Photo Essay: Bourbon Street by Night | New Orleans, Louisiana

Bourbon Overview

I'm well aware of the stigma that is synonymous with Bourbon St. It has a seedy reputation for reasons that are readily apparent once you've seen so for yourself. The wacky and weird are everyday occurrences on Bourbon St., so be prepared to witness the odd and outrageous. Some things will make you laugh while others will make you gasp.
My first trip down the strip was rather alarming to say the least. A homebody like me felt extremely out-of-place with the party people at first, but I quickly came around. The electric energy was impossible to resist mingling with no matter how hard I tried.

Fat Catz on Bourbon

Day or night, the streets are teeming with bead wearing, oversize drink toting pedestrians who are ready to PAR-TAY! It also seems as though no matter what day of the week you venture to this non-stop party spot, it's always Fat Tuesday. 

Bourbon Strip

Strolling down the strip flanked by the blazing glow of neon lights along with the flooded streets and balconies overflowing with fellow party goers was a lot to take in at times. And I was told on many occasions that what I experienced was nothing compared to Mardi Gras. Seriously, I can't image.

Neons on Bourbon

It's no wonder that nightlife fanatics from all over are flocking to New Orleans to let loose. After all, the city was named the #1 destination for nightlife in the world by Not to mention the fact that they pretty much invented the cocktail. Bourbon Street is most definitely a tourist attraction on its own with numerous bars, restaurants & night clubs to keep you occupied.

Old School on Bourbon

While it's wildly popular among tourists it's pretty much loathed by the locals. And I can't really blame them. Tourists can be obnoxious, especially when large quantities of alcohol are added to the mix. Bourbon St. is an anything goes kind of place with no laws regarding open containers, which allows people to walk around the streets with cocktails. Even the bars don't have specific closing times that they must adhere to. They can stay open until 2am or 5am, it just depends on whether or not people are still drinking. With barely any rules, things can get out of hand, people start acting like fools. That's why locals don't step foot on that strip.

Desire on Bourbon
I was warned, but I went against my better judgment and took my chances. And it was fun while it lasted.  Maybe even too much fun! There were only two nights during my trip that we braved Bourbon St. After the second night, I declared that I'd had enough. There is much more to New Orleans than Bourbon St. and I still had a lot left to explore. But staying up till all hours of the night made that an extremely difficult task to undertake. It was an experience that I won't soon forget even if I'm not ready to repeat it any time in the near future!

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Pigging Out @ the Oak St. Po-Boy Festival | New Orleans, Louisiana

Red Fish Grill Po-Boy

In a city that lives to eat, it's no surprise that a food festival centered around stuffing your face can pack in a crowd of people. This is especially easy to do when the superstar happens to be the quintessential staple of New Orleans culinary culture. It's nothing fancy and can consist of any combination of ingredients from seafood to cold cuts and is sandwiched between two slices of french bread, the Po-Boy.

The 30 vendors participating in this years po-boy festival lined a shut-down section of Oak St. Navigating the shoulder-to-shoulder horde of hungry sandwich seekers was trying at times, although that was the least of my worries. Bigger issues were more important, like which of the vendors we wanted to buy a po-boy from. This was no easy feat when it comes to how indecisive I can be at time when presented with an overflow of options. In this case, they were plentiful and seemingly endless. 

Boucherie Po-boy  

Once you have narrowed down the choice about what you'd like to devour first, your next predicament is dependent upon whether or not it's worth standing in line for. Some of the lines had upwards of 30-40 people waiting, which wouldn't have been so bad had they not been inching forward at a snails pace. Although once you set your sights on a particular po-boy it was hard to turn your back on the possibility of savoring such a tasty sandwich. Proximity and price also had a lot to do with selections we made as well.

In an attempt to taste test as many po-boys as we possibly could, my Sister and I decided to share our sandwiches. At the end of the day we tried at least 5 different ones. And who knew we would do such a good job of sniffing out the crème de la crème because I later found out that we ate many of the po-boys that were voted the best of the festival. 

Oak St. Po-Boy Festival

One of our favorites came from Red Fish Grill who won the honor of Best Shrimp Po-Boy with their Grilled Shrimp & Blackened Avocado Po-Boy; it was packed with flavor and the shrimp were super fresh and tasty. Our second favorite came from Sammy's Deli who won the honor of Best Specialty Non-Seafood Po-Boy with their Fried Chicken with Chisesi Ham and Swiss Cheese Po-Boy, talk about a scrumptious concoction, it was amazing! Another notable po-boy we tasted was from Coquette Restaurant who won the People's Choice Award for the Homemade Hot Sausage Po-Boy, it was juicy and the least expensive one we had all day at only $5.00. 

Sammy's Deli Fried Chicken Po-Boy

I felt really lucky that my trip coincided with one of the many festivals that New Orleans hosts because it allowed me to try a variety of po-boys in a short period of time. There were a whole handful of other sandwiches that I would have liked to sample, however my stomach could only endure so much. Had I not had the opportunity to attend the Oak St. Po-Boy Festival, though, I wouldn't have put a dent in the plethora of po-boy options the city has available. 
It was an interesting and amusing experience to say the least and I hope that the next time I venture to New Orleans that my trip will include another festival where I can feast on other flavors made famous by the Crescent City.

