Episode 40

New Orleans: What You Need to Know to Let the Good Times Roll

Published on: 27th June, 2024

Today on the Time to Talk Travel Podcast hosts Desiree Miller, Maureen Dennis, and Nasreen Stump discuss one of our favorite cities for history, culture, food, and of course a good time- New Orleans. We'll cover where to go, tips we've learned, and why you should bring kids.


Things to Do in New Orleans

City Park

Audubon Park

St. Louis Cathedral Jackson Square

Steamboat Natchez (plays steam calliope)

Voodoo Museum

Charity Hospital Katrina Memorial

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Garden District

Preservation Hall Jazz

Museum of Death

Whitney Plantation

Events in New Orleans

Mardi Gras

Krewe of Jingle Parade (December)

Nola ChristmasFest

Hotels in New Orleans

The Roosevelt Waldorf Astoria New Orleans

Hyatt House New Orleans

Westin New Orleans

Hotel Monteleone

Restaurants in New Orleans


Commander's Palace

Cafe Du Monde

Dooky Chase

Cooter Browns

Carousel Bar & Lounge

Pat O'Briens

Little Dizzy's

Bourbon House


OG New Orleans Hurricane Drink Recipe

Sazerac Cocktail

Arnaud's French 75 Recipe

Gumbo Z'Herbes (Lent)- Leah Chase Recipe

Cochon Rabbit and Dumplings Recipe

Louisiana Frog Legs

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New Orleans


[00:00:16]Nasreen: welcome back to another episode of Time to Talk Travel Podcast. Today we're going to dive into a city and share some of the things we did, things that would put on our list for next time, and help you plan your next trip. This time we're talking about New Orleans.


[00:00:42] Desiree: Amen.


[00:00:56] Desiree: 100%.


[00:01:32]Nasreen:Yeah, definitely. I love anything with history and architecture and kind of a feeling of being in the past. And New Orleans, it's all of that for me.

One of my favorite reasons we used to go to New Orleans when we lived in Texas was they had the parade that was in the December Jingle Crewe there was like a green bearded elf, there was Santa, it's an entire parade, they throw beads, but they also throw candy and toys for the kids, and the kids loved it, it was one of their favorite things we did there, they would ask to go back every year, you could get on the route and sit right next to it, they were dancing grandmas in costumes, Rockette style, it was amazing, it was So much fun. It's such a toned down version of Mardi Gras that's family accessible.


[00:02:24] Desiree: When I think of New Orleans, I think of beignets and hurricanes from Pat O'Brien's. New Orleans is, What Mo said, it's a party. It is a good time. Great music everywhere you turn. The New Orleans Jazz Festival is a highlight for a lot of people each year.

I've been there for a conference for work and I went for a concert. For national championship college football game. It's just a party before and a party after and bourbon street. I love the old architecture and the music.

Walking through the streets, playing music in a parade. Just, you know, even funeral marches. A good time. Now it can be a crazy time. My daughter was saying the last time she was there, she saw somebody stealing money out of a purse, which I know happens everywhere.

Whenever you're going somewhere and you know, there's going to be debauchery you're going to be drinking, you're going to be partying,


[00:03:16] Desiree: Wear the cross body


Like, people drink in the street. They also do a lot of other things in that street all day, which are noisy and smelly. So you may or may not, maybe you want that experience. There's some beautiful hotels and little boutique hotels right along Bourbon Street.

Ask to stay on the back side so that you're on bourbon, but you're not overlooking. if you're going there for one of the parades, you want to be right on bourbon and you want to have one of those balconies. Then that's a different experience. It can be a party or it can just actually be a beautiful cultural experience.

