Road Trip Part I: Louisiana

Louisiana road trip guide with stops in Natchitoches, Sulphur and New Orleans.

The Car: Since we don’t own a car, we had to rent one for the road trip. We got really creative which ended up saving us $500. We looked in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Austin, changing dates to see what would be the cheapest. Then I checked in Dallas and found an SUV $500 cheaper – even cheaper than the full size cars in the other cities. We ended up flying to Dallas on my Southwest miles for free, picking up the car and then driving to Austin where we started the trip.

 

Natchitoches, LA

This cute little town of 18,000 is the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. It’s pronounced Nack-a-tish and is where my dad grew up. The town sits on the Cane River Lake (looks like a river which it was until it was sealed into a lake) and the architecture is reminiscent of New Orleans. They’re famous for their meat pies as well as the place where Steel Magnolias was filmed (and is about).

Our Digs: My grandmother’s house on a Cypress Street between downtown and Northwestern State University. It’s been in the family for over 50 years and my aunt lives there right now.       If you’re visiting, stay in a Bed & Breakfast. I like the Queen Anne Bed & Breakfast. The rooms are comfortable and the breakfast is DELICIOUS!

Eats: Lasyone’sthe place to get meat pies. My Australian husband was excited to try them and keeps talking about them!

Lasyone's Meat Pie RestaurantDrinks: Maggio’s Drive Thru Liquor Store – not only is this is a full liquor store BUT it includes a drive thru where they will happily put any purchase inside your car PLUS they have a huge drink menu (I’ve heard you can basically order any bar drink) as long as you don’t pierce the lid, it’s legal. They’re got tons of frozen drinks AND they’ve got a happy hour.

Maggio's Drive Thru Liquor StoreThings to Do: There are a few plantations nearby, notably the Melrose Plantation that was run by free slaves. There’s also the Bayou Pierre Alligator Park but it was only open on the weekends when we visited.

Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches, Louisiana
Melrose Plantation

Sulphur, LA

We headed to Sulphur to visit my former coworker Gillian and her husband Rob. Gillian is from Chicago but really wanted to live near Lafayette so she made an online dating profile saying she lived there and met Rob who does IT. 5 years later and they’re married with 4 cats (and a kitten while we were visiting). Sulphur is pretty quiet but is close to Lake Charles where there’s a little more going on. We mostly spent 2 days relaxing + a little demo as they’re doing some DIY renovations.

Bruno and cat
Bruno meets cat

Our Digs: Rob & Gillian’s house mid-renovation

Eats: BBQ West is to die for. It’s cafeteria style with all your typical meats + amazing sides. The counter staff are friendly too! I had brisket + chicken with beans and mac & cheese on the side. You serve the sides yourself and they don’t charge extra for generous portions.

Drinks: The Kroger is well stocked and you can make your own 6 pack. I love Abita Brewery and tried their new peach lager and blueberry wheat.

Things to Do: Trips to Lowe’s! Just kidding – there are casinos close by as well as the cool Lafayette and cute Breaux Bridge an hour away. We checked out Breaux Bridge on Saturday morning for zydeco dancing, donuts and a walk along the bayou.

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Breaux Bridge

New Orleans, LA

I fell in love with New Orleans when Newsies played here last December and couldn’t wait to come back. We did a mixture of repeats (for Adam’s first time) and a few things I didn’t get to on the last trip.

Our Digs: Q&C Hotelbar – it’s a Marriott property with a boutique feel. Our room had old hardwood floors and exposed brick. The bar has some tasty cocktails and their pizzas are good too.

Q&C Hotelbar in New OrleansEats: Where to start! New Orleans has some of the best food. We loved Ruby Slipper for breakfast (the last time I was there I ate at the RS 4 times in one week…). For lunch and/or dinner, we ate at Acme Oyster House for their chargrilled oysters (and I’m NOT a raw oyster fan but these are incredible) and Sylvain for it’s gorgeous courtyard dining. Go to Commander’s Palace for their 25 cent martinis.

Commander's Palace in New Orleans
Commander’s Palace

Café du Monde is fun for the experience but the coffee is disgusting. The beignets there are fine but I prefer Café Beignet.

Drinks: Again, where to start! The Carousel Bar and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop are both on the top of my list of favorite bars. The Carousel Bar has a carousel with rotating seating at the bar. I’ve been there before and never gotten bar seating so this time we went when the bar opened at 11am. By 11:15am, all seats were filled. I definitely recommend getting there early (even 1pm was a little late the other day) if you want to sit at the bar. The French 007, Fleur de Lis and Pimm’s Cup are all delicious.

French 007 at The Carousel Bar
French 007

Carousel Bar

Lafitte’s I love because it is a cool bar sans electricity. At night it’s a piano bar and I’ve had a few great nights there. (Fun Fact: During Newsies, some of the cast met Tom Cruise at Lafitte’s who then invited them to the set and then came to our show later in the week. True story.)

Lafitte's Blacksmith ShopThings to Do: World War II Museum, Walking tours of the Garden District, French Quarter & cemeteries, ghost tour at night. Eat, eat, eat and drink.

House in the Garden District
House in the Garden District

World War II Museum

What are you favorites places & things to do in Louisiana?

 

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