Related Links:
  • New Orleans Po-Boy Festival | Website 
  • Red Fish Grill | 115 Bourbon Street New Orleans, LA 70130 | (504) 598-1200 | Website
  • Sammy's Deli | 3000 Elysian Fields Avenue New Orleans, LA 70122-3627 | (504) 947-0675 | Website  
  • Coquette Restaurant | 2800 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA 70115-2229 | (504) 265-0421 | Website 

Postcard from New Orleans | Ending a Sugar Strike in Style!

Beignets for Breakfast

My one and only wish for the first day of exploring was to end a five week long sugar strike in style by eating a plate full of deep-fried dough doused in powdered sugar, otherwise known as beignets. Mission accomplished!

We went in with the intention of sharing a plate of 3, however, after plowing through our first few we decided that it was imperative to order yet another plate. The excitement of eating sugar for the first time in five weeks was almost as exciting as the band playing on the sidewalk just outside the cafe. A front row seat was waiting for us when we got there so we could see all of the action.

Afterward, we set out to explore more of Decatur St. by foot. It's hard to believe that I spent a total of five hours touring the city – well, a portion of the city -- and only saw a very small fraction of what this place is really made of. To give you a better idea of how little ground we actually covered, we didn't even walk the entire length of that one road. Luckily, I have plenty of time to see even more while I'm here, which I definitely intend on doing!

Finding the Comforts of Home in a Rental Cabin | Bearadise Chalet | Helen, GA

Bearadise Chalet
I lost count of how many times I proclaimed, “THIS PLACE IS AWESOME!” Amazing details were found around every corner of our cozy little chalet that delighted us to no end. It truly had a homey feel, and we found ourselves instantly comfortable with what would be our home for this weekend getaway. A hotel doesn't offer the same comforts as a well-lived in home that the owners willingly open to the public. This place was outfitted with amenities that other lodging options just can't compete with, which is why we stayed here instead of a hotel room. You're not only getting more bang for your buck, but you also have a lot more space, having the comforts of home was an added bonus.

Upon entering the darling domicile, we excitedly took a tour around the cabin. The house had the most beautiful light filtering in through the walls of windows, which prompted me to grab my camera before we began scattering our belongings throughout the house. Before we arrived, the place was immaculate. We could certainly see that this home is cared for a great deal with the special touches sprinkled around. 

Another thing you'll notice sprinkled around, well, not quite, more like scattered, or plastered, rather, are the cute little mascots the homeowners collect. A mascot derived from the name they donned upon the cabin they lovingly refer to as Bearadise Chalet. You will find them EVERYWHERE and on EVERYTHING; black bears, grizzly bears, brown bears, cuddly bears, big bears, little, there, BEARS everywhere! It bordered upon being too much, but I still thought that they were charming. 

Master Bedroom & Bath

Even with the massive amount of bears everywhere, the chalet was tastefully decorated. The bedrooms were adorned with rustic wood furnishing that complemented the neutral tones used in other areas. The master bedroom, where Cody and I slept, was a loft with a ton of space. Our bathroom was lovely with the sand colored tile and the rock covered vanity and accent wall. The walk-in closet was enormous, although we didn't get much use out of it. The second bedroom downstairs was nice and cozy as well. It was connected to the smaller primary bathroom and is adjacent to the kitchen, dining and living room areas. 

Living Room @ Bearadise Chalet

The couches were especially comfy with oversized pillows; it became a coveted place to sleep once our guests realized that the downstairs bunk beds weren't very comfortable. Our kitchen wasn't too large, but I'd say that it was just the right size with everything we needed to make meals and then some; they offered plates, cups, silverware, cookware and a coffee maker to name a few. We also had a small dining room table to sit around that was situated next to a really cozy bay window. It was a terrific place to pop a squat and stare out at the surrounding trees on the property. Even though the chalet was located in a neighborhood of sorts, it was still pretty secluded. 

Cozy Cuddly Nook

While the main living spaces were all amazing, the real highlights were the recreational areas, namely, the sunroom with a pre-heated hot tub that was ready and waiting for us. The temptation to take a dip was too hard to resist, and we ended up getting in after about 30 minutes of touring the house. Seriously, can you blame us?! We followed up our soothing soak with a game of pool downstairs in the finished basement. Yep, they also had a pool table! And a Foosball table, too! There was also a room with those uncomfortable bunk beds I mentioned earlier. It's mainly because they don't have real mattresses, instead they use thin pad-like cushions similar to what you would find on a futon just not as cushy. That was the only complaint raised the entire time that we stayed, though. 

Overall, the Bearadise Chalet was impeccable and we all thoroughly enjoyed our time at this quaint cabin in the woods. Having a home base like this to kick back and relax in exceeded any expectations we initially had. While having a cabin helped us save money by offering cheaper (and better) accommodations than a hotel room, as well as a cute little kitchen to cook meals in, we were almost too uninterested in heading into the town of Helen, GA to celebrate Oktoberfest because we were too busy being lazy at the cabin. Not that it was entirely a bad thing, since we were on a mini-vacation of sorts and a little relaxation was just what we needed. It may have only been a 8 minute drive, but Helen, GA seemed like a world away when we were chilling in our chalet! 

We had a wonderful experience and would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking to hideaway in a vacation rental in the woods of N. Georgia. The owners were extremely responsive and definitely have this whole rental property business down to a science, which made the entire process stress free. To see the listing for Bearadise Chalet, follow the link below. Also, I have a few more photos to share that I will post later this week, so STAY TUNED!

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