Dana Littlejohn here to share my experience when I took a trip in July to the lovely city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Beautiful city, fantastic food, rich culture and hotter than hell in the summer. It was a one of a kind experience.
My husband and I went for a week and stayed in one of those stay weekly hotels in Lafayette which was less than an hour away. It wasn’t one of the best places we have ever stayed, but it was clean, safe and came out way cheaper to stay than any hotel in New Orleans would have cost us. With the rental car and a complete kitchenette to cook our own food it was well worth it.
We settled in and decided to rest that first day, but the second we set out to explore Lafayette. It turned out to be a lovely city in its own right with friendly people and amazing food. I even ate gator and lived to tell the tale. LOL Although Lafayette was great I couldn’t wait until we went to New Orleans.
The next day we jumped in the car and was New Orleans bound. Along the way I saw swamps, bogs and, though I didn’t know what to expect since I had not seen the city pre-Katrina, I was stunned to see evidence of devastation after so long. We arrived in the city and did the tourist thing, walking around with our little map, mouths hanging open and pointing at everything we passed.
We ran into another couple as I took pictures of the building. The husband was a native, a born and raised Cajun he said, that now lives in Georgia. After talking for a while he and his wife invited us to hang with them. They could take us to some really nice places that weren’t on the tourist track. We walked and talked with them for while learning Jackson Square and ghost tales attached to New Orleans’s history and then they invited us to go with them to the roof of the tallest building they knew. From there they said you could see actual wall that held back the sea in the distance. I was scared to death. I didn’t want to go, but how could you pass up the chance to see something that incredible? So I sucked it up, pulled up my big girl panties and it was the best decision I ever made. It was the most frightening and beautiful sight I had ever seen.
Our next stop was Bourbon Street. We ate at Bubba Gump and spend a load of money shopping. It was incredible. We passed a ‘haunted house’ where a woman sat outside trying to encourage us to enter. Our escorts almost dragged us away from her. They wouldn’t let us anywhere near it not wanting us to bring bad spirits back to Indiana. That night there was a parade just for the sake of having a parade. And yes, they threw beads for boobs!
We left our new friends after that and headed back to Lafayette. We met up with them a couple more times during our stay. Since I was determined only to eat food I could get in New Orleans we had dinner with them in a few spots that was off the beaten path. I found out how addictive etouffée was, that I like to eat crawfish when it’s not looking at me and that okra is gross and makes everything taste nasty even gumbo.
My husband and I take many extended weekends during the summer, but we try to take one big one too. Our trip to Louisiana was the highlight of my summer. I learned that I love Cajun food, that Cajun accents are sexy even when you barely understand them and New Orleans doesn’t need a holiday or Mardi Gras to party. I have great memories to cherish forever and even traded emails and Facebook info with our new friends so we could all keep in touch. Also, I picked up some great history and inspiration for a story I am now working on.
Summer 2012 may be heading for a close, but I am looking forward to summer 2013. My husband and I try to go somewhere different every year, but New Orleans was so much fun we may have to double up.
About the Author:
Dana Littlejohn’s birth interrupted a late night Christmas party. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, diversity was never a stranger to her. Like the women in her books, she dated men of all races before marrying and settling down. Dana has called Indianapolis, Indiana, her home for over 10 years now. She lives with her husband in an empty nest. Though she works a nine to five at a doctor’s office to pay the bills, Dana looks forward to the day when someone will read one of her stories and decides it will make a great movie.
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