New Year, New Orleans

Hey y’all, your girl is back!

I just got home from New Orleans and wow. I had been one other time for a super quick trip before leaving on a cruise, so I’m excited to share my experiences now that I actually have some. I’ll also be linking all components of my outfits (or similar if they’re vintage or sold out) at the end of the post for your shopping pleasure!

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We went to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl (Roll Tide) but since that was the only thing we were required to do during our four days there, I had plenty of time to explore. The first stop on my list was the Museum of Death.

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I’m sure this will become apparent, but I’m obsessed with all things true crime. I was supposed to go to Los Angeles one Spring Break in high school and the only thing I requested to see was the Museum of Death. Unfortunately, plans fell through and we didn’t go, so naturally my life just hasn’t felt complete. Thankfully, the masterminds behind the Museum Of Death in LA opened a second location in New Orleans a little over two years ago and I was finally able to fill the void.

I had read mixed reviews (lol) online about the museum, but TBH nothing could stop me from going. The biggest complaint was that the price was too high for the quality of the museum. Admission was $15 per person and it was a self-guided museum, so I can see how that would be off putting. BUT if you’re interested in anything and everything related to death, murder, and true crime, it is 100% worth it.

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Genuine reaction walking out of the Museum of Death

My boyfriend, Logan, and I are on completely different ends of the spectrum when it comes to true crime. I want to be a forensic nurse practitioner, he throws up when he sees blood. That being said, he made it through the entire museum and actually found a lot of it interesting. This museum is definitely not for the faint of heart though. There is a theatre in the back playing an hour and a half loop of people dying in various ways (that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Logan), along with a few other videos that others may find disturbing. The actual information on the subject matter is vey interesting with an entire section devoted to autopsy and burial history and customs. If you’re interested in things that you feel like you shouldn’t be interested in, this is the place for you. The guys working there walked around to make sure we didn’t have any questions and were very informative. They also told us that all of the items come straight from police departments and other credible sources, nothing ordered from the internet. This is super impressive because there are a lot of pieces of evidence and artifacts, if you will, that I can’t imagine were easy to get a hold of.

Our next stop was St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square. I feel like this is just one of those places that people say you need to go when you’re in New Orleans whether you really want to or not. The cathedral and square are both beautiful, but definitely one those touristy things you feel obliged to visit.

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At the square, there are fortune tellers, performers, and artists selling their work. The issue is that the the performers and artists are constantly changing, so it’s hard to know if there will be anyone worth seeing. When I was there this past March, there was an artist I wanted to buy something from but couldn’t carry the large painting to dinner with me. When I was there this time, she wasn’t there that day so that was a bummer. The weather was also horrid the entire time we were there, so I’m sure that deterred a lot of people from willingly standing outside.

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in Jackson Square, in front of St. Louis Cathedral (freezing and crying on the inside).

Enough of the touristy things, I want to talk about what I ate. When I book a trip, the first thing I do is get on OpenTable and plan out all of my meals. I feel like food is one of the best ways to truly understand a city. And I just really love food.

Our first meal was at a restaurant in the French Quarter called Broussard’s. It is self-described as French Creole cuisine. The atmosphere was definitely upscale, like they put the napkin on your lap for you. Logan and I both got the Pre-Fixe menu, which was $48 per person. I 100% jumped on that since it was four full courses for the price of a nice steak. My courses included fried oysters, butternut squash bisque, pompano fish with andouille hash, and praline bread pudding. Logan’s was the same but instead of fish he chose the other option, Filet Mignon.

Everything I had was so good. I really don’t like oysters but the other first course option was duck confit and I hate duck even more than oysters. Since I chose the lesser of two evils I wasn’t expecting much. To my surprise, they were amazing. I’ve never met a butternut squash bisque I don’t like, so it wasn’t too surprising when I finished it in two seconds flat.

I was nervous to order the fish since I had never had pompano before, but I figured since I was in New Orleans I needed to order seafood. It didn’t disappoint. Also, the portion was really big which was surprising since the menu was so reasonably priced (other restaurants had Pre-Fixe menus that cost around $100). The praline bread pudding was also amazing but I was so full at this point that I only had like two bites. Our friend ordered the lamb and said it was some of the best he had ever had. While some menu items seemed over priced ($14 for a single crab cake), the rest of my meal and solid cocktail menu would definitely make me return.

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My fish that was way better than my iPhone makes it look.

After dinner we went to a few bars. The most memorable was Gold Mine. It had a $3 cover which was super random but whatever. Their big thing is their Flaming Dr. Pepper. I think flaming shots are incredibly under utilized so I was excited. Essentially Amaretto and Everclear are poured into a shot glass, lit on fire, and ripped into half a glass of Natty Light. Across our group of friends, there were a lot of opinions. I thought it tasted as bad as it sounds, but I also hate beer. Like the smell of beer makes me nauseous. But, again, I was in New Orleans so it only felt right. Others swore it tasted exactly like Dr. Pepper. So this one is personal preference and I guess you just have to try it.

