I arrived in New Orleans at 7 pm after an intense journey. Hurricane Harvey was heading to Texas which, if you’ve never looked at a map of America, is fairly close to New Orleans. I wasn’t sure if the planes would be running and my mum kept telling me not to go, but I’m insanely greatful that I did.
I booked Site 61 hostel because it was sci-fi themed and I like aliens. There is an E bus which goes from the airport, takes you down Tulane Avenue and stops pretty close to the hostel.
I was a little worried the hostel wouldn’t be all that fun, but it actually turned out to be one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed at.
Site 61 hostel is full of great people, it has a TV, the staff arrange nightly activities like pool parties or card games and there was a free breakfast with bagels, cereal and coffee.
The other guests were really friendly.Half an hour of being there’s someone had offered me vegan food, that night we all went to a pool party and stayed up talking till about 5 am both nights.
The staff were great at making sure everyone had a good time and they joined in most of the time as well.
I would definitely recommend this hostel to anyone who wants to meet awesome people and drink all night. This place is exactly what you’d want every hostel to be like.
One of the people I met was this girl called E. E was a construction worker and former addict whose accent sounded exactly like Lolly from Orange is the New Black.
E had been in prison a few times and she liked to get into fights. If you heard her saying she wanted to beat someone up and you didn’t know her then you may well have wanted to avoid her, but she was also really funny, sweet and rather flirty.
She wasn’t scary unless you gave her a reason to be.
You got the impression she was quite lonely and wanted a stable relationship to focus on, but she just seems to have met the worst people.
The French Quarter
The downtown area is famous for open containers and Bourbon Street, but did you know it also has a tonne of independent art galleries?
Literally, every second shop on the French quarter turned out to be a gallery and some of the art on display was truly incredible.
There was this one gallery which used body paints and photography to create the most amazing pictures, and another gallery had a really whimsical theme of street lamps playing instruments.
The art galleries are totally free to visit (although the staff may assume you’re looking to spend $3464654 on your ‘art collection’).
I was really amazed by the French Quarter. I spent hours wandering around, looking at art and trying on masks, and I really wish I’d had more time to spend in NOLA.
Free The Spice!
The one downside to NOLA is that they are not very vegetarian-friendly.
The closest shop to my hostel was this gas station which was great for crisps and booze but pretty bad for anything else.
I was normally too hungover, busy or drunk to look for a bigger shop and I couldn’t find any cheap take away places which sold healthy vegetarian food either
My diet ended up consisting of Cheetos, pizza, beer, tequila slushies and one rather waxy apple.
Thank God for the amazing Sugar and Spice shop.
Sugar and Spice is a shop just near the top of the French Quarter and it sells a huge variety of spicy dips. What’s so great about them is that they let you try the dips for free. They also have tortilla chips for dipping, pretzels, olives, chillies, spicy nuts and more.
I’m not sure how much you’re actually allowed to eat, but I must’ve been grazing there for at least fifteen minutes and I came back later that very same afternoon for even more dips and chips.
Bourbon Street is basically just a long street full of bars, clubs and the occasional voodoo shop, but what’s good about it is that New Orleans is one of the few places in America where you can actually drink on the streets.
This open container policy means you can walk from bar to bar with a drink in hand and that simple law creates a real street party vibe.
There are musicians, living statues, buskers, performers and more, and you can watch them whilst you drink your tequila slushy.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t actually go clubbing in NOLA. I did go to a pool party in midtown, but both nights I ended up drinking and chatting to people in the hostel rather than actually going out to party.
I did go to Bourbon Street, but I went at 7 pm on my own and all I did was buy a slice of pizza and a ‘Blue Crack’ frozen cocktail and then do a loop of the street.
I really enjoyed my day out in NOLA, but I can’t really give any nightlife recommendations.
All I can say is that even though the frozen cocktails may seem like a rip off (and to be fair mine was) they are really big, they last for ages, and they’re not as weak as you’d think.
Nature Can Be a Bitch
My original plan was to go from New Orleans to Austin, Texas. I had really wanted to visit Texas and I’d planned to spend four days there.
Unfortunately, at the exact time I was meant to go to Texas they were being attacked by a particularly nasty hurricane.
We don’t have hurricanes or tornados or earthquakes or any of that stuff in England, so it took a while for me to comprehend how serious it was.
This hurricane drowned people’s homes, flooded the streets, destroyed buildings, and it killed people.
This hurricane did a lot of terrible things. Making it impossible for me go to Texas doesn’t rank particularly high on the list.
It did mean I had to change my plans though, so instead of going to Austin, I ended up catching the Amtrak to Memphis!
Keep your eyes peeled for the Elvis mobile, vegan utopia and intense Christians.