Mardi Gras is on Feb 9th and that is one of the best time to go New Orleans and see its famous Mardi Gras Festival. Here is a guide on what to see in 3 days in that lively city.
I followed the great walking tour provided by Frommers for New Orleans in 2 days.
Day 1: The French Quarter
It is best to stay in this neighborhood since it is the one with the most attractions and it is the place to be at night.
Start the day at Café du monde. Don’t get scared by the line, it advances pretty fast. You must have a cup of café au lait (coffee with milk) and beignets covered in powdered sugar. You can also go around back, get your beignets to go, and walk across to Jackson Square to enjoy them from a park bench.
After that breakfast, start your Frommers walking tour. You will pass by:
- Lalaurie Mansion aka Madame Lalaurie’s House of Horrors. You maybe saw that house in the show American Horror Story: Coven. That season was shot in New Orleans and when you walk around you can see different locations that you saw in the show.
“Two-time widow Madame Delphine Macarty de Lopez Blanque wed Dr. Louis Lalaurie, moved into this residence in 1832, and the two were soon impressing the city with extravagant parties. One night in 1834 fire broke out. Neighbors crashed through a locked door to find seven starving slaves chained in painful positions. The sight, combined with Delphine’s stories of past slaves having “committed suicide” and rumors of hideous live-subject medical experiments conducted within, enraged her neighbors. Madame Lalaurie and her family escaped a mob’s wrath and fled to Paris. After her death, her body was returned to New Orleans—and even then she had to be buried in secrecy. Tales of hauntings persist, especially that of a slave child who fell from the roof trying to escape Delphine’s cruelties.”
- Tennessee Williams House – This is where Tennessee Williams wrote the famous A Streetcar Named Desire.
- Esplanade Avenue
The French district has a lot of hunted places. For example the Andrew Jackson Hotel where school children haunt the place. They say an old woman’s ghost sits on hotel beds at Le Pavilion Hotel and dead doctors and soldiers roam the Hotel Provincial.
For Lunch stop by the Central Grocery to try the best Mufuletta. It is a sandwich filled with olive salad, Italian cold cuts and cheese. You can seat inside or again go to Jackson Square and enjoy your lunch in the park.
Don’t forget to go to Marie Laveau’s house of voodoo shop. You have to buy a souvenir from that shop, whether it’s a voodoo doll or a candle.
Take a walk along Woldenberg Park (the pedestrian walkway adjacent to the river) toward the Moonwalk overlooking Jackson Square.
The MUST Bourbon Street at night
Bourbon Street gets loud and sometimes even gross but it is a must.
Start the night at the Bourbon St., Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the oldest continually operating bar in the country. “Legend is that it was the headquarters of Jean Lafitte and his pirates, who posed as blacksmiths and used it to fence goods they’d plundered on the high seas.”
Day 2: The Garden District
Have Brunch at Commander’s Palace . That Victorian Structure restaurant has the best Sunday brunch with Jazz music.
Across the street you have the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. Established in 1833, this “city of the dead” is one of New Orleans’s oldest cemeteries.
Follow the Frommers Walking Tour of the Garden District. This is the rich neighborhood of New Orleans and you can feel the lush while admiring the houses.
Don’t miss out the Miss Robicheaux’s Academy aka Buckner Mansion that you can see on American Horror Story: Coven. It is on Jackson Ave.
Then, head to Magazine Street. Explore the boutiques, antiques, and galleries along the street. Pick up the streetcar to go back to the French Quarter for the night festivities.
For dinner, you can go to Muriel’s restaurant on Jackson Square. The restaurant is said to be hunted and if you get lucky you can get a tour of the hunted rooms of the restaurant.
Day3: Swamp Tour
These are the 2 best options:
It is Approximately 1.5 hour tour by boat and they have hotel pick up.
After the swamp tour, get back to the French Quarter to have dinner at Napoleon House. They have the best Po Boy Sandwich.
For the last night, you can get away from Bourbon Street and try an upscale bar like the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone where they have amazing cocktails.
Additional tours if you stay longer:
- Plantations tour at Oak Alley
- Hunted Places tours: the tours do not take inside of the places.
- The Algiers Ferry: The ferry takes you to the Algiers residential neighborhood You will find yourself in a 19th century village full of cafes and pubs and you can stroll the Jazz Walk of Fame along the levee.
- Mississippi River Cruise