Five Days in New Orleans (pt 1)

It seems like I say this with every post – but I honestly cannot believe that it has been months since I last published something. There are so many places I’ve explored in the last few months, that I hope to share with you all soon – including my time in Kansas City and back home in NYC.

Today, though, I’m excited to share my adventures in New Orleans over Spring Break, which are fresh in my mind. My week in the Big Easy felt like a dream. First – there was sunshine, which has become a rarity in Cleveland. Secondly, there was warmth. Thirdly, the food was amazing, and the people were generous and kind. While the streets of NoLa are famous for allowing open containers of alcohol, there is so much more to the city than just hurricanes and fishbowls. (But if that’s your thing – go for it!)

Since this post turned out to be so long, I’ve decided to split it up into multiple posts. This is part 1, chronicling what we did for Day 1-2. I’ve attached a little chart below that shows an overview of our whole trip! 🙂

NoLaItineraryFinal

Day 1
We landed in MSY airport at 10:30AM on a Monday, and got to our hotel at 11:30AM. We stayed at the Marriott at New Orleans. We were able to check in our bags with the concierge while they were finalizing our rooms. The hotel is in downtown NoLa, and 10 minutes away from French Quarter. My only complaint is that free WiFi in the rooms would have been nice. (It’s 2018! C’mon now, Marriott!).

For lunch, we went to Bon Ton Café for some authentic Cajun food. For dinner, we made a reservation at MayPop, a hip Asian-American-Cajun-Creole fusion restaurant. The food at both restaurants were delicious and worth every penny!

We did some light shopping at Canal Place and explored the French Quarter at night. While we were in the area, we couldn’t help stopping by the famous Café du Monde for some late-night beignets and café au lait. (Pro-tip: I’d recommend going at night to beat the lines. The café is 24 hours. We snagged a table for 5 in about 10 minutes at around 9:30PM.)

After filling our tummies with beignets, we decided to walk around Jackson Square and the surrounding French Quarter. We didn’t stay out too late, since we had been travelling since 6AM (EST) and were in need of some beauty sleep!

Day 2
Our objective for the trip was to blend both vacation and exploration. We typically woke up around 8-9AM, which I thought was a reasonable yet productive time for break.

We stumbled upon Palace Café for an early lunch. Just like all the other meals we’d had in New Orleans so far, it was delicious and were inspired to come back for a second time the next day.

After lunch, we spent our noon at the Audubon Aquarium. We purchased the Audubon Experience pass ($45), which gets you into the aquarium, zoo, and insectarium within 30-days of purchase. You even get to watch a documentary at the Entergy Giant Screen Theater the same day you visit the aquarium.

My favorites were the white alligator, the sea otters, and the Amazon Rainforest exhibit.

After the aquarium, we took a siesta at the hotel before heading back out to French Quarter. We had an afternoon snack at Café Beignet on Bourbon Street in Musical Legends Park. The beignets were too dense and a little bit undercooked, so it wasn’t my favorite. I did enjoy the café au lait and the live jazz band playing.

For dinner, we went to Luke. I’m still salivating over the magnificent stuffed p&j oysters! I think that is hands down my favorite dish of my NoLa stay, other than the beignets of course.

After dinner, we checked out the night life on Bourbon street and any quirky gift shops. Since we lived so close to FQ, we decided that we’d try to explore some part of it every night after dinner.

I’ve got so much more from my NoLa adventures that I can’t wait to share with you all! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little sneak peak of my five days in the Big Easy, and hope to see you back here soon. 🙂

Fin.

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Photo Diary: Summers are Grey

I can’t believe it’s already been two months since I last posted! The summer has taken me by a whirlwind, as it always does. Three months of scheduling freedom is more of a nightmare than a dream — I’m someone who thrives on routine. I like knowing when to do what, so long as I’m given creative independence.

Speaking of creative endeavors — I’ve been taking Marcus out pretty often, so I’ve amassed quite the collection of photographs. I would have updated more frequently (in fact, that was my plan), but every time I sit down to write, life gets in the way (but again, when does it not?). As I looked through my trove of photos on Lightroom, I began to play around with the black/white filters and ended up really liking the effect.

I especially love the way you can simplify the image and play around with the lighting to give viewers subtle cues. Plus, by manipulating the light curves, I’m able to create sharp lines and edges — two things I love in photos. A more aggressive style, if you will.

I’m still trying to learn more about Lightroom (I recently purchased the Creative Cloud Suite from my school). Since I’m more comfortable with Photoshop, I end up using it to put finishing touches on my photos. It’s not ideal, as I would prefer to have everything condensed into one program, but I figure it’d be the best way for me to get my feet wet with Lightroom.

I must confess, I’m not particularly proud of a lot of the pictures I’ve taken lately. I don’t think I’ve been as careful with the composition as I could have been. In previous posts, I’ve spoken about how I find photography to be a calming exercise; when I’m stressed, I like to take Marcus out for a quick spin.

But recently, it seems, I’ve forgotten my mantra. I’ve been in a constant state of restlessness — so much so that I’ve forgotten to take a deep breath and practice my patience. For the next month, I want to take more time when capturing my photos, waiting for the “decisive moment”, as Cartier-Bresson would say.

For now, here are some of the photos from my summer adventure in Cleveland.

I’ve got a few post ideas up my sleeve, and I’m really pushing myself to get a few more of these babies in before the school year official starts in two weeks. Until then, please use the comment box to let me know what you think and if you’ve been to any fun places this summer!

Fin.