Not everything in New Orleans is bourbon street. You know, the biggest danger is probably actually falling on the sidewalks because they go like this. but, there's the garden district, which is where Commander's Palace is, which is a phenomenal restaurant. It has a dress code. We didn't get in once because my daughter wore shorts. There's a cemetery across the street that we did a phenomenal tour in. You can definitely find amazing cemetery tours and I highly

recommend finding a quality


[00:04:56] Maureen: And you'll get so much, I don't even know if it's all true, but it's entertaining at the very least, they're big sort of crematorium things. They put people in there for a year and a day so that the body is gone to ash. I guess as Catholics, they can't.

cremate so it naturally cremates the body. They open it back up and they push the ashes. into the mausoleum thing that the family's in. That's where the, I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole. They use the 10 foot pole to push back. They used to put people in there and then find scratch marks on the year later and realize that person may not have been dead. So then they used By a bell, a string to the dead person's hand and that's where Dead Ringer comes in.

graveyard shift because you're responsible for your maintenance. Anyway, there's just all those cool things where you're like, I don't even know if that's true, but it's entertaining. We've done ghost tours, crazy ghost tours.

But like I was saying, the Garden District is a beautiful place. Sandra Bullock has a house out there. There's a trolley that you can take in. As Naz, you were saying, I wouldn't want to rent a car in New Orleans. I agree. I used to drive a Ford F 250, and driving that in those little streets is definitely a challenge and wouldn't recommend it.

There's the business district, which is right, West of Canal Street, and that's where the Waldorf Astoria is, the casino is, the convention center is, and that's a different vibe as well.

Now, this is all within, you know, easily accessing the French Quarter, which is where you kind of, you know, if you wanted to experience Bourbon Street or Jackson Square. I think you guys have said you've been to Jackson Square it's right by Café du Monde, where the artists and the musicians all are.


[00:06:30] Maureen: That, yeah, the beignets are at Cafe du Monde. At Cafe du Monde, if you go, there'll be a huge line. First of all, it goes pretty quick and we've been there all through different variations of COVID, but around the back, if you don't want to wait in the line, they have an express line and you can go get your beignets and then walk up the stairs behind and go eat them and view the Mississippi river, which is pretty cool too.


No quiet whatsoever and I'm a heavy sleeper. So if I'm bothered by that and I'm having trouble sleeping, I cannot even imagine someone who's a lighter sleeper. If you want to be kind of in the middle of it all near the French Quarter, there's Weston that's overlooking the Mississippi River that's kind of removed because only people coming into the hotel in that area are really staggering by there.

It's a tall hotel, you can get put up high, you're not going to hear anything. There are quite a few hotels over near the Superdome. And so the Hyatt and the Hyatt House over there, great ones for families. The Hyatt House gives you a lot of space right near the street car. It was super easy to come in. So I know those are some I really do like to be right near everything, but it was much easier to park at some of those areas. Leaving the car, and then when we're going to leave New Orleans to continue on somewhere else, was an easy, easy one to do. I do like to stay accessible to everything, but the streetcar system is really easy to use.


[00:08:14]Nasreen: Yes.


Don't be rudely awakened, or never go to sleep like Nas.


[00:09:11] Maureen: They do. Yep.

That's another


[00:09:27] Maureen: Oh, yeah. And you can dive into the history. Even if you do a tour where they take between the churches and the voodoo, places in history, and then you bring in the creole food, and then you bring in the jazz. If you haven't been to Preservation Hall, you need to go to Preservation Hall, it is the most Basic. I think it's been going for like a hundred and something years obviously not the same band, but it's the Preservation Hall Band.


[00:09:53] Maureen: have, what?


[00:09:55] Maureen: Or maybe it is. I'm sure there's still a few old dudes hanging around. It doesn't have air conditioning though. And it is a small room. The VIP seats are the benches in the front. The rest you just stand. It's right next to Pat O'Brien's. So we usually go and get a hurricane just one, because more than one that might be how you die. They're very, very strong if you haven't had a hurricane before.


That, okay, that's a Creole place. When I think Louisiana, I think gumbo. I wish we were doing this, this podcast tomorrow, cause I'm actually going to an event for Louisiana tomorrow where they're talking about the music is back and it would be so perfect.

So I'll have to tell them.


[00:10:52] Maureen: But like every kind of rum.


I love Sazerac and I like absinthe, which also will put you out. And so I'm excited when I go there to get drinks that are made really well because you get out of New Orleans and it's like one drink that everyone knows to make and that's what you're getting if you're having Sazerac.


