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    23 of the best places to go in New Orleans

    Please excuse the somewhat clickbait style post title, but I was at a bit of a loss how to describe our time in New Orleans, a city of Louisiana magic. The home of Jazz is heavy with music spilling from each corner, the buildings are redolent with French-style balcony railings perfect for people watching and Mardi Gras beads literally hang from the Jackson Square trees year round. Creole and cajun spices imbue meals with history, a melting pot of cultures mingle in amongst music notes that hover in the air and everyone we’ve ever known to visit talks about the city their eyes light up remembering the joie di vivre.

    Best things to see in New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We wanted to love New Orleans. And we most certainly did. We adored our side trips (blatting on a boat through the Bayou to track down the coal-black eyes of alligators and a walk through the history of two quintessential Louisiana Plantations) but the city well and truly stole our wanderlusting hearts. With only 3 full days to spend in the city (2 full and 2 half to be utterly precise) we tried to fit in as much as we could, all the whilst dodging the rain drops that followed us over from Austin. After a 2-month drought.

    (As a sidenote, this is city is where we watched the American presidential elections declare Trump to win, so it feels right to be posting about the magic of NOLA on such a historic weekend. There will always be hope in the amazing people of the US, no matter how his time in office goes. Look at how ‘Nawlins overcame and still is overcoming the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.)

    Best things to see in New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Best things to see in New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Our favourite, absolutely must-do, have to revisit New Orleans spots were…

    Taking a moment or six to fully appreciate the feeling of being on the banks of the Mississippi River (especially if you can’t spell it) before striding a very quick walk through the hilarious chaos on Bourbon Street
    where tourists shot cheap, nasty liquors. (I think this might mean
    we’re old and I don’t care.)

    Finding ourselves aboard a sunset cruise on a real paddlesteamer, complete with jiving lounge band. Rollin, rolling on the river.


    We discovered a little bar with a proper Dixieland vibe where saxes slid above double basses plucked with funk, toes tapped to the beat of washboards, trumpets danced and singers sang their hearts so blue. After a while we would then walk around another corner, and a brass quartet would smooth out the bars of a pop song before we mooched into a bar where the honky tonk beats were punctuated by lazy ceiling fans.

    We luxuriated in the parade of live Jazz bars on Frenchman Street. We walked out of the pouring rain into the gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous velvet voice of Sarah McCoy a longtime regular of The Spotted Cat Music Club.

    Best things to see in New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We had to try Cafe de Monde beignets heaped with powdered sugar and their Chickory laced cafe au lait (honestly, I preferred the coffee to the doughnuts but you can’t win ’em all) and then get lost outside of the French Quarter – there is so much more to this city.

    Best things to see in New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Cafe du monde Best things to see in New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

    (Just refrain from taking beignets into local stores though, the powdered sugar confections are clearly pesky menaces!)

    Best things to see in New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

     Singing the Redbone’s Witch Queen of New Orleans at least 7 times.
    I’m gonna tell you a story, strange as it now seems
    of zombie voodoo gris gris and the witch-queen of New Orleans.
    She lived in world of magic, possessed by the devils skew
    from a shack near the swamp lands made of mudpie brick.
    Marie stirred her witches brew…

    Staying in a beautiful hotel like the luxurious and Great Gatsby-esque Whitney Hotel.

    Finally visiting a Guy Fieri approved Diner’s Drive-In’s and Dives establishment such as the delectable local Old Coffee Pot, and eating Oyster Po’Boys as big as our faces.

    Po Boy Where to eat in New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Trying a helping of gumbo along with a healthy service of Andoullie sausage and (we did both at the Old Coffee Pot.) This lovely local spot deserves two whole visits.

    Guy Fieri Diners Drive-ins and Dives Where to eat in New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Not, er, falling for the tourist-hustling antics of “hey man, I like your shoes…” and end up at least a dollar lighter.

    People watching from a French Quarter balcony, iced tea in hand, as they get tourist-hustled with “hey man, I like your shoes…” and they end up at least a dollar lighter.

