Jacomo Fi Nou Wa Nan Né: New Orleans, Part Two

Wish I was back on the bayou rollin' with some Cajun Queen.
Wishin' I were a freight train, oh, just a-chooglin' on down to New Orleans
Born on the bayou
Born on the bayou
//Creedence Clearwater Revival

On Wednesday morning we awoke in a St. Paddy's day haze but were excited for the day ahead. Since we hadn't had any luck getting into Café Du monde when the line wasn't totally outrageous, we decided to try one of the many other beignet spots in the city called Café Beignet, also located in the French Quarter. After reading a bunch of reviews online and advice from other bloggers, many had said they even like it better than Du Monde, so we figured we would give it a try. We still had to wait about 20-25 minutes, but the café was located in the cutest building, almost like a railroad tunnel, complete with murals on the walls and ceiling and black and white tiled floors. It was so adorable and charming, and even had a small outdoor garden seating area. 

Nick was able to snag a table right next to the bakery window and I waited in line to order. It was another place where you wait in line, order at the counter, take a number, find your own table and wait to be called. I really liked this system and we saw it at so many of the restaurants in NOLA. 
They had a pretty decent sized menu with all sorts of breakfast items, sandwiches, bakery treats and of course, beignets. I ordered a breakfast sandwich on a croissant and Nick ordered an Andouille sausage omelet. We both got iced coffee's and an order of beignets to share!

After a short wait, our food arrived at our table and it was time to dig in.
The long awaited beignets! They were delicious, and I love anything and everything sweet so these were right up my alley. They are like a more dense version of Fried Dough that we would get up here in New England. I was really glad we got a chance to try this New Orleans staple that we had heard so much about. Our breakfast food was really good as well, with the exception of neither of us being a big fan of the side of grits, but I guess it's an acquired taste that we did not grow up with or learn to love.
After breakfast we took a cab to Enterprise Rent-A-Car in the business district as today was the day we had arranged for an airboat tour of the Louisiana swamp/bayou area. We had changed our airboat reservation from 4pm to noon as the weather was looking iffy/stormy for the afternoon and the woman said that they can't take the boats out if there is lightning because they are pretty much 100% aluminum and that just would not be a good mix. If you can't tell from the below, I was very excited to be heading to the bayou, and even decided to bust out a New Orleans style head scarf for the occasion. We got upgraded to a Jetta and really enjoyed the ride and getting out of the city to see more of the Louisiana countryside.
Crossing a big bridge over the Mississippi River, a bridge that was in several scenes and panos from one of our favorite HBO series, True Detective. We LOVED all of the Louisiana scenes and cinematography from the show, so I was really excited to be in some of the exact locations of the filming. If you have not yet seen this series, I suggest you do so ASAP!
Long roads through the countryside, with farms, greenery, and swamps along either side of the highways. The further out we got, the more few and far between we would see other cars and people. We were only going about 45 minutes from the city, so it really was a stark contrast to bustling New Orleans in just a short amount of time from leaving the city limits.
Finally we spotted the signs for where we needed to be, Arthur Matherne Airboat Tours. They have nothing but five star reviews online, and we also saw them on a Vice: Munchies segment with Action Bronson when he was doing a food tour of Nola and it looked like a great time with real-deal Louisiana guides.
It was an interesting property composed of several small outbuildings, and the office was this blue building right on the river stream.
Signs of good times ahead. We were officially in down south redneck land, and I was so excited!
Pretty sweet locale for an office if ya ask me!
As we were waiting to get started, we saw a small cage off to the side and after peeking in we saw the cutest little rodents! They were actually called fisher rats, but they were adorable and their names were Mac and Cheese! Too cute!

Adorbale! They loved being next to each other and the smaller the space, the better! They took a joint bath in a cool whip carton and it was so cute.