I got all excited.


[00:11:37] Maureen: , I think the oldest bar in the United States is there. It's pretty cool. Totally haunted. Many of the ghost tours start there. So you really just have to kind of feel your vibe. The court of four sisters has a beautiful brunch. We did an Easter brunch there. First place we tried turtle soup, the frog legs.

There's a place right in Jackson square that has frog legs. They're really good, but these are the things you just have to kind of experience and really like to embrace the culture and put yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone. Because everything is a little weird.


I love New Orleans. I think it's a fantastic city. My husband has been with me before. It's not his favorite. He thinks it feels depressing and I think he's wrong, but whatever. And so, but there is, there's like a slight haunting background of some of the things you do. Like the, is it, is it called a calliope?

Do you know the river steamboat plays the music

Yeah. out of the organ? Is that called a calliope or am I making that up?


[00:12:45]Nasreen: It plays music as it goes down the river. It should be jolly and some of the songs are and then some of them sound a little sad and you're watching the boat go down the river and there are a lot of experiences in the general New Orleans area. So that entire area has a lot of plantations and if you have time to go outside of New Orleans, about 40 to 50 minutes outside of New Orleans is the Whitney Plantation. That's going to be the only plantation That I know of or have seen where everything is told from the perspective of the slaves and slavery.

So what it was like to be a slave, what slavery did. It's not, none of it is about, oh, here's the people who lived in the plantation house and this was a plantation and they had slaves. It legitimately is from the other perspective and it's such a different way to look for it. It's past New Orleans going towards Florida.

Definitely, definitely, if you have older children or you're adults traveling, check it out. It's so educational.


[00:13:52] Maureen: They love it. They've been there like five or six times. my youngest is a little over Bourbon street. She's seen a little too much. She's 12. She's been going since she was eight. But you know what? I think it's great because she'll never want to be like the college kid saying, street.

It's like, no, I've done that. I've done that my whole childhood.


[00:14:11] Maureen: what I'm saying. Most of New Orleans is super classy and cultural and there's so much to share with your kids and history. To add another museum, there's a really amazing World War II museum that I’ve been dying to go to the last four times.

Maybe we'll, maybe for Thanksgiving, which is also a strange time to go. But Bourbon House has an amazing Thanksgiving dinner that we've been to for the last like three years. And they do a full turkey dinner and everything for you. And then they've got some amazing twists on things.


I think it's in the Superdome and it's an entire holiday event. Then the holiday parade that we used to go for. Also special dishes. At the end of Lent, they've got gumbo z'herbes, which is a gumbo that isn't made any other time of year. I used to make it at home and I love it. But it was very specifically served around that Lenten time period when Easter was coming up and it's a green gumbo with herbs and it's delicious. Kids love New Orleans. We've gone through there so many times to get to other places that it became a great place to stop because it was the right amount of hours away. But I mean, what's not to like for a kid? Okay. And I had young kids at the time.

Right? So you got beignets, which are basically extra sugary doughnuts. Check and win. You've got parades where they throw candy to you. Excellent. You've got City Park, which is a giant park with playgrounds and tons of stuff to run around in. You get to ride the lion statue.

I mean, come on. Kids love that. The riverboat that plays the music that they get to watch. And some of the best pictures I have are from trips to New Orleans. My youngest daughter loved to dance. So second music came on, she's out there, shaking her groove thing to it.

And some of the action shots I have of her just dancing in front of bands are, I mean, they're priceless.


You know what I mean? There's a lot of things that give kids perspective that maybe, especially if they live in a suburban area and they don't see that kind of urban culture very often. And then again, trying the new foods. I mean, the fact that my kids have tried frog legs. One of our favorite restaurants is called Couchon and they have rabbit dumplings that are ridiculous. They're my daughter's absolute favorite food which is a weird thing I think for an 18 year old to say. Those all come from them going for the first time and being addicted to beignets. And every day must start with a beignet.


