Last year my brother and his wife sent me a birthday present…probably the best birthday present I have ever received (sorry Mom and Dad, ex boyfriends, secret santa). What was it you ask? A scratch map that allows you to track every state and country you have been to. Not only had I been eyeing this for what seems like years, but I also had some trips coming up that I knew I wanted to document. To some, this doesn’t look like much. To me, it is the ultimate inspiration.

A few days after hanging this proudly on my wall, I had a notification come up showing me a photo from last year’s trip to Cabo San Lucas with my friend Emily. Naturally, I shot her a text inquiring where we were off to next. Looking up at the map, I realized that Louisiana was one of those states that still shimmered gold, waiting to be scratched for a new color to emerge. We immediately agreed, and before we knew it, flights were booked. One week post New Orleans vacation, I am finally recovered and ready to share my favorite parts-and maybe not so favorite parts-of the trip.

A rum tasting and tour with Old New Orleans Rum company is a must. Not only do you get to start your day off right with some adult beverages, you also get to tour the distillery and learn about the rum making process. The tour includes a ride to and from the French Quarter Market, entertaining trivia, and the history behind rum and where it fits into Louisiana. If you’re like us, you will easily make friends with others on the tour and maybe even join them for drinks and live music afterwards!

Another must? Drinking a Hand Grenade from Tropical Isle which can be found on just about every corner of Bourbon Street. What’s in it? Please don’t ask. Will it cure your hangover and get you ready for karaoke at the Cat’s Meow? Absolutely. Featured in the above picture: Emily, a happily intoxicated homeless man, and three strangers who decided it was a good time to join the picture. Moral of the story: you never know what you are going to find on Bourbon. And if you are going at night, be ready for anything. Oh, and don’t forget to try the purple drink from Lafitte’s, the oldest bar in New Orleans, which was featured on Bucket List Bars.

If you have the unnecessary need to sing classic songs at the top of your lungs among strangers to the sound of the piano, please do yourself a favor and go to Pat O’Brien’s. The piano players are incredible, your favorite song can be requested at the cost of a tip and the title written on a napkin, and they don’t close until 4am (at least that’s what I heard). Every person we met was incredibly friendly and the laughs were endless.

What can you expect out of New Orleans? Too many bachelor and bachelorette parties to count, crowded streets EVERYWHERE, good ol’ New Orleans cookin, exceptional architecture, balconies, and a lot of people ready to party. What not to expect? Adequate sleep, fresh air, and leaving without at least one embarrassing photo that for sure will be used as blackmail one day. Exhibit A – Purple Manatee:

And that is why I will say – New Orleans, Check.



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