The bar itself was really fun. it was pretty empty when we got there which allowed for plenty of room to dance and run around as I do. They were also playing a great mix of music (think Baby Got Back followed by Party in the USA) while playing music videos throughout the bar. We tried to go back the next night but never made it because our group was indecisive.

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Good Ol’ Ying Yang Twins on the projector

The next morning for brunch we ate at Brown Butter Southern Kitchen and Bar. This was the only time we had to take an Uber during our entire stay since it was about 3 miles from our hotel. I had their Brunch Burger and had zero regrets. I’m not a huge burger person, but this one was calling my name. It was a big old burger with Brie cheese, onion jam, arugula and a fried egg (that I ordered over hard because yolk grosses me out). Even though it was a little out of the way I would still recommend it. Oh, I also had a bomb Bloody Mary.

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We ended up just eating at the buffet at Harrah’s casino for dinner on NYE because everything was booked so far in advance and it was too cold to walk around and find food. They had pho on the buffet so I was content, but, like not much more to talk about there. We did get free champagne though.

For the rest of New Years Eve we joined the rest of the general population at Pat O’Brien’s. I think Hurricanes, which they’re famous for, taste like cough syrup but I still drank them and everyone will tell you to do the same. But yeah, kind of just taste like cough syrup. So it was kind of weird there. It was NYE, they handed out hats and stuff, seemed like it was a big deal. There was no countdown. Not even kidding, I missed it. All of a sudden everyone started screaming and it was 2018. And it was freezing. I definitely want to go back when it isn’t 12 degrees and 20 MPH winds because it is a really nice outdoor area. If we weren’t there with a big group of friends I think I would have preferred to be in Jackson Square and then back out to bars.

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Snapchat documentation of us missing the entire thing.

Side note related to NYE. I really liked my outfit and never even showed anyone because it was so cold I couldn’t take my jacket off the entire night. Honestly might be a blessing in disguise because I can save it for something else, but still.

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You can almost see my super fun outfit peeking out from under my super practical coat…

New Years day was also the day of the Sugar Bowl. We decided to eat brunch at 11:30 and “dinner” at 4:15 to make sure we had plenty of time to mentally and physically prepare for the game.

We made a reservation for brunch at Kingfish (since the night before I had thrown a fit about not having meals planned out). We started with crab claws that were marinated in pineapple and ginger and I could have eaten 4 orders by myself they were so good. For my entree I had Alligator Grillades and it was perfect. I really love alligator (random food to love, I know) so I order it whenever I can. This 100% did not disappoint. The only picture I took of it was after I ate half of it and it looks gross. BUT IT WAS PERFECT.

Logan had fish tacos on the half shell, AKA build your own tacos from an entire fish. He really loved the fish but there were some bones in it which is usually a deal breaker for me. He didn’t send it back since it was only a few bites, but still. Other than that, he loved his as well.

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They also had a really good cocktail list which usually seals the deal for me. I had the blueberry hill which was made with Stoli blueberry vodka (one of my all time faves), lemon, sugar and blueberries. I was pacing myself since I had to stay awake all day and essentially all night or else I would have for sure had multiple.

For our “dinner” at 4:15 we went to NOLA which is owned by Emeril Lagasse. We ate real dinner, like at 7:30 pm, here the first time we visited. Before we ate there I was throwing a tiny fit because I didn’t want to eat there at all. I don’t usually trust places owned by famous chefs because they feel like tourist traps. If you put Emeril’s name on something you can serve pretty much whatever and people will be impressed. BUT it was unreal, so we went back. Again, this is really saying something because I try to eat at as many places as possible when traveling so repeating a restaurant means it’s phenomenal.

Of course, the menu had changed since we had been there in March but still great. I had the Fiddy Two to drink which was bourbon, hibiscus syrup, lemon juice, cocchi americano. This is the ideal drink if you like bourbon. If not, the other flavors don’t really mask it enough for a non-bourbon drinker to enjoy it.

For starters we had alligator sausage bao buns and cornbread with collard greens. I love bao buns and as I said I love alligator so this was a no brainer for me. There were only two in the order and they weren’t huge, but they were great. The house made kimchi was also perfect. The cornbread was just that, but the collard greens with it were outstanding. They were almost a garnish instead of part of the dish, so I wish there had been a little bit more, but it was still very good.

For my main course I had the chargrilled pork chop which came with caramelized sweet potatoes, apple chutney, beer braised onion sauce. It took all my power not to channel my inner Emeril and scream “BAM” in the middle of the restaurant. I love a good pork chop and this was up there with some of the best I’ve had. The sweet potatoes and onion sauce complimented it perfectly. It was also a large portion that I couldn’t finish even though I wanted to.

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Literally, “BAM”

OKAY, Y’ALL the last thing we need to discuss: Daiquiris. The daiquiris in New Orleans are a big deal and the fact that you can walk around pretty much wherever you want, whenever you want with them is a game changer. If you’ve never been to a daiquiri bar just imagine the slushee machines at the gas station but an entire wall and they’re alcoholic. I made sure to try a whole bunch while we were there, both for myself and for y’all. These were my faves and worth drinking in 30 degree weather with 20 MPH winds.

