Since we had 5 days off from school for Thanksgiving break, my friends and I decided to rent a car and go on a road trip to New Orleans. NOLA is about a 12-hour drive from Norman, Oklahoma – it’s a long drive. Therefore, we decided to make a few stops along the way. We left Norman with two cars because there were 10 of us. It was kind of amazing because we got together from 7 different countries: France, Germany, Spain, Argentina, Bolivia, Columbia, and Slovenia.
Day 1: Lafayette and swamp tour
We arrived to Lafayette the previous night at around 11 PM. After a good night’s sleep the plan for the first day was to look around Lafayette. As in most of smaller US cities, there’s not that much to see in Lafayette so we decided to go for a swamp tour right after brunch to spot some alligators. We drove off to Lake Martin, where the tour took place. The tour was approximately an hour and a half long. It was beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it before. To me, the best thing weren’t even just alligators, it was the whole nature and the ecosystem; exotic birds, turtles, magnificent trees, and momma alligator with its baby alligators. The guide was knowledgeable and nice, and he readily answered all questions.
Lafa(y)ette sign in the city centre
Day 2: Baton Rouge and Thanksgiving dinner in NOLA
We left towards Baton Rouge in the morning. Our second day of the trip was Thursday, Thanksgiving, so the city was almost empty. We walked by the riverbanks of Mississippi to the NAVY museum and new capitol. The new capitol is magnificent from the outside but unfortunately, the inside was closed to tourists on Thanksgiving. However, the city is super cute and looked especially magical in the fall. It has many cute brunch places. After a nice walk by Mississippi River, we walked to the old capitol, which is an older building and tower with a charming little park in front of it. We headed to New Orleans and found a great small restaurant in the evening that served delicious food, including the famous Thanksgiving dinner with a full-sized turkey.
New capitol in Baton Rouge
Day 3: NOLA, French Quarter, WWII Museum, and Bourbon Street
This was my first day in New Orleans, which was kind of the point of this trip so, naturally, I was excited to start exploring. We first went to see the French Quarter and walked around. I listened to a couple of street musicians and saw some street comedy shows. Don’t forget to go to the famous Café du Monde and order café au lait and beignets like a local. The French Quarter mostly reminded me of lovely French or Italian towns with all the live music, bars, and adorable family-owned shops. NOLA really looked and felt alive. We shopped a little in and around the French Quarter since it was Black Friday. In the afternoon, we visited WWII museum, which seemed odd to me at first. Nevertheless, the museum was huge and you probably need like a whole day to go through it. I found it very interesting since the history was told from the American point of view.
The French Quarter in NOLA
St Louis Cathedral by the French Quarter
In the evening, we left for Bourbon Street, which is the famous party street in NOLA. The street was completely packed, probably even more so because it was Friday night. First, we went to a country club where I rode the bull. Haha, joke was on me, I feel off way too soon. But it was definitely fun and 10/10 would do it again! Then, we checked out the oldest jazz bar in the city called European Jazz Bar. The music was good if you like jazz, and the cocktails were fine. We arrived there late, though, so we couldn’t stay for long. The bar closed at 1 AM. After listening to some jazz, we decided to try out some other clubs and bars and there is so much choice on Bourbon Street. Another great thing about New Orleans is that clubs and bars don’t close at 2 AM as in most other parts of the US, many stay open until the morning. It was a fun night out.
However, if you decide to go to Bourbon Street with friends, be safe. There’s a lot of police on every corner but because of the crowds, people still shoot and stab each other. It can be very dangerous. I must admit, I carried around a pepper spray and a whistle in my pockets but none of this would help me if someone were to shoot me.
Day 4: Oak Alley Plantation and Frenchmen Street
There was so much we still wanted to do and see in NOLA but it was the last day so we had to set our priorities straight. We decided to drive 60 miles out of the city to the Oak Alley Plantation. I’ve never been to a plantation before so for me, it was very special and intriguing. I definitely recommend you see a plantation in Louisiana, especially if you’re from Europe because you can’t see anything remotely like this here.
The distinguishing visual feature of the Oak Alley Plantation: an alley
The obligatory photo in the alley
In the evening, we opted for the Frenchmen Street where we first visited an art market with amazing artists (one of them had beautiful glitter to put on the face!!! And of course I got it all around my eyes) and then chose a few jazz clubs to visit along the street. If you go to New Orleans, I definitely recommend you check out some jazz bars because it’s a unique experience. This night was a great ending to our trip.
Overall, I think this trip must be one of my favorite trips so far because I saw so many new things and had so much fun with my friends. If you plan to visit NOLA, I encourage you to browse online how to stay safe.
Where have you travelled recently or where do you hope to travel next? I’m excited to read your comments!