The Commerce Journal


February 3, 2012

Trip to New Orleans just what the doctor ordered

COMMERCE — As full-time journalist and full-time college student, vacation isn’t really in my vocabulary. I’m grateful for the ability to work and go to school full-time, so don’t think that I’m complaining about it. But after a while, the same streets, buildings and people get a little old. The last time I went out of the state was the summer of 2009, so I was beginning to get a little bit of cabin fever staying in Northeast Texas.

I decided that I had to get a trip in before school started. So with a few days to spare, I planned a trip to the Big Easy with my brother Josh and my good friend Cody.

The drive to New Orleans is not a quick one, but it gave me time to relax and see a good deal of Louisiana, which I had never been to before. I wasn’t particularly impressed with Shreveport, but as we traveled farther South, and began to see the swamps commonly associated with the Pelican State.

As we drove through the capital, Baton Rouge, it was easy to see that we were in LSU country. Billboards, banners, and ballcaps all carried the Tiger purple and gold with pride. My friends and I made sure not to mention the recent BCS National Championship Game, where Alabama soundly defeated LSU.

We entered New Orleans well after sunset, but we were still able to marvel at the immensity of the Superdome and we drove through downtown. After checking in at the hotel, we grabbed some delicious local pizza and settled in for the night.

The next day was a full one. After driving to the French Quarter and finding a parking spot, we walked to the World War II Musuem. We spent the better part of the morning in the giant museum, soaking in all of the images and words associated with World War II.

After leaving the musuem, we began walking deeper into the French Quarter and enjoyed the various street performers and variety of other tourists and locals that filled the streets. We stopped by the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, which is the longest continuously run Cathedral in the United States. It was an imposing building, with colorful scenes from Christian history painted on the ceiling.

The alley that runs next to St. Louis, Pirate Alley, contains the former room of William Faulkner, which is now a quaint and crowded bookstore.

Next on the agenda was Laffite’s Blacksmith Shop, considered one of the oldest bars in the United States. We enjoyed a brew in the bar’s dark interior and cheered along with some New Orleans Saints fans in their playoff game agains the San Francisco 49ers.

We finished our trip in the French Quarter will a walk down the famous Bourbon Street before heading back to our hotel to rest up for the night.

Later that night we headed to a downtown neighborhood to eat at Parasol’s, and enjoyed some fantastic local Cajun cooking. After watching friendly local who had been tossed out of the restaurant for fighting with the bartender avoid the New Orleans police, we headed back to the French Quarter for a another walk down Bourbon Street. Despite the large crowd and excess of alcohol, everyone was friendly and well-behaved, and we headed back to our hotel that night without incident.

The next morning, we decided to eat breakfast with one of Cody’s friends at Cafe’ du Monde, which was not the easiest place to get to. After chowing down on some of their famous beignets, it easy to see that breakfast was worth the wait. On the way back we chowed down on some great Cajun in Baton Rouge, completing our trip through Cajun Country.

While our time in New Orleans was brief, it was well worth the trip. There’s no way I’m waiting another three years before visiting a new city.

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