Big Easy Daiquiris was our first stop and one of my faves. Since they have four locations in the French Quarter I feel like I randomly found myself ending up in a different location without even realizing it. When we first walked in the guy working, who became my friend and I kept finding him at different locations, told me to order the “Leave me S’Peachless”. I got it and it was my favorite flavor mixture of the entire trip and my go-to. They also have really good jello shots. I think the jello shot is underrated, done well they’re both lethal and enjoyable. And these came in syringes, so I was sold. The daiquiris were $11 for a regular, $14 for a large, and $13 for a souvenir Fleur De Lis that gave you discounted refills. Jello shots were 2 for $6.

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My other favorite was Daiquiri Delight. This place was legit the most upscale daiquiri establishment and I was all about it. I ordered their cajun storm flavor mixed with piña colada. It tasted like these Korean frozen yogurt things that I grew up on. That doesn’t help the majority of the population, but I promise it was so good. They also had jello shots but no one put them in the fridge the night before so they weren’t ready. Disappointment of the century. But, since it was freezing outside, I popped next door to PJ’s Café and got hot chocolate and added a nice shot of Baileys from Daiquiri Delight, so I survived.

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So hip and cool. (I took this from their Facebook page, not trying to get sued over daiquiris).

Ok, actually the last thing: My outfits! Just click the picture to go to the link to buy!

As you can tell, I wore my camouflage jacket a lot. It’s one of my staples and I wear it constantly. Mine is vintage from The Vintage Banana in Louisville, but they’re super easy to find right now. If you want an actual military-esque one like mine, I suggest vintage shops and army supply stores to get them on the low low. Here are a few other options I’ve found that are cute and in a few different price ranges.
Screen Shot 2018-01-07 at 11.32.14 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-07 at 11.31.04 PMScreen Shot 2018-01-07 at 11.26.20 PMI also wore these Joe’s Jeans a lot and they’re on sale right now! I have a ton of black jeans, so I appreciate the hemline on these that make them a little different. I wear a 28 and they run true to size.

Screen Shot 2018-01-07 at 11.55.48 PMAnother favorite pair of black jeans I wore on this trip are my black wax jeans from Articles of Society. My only complain is that the color has faded on the inner thigh but that’s because I don’t have a #thighgap and they’re constantly rubbing so I guess it’s expected. I also think these run small at first and after washing. I bought a 30 and they’re too big after a couple of wears.

Screen Shot 2018-01-07 at 11.59.01 PMSo, my mesh and snake jacket was one of those things I didn’t think I could pull off and then I fell in love with it. I can’t find the exact one online right now and I got mine from Nordstrom Rack. But, it is made by Alberto Makali. They have a similar one linked below online right now but it’s super expensive. So check your local Nordstrom Rack!

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 12.04.53 AMI paired that jacket with this sleeveless sweater made by Vince. Another Nordstrom Rack find. I got it in a large because it was the last one but wish they had had a medium. It is a little too oversized but definitely still a good buy. It is on Nordstrom Rack’s website now in a cream color, but the discount is a lot bigger in store. I got it for about $50 and it’s still $119 online.

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 12.10.10 AMMy black velvet skirt is from Free People from last year I believe. It isn’t available anymore, but if you like the zip detail they have one that’s $50 right now online, just not velvet. And velvet is my favorite.

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 12.14.21 AM.pngI actually bought par to of the outfit I wore to the Sugar Bowl on the way down there, so I know it’s still available.

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I really like this jumper because it isn’t boxy like others I have tried on. It’s also a good transitional piece because it can be worn as a dress without a shirt under it as well. And it’s suede, great material. I had to size up in this one since suede is so stiff. I usually wear a 6 in most things but went up to a 10 in this. Also, the straps aren’t adjustable, which is a bummer because they kept falling down on me.

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 12.22.24 AMThe over the knee boots I’m wearing are Frye boots that I actually found at TJ Maxx. Even though Frye’s are expensive, I swear by them if they’re an option. They last forever and are so well made. Again, keep your eyes peeled at Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx for killer deals. I got the ones pictured for $150 and they were originally over $500. You can also usually size down. half size in Frye since they’re lather and they’ll stretch. I wear and 11 or 11 1/2 in shoes (terrible, I know), but I can wear a 10 1/2 in Frye’s a lot of times.

Finally, my NYE outfit that no one got to see. I just paired an American Apparel (RIP) bodysuit with my black wax jeans and this amazing jacket. Another TJ Maxx find that I almost didn’t get because it was still a little expensive for my liking ($70 at TJ Maxx is a lot to me) but I was obsessed so I bit the bullet. It is available on Raga’s website, but again I would keep your eyes peeled because the original price is a lot. But it’s velvet/velour and all of those beads are individually sewn on. It really is amazing, but not amazing enough pay full price. Or half price.

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 12.33.51 AMWoohoo! For everyone who made it this far in this novel about New Orleans, Thank you! I really hope it’s helpful for anyone traveling to NOLA. Let me know if you find yourself that way and try out any of my picks. Also, tell me where else I should go when I go back, because I can’t stay away from Daiquiris too long.

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