Revisiting New Orleans, Louisiana

Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
Late night Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana, December 2021.

We were thrilled to be able to make our much-awaited return trip to New Orleans recently, and I’m excited to write my first ‘return trip blog’ post, too. I wanted to branch out to see a few new-to-me locations, while there were several places I wanted to revisit in New Orleans from our previous trip.

World War II History Museum

Immersive exhibit at the World War II History Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Immersive exhibit at the World War II History Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The World War II History Museum was just a quick jaunt from our hotel in the opposite direction of Bourbon Street. While the price of admission is a bit high like some other museums in the area, you can easily spend several hours at this site, with an additional wing of the museum in the process of being built.

The museum has an unique interactive theme – at the beginning of the tour, you’re given a dog-tag style key card that you can scan at various kiosks around the museum. This key card follows the personal experiences of a specific individual involved in the war, lending a more personalized touch. (In my case, I was able to learn about the experiences of a photojournalist that spent several years covering the war in Europe.)

The combination of following a specific person’s story (along with the ability to read many personal letters and death notices presented in the museum) brought an incredibly somber aspect to the galleries – as is fitting for a museum on this aspect of our history.

Soldier craftwork from used artillery shells.
Soldier craftwork from used artillery shells.

In addition to the galleries dedicated to each world arena of the war, as well as the several-story plane and equipment gallery, one of my favorite presentations was on the crafts and jewelry the soldiers made out of artillery shells and other military scrap. The time and craftmanship displayed added a special insight into the day-to-day life during the war.

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Jellyfish at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, LA.
Jellyfish at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, LA.

The aquarium in New Orleans is also a bit pricey, especially considering the worn condition of parts of the building. The exhibits, while smaller than I expected, tend to be much more distinctive than some of the other aquariums I’ve visited. (Did I mention the penguins?)

While the small size of the aquarium meant we got through the exhibits much faster than we anticipated (you don’t need to plan to spend more than an hour here if you go – maybe two if you really stretch things out), I did appreciate the variety of animals and the ability to get up close and personal with a lot of them.

Sazerac House

Exhibit at the Sazerac House in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Exhibit at the Sazerac House in New Orleans, Louisiana.

One of the more pleasant surprises in the museum line-up this time was the tour of the Sazerac House a few blocks down the street from our hotel. To begin with, the tour is free – which is a rare blessing in New Orleans. You do need to make a reservation ahead of time as the tour is limited in numbers; and you’ll need your ID, of course, for the samples.

The museum is impeccably decorated, and laid out in an orderly way to allow tourists to move through each level easily. I was especially impressed with the interactive video “bartenders” that spoke about various mixed drinks they have concocted with the liquor of honor.

Food, Drink & Nightlife

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop in New Orleans, LA.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop in New Orleans, LA.

My recommended food and drink locations aren’t going to waver too much from our last visit. Our favorite haunts on and off Bourbon street…

  • Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop – this historic location serves up the famous Voodoo Daiquiri year-round, but if you’re in town during the winter holidays (like we were), you can’t go wrong with an Eggnog Daiquiri, either!
  • The Dungeon – the metal bar of New Orleans is a frequent start and/or end to a night out. It’s a smaller venue with a good local crowd, great music, and excellent staff.
  • Potions – the vampire speakeasy. As I mentioned last time…the fun is in finding this one for yourself. But when you do get there, pay special attention to the fantastic absinthe-based cocktails.
  • Vampire Cafe – this is a new addition to the list; I mentioned in my previous review that Boutique Du Vampyre is one of my favorite shops for those who enjoy darker aesthetics (like me). The owners have expanded their ventures and now run the Vampire Cafe of New Orleans next door. The d├ęcor is exactly what you’d expect it to be, and the food and drinks are top-notch. Order a drink to “match” your blood type, or sip on a sinfully dark red wine with your meal.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our return visit to New Orleans; I’m looking forward to sharing more travels with you throughout 2022!