[00:17:04] Maureen: You can still honestly see some of the, I guess what you say, like the aftermath of it. New Orleans is a tough one because, you know, When you're in the French Quarter, you don't necessarily see real life. We often stay outside of the French Quarter because we're there for sailing and not necessarily just to be a tourist. There are still houses that are abandoned. But if you're talking about a memorial of some sort, I don't know, to be honest that's something we could look into, but


So like 610 and 10, but it's on hospital grounds and there is a memorial. It's built in like a spiral. There's benches, there's plaques, and it's dedicated to the lives lost. But I know that there's some other one off memorials that are for specific groups of victims. So, you know, maybe this specific association that had something to do with the coast will put something up.

They're sprinkled around.


[00:18:28] Maureen: I think the only way I would do it is a friends of mine just went, were on a float. They were in the Mardi Gras parade. Apparently, it's difficult to do and very expensive to do, but that's a bucket list. I would be in the Mardi Gras parade before standing on the side.


It was for another college football game. When UF played LSU. And so it was a party for her. Again, to me, if there's one city in America that is the definition of party it is New Orleans. But as you said, it's so much more. It is. So go there for more than Mardi Gras.


So be sure when you're going, you're aware of what's going on. So you're going to be involved if you want to, but you're not planning a trip during a time where there's a ton of celebrations and you think it's only that one day.


I'm not a planner. So if I'm telling you to plan, you know,

I have not been able to wing it. I've been taking both my mother in law and father in law there. That was an interesting trip to o. Separately, they're not together. And Their eyes just like, because they only thought of it as Bourbon Street and only young people go there and you know, flash for beads and do your thing. And trust me that still happens even if it's not Mardi Gras. And my father in law is like, Got his phone like, so even like multi generationally. Took my mother in law for her birthday to Commander's Palace for the birthday brunch. Just super special memories to share on either side, whether with your kids or with the older generation.


[00:20:49]Nasreen: Yes.


[00:20:51]Nasreen: New Orleans can be a little overwhelming for people. I know, as a former Texan and going back and forth through, you have to put in work. People think you go through New Orleans when you drive you don't. You're on the pass around it, you have to actually put an effort and come over a bridge to get to New Orleans. If you want to have some of the experience without going into New Orleans, there are now beignet spots. Cafe Du Monde has little spots along the highway, so you can stop and get your beignets. It's not exactly the same as looking at the Mississippi River, but it's a lot shorter lines, and they're still delicious. And you can stop and get different types of food on your way too. It's not feasible for everyone to swing into as a stop. Highly recommend traveling there. Love New Orleans. And really leaning into the history and culture on my end is my passion there. And bring your kids! Really and truly, if you're not going at specific times of year, it is absolutely an appropriate place to bring children.


[00:21:51] Maureen: Might give them a heads up

cause going to see some stuff still, but as Des said, you gotta keep your wits about you. It is a tourist place and it does have some socioeconomic challenges. Keep your wits about you. Also, you know, if you're not into crowds and you're not into chaos maybe head out of the French Quarter after you've had dinner and don't lollygag about because it starts to get a little wild and you have to be a little bit more cognizant of who's around you, unless you love hanging out with college kids and super drunk people, then you found your people. Yay! Woo!


[00:22:44] Maureen: It is.


We didn't even get into the Lafitte, like the pirate treasure. Yeah.


Saying this, like, you're like, Oh yeah, Oh yeah, Oh yeah.

Like even in Jackson square, we've bought so much artwork, like beautiful paintings. And you know, we've taken the horse drawn carriage tour. It took me like. I'm not kidding. Five or six times before my daughter finally wore me down to sit on the horse tour, but I'll tell you parents, you can bring a drink on the horse tour.

So I sat my father in law and my 10 year old at the front and they had a great tour. My husband and I sat at the back. We had a great tour too. So


[00:23:42] Maureen: Yeah. There's a statue that lights up and it puts the shadow up on the side, on the back of the wall, but that's on the opposite side of Jackson square. You were saying, Des the architecture just walking down and you've got all the wrought iron railings and the beautiful flower baskets and the flags. They love decorating their balconies.

It's just a very visually stimulating place as well. Like you don't have to do anything, just wander around and look at what you got around you and the people around you are from all different places. I love people watching. It's one of my favorite hobbies.