    French Quarter New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Instagram stalking your friend a week after she visited (totally by coincidence) – nb: absolutely optional

    Popping into the Royal House Oyster Bar for a sundowner and their ridiculously good Bananas Foster Cheesecake. I still dream about this bar – and we walked in totally by accident rather than design, well the first time anyway.

    Where to eat Royal House Oyster Bar French Quarter New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Visiting one of the famous cemeteries to pay respect to a host of historical figures final resting places including Marie Laveau’s infamous tomb (we found a brilliant walking tour) including Nicolas Cage’s future white pyramid tomb and the clever, if creepy tactics used to strategically re-use the limited cemetery space of New Orleans.

    Uncovering the real difference between Voodoo and Hoodoo.

    Voodoo New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Discovering the friendliness of New Orleans locals. From our sweet-as-apple-pie concierge who upgraded us and recommended us to visit his hometown on our way up to Dallas, all the way to the girl who rearranged our tours to suit the weather a little bit better.

    Staying fashionable at all times*, even in the pouring rain (note how I accessorised the temporary rain mac to match the handbag tucked underneath my elbow.) #realtravel *technically not a place, but it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want 😉

    Marie Laveau French Quarter New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Learning how allegedly the name Jazz derives from Jass, the jasmine perfume of prostitutes that frequented the rowdy African American music bars (or a Chicago Baseball team ball term depending on who you ask.)

    Eating blackened ham, sunny-side up eggs and warm buttery biscuits for breakfast at Mothers Restaurant, infamous for their ham. Even when we were there, longshoremen fresh off the river in their wellies (gumboots) and plenty of
    locals rub elbows in line with visitors, veterans, politicians and
    movie stars.

    Riding the antique tramlines that criss-cross the city and nibbling a bag of caramel encrusted pecan nuts.

    Spotting the Mardi Gras beads. Everywhere.

    Mardi Gras French Quarter New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Learning the fascinating historical links that Jackson Square has had over the years – including from the 1920s through the 1980s as a gathering place of painters of widely varying talents. Oh, and the association with to quote our guide, a “rather dodgy” seventh President of the US, Andrew Jackson.

    Our only regret was missing a visit to Mardi Gras World – the workshop/museum which gives a close-up look at some of the flamboyant floats and costumes used during New Orleans’ famous party. To book your own hotel stay (we paid for this in full) feel free to use the booking.com affiliate link here for your own magical adventure.

    (Oh, and a bonus thing not to do – don’t accidentally drive on the tramlines – it was a rather stressful beginning to our roadtrip…)

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    Best Places to go in New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi

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    The Whitney Hotel, New Orleans – Luxury hotel review

    New Orleans. Home of Jazz, revelry, voodoo, beignets and hickory coffee – quite simply the stuff of travel legend. Smooth on the surface, ‘Nawlins’ is a historic city reaching back into the turbulent past of the deep South and the more recent devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina (still on the lips of the locals) and further natural disasters, if you delve a little closer New Orleans wears her scars alongside the celebration of Mardi Gras beads.

    The Whitney Hotel Review Four Star Luxury New Orleans Adventures of a London Kiwi

    When we were researching from the comfort of our London couch, we were hesitant about booking a hotel that we would be exploring from. Not so young anymore, we didn’t fancy staying in the tipsy tourist-filled French Quarter but equally we couldn’t bear to be too far away from the fun.

    After our rustic Austin cabin we decided a touch of opulence was just what the Doctor ordered. Flickering through pages of OK-enough sounding hotel rooms and apartments, one rainy afternoon I stumbled upon The Whitney Hotel. Promising 4-star luxury full of historic character and close enough to stumble home from the mischievous spirits of Bourbon Street, I booked our room in eager anticipation.

    Where to stay in New Orleans The Whitney Hotel Adventures of a London Kiwi

    It was like walking into a roaring 1920’s – it could have been a scene of the Great Gatsby.

