My Trip to New Orleans, Louisiana
My First Trip to New Orleans, Louisiana
I haven’t taken a lot of long weekend trips, so far. I’ve just recently started making enough income that I can live comfortably with some money to splurge. So I’ve been planning trips but life has been happening to an extent that travel just hasn’t been an option for a few years. But, in 2015, I needed to meet my ex husband halfway between my house and his to send my son with him for the summer.
My mom, my son and I left home in the morning and drove straight through from Orlando, Florida to New Orleans, Louisiana. We stopped at some rest areas and fast food places to eat and use the restroom, of course. But, other than that, we didn’t plan any road trip stops along the way.
My son is a history buff, though, and we did plan to take him to the WWII Museum in NOLA before handing him off to his daddy. I try to always add historical places like this to our road trip stops so that he has some interesting memories that he really enjoyed making.
We arrived in New Orleans shortly before sunset. After checking into our hotel, we decided to stroll the French Quarter to find something to eat for dinner. This proved a little difficult. My mom is disabled and I was trying to push her wheelchair around on the brick sidewalks which were highly uneven. It was hard, so we didn’t do too much sightseeing that night. We found a cute little pizzeria and stopped in for dinner. By that time, the French Quarter was getting pretty lively so we headed back to the hotel because my son was very young at the time. We retired to our room at the Cornstalk Hotel for the night.
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New Orleans, Louisiana
Before meeting up with my son’s father around lunch time, we started with walking the French Quarter a little bit while it was empty. We stopped at a little cafe for breakfast and a convenience store for snacks. Then we spent a couple hours driving around New Orleans sightseeing from the car and looking at some of the hurricane damage that was still there from Hurricane Katrina.
Around lunch time, we went to the World War II Museum. I had promised my son’s grandfather that he could take my son to the museum during his visit, so we went to the museum’s gift shop instead and just hung out trying on period hats and having a good time. We walked around that area a little bit before turning my son over to his dad.
Since this wasn’t a vacation trip and was just meant to be a weekend trip, my mom and I left immediately after sending my son with his dad. I was a bit depressed anyway, being without my son. With my mom’s painful disabilities, the trip proved very hard for her… especially on the way back.
We ended up stopping in Tallahassee, Florida for the night to rest up before finishing the trip back to Orlando. For a non-vacation road trip, I really can’t complain. We still had a good time with the very little that we did do.
My Second Trip to New Orleans, Louisiana
For the second trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, I was talking with my bestie about how hard it was on my mom, and she volunteered to go with me to pick up my son from his dad. I always try to have someone with me on long drives because I’ve fallen asleep while driving before. So I try to make sure I take precautions now to prevent that from happening again.
On our way to New Orleans, she and I stopped at the Alabama Welcome Station to use the restroom and we took a few pictures and stretched our legs. We talked about how much we both enjoyed taking the long way to get to places so you could find those road trip stops that are off the beaten path and aren’t so touristy. I still hadn’t discovered Roadtrippers for planning trips, though, so we were just winging it this trip.
We were making pretty good time getting to Louisiana, but then we blew a tire on a bridge in Mississippi. I had to pull over onto the shoulder and we changed out the tire to the spare with the help of a friendly couple that stopped to help us. That stressed me out and blew the mood for a bit but after a few phone calls to arrange a new tire in the morning, we were well on our way. We arrived in New Orleans just as the sun was setting.
NOLA… Take Two
Canal Street Inn Bed & Breakfast
The first thing my bestie and I did in New Orleans was check into the Bed & Breakfast we were staying at for the night. I always want to get checked in first so we know we have a place to crash. Anyway, I had always wondered what it was like staying at a B&B, it was on my bucket list. So I booked it.
We stayed at the Canal Street Inn, very close to the French Quarter, just a trolly ride away. It was very cool. I’m glad we did it, but we won’t do it again. We’ve checked that box, it’s just not our style.
We checked in after looking around the lobby at all of the decor. It was absolutely gorgeous. Then we took the trolly to the French Quarter for dinner. After a quick meal at Popeyes, we walked through the French Quarter to see what the night life is like in the heart of New Orleans. I mean, my son wasn’t with us and we had made the trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, no sense in missing out on it. It was quite the experience!
