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To follow up with Brooke's latest blog on Jazz Fest, I felt necessary to share my favs of the beloved city. My friend Riley and her husband have lived there for about 3 years now, so I am able to share some of the "local" jewels this city has to offer along with other sights, bars, activities that make New Orleans thrive.

The first time I took it upon myself to visit Riley and Jonathan, they lived about 15 min outside the City, so we got a hotel room near the French Quater. This being my first trip down since college, they decided to show me the Bourbon Street side of New Orleans, which I welcomed. We hit all the main bars on Bourbon and surrounding Streets.... Bourbon Street Blues, Yo' Momma's ( if you love burgers and gumbo this is your spot), Lafittes' Blacksmith Bar (the entire bar is lit by candle light only. Oh, there is also a male with long dark curls banging on the piano which is why some call it a piano bar)

With each place I travel, I like to try and fit in at least one educational activity. This trip, we opted for the Audubon Zoo and an alligator tour. The Zoo was awesome, however it would have been a lot more tolerable for us and the animals had it not been about 100 degrees outside. Though we saw many photographs and pictures of the animals, they were not coming out to say hello and waller in the heat, not even to appease us and the other hundreds that were walking around hoping to get a peak at something. We did see: Mr. Gorilla, some Pink Flamingos, monkeys, Sea Lions, Black Bears, Camels or Lamas can't recall either way, they were enjoying bath time. Next time I hope to see the Jaguars, White Tigers, White Alligators, Zebras and Lions. The name of the Alligator tour escapes me but after a little research here is one that will due...

With my latest visit, Jonathan and Riley knew the ropes a little better and lived right in the thick of town! Of course if you have not been to New Orleans you must check out the infamous French Quarter/ Bourbon Street- its just what you do. However, if you have been that route, and want something a little different, here are a couple other areas that I loved.

Frenchman Street: Jonathan told me it was the "Bourbon Street for locales". The street is lined with live music blasting out of nearly every single one. DBA and Snug Harbor ( known for Jazz) are great ones.

Dive Bars: Jake's. You must have an experienced driver to get you here. It took us several drives around the block in a neighborhood before we finally saw the Christmas Tree lights and knew we had arrived.

Throwing in my education bit for the weekend, we spent 2 hours (not nearly long enough, but I had a flight to catch) wandering around, reading, taking pictures, having moments of slience and walking around in ahhhh around the

We still had a meal at Yo Momma's b/c its just delicious. We also had several other amazing meals.
1. K. Pauls: Its ok to go a little touristy! We did and loved it. Try the shrimp po-boy! .
2. Dante's Kitchen: Don't let the wait scare you! Have a drink, walk around the neighborhood, whatever you do, WAIT!. By far, best brunch of my life ( ok that is a little extreme, but def top 5). Its off the beaten path, so unless you know its there ( you can thank travel. explore.share later) you would miss this best kept secret of NOLA.
3. Bayona: This is where you can go to splurge one night. The entrance is tucked aways down a side walk/ alley and hard to find, unless you know where you are going. The cocktails are delightful and the menu so well written you literally want to order one of everything.

-Emily Ballard


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