Like most tourist, my vacation to New Orleans began with a trip to Bourbon. Live music poured into the streets as beads were thrown into the hands of eager spectators. As the Thursday night sun set we dined at a quaint restaurant called Pier 424 Seafood Market. The grit cake and shrimp, though a small portion, was perfectly seasoned and hearty; the perfect meal before a night of dancing on this infamous street.
It wasn't hard to find Funky 544 Rhythm and Blues Club on Bourbon. The songstress and band were intoxicating as they performed classic Tina Turner and modern jams like "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke.
Though Bourbon was amazing it can't be matched to the vibe of Frenchmen street. With its striking similarity to the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY, Frenchmen has an evening flee market, several small restaurants and great live music.
Listening to the music on Frenchmen was a spiritual experience for me. There was something about the music that I felt in my bones and that I connected with. The sounds of the horns and drums took me to a place of rejoicing and I felt overwhelmingly happy.
Everything from the artwork painted on the walls of Bourbon Street to the shops near Jackson Square moved me.
The kindness and direction of the locals led us to Cafe Du Monde where my taste buds danced as they were introduced to beignets. This French donut was baked to perfection and topped with a cloud of powdered sugar.
Taking a tour of the Lower Ninth Ward brought back memories of an almost decade old disaster. I remembered watching Hurricane Katrina news footage and praying for New Orleans. Though it brought back those memories, it reminded me of the resilience and strength that African Americans are naturally endowed with. There are still abandoned homes, empty lots and much more restoration needed, but the Lower Ninth is alive and thriving.
Walking down a small side street near Canal, we stumbled upon The House of Blues. Event promoters handed us complementary tickets and invited us in to take pictures and enjoy some live music. To my surprise, I didn't hear the sounds of trumpets or saxophones, but the vibrations of electric guitars and drums. The sound was very different, but nonetheless entertaining.
My final stop in New Orleans was the Mercedes Benz Superdome to see Beyonce and Jay-Z in their On the Run tour. The Superdome is larger than any arena I had ever been to and was packed to the brim with fans of all ages. The floor beneath me literally shook as fans celebrated music and mouthed lyrics to each and every song.
Overall I enjoyed my trip to New Orleans! Whether I was being affectionately greeted with a "where y'at baby?" or being invited into a home to get a sip of that Crown Royal, I quickly learned that Nawlins is love - Nawlins is home.