Macey, my apartmento bestie (roommate/best friend), and I had both had a three day weekend last week so decided to road trip to New Orleans. We have since named this trip the Carbs and Churches tour of New Orleans! We are such compatible travelers, not very many people get excited about exploring churches, parks, and libraries like us. And this trip was surprisingly affordable, only $325 each! We found the best NOLA recommendations here. Here are all the details of our yummy trip.
Fact: New Orleans is a 5-6 hour drive from Houston depending on many stops you make for Chick-fil-A chicken biscuits, Wendy's frosties, and cheaper than Htown gas.
Hotels in New Orleans are pricey! After some late night research, we found the perfect historic bed and breakfast - free parking, big fluffy beds, great location (5 minute walk to the WWII museum and 25 minute walk to the French Quarter), and breakfast included yummy croissants with nutella and hot cocoa. We were a bit worried about the “European attitude” clothing optional pool advertised on the website but luckily no one was swimming in January :)
After checking into the bed and breakfast, we headed down to the French Quarter to explore the Old Ursuline Convent Museum before they closed. The convent was built in 1752 and is oldest building in the Mississippi Valley. We loved exploring the museum and chapel and learned so much!
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, you'll find her in pretty much every church in Louisiana.
In between the museum and mass we were hoping to grab some yummy beignets at Café de Monde but the line was SO LONG. So we people watched (there was a wedding!) in the Jackson Square park and Yelped restaurants for dinner.
5pm mass at St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in North America. Amazingly, the church was packed which I didn't expect for the vigil mass.
So many beautiful details.
We lucked out and found the yummiest restaurant for dinner, if you are ever in New Orleans you should totally go to Cochon Butcher. We had the best sandwiches and split a mini king cake for dessert!
After sleeping in and sipping on cocoa, we decided to go explore another nearby church - Immaculate Conception (also known as the Jesuit Church) was built in 1815. We weren't planning on attending mass again but since we only got there 5 minutes before mass started, we decided to just take a seat. And wow, the organist and homily were the best.
Since we were already in the neighborhood, we decided to explore Our Lady of Guadalupe which also happens to be the International Shrine to St. Jude. Built in 1826, this church was originally built as a funeral church for the yellow fever epidemic, then a home for Italian immigrants and now a church that serves the homeless and has a large Spanish speaking population. I loved the realness of this church. It wasn't fancy or shiny but packed with people who are making a real difference.
Then we hit up Audubon park and soaked up the sunshine and Spanish moss. We were so blessed with beautiful weather this entire trip. A few blocks away from the park near Tulane, we enjoyed lunch at Tartine, a yummy French café, and then walked around the park some more.
I'm all about free activities, we had already hit up churches and parks, so we headed to the library next. But not just any library, the Milton H. Latter Memorial Library which is a mansion built in 1907 that was later donated and turned into the cutest library.
Can you imagine this being your local public library? We hunkered down in the reading room for a few hours until they closed. I was so happy.
I hope the students at Loyola realize just how blessed they are with a campus in the middle of so much beauty.
We just had to hit up one more church before the end of the night so we explored the Holy Name of Jesus located on Loyola's campus. Twas beautiful.
We ended the night with sliders, donuts, and coffee floats at District. Perfection.
We got to the National WWII Museum right when they opened at 9am and then spent the next five hours taking it all in. I could have stayed there all day. Such a powerful museum.
If you go, please make sure to buy tickets to Beyond All Boundaries (4D movie produced and narrated by Tom Hanks) ahead of time. So worth it.
One of the most interesting parts of the museum was learning about Archbishop Philip Hannan. He served as a chaplain in WWII, liberated concentration camps with soldiers, served briefly as pastor of the Cologne Cathedral during the American occupation of Germany, delivered the homily at JFK's funeral, later was the Archbishop of New Orleans when JPII visited, and then at the age of 92 he remained at the Catholic television studio he created during Hurricane Katrina to protect it from looting. Totally ordered his book from Amazon today!