After a few more minutes our Captain for the day, Greg, pulled up the airboat to get it ready to ride. He had a pretty darn thick Louisiana accent, but he was still understandable and seemed like a really nice guy. He hosed down the boat and loaded it up with some raw chicken, which I assume meant we would be trying to attract and/or feed some alligators!
Camo isn't usually my thing but the airboat did look pretty badass, and would easily blend in with the swamp and swamp grass. Neither of us had ever been on a airboat before so we were both really excited and didn't have to much of an idea of what to expect. We had scheduled an hour and a half tour, and there would be one other couple joining us for the ride because in order to have one of the smaller boats you need a minimum of three guests, so we were actually happy that another couple booked so that we didn't have to go on the larger and less personalized 15 person airboat.
Almost ready to rock! Greg put all of our headsets out on our seats and asked us all to get in the boat. He told Nick and I to sit in the front two seats (Score!) and the other couple Michelle and Larry were to sit in the middle. Greg would be in the back manning the wheel. There were no seat belts or anything, which kind of surprised me, but then again I don't think I have ever seen a seatbelt on a boat so I don't know why I was so surprised.
And just like that we were off, heading down a small inlet out into the swamp land and open waters. I was thinking to myself "Oh, this is nice, the people here must get to swim and waterski/tube on this nice glassy water", that is until about thirty seconds after leaving the dock when we saw our first alligator sink under the surface up ahead! I don't know what I was thinking, but I had NO idea that they were EVERYWHERE. I though that maybe they just hung out deep in the swamps or in certain areas away from civilization and people, but nope, they are all over and none of the waters are safe or guaranteed to not have a gator close by. Needless to say I will NEVER be swimming or even sticking a toe into the Louisiana waters. My fears of falling in/off the boat were even more heightened now, and I was extra nervous of not having a seatbelt! I couldn't imagine the fear that would rush through me if we tipped over or if I fell in, I know humans can't walk on water, but I have a pretty good feeling I would come close and probably set record swim speeds for trying to get out....! Any who, I had to set my fears aside and just enjoy the ride. It was so beautiful out, and the glassy waters and surrounding landscape were picturesque. The airboat ride itself was so smooth and we were gliding over the water so effortlessly. It was somewhat loud, but not as loud as I had imagined, and our earmuffs helped a lot to subside the noise.
You can see the first Alligator we saw in this photo below swimming away, just before he ducked under the water. This was only a minute or two after leaving the dock and not even close to the bayou area. Scary!
We passed by an old run down building that looked as if it could have been straight out of a scene from True Detective! We were so excited! The creepier the better, bring on the Carcosa!
After coming out of the channel, Capt. Greg told us to "hold on", as he would be putting it into high gear! The boat took off and we were totally hauling! It was so much fun and we couldn't wipe the dumb smiles off our faces if you paid us.
I would only use one word to describe Greg's driving style, and that word would be RAW. It would look as if we were heading 50mph into a giant tree or brush pile, to the point where we were both thinking to ourselves "It is an airboat, maybe we just drive over it? Right?" and at the LITERAL last tenth of a second, he would cut the wheel and we would come so close to the trees or poles, the side of the boat would literally lightly scrape up against it. It was the most 'In-Control-Out-of-Control' driving I have ever experienced, if that even makes sense. He had airboat driving down to a SCIENCE, and you could tell he knew these waters like the back of his hand.
After about ten minutes, we cut a corner and headed under some trees through a small inlet which led us to one of the most beautiful spots I have seen in awhile. A huge canopy of Spanish moss trees curved overhead and casted gorgeous reflections off the green algae-tinted waters. Greg stopped the boat and we all took off our earmuffs and were able to just take in the scene in silence. Greg gave us some facts about this area and about the nature surrounding us; the types of trees, the Spanish moss, the wildlife that lives here, etc.
This is Nick's photo from Instagram! Quite the photographer if you ask me.... such a beautiful shot. Who knew the swamp could be so gorgeous.
I had brought the GoPro with me since I didn't know if we would be getting wet or not, so I was able to get a few shots with that as well.

I loved the draping of the Spanish Moss trees, we got to touch some of the moss and it was really soft and apparently also really strong. They actually used to use it for sewing and even for stitches and medical procedures back in the day. However, Greg said that sometimes it can overgrow during conducive weather conditions, and end up suffocating the tree!

We were all just in awe of the scenery and asking Greg question after question about the bayou and swamp areas. He was really informative but had a lot of jokes and wise cracks up his sleeve as well.

