that white people like to visit.” My personal opinion is that the whole tourist aspect of New Orleans is a bit overrated. A lot of gentrification has gone on so certain areas are super upscale and attract mostly affluent elderly couples enjoying retirement or families on a vacation. I am sure New Orleans attracts diverse crowds during major yearly celebrations like Mardi Gras, Halloween, Jazz Fest, etc. but I decided to visit a few weeks after Mardi Gras when all the craziness had died down already.
I had the most fun when I went to whole in the wall places that some may consider “hood” or “ratchet”. I do not mind those environments because hey, I am a bit ratchet myself. In those environments, you can just hang loose and do you! I feel comfortable when I am around other black people because I do not have to worry about discrimination. These hood spots (that look more like someone’s house then an establishment) is where I had the most fun, ate great food at an affordable price, listened to great music, and vibed with the locals. Most of them were in walking distance from our apartment so we walked a lot or caught inexpensive ubers and lyfts. Anytime I attempted to go to overrated tourist areas, it was either crowded, overpriced, or long wait times to get service. (Places like Café Du Monde, Willie Mae’s Scotch House, Frenchmen St, The French Market, Bourbon St, and Magazine St.)
Below are all the places I went and my experience at each spot:
Lil Dizzy’s – Breakfast/lunch spot that is open until 2pm. They only serve food, no liquor. They get busy around brunch before they close so it’s better to go early. The fried chicken, and mac and cheese were my favorite. I got the buffet option at a fixed price but you can order from the menu as well. You cannot get a to-go box for your food when you order the buffet meal so eat up while you there! When I told my server I was from Jersey she asked if I ever met Wendy Williams. She must be a big fan J
Avenue Bar and Restaurant – I spent the eve of my birthday there. It’s a small spot but has seating, a pool table, and TVs playing various sports channels. You can order liquor bottles to go or to stay. My boyfriend and I ate lemon pepper wings and fried catfish. The food was good and affordable. It’s an older crowd but everyone was so cool. They mostly played old school classic rnb and funk songs. I love those records and know so many of them so I enjoyed myself. The server found out it was my birthday and had the DJ shout me out. After that, the server asked me what kind of liquor I like and I said Hennessey. Next thing I know she brings a bottle of Henny and says it’s a gift from the chef for my birthday! It was a pleasant surprise and so kind of the chef. He even stopped by and asked us how our meal was.
Crescent City Bike Tours – The morning of my birthday, my boyfriend and I walked to this spot close to our apartment to take a bike tour around the Treme neighborhood with a wonderful and knowledgeable tour guide. The tour is about 2 hours long and we made multiple stops at historical landmarks. I had so much fun riding a bike through the neighborhood. I haven’t rode a bike since I was a kid. Taking shots before we left the house and riding a bike drunk was hilarious. My boyfriend kept laughing at how terrible of a bike rider I was. The bike tour took us through many locations such as Louis Armstrong Park, a famous cemetery, and ended at New Orleans Museum of Art where the tour guide gave us 30 minutes to explore the outdoor sculpture garden.
Cajun Seafood – This is a chain restaurant so there are multiple locations. Locals told us that the one on Clairborne St is best. That location was the closest to our apartment so we walked over. It looks like an upscale chicken shack. They sell liquor and food. I ate crawfish, shrimp, snow crab legs, and turkey neck. The food was amazing and very affordable for seafood. The food was so good that once I started eating I didn’t event stop to take any pictures. The food is a bit spicy so if you are sensitive to spicy food it isn’t for you. It takes a bit of work to remove the shells from the shrimp and the crawfish but so worth it when you get to the good stuff!
Blue Nile – This live music lounge is located on Frenchmen St, which is a heavy tourist area. I wasn’t really feeling the venues on the strip but we stumbled upon The Blue Nile and got some Rum Punch drinks that were so tasty and strong. We watched this brass band called the Brassaholics that were so entertaining. They gave a great live show! It is a mixed crowd of older and younger people of all kinds. I met the nicest elderly couple that got me a drink for my birthday.
Bertha’s Place Bar and Restaurant – I spent my last night in New Orleans here and I am so glad I did. I was on my way somewhere more touristy and upscale, when our Uber driver mentioned Bertha’s. He said we were his last ride for the evening and he was headed there anyway for the open bar special. Once he said open bar EVERYTHING from 7-10pm for $10, I was sold! The food is standard bar food and there isn’t much seating available. They have TVs playing sports. The DJ played mostly local music and oldies songs but everyone was grooving. The crowd was young adults around my age and older folks. I had a blast chillen with the locals. Everyone was so kind and chill. The owner Bertha is so hood fabulous! She is an elderly black woman with long acrylic nails, bold weaves, and thick black glued on eyelashes. She run her lounge like a Boss! You can tell it’s definitely the hang out spot for the dope boys and the ratchets. I had a blast!