After the Party: Touring New Orleans on Ash Wednesday

When planning a trip to visit NOLA, we did the opposite of what most tourists do. We arrived after the party. The days were cool in February, but sunny. The crowds were there, but not overwhelming and not unruly. Here’s a glimpse into what our family of four (including two teens) saw and did during our less than 48-hour visit.

Bead Trees: We exclaimed when we saw our first bead tree, though its blossoms were few. We discovered more bead trees as we traveled on the Saint Charles Streetcar along the previous day’s parade route.

Bourbon Street: We meandered down Bourbon Street, dodging the partiers, sampling the pralines, admiring the art in the windows. The lights danced around us, the music ever present, the restaurants teeming with people.

Cafe du Monde: We walked right in and sat right down, avoiding the infamous lines of warmer days. We drank the chicory coffee and ate the famous beignets in the room tinted green.

Masks: In French Market, we viewed and compared, selected and haggled, looking for the perfect masks to bring back to New England.

Jazz: Unable to get tickets before we arrived, we waited in line at Preservation Hall, the last people into the 8 p.m. show. We crouched and peered from the courtyard into the crowded room – our feet tapping, our eyes dancing, our faces lit with the joy emanating from the musicians as they played traditional New Orleans jazz just a few feet away. Those with reserved seats were able to sit cross legged on the floor right in front of the band, with an unobstructed view of the tuba and sax, the drum and cornet. The next afternoon, we listened to jazz on the street and in Jackson Square.

Saint Charles Streetcar: We rode the streetcar from the French Quarter through the Garden District during the day and at night, accompanied by tourists, natives, and students (Tulane University and Loyola University are both located just outside the Garden District). 

To find out where we ate, check out next week’s post.