Before leaving this area, Greg asked if he could take pictures of us on the boat. Imagine that! I didn't even have to ask or feel like I was bothering someone to take a photo of us, it was so nice. He took turns using everyone's cameras and phones, and they came out really good. The couple with us was from Texas and they were on a pretty epic road trip. They were really nice and great people to share a small boat with.
Notice my bright white, thin tank top. This would turn out to be a really bad outfit choice later in the ride, just you wait and see!

It was time to head back out into the open waters, so we took a few more snaps and then got our earmuffs back on before speeding up again.

We started cruising down a pretty wide channel, zig-zagging every which way with the wind blowing in our faces. Some dark clouds were starting to form up ahead, and I could start to feel and occasional pelt of rain.... uh oh. However, no signs of thunder or lightning so onwards we went.

We came to a small built up brush area and there was a pretty boughey hand made wooden ramp for us to go over in the airboat. Once we crossed over, it was like we had entered a different world. We were officially in the swamp lands.
Shit eating grins because it was so much fun! Greg is probably yelling at me for something in the background, he had a knack for picking on me the most and I think the most threats to be fed to the gators were directed at me. Sweet! Side note: I need teeth whitening.
Once into the swamp land we soon started seeing gator after gator everywhere we turned, but whenever we would get close they would slink down under the water no where to be seen again. This was super creepy knowing that they could be under/around us at any time!
The airboat can drive right over all sorts of vegetation and swamp grass without even a flinch.
There is a gator off in the distance in the photo below, but we still hadn't been able to see any up close and personal yet.
We came to an area filled with a specific type of tree that I cannot seem to remember the name of. They were cool because they could grow under water and their roots shoot upwards and stick out of the water instead of growing down, that way they can still absorb light and the carbon they need to survive.
Greg said that the Bald Eagle has made a HUGE comeback in this area, and we were able to see several big nests high up in the trees. We even got to see an eagle perched in one guarding it's nest and hunting for food below. Between seeing some in Maine last year and now seeing them again in Louisiana I think it's really great that we have been able to bring our national bird back from almost extinction!

It's a pretty dark photo but you can see the eagle perched in the photo above and below. Very cool.
Another animal that we saw probably a hundred of were this other rodent-like thing called a Nutria. It was kind of a cross between a beaver and a muskrat, but is actually it's own species. Greg said that they live a pretty rough life out here in the swamp and between the gators and the eagles they are in a constant state of fear and escapism! The gators and eagles love to feed on them and they fall prey to them on a daily basis. I thought they were cute and was hoping I wouldn't have to witness one being eaten as a gator snack.
We headed deeper into the swamp and again more and more gators started to appear, sunning themselves outside of the water. Greg said they are still mostly in a hibernation state this time of year, so not too many of them are out feeding or mating yet. They're just chillin and sun tanning.

We finally saw a pretty big one close by up ahead, so I was able to use the zoom on my camera to get some close shots.

Still, once we started to get to close, he dove under the water not to be seen again. Greg said this one was about 9ft long. Yikes.
Shortly up ahead we saw another HUGE gator to the side, and as we started getting closer and close, it did not move a muscle. 

Once we got to the point of practically running it over with the boat I thought "Oh, this is cool, they have a big fake gator planted out here so that you can get a feel for what they look like up close and maybe even feel a replica of what they feel like." Literal exact words in my head.

Running over the fake gator... cool! Up to this point I seriously 100% though it was fake and would have gotten out of the boat and sat on it if someone had asked me to. It was the biggest thing I had ever seen and had not moved a muscle!
Greg then explained that this was "Big Al", a 13 ft gator that has been his "pet" for the last 12 years. Wait? What?!!! Like, a fake pet, right? Like a stuffed animal? Taxidermy? And just as I was still in complete denial that this monstrosity could maybe actually possibly be real, I saw Big Al blink his friggan eye. WHAT.THE.SHELL!?!?!? No no no no no. We are parked, ON TOP OF HIM! I can't tell you how many times Greg had to tell me, assure me, promise me, that Big Al was indeed, a real live gator. He said that over the past decade, Big Al has gotten so used to the boats and Greg going close to him, that he no longer feels threatened and knows that Greg will not hurt him. It was so crazy and amazing to me that an animal of that size and lethal capacity could trust a human, it's top predator, so much.

