Ok let me just put it out there. Bourbon Street in New Orleans is totally bongkers. I will explain later.
Driving into New Orleans was a totally different experience in itself. The roads became very narrow, and the building architecture very French.
We even caught on camera right there a street performer.
We started exploring the streets within French Quarters on arrival. Children got ready to be proper tourists.
It really did feel like we were in a different country.
With such strong influences from the French, Spanish, German, English, Mexican etc, New Orleans didn’t feel very American at all.
Children’s museums were a bit of a novel thing in America. Off we went to Louisiana children’s museum.
The kids really enjoyed themselves. This was Emily’s favourite job.
We then went to the French Market which looked something like this.
Now in New Orleans, the thing that excited me the most was the FOOD. This place was an absolute culinary delight and I was pretty much in heaven.
The main type of food was Creole which had strong French, Spanish and African influences.
For example, this platter we had at the Gumbo Shop included jambalaya, shrimp creole and crawfish something. The small bowl on the right was seafood okra gumbo.
These were typical Creole food which were delicious.
Even the kids polished off the food given their appetites were random and we never quite knew when and what they would or would not eat.
Seafood was good too. We visited Acme Oyster House which seemed to always have a constant queue outside no matter what time.
Here, we had their fresh raw oysters. Slurp.
We also tasted po-boy sandwiches. We had the fried fish and roast beef po-boys but we forgot to take a photo so here’s a google image.
My top favourite was this dish – chargrilled oysters. Ho ma gawd. These were top notch stuff, absolutely divine.
I had them twice again at Peg Leg Pete’s and Flounders Chowder House in Pensacola Beach later.
We saw these in the French Market – Cajun Gator sticks. Hmm. Not sure about this one.
On to sweeter stuff, we tried the beignets (ben-nyeh?!) together with cafe au lait. These were fried dough with powdered sugar on top.
We noticed that the coffee in New Orleans was much nicer and stronger compared to those weak lings coffees we have had so far.
Apparently they historically added roasted chicory (the vegetable?!) to strengthen the taste during the civil war when coffee beans were scarce. This practice continued because locals liked the taste.
I suppose if I drink enough New Orleans coffee I should count these towards my 1 of 5 per day.
This was us in Cafe du Monde for breakkie.
A closed up pic of those wonderful beignets. So sinful but yummy.
Pralines were widely available. We bought a couple of praline candies and I hid them in my bag from the kids, and Michael, hoping they would forget I ever had these.
Now what else famous is made in Louisiana and is one of Michael’s favourite things on earth? People who know him well – yes indeed, it is Tabasco!
We found out that there were many more variety of hot sauce to Tabasco. Emily was inspecting hot sauces of all kinds.
There was a whole shop dedicated to hot sauces.
If we wished to sample taste their hottest sauce, the shop was not liable for our stupidity.
Because that piece of paper there in the box was a waiver of liability notice. O.O
If we survived the hottest sauce sample taste, we could get some ‘hottest f’ing sauce or nuts’.
Let’s now explain why Bourbon Crazy Street was freagin bongkers.
Firstly it properly came to life only after 10pm – way past my bedtime. Michael and I took turns to walk down Bourbon Street after the kids were in bed.
I won’t be able to fully explain the craziness I saw. Partly because I couldn’t take the photos I wanted for fear of someone punching me in my face if they caught me snapping their unauthorised photos.
What you can’t see from these photos were the very drunk tourists (can be funny to watch), very drunk homeless people (not funny), people selling weed/other stuff I didn’t even understand (seriously very rough).
It was a little bit daunting walking down the street on my own. There was cops presence so I didn’t feel unsafe as such. But some people on this street were really nuts.
Generally in New Orleans, we couldn’t quite see any serious aftermath of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina a decade ago because it had great rebuilding efforts. But we saw poverty in some areas and people living in serious roughness in some pockets.
These were just some scenes from Bourbon Street.
It was also a thing here in New Orleans that beads were thrown down by people from the balcony to the people walking on the street. And we can end up looking like this.
Until the beads became a beauty tool. Ohm.
After New Orleans we had to make our way to Orlando in Florida. But it was way too far and we had to build in 2 additional stops on the Florida Panhandle.
On our way to the first stop on Pensacola Beach, we had to go through 4 different US states. We started off in Louisiana and went into Mississippi.
And then we went into Alabama briefly where the sign said Sweet Home Alabama.
Finally we arrived at Florida.
Specifically to Pensacola Beach.
Pensacola Beach was this really thin strip of land on the Gulf of Mexico. We needed just 7mins to walk between the opposite sides of the strip.
Whilst the main aim of this stop was really to break up the journey, boy we had such a blast here. The beach was one of the finest beaches both Michael and I had been to.
We half buried the kids in the fine white sand which they loved.
We ate at the Flounders Chowder House. Now this place was da bomb.
Firstly, the food was ultra excellent. I even had sushi which was so so good (normally Asian food in western countries are, you know, questionable…).
We couldn’t even finish the Cobb Salad.
They had this play area right in front of our table.
They also had live music – with good songs!
Plus, this was the beach at the restaurant. This place was hot hot hot!
Come on, try beat this.
It was a quick stop but we fell in love with Pensacola Beach. We raved so much about it to the point we would consider coming back.
Goodbye Pensacola Beach – it was short but sweet.
The next stop was Tallahassee which was actually the capital of Florida. There was zero thing to report here.
Five weeks on, we are well and truly into the last stretch of our road trip. *sniff sniff*
We did our ‘4th millennium miles milestone’. Ee haaa!
Heading to Orlando, we have now done 35 of our 45 nights.
After dragging our kids literally across the country, we will be in Orlando for the rest of our time, before we board our London flights in Miami.
We will let you know what we are up to in Orlando soon.