The French Quarter
It was basically a party in the streets. There were people on every corner playing instruments or singing or doing something. We dipped into a gift shop sort of place and bought each of us a fleur de lis. Then we slowly made our way back up to the trolly to head back to the B&B. But not before stopping to hear some music and comedy on the way.
Honestly, I was pretty tired from the drive. I didn’t want to stay out too terribly late, so we headed back and hit the hay fairly early. In the morning, we went to a tire shop and got a new tire put on the car. Then we went and picked up my son from his grandparents after they finished at the WWII Museum. Then we went to lunch.
After lunch, we wanted to visit some of the local cemeteries on this trip to New Orleans, Louisiana because we don’t know if and when we’ll make it back. My bestie and I both do volunteer work at our local cemeteries and we wanted to check out the above ground cemeteries that NOLA is known to have. We went to the Greenwood and St. Patrick Cemeteries.
We wanted to visit the St. Louis Cemeteries while we were there. We had looked online and found that there were some cemetery tours that we were super interested in going to. So we headed to the VooDoo shop to purchase tickets for those tours.
Unfortunately, by the time we found parking available, we did not have enough time to make the tours. We were super disappointed about that.
But we did get to see a couple of the cemeteries that were there and we have a better understanding of what we want to do and see next time we’re in town. So there’s that. Since we weren’t able to do the tours we wanted, we decided to go sight seeing.
We didn’t really have directions or anything for where we were going, we just wanted to go explore. So that’s exactly what we did. We knew that the 9th district was pretty torn up by the hurricane and we wanted to go see if it had been re-built. Also, we wanted to see if we could find and see into to the St. Louis cemeteries at least, we couldn’t.
We spent a couple hours driving around New Orleans sightseeing from the car and looking at some of the hurricane damage. It was pretty depressing. We felt sad and helpless even though it was about a decade later. There was still so much damage and leftover markings so long after the storm. We could still see the water line on some buildings and the fire department markings from search and recovery efforts.
We stopped at the Holy Trinity Church and took some pictures. My bestie and I love to visit ruins and while this one isn’t necessarily ruins yet, it was pretty dilapidated. It was a beautiful building, even in the bad shape it was in.
We were able to see some of the houses that famous actors had come in and built after the hurricane. There were also empty lots that we saw where houses used to be. And there were houses that were still standing but had some damage still from the hurricane. There were even houses that were boarded up and damaged that nature had taken over. It was just a mess in some places. We left with heavy hearts this trip.
I definitely want to stay longer than 24 hours next time we go. There’s so much to see, we just need more time. In the early afternoon, the sky started growing dark and storms started rolling in. There were some pretty wicked bridges getting through New Orleans and I didn’t want to be on those during a storm, they make me nervous. So, we headed out as the storms rolled in.
Pass Christian Beach, Mississippi
Since we spent several hours sightseeing in NOLA, we weren’t going to make it home to Orlando by nightfall, so we decided to only go about halfway that evening. We had discussed surprising my son with a really cool road trip stop and we also decided to stay off the highways going home. The scenic route was more appealing to us than highway driving. So we took a road that parallels the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
After leaving Louisiana, we had a short drive through Mississippi. As we passed through, we saw a beautiful, white sand beach and so we stopped to explore a little. We pulled over and parked on the side of the road where beach goers park and got out to explore a few of the sandbars real close to the shore. We took in the fresh air and got our feet wet while enjoying a good stretch.
There weren’t a lot of people there, maybe 1 or 2 other families were in sight so it was almost like having the beach to ourselves. We didn’t have bathing suits, so we didn’t swim, but we walked out in the shallow waters and watched some kites being flown nearby.
After that, we stopped at Waffle House for some dinner before driving to a hotel in Saraland, Alabama for the night. We almost didn’t get a room because there was an air show scheduled that weekend and I hadn’t made reservations. But there was 1 suite available at one of the hotels we stopped at and they gave it to me for the price of a regular room since they were all booked up. We all slept pretty well that night.
USS Alabama Battleship
On our way there for our second trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, my bestie and I happened to see the USS Alabama Battleship and discussed going there on the way home to surprise my son. So after checking out of our hotel in Saraland, we jumped on the interstate for a few minutes to get to the entrance of the park. My son was quite pleasantly surprised. He loves this stuff.
We parked and walked around the park outside looking at all of the different planes and helicopters there as well as the memorials. We checked out the gift shop and bought some souvenirs. And then we took a tour of the actual battleship.