    The Whitney Hotel Review Four Star Luxury New Orleans Adventures of a London Kiwi

    We were greeted at the Whitney Hotel check-in desk with a full serving of Southern hospitality that we came to adore in Louisiana. With old-fashioned brass bank teller’s glasses perched on his nose and a Southern drawl we could have listened to for hours, we chatted with our concierge who smoothly took our details, considered his screen and after a moment’s pause looks back to us and says “well, as it’s your first visit to our city I do believe that I am at liberty to upgrade your stay here with us.”

    Where to stay in New Orleans The Whitney Hotel Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Quietly squealing inside at this unexpected birthday present, we wheeled our cases through the corridors and admired the beautifully restored former bank (actually a real bank still operates handily on the other side of the buildings.) Taking name inspiration from the city’s first Whitney Bank branch built around 1890, the New Orleans Collection group have preserved much of the old bank’s lobby and even restored its vintage vault as a private dining room.

    Where to stay in New Orleans The Whitney Hotel Adventures of a London Kiwi

    Our four-room suite was just as luxurious. Fitted out with a ridiculously comfortable bed that we sank into each night, the perfect desk for making last-minute arrangements from, a lounge that we settled into the comfortable couches to check on the brewing election results, a coffee machine complete with takeaway cups perfect for dashing into the city with and a Bluetooth-enabled radio/alarm that we set up with our favourite tunes over the great WiFi, we were very happy. Everything that we wanted to explore was within a 10-minute walk – the great Mississippi River, the trolley services to other areas of the city, Cafe du Monde just along the riverbank, a shopping centre along the way where we eventually picked up our rental car and of course the pounding beat of the French Quarter.

    The Whitney Hotel Review Four Star Luxury New Orleans Adventures of a London Kiwi

    With the promise of piping hot beignets and chicory coffee down the road, we didn’t manage to try the breakfast or remember at the end of our long days exploring to try the cocktails in the prohibition-style bar which were my only regrets staying in this slice of New Orleans history.

    To book your own hotel stay (we paid for this in full) feel free to use the booking.com affiliate link here for your own magical adventure at the Whitney Hotel.

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    Where to stay in New Orleans Louisiana Adventures of a London Kiwi.

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    Our dream USA Road Trip – An RV Itinerary | Sponsored by RVshare

    You know how you have Travel Dreams (the ones complete with capital letters) that you keep in your heart of hearts? Well, this one involves my passport, a reliable set of wheels and an enormous map of the States. One day, one day in the future we’d love to take a whole year off and pick up an RV or two as we travel on a USA road trip of a lifetime. Disclaimer: This post was commissioned by RVshare who are running an amazing Smoky Mountains RV trip giveaway – if you’re in the US, enter before the 1st July 2019!

    USA Road Trip Itinerary

    It’s really difficult to pick only a few USA road trip highlights to fit into a single blog post – especially as a year would be an incredible amount of time to explore the continental US – so I’ve just selected a handful of the really meaningful things that we would love to see and do.  They are mostly inspired by people that we adore, some of whom have hung out with me in London and shared some of their amazing homes with me via the medium of the internets. (You know who you are!)

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    Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019 – a throwback to the year that was.

    First and foremost my blog is a journal. An online journal that has become a treasure box of memories, tips that I hope will be helpful and my online baby which has given me the impetus to learn a plethora of new skills. In that spirit, Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019! This little post is a throwback to the year that was.

    A throwback to the year that was Adventures of a London Kiwi

    I always spend the last post of the year (< because I’m a rule breaker in 2019 it seems) first few posts of the year looking back over the previous 365 days – I think it’s important to remember where we’ve come from, as much as we look forward to where we are going. 

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    Kindness and Making a Difference – Travel Linkup

    Over the years, our travels have been pinpointed with acts of kindness that have often made our trip – turning a sad or frustrating situation into one that has restored our faith in the world – so for this month’s travel linkup, all about kindness and making a difference in the world – and these are a few instances that rest in my memories.

    Luxury Wine Chateau Pape Clement Bordeaux

    I’ve worked professionally with a few charities, but not travelled as such to volunteer or make a difference (yet!) so I thought I’d thank a few people who made our trips infinitely lovelier by just being their kind selves. Read more

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