As promised, here is my second installment of my birthday celebration guide to New Orleans. Instead of focusing solely on food (spoiler alert: there is still some food) I included some ways that you can spend a birthday or visit to New Orleans.
If you happen to be in New Orleans during Mardi Gras season, then you have to attend the parades! I was fortunate enough that I was able to experience both sides of the parade going experience: the residential side (Uptown NOLA with my aunt) and the downtown New Orleans side.
In the residential areas, it is much more family oriented and everyone is there to have a good time. Natives tailgate the parades much like a large football games. They come equipped with tents, food, drinks, and ladders (for better catching ability). People of all ages are out having a good time throughout the weekend leading up to Mardi Gras Day, similar to a giant block party. I learned so much about the history of the city, the parades, and the different krewes. It was incredible to be a part of.
These men are members of the Zulu Krewe. This picture was actually taken during the Lundi Gras Celebration that welcomed the Zulu King and Queen.
I also caught a couple of parades when I stayed Downtown with friends. One night, a parade was right outside of our hotel! On Mardi Gras day, we walked up to St. Charles Street and enjoyed the parade with other tourists. After a while of standing with strangers, you eventually begin to talk to a few, exchanging hometowns and words of admiration about the festivities.
The best part and collecting all of the beads! You should see the pile that I can home with (and the pile that I left with my aunt haha). Just watch out! I definitely caught a few with my head (ouch!).
Ashley Longshore Gallery
When I saw pictures of this gallery, I immediately put it on my list! Its full of glitter, sass, and cool pieces of art that you wish you had in your home. Located on Magazine Street, the Ashley Longshore Studio Gallery grabs your attention as soon as you walk in.
Caution: it is not for the easily offended. Part of the charm of the gallery is that it speaks to a person’s inner (or not so inner)…let’s go with “mean girl” thoughts? Some of it is absolutely inappropriate (probs would advise against bringing the kiddos), but it you like laughing with your girls, seeing shiny things, and spinning in chairs from the ceiling, then you definitely should stop here.
Note: There are some aspects of the gallery that I decided not to show…it’s really something that you have to experience for yourself 😛
While on Magazine Street, my friends and I walked down and visited a few of the boutiques (that’s actually where I got my pink birthday dress in the first photo!). We ended our journey at Sucré where we indulged in some sweet treats.
Fun Fact: the first time I ever had macarons was actually on my first trip to New Orleans (I’m obsessed!). Couldn’t resist the colorful treats and the even more adorable packaging!
Explore the French Quarter
I left this suggestion purposefully ambiguous because I think that one of the best ways to get to know a city is to explore it. The city is filled with beautiful French architecture and colorful walls. It’s also not unusual to come across the sight of music being played in the streets. In addition, there is plenty of shopping and restaurants along the way. I do recommend checking out Jackson Square, the French Market, and the St. Louis Cathedral.
Café Du Monde
While you are in the French Quarter, you also have to stop at Café Du Monde for little pick me up. Famous for their beignets, Café Du Monde has speedy outdoor service at a great price. Make sure you order a cup of café au lait (pronounced oh lay!…don’t be like me kids) while you’re there! Nothing like sugar, warm dough, and caffeine to energize the rest of your day!
This was my third visit to New Orleans (first Mardi Gras!) and I am already counting down until my next trip. The city is rich in culture, history, and soooo much good food; it’s impossible to take it all in on one trip!
I had an amazing time celebrating my birthday in New Orleans. Mardi Gras was everything I wanted it to be (and not as scary or seedy as it may seem). Hope my two guides help you celebrate a birthday (or trip) to New Orleans!
Huge shoutout to my friends Caroline and Devi for patiently taking pictures of me during this trip ♥♥