The way Greg handled Big Al was amazing, and quite literally the way that any of us would treat one of our pets at home. Greg told us that if anything ever happened to Big Al, he would cry, and I believed him.

A man and his dog.... I mean, gator. Greg was able to pull Big Al's gigantic tail up onto the airboat, right in front of where I was sitting.
We got to pet Big Al's tail and feel his skin and texture. It was really smooth, and he told us that this is often that part that shoes and bags are made out of. Greg and Arthur, his boss, get to hunt every year during a certain period on their land, which goes to show just how much they love Big Al, because they could easily kill him for thousands of dollars, but they don't, and would never. He is a part of the Matherne family, and stays on their property year round because he knows his territory and is so comfortable with it.
That's me touching Big Al! I should send this into Michel Kors for their next watch ad.
Michelle taking a feel. We all got a chance to pet him, and it was really cool. He made a few grunts but other than that pretty much didn't move. Greg was also able to lift one of his feet out of the water so we could see that as well.
I am still only 99% convinced that Big Al was real.....

Before departing Greg threw Big Al a piece of chicken right on his snout, but he wouldn't eat it. He was still in hibernation mode and just fat and happy as is. In the coming months though, he will be feeding and mating on the regular. Watch out, ladies.
We headed further down the swamp and the skies above started to get more and more ominous, but still no sign of thunder or lightning.

We soon came upon another alligator that Greg also knew by name, and he was called Buddy. Buddy was quite the contrast from Big Al. He was younger and not as long at about 10ft, and he was a LOT more feisty.
We stopped the boat and Greg began to call him over, but Buddy didn't look like he wanted much to do with us so he started to swim away.
Greg tried wafting some chicken in the air to get him to come towards the boat from the smell. Didn't work.

Then, Greg started splashing the water with an oar, as if to imitate something in distress, and that was finally able to get Buddy's attention. He made a 360 turn and then started heading right for the boat.

Really creepy when he started to come right for the boat, and Greg is leaning out dangling a piece of Chicken just asking for his arm to be bitten off! What if another gator came up from underneath and just chomped?! I was so nervous for him, but obviously he knew what he was doing.

Buddy came right up and chomped the chicken right from Gregs hands. The sound of his bite was crazy! I can only imagine the amount of pressure and force they bite down with. Greg said it can take your limbs clear off.
Poor Buddy had a stick on his head….

After laughing at him for the stick on his head, he took another huge chomp towards the boat to get another piece of chicken Greg was holding.
Up close and personal of Buddy's feeding frenzy! I was amazed at how Greg was handling the gator but I didn't want to get anywhere near those choppers. As usual, he was closest to my seat, so I think I was leaning about as far back as possible without ending up on the couples laps behind me.
Thanks, but no thanks!
And now for some GoPro shots of the feeding!

Love this one! Super cool.
Buddy was happily fed, and stayed around for another minute to hang out and hiss at us.
Bye bye Buddy! It was starting to sprinkle out a bit more heavily, so we decided to say goodbye to Buddy and move on. There was lots more to see and the tour was only half over at this point.

I love how they look like three separate floating parts when they are on top of the water.
Greg drove the boat over to a more grassy area of the swamp, and he explained that this is where a lot of the female gators some to nest and lay their eggs. Sure enough, we found a pod of about 5 babies, and Greg was able to grab one of them with a grabber stick. Ensue one of the best moments of my life!! Anyone who knows me know that I am obsessed with animals, and that obsession is even greater when they happen to be BABY animals. Introducing….. Baby Al! Gahhhh!!!! SO cute! I never though we would actually be able to hold and interact with one of the wild babies! He was making a croaking sound and Greg said that he was calling for his Mom, so we would only have a few minutes to handle him before she came looking.
I was admiring him from afar and then Greg asked if I wanted to hold him! Ummmm, YESS!!! He was so tiny and smooth feeling and he was pretty much posing for the camera like a celeb.
Me, in heaven!
Nick got a turn at holding Baby Al too! So cute!
Greg took him back and told us a few more things about baby alligators, their gestation period, how many hatch at a time, how long they stay with their mothers, etc. etc. It was all really interesting stuff an I can see how Steve Irwin was so obsessed with these dinosaur-like creatures.

