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The past three weeks traveling on this NYC2NOLA road trip have been so much fun, and making our ultimate destination New Orleans turned out to be exactly what we needed. As expected when having so much fun, time flew and we found ourselves yesterday with a giant list of places we still wanted to explore so we decided to maximize our last day in the city by renting bikes from The American Bicycle Rental Company.
Under the clearest blue skies, we sliced through the 90 degree heat and humidity to make our first stop St Louis cemetery, home to the official grave of famous VooDoo queen Marie Laveau which is visited by voodoo fans from all over the world every day who leave offerings such as booze, flowers, but interestingly most of all lip balm!
Then we headed way across town to City Park, and spend time cooling off in the NOMA’s extensive sculpture park, filled with over 60 sculptures by well-known contemporary artists, before cycling back to town where our next stop was the Woldenberg park which stretches along the shores of the mighty Mississippi River.
No visit to New Orleans is complete without the obligatory beignets, fried dough served covered in powered sugar, which were brought to Louisisana by the Acadians. Cafe du Monde, established in 1862, is one of the oldest cafes in New Orleans, not only famous for its beignets but also for the very unique chicory coffee – the French traditionally added some chicory root to fresh roasted coffee to soften the bitter taste. So of course we had to try both and made our way over to Cafe du Monde. Touristy? Yes. Delicious? Oh yeah!
Newly energized, we went off to explore the colorful Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. Groups of friends and couples sipped Abita and Guinness beers outside of small, local pubs and the houses and streets reminded us more of Bocas del Toro, Panama or Big Corn Island in Nicaragua than other parts of the US, or even other parts of New Orleans.
We ended the cycling day riding through the Tremé – the oldest black neighborhood in the United States. Today, there are great starter houses mixed in with dilapidated heaps of wood for a distinctly urban feel. Despite the popularity of the HBO series Tremé, we were the only tourists in the neighborhood – a major difference to the easy morning spent in the cemetery at the start of our day out, where we were well on the beaten path.
New Orleans is a city that needs weeks to uncover, but to make the most of our short time, renting bikes was just about the best way we could think of to explore all of New Orleans.
Our next plans…
We had such a great time road tripping from New York to New Orleans that we decided to extend our time on the road! The next few days will see us drive up north to Chicago via Memphis, so stay tuned for more road trip stories…