For Christmas my family decided to take a nontraditional path and head down south for the holidays. We drove through Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, and into Louisiana to spend Christmas in New Orleans. We were in the car nearly two days straight to make it in time after I finished with finals. On the way there we stopped in St. Louis to see the arch.
It was rainy when we stopped so we didn't stay long. It was still a great sight to see! I tried taking an "oh my gosh this arch is huge" photo but the arch was way too big to fit in the picture with me. My dad decided to help me out and stood at the base for comparison.
We walked around the cobblestone streets near the arch in search of a coffee shop, but left empty handed. The surrounding buildings were adorable and the cobblestones were a hoot to drive on!
We stopped at the rest stations to take photos of the state signs. Many of the rest stops we went to had greeters to offer advice and information. They were all so friendly!
In Missouri we stopped at a Mexican restaurant cleverly named "No Way Jose." I had their specialty quesadilla with a guacamole salad.
After that we stopped at a Walgreen's so I could get some DayQuil because I came down with a cold while on the road. Thankfully it only lasted a couple of days into our vacation! We reached our hotel in New Orleans around 7pm Christmas Eve.
We stayed at a Marriott Residence Inn and it was by far the nicest hotel we stayed at during our trip. We unpacked and winded down before going out to look for dinner.
The only place we could find open that was close to our hotel was a bar called The Ugly Dog. We were a little hesitant to try it, but being Christmas Eve there weren't a lot of places open and it nearby. It ended up being quite charming! There weren't a lot of people there and the menu had a lot of popular local dishes.
I tried an alligator sausage sandwich and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! We hung around awhile after listening to music before walking back to the hotel and watching Santa Sent Me to the ER on TV.
The next morning was when we really got to go out and explore. Being Christmas Day there weren't a lot of people out, which was nice for taking photos. Many shops were also closed, but there were enough places open to keep us busy.
This was a tiny park in between two streets that we came across on our way to Jackson Square.
As we got closer to Jackson Square we started seeing mule drawn carriages all over the place.
Tourist shops started popping up as we entered the French Quarter. Many of them had products ranging from insanely huge Mardi Gra beads and masks to local spices to alligator souvenirs.
When I traded back the only textbook I actually purchased last semester they gave me an entire $1. I used it at Zoltar fortune teller machine.
Visiting Jackson Square and a local artist co-op.
We went to the waters edge not knowing how foggy it was. The clouds covered nearly everything!
The bridge looked very eerie.
Afterwards we wandered into the Bourbon Street area to find some lunch.
We decided on a place called Bayou Burger. I liked the alligator I had for dinner the previous night so much that I ordered it as a burger. It was also listed as a local favorite, so I had to try it. My mom ordered the New Orleans trifecta and it came with jambalaya, etoufee, and red rice and beans.
We discovered the works of George Rodrigue while walking around. I instantly fell in love. Whenever I find myself in New Orleans again, I definitely want to get one of his pieces. They look like cartoon pop art corgis!
After lunch we decided to go on a mule drawn carriage tour. It felt magical.
On the tour we learned that spikes are a common architectural element on New Orleans homes to keep out intruders. Some are iron while others are made of broken glass cemented into the tops of barrier walls and garage doors.
We returned to see the water and found the fog had lifted as the day progressed. We walked along the waters edge, slowly making our way back to the hotel. We traveled around 10 miles total!
We came across a courtyard filled with different pipe instruments that anyone could play on. We made up several different songs before it began to rain on us. Since we weren't prepared for weather, we scampered back to the hotel and were soaked by the time we made it back.
We spent the rest of Christmas Day relaxing in the living area of our hotel room watching TV and comparing photos from the day. The front desk provided us with restaurants offering delivery on Christmas and we ordered in for the night. It didn't feel like Christmas at all and I loved it. My family hadn't really been in the Christmas spirit, so the start of this vacation was refreshing.
Hi my name is Emilee and I am a kinesiology undergraduate student. These are my adventures as a young adult living in Milwaukee. Here I will share my experiences as I navigate through college. Thanks for stopping by!