It's just to sit somewhere and watch people experience the same thing in a different way. You know what I mean?


[00:24:22]Nasreen: It definitely is a place that you could go to and do absolutely nothing and just watch people and come away with more than you'd see in some other cities.


Kentucky Derby style, beautiful, big, crazy hats, which I've always wanted, but when I lived in Canada, I didn't really have anywhere to wear that. I have quite the fascinator and hat collection. And everybody asks me where I get them from. And they're all from this one store in New Orleans that, and every time we go, even my son has fedoras from there. My husband just looks at it and goes, Oh God, How much are you guys going to spend in the hat store? And it's not that it's overly expensive. It's just, I have no hat self control apparently.


[00:25:07] Maureen: I'm wearing a pretty dress and we all went to brunch and we all wore our hats like, it's like dress up for real life.

You guys are all like,


[00:25:22]Nasreen: I'm not a hat person, cause my hair gets large and then I put a hat on and then I look ridiculous for the rest of the day, so I don't do it. But I have a daughter who can pull off any hat and look amazing. It's Honestly a talent. Some people are just made for hats and some are not.

So I've got two other New Orleans things that I want to pop out there.

d City Park before, it's like:

[00:27:00] Maureen: I thought you were going to talk about the t shirts and the gift shops


[00:27:04] Maureen: That is a whole other thing. I actually bought my three daughters one time and they're only allowed to wear them at home and it's only because my three daughters never agree on anything, but I did get them bitch one, bitch two, bitch three t shirts. So yeah, they only wear those at home. another one that you just reminded me of, they pop back in your head, right? In the garden districts, we did a walking tour and within that there's a lot of cool things, like it's beautiful to begin with. It's just a serene walk through beautiful houses and gardens, but the American Horror Story house is there.

The big white House. Anne Rice's house is there. The author, Interview with the Vampire, right? among other ones. Sandra Bullock's house is there as well. There's also an ice cream shop and that's where we walk to. That's always the final destination because if we make it, they get ice cream.


For me, it's mostly TV, right? Like. NCIS New Orleans, I'm thinking. And when I go to New York, it's, you know, SVU and all the crime shows apparently. But it can be really fun to just wander around some of the areas or even look them up in advance to get pictures for them when you're in New Orleans because there is so much that is just familiar and you'll see it and be like, oh, where is that from?


[00:28:41] Desiree: Ha ha, yes it is. Well you guys,


[00:28:49]Nasreen: Yeah, definitely check. Open container open carry.


I remember walking into the Waldorf Astoria with a hurricane in a plastic cup and feeling very not fancy. But That was as a Canadian walking in and being like, I can drink in the street and walk into my hotel. That's crazy.


[00:29:10]Nasreen: That's a fun girlfriend getaway. Southwest Flies there. There's some lower cost carriers. You can look for what's not popular and get some pretty decent fares there .


[00:29:29]Nasreen: Well, we could again talk for hours on this topic because New Orleans just sneaks up on you. Things just keep coming and you're like, Oh yeah, there was that or that, or I want to see that next time. Honestly, a podcast about the things I still want to do in New Orleans would be longer than this one because there is so much more to dive into. We hope you've enjoyed this episode of Time to Talk Travel. Back next week with a different topic. Until then, happy travels.


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Time to Talk Travel
Do you love to travel? Whether you have your next trip planned, are looking for inspiration, or just want to live vicariously through others Time to Talk Travel is here for you! Let’s explore the world together. We’ll dive into themed trips, must-do’s, things that weren’t worth it, and getting the most out of every trip. Tune in as we talk about the adventures out there!
Time to Talk Travel, a podcast for travel enthusiasts, was born out of a need for community. The voices and faces behind TTTT met over a decade ago while navigating online content creation. Their kids grew up together on press trips, they were online cheerleaders for each others successes, and there to provide support to online friends when times were tough. Life got busy. Something was missing - that supportive community they craved. Now they're back- a little older, much wiser, and with a wealth of travel knowledge to drop.
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