My ankles swelled up real bad on this trip because I was dealing with high blood pressure at the time. So anyway, I was using a cane because I’m also a disabled veteran. We were able to tour about half of the ship before I was in too much pain and too swollen to do anymore. My son and I made a deal that we would make another trip through here in the future so that we could finish the tour. So we will definitely do that one day.
We left in the early afternoon and finished the drive home to Orlando. We arrived home just after sunset. This second trip to New Orleans, Louisiana was quite a bit better than the first. It was better simply because we had the time and opportunity to stop and do a few more things. But it wasn’t at all as much of a trip as the trips we currently plan and take. That said, I don’t regret that trip one bit. It was a memorable trip.
My Next Trip to New Orleans, Louisiana
Since we didn’t really get to experience a lot of the road trip stops in NOLA, I’ve already planned my next trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. I have no idea when I’m going to be able to make this trip, but I know that I’m planning to do it… and I know where I’ll be going when I do, thanks Roadtrippers! Seriously, if you haven’t used that software before, check it out.
For my next road trip to NOLA, I have 44 road trip stops planned. Some of them are hotels, but most of them are cool places to visit. We’ll be driving 1,873 miles at the very least in order to make this trip exactly as planned. Sidenote: my trips rarely go exactly as planned. But having it planned out still helps us get the most out of the trip and adjust to any obstacles… such as flat tires.
This trip is planned over a 7 day period for a base cost of $1,035. Since the trip is planned for my bestie and I, we will each pay $517.50. If my son comes along, he will help offset my share of the cost because by the time we take the trip, he’ll be grown. Again, we’ll be driving from Orlando, Florida to NOLA and back. In the map below, each number represents the stop I have planned for that location.
For my next trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, I’ve planned for the following stops:
- Pick up my bestie at her house.
- Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Park – Hawthorne, FL
- Antonio’s Made in Italy – Micanopy, FL
- Mcintosh Historic District – McIntosh, FL
- Old Florida Heritage Highway – Micanopy, FL
- Hotel for the night – Midway, FL
- Robert Lee Norton House – Marianna, FL
- Tolstoy Park – Fairhope, AL
- Montrose Historic District – AL
- World’s Largest Rocking Chair – Gulfport, MS
- Hotel for the night – Kenner, LA
- Greenwood Cemetery & Mausoleum – New Orleans, LA
- Joan of Arc Statue – New Orleans, LA
- St. Louis Cemetery No. 3 – New Orleans, LA
- Museum of the American Cocktail – New Orleans, LA
- Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 – New Orleans, LA
- Saint Roch Chapel – New Orleans, LA
- Westlawn Memorial Park Cemetery – Gretna, LA
- Museum of Death – New Orleans, LA
- Hotel for the night – New Orleans, LA
- Voodoo Museum – New Orleans, LA
- St. Louis Cemetery – New Orleans, LA
- St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 – New Orleans, LA
- New Orleans Pharmacy Museum – New Orleans, LA
- Voodoo Authentica of New Orleans – New Orleans, LA
- Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel St. Jude Shrine – New Orleans, LA
- Hebrew Rest Cemetery – New Orleans, LA
- Milneberg Lighthouse – New Orleans, LA
- Hotel for the night – New Orleans, LA
- Whitney Plantation – Wallace, LA
- Houmas House & Plantation – Darrow, LA
- Hotel for the night – Baton Rouge, LA
- Old State Capital – Baton Rouge, LA
- Locust Grove State Historic Site – St. Francisville, LA
- Mammy’s Cupboard – Natchez, MS
- UCM Museum – Abita Mystery House – Abita Springs, LA
- Hotel for the night – Mandeville, LA
- Bayou Lacombe Rural Museum – Lacombe, LA
- Lunar Lander Exhibit – Pearlington, MS
- Falling Waters State Park – Chipley, FL
- Asa May House – Lamont, FL
- Weeki Wachee Springs State Park – Brooksville, FL
If you’re looking to plan a road trip, be sure to check out the Roadtrippers Trip Planner to see what all may interest you and get it added to your trip. It’s amazing how many hidden treasures are out there just waiting to be explored. Driving several hours to see one place just seems like a waste to me. Why not see what else is along your route and make the most of the trip? Just, please… do me a favor and travel safe.
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