Looking Back: Visiting New Orleans, LA in December 2017

New Orleans, Louisiana.
New Orleans, Louisiana.

One of the reasons I’m able to travel as often as I do is thanks to my husband’s career. He’s a space physicist (cool, right?) and gets to go to a handful of meetings around the globe most years. Depending on where he’s going and my work schedule, I will frequently tag along. In December specifically, he usually goes to a large conference held at various locations in the states. 2017 had us visiting New Orleans – quite possibly one of the best work trips yet. (And if all goes well, we’ll be back there in 2021, too!)

Bourbon Street

Sign from Bourbon Street while visiting New Orleans.
Bourbon Street, New Orleans.

Let’s get down to the good stuff. It was about a week after my birthday and my vacation (while my husband was in meetings, poor guy) so I headed to Bourbon Street as one of my first destinations. Bourbon Street was relatively quiet at this time of year, so I made good time meandering through historic venues and sampling the booze culture on my first day in town. If you’re unaware, open containers are allowed on Bourbon Street, so you can pick up a drink to go at a bar and then walk around and enjoy the views. I spent a good part of most afternoons stopping in at various live music venues in between photographing the historic buildings around the area – and of, course, sampling some of the more interesting drink offerings throughout the week.


Costume from the Presbytere.
Costume from the Presbytere.

New Orleans Mint & Jazz Museum

New Orleans also has a handful of museums within walking distance of Bourbon Street (and, consequently, our hotel) so I spent a few of my afternoons while visiting New Orleans at some of them. My first stop was the historic New Orleans Mint building. The Mint houses a museum for not only it’s own history, as well as the Jazz Museum. I’m a coin collector so I really appreciated the Mint portion of the building. The Jazz displays were a little thin, however – I think they may have been in between shows when I visited, unfortunately.

Some of my favorite parts of the Jazz Museum (and some of the other sites I visited, that you’ll see later) were the collections of Mardi Gras costumes. You can see more pictures on my travel blog (more pictures, less text) from both sides of the museum.

The Cabildo

The Cabildo is one of the Louisiana State Museums in New Orleans, serving as more of a traditional history museum of the immediate area. One of my favorite parts of the exhibit was the history of death, disease and mourning in New Orleans.

Death, Disease, and Mourning exhibit.

The Presbytere

The Presbytere was by far my favorite museum. The first floor is dedicated to the history of Hurricane Katrina, with some fascinating exhibits. The museum includes the destroyed piano of Fats Domino, along with preserved portions of a wall of an abandoned building a survivor had used as a diary.

The second floor of the Presbytere is a stunning exhibit dedicated to Mardi Gras, with a huge collection of costume pieces and other artifacts.

Goths, Vampires, and Metal Heads

If you’ve known me for any length of time in real life, you’ll know that I’ve been a fan of all things “gothic” most of my life. So if you, too, lean towards a dark aesthetic, there are a few places you should check out while visiting New Orleans:

  • The Dungeon – the heavy metal dive bar on Toulouse Street.
  • Boutique Du Vampyre – gothic clothing and gift shop owned by some fabulous ladies. If you talk to them long enough, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be given the secret access to…
  • The Vampire Speakeasy. That’s all I’m going to say about that. *wink*
Eating beignets at Cafe du Monde while visiting New Orleans.
Beignets at Cafe du Monde.

Enjoying my “Looking Back” series? Over the past few years, my love for both hiking and traveling has increased almost exponentially, and I’ve been fortunate to have had so many opportunities to travel recently. With the current health crisis, our travel plans for 2020 were scuttled; so I decided I’d take some time over the next few months to write this “Looking Back” series, where I dive into a recap of some of my favorite trips over the last few years. Click the navigation below to read more.

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