Then we asked Greg, would it hurt if the baby bit you? And he goes, "I don't know, let me see."
Ahhhh! Greg said that this actually hurt pretty bad, and if this were even one week later, the baby could DEFINITELY have punctured his skin. Their bite is already so strong even when they are only weeks old. I think he said these gators were about 6-7 weeks old.
Then, the next cutest thing ever happened, Greg put him in his pocket and Baby Al became Pocket Gator! I officially want a pocket gator to just hang out in my pocket at all times.

Goodbye Baby Al! At this point, the rain started coming down harder, and Greg got a call from his sister back at the office saying that she just checked the radar and we were about to get SLAMMED. Great. Greg asked if we wanted to go back, and we all said no, we would stick it out. He drove around a bit more, but the rain was getting harder and harder. When you're traveling at 40mph on an open air boat, the rain feels like bullets! It hurt so bad and and we were just getting pelted like 1000's of BB's at once. 
Greg made the executive decision to cut the tour short and head back. We were absolutely soaked to the bone, and my choice of white Tank Top quick became the worst decision I had made all day. Greg, Nick, and Larry all got a free ticket to the 'Bayou Babes Wet T-Shirt Contest', and I officially won. There was nothing I could do but laugh. Epic fail for sure! Despite being soaked we were still all smiles and when we got back to the office it was hot and sunny, so we started to dry off right away. We just had to laugh, only us! If we had kept our original appointment at 4pm, the weather probably would have been fine. Arthur Matherne was great about it though, and even refunded us a portion of our money for cutting the tour a little short.

Pulling back up to the dock we saw old Arthur, the owner of the business and the other tour guide, waving us in in his infamous camo Zoobazz pants that we had seen him wear on the Vice episode. Greg had a deep south Louisiana accent, but Arthur was virtually non understandable. Honestly could not make out one word he said, it was like he was speaking another language. Both guys were very nice though, and we totally recommend taking a tour with the Arthur Matherne Airboat company if your are ever in Louisiana.

On the way back from the airboat tour, we decided to check out a planation in the Louisiana Countryside while we still had the rental car. We looked on Google and Destrehan Plantation was right on our way back to New Orleans, so we decided that would be the one! We didn't want to go on a walking tour or pay to get in, but we did stop in front of the grounds and took some nice photos of the glorious plantation mansion. I loved the hanging trees and big columns. I had really wanted to see the Oak Alley Planation with its famous oak lined street, but it was too far out of the way so this one was a good compromise as it was still really beautiful!
A lot of the plantations look like they are straight out of a movie, and a lot of the times movies and scenes are filmed at them! Destrehan has been seen in feature films such as The Vampire Chronicles and most recently, 12 Years a Slave. Its a traditional Creole style planation and is one of the oldest homes in Louisiana, rich in history but not without it's fair share of controversy along the way.

I loved how these giant Spanish moss trees perfectly framed the house from the front of the property.

Our rental car! Kind of an icky blue, but we really liked the car itself. It had a lot of get-up-and-go and was pretty comfortable and spacious for a sedan.
We said goodbye to Destrehan, and decided to head back to New Orleans to hit up a few more places we wanted to see while we had the car that were just out of our walking distance.
First up was an epic Dive Bar we had read about called 'Snakes and Jakes Christmas Lounge', but to our disappointment it was closed when we arrived. It's located right in a Garden District neighborhood and is the "diveyest"of dives. It is basically a run down shack and the whole interior is only lit with red colored Christmas lights and holiday décor. It's hour are 7pm-7am!! We really wanted to go so we decided that we would come back later that night. We had been debating to return the car that evening or to keep it overnight. We didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for parking but had seen a lot of spots on the street near our hotel that were open, so we decided to chance it and keep the car overnight. There were other places we wanted to go that were too far to walk, and having the car was much cheaper than paying for cabs, so it ended up working out great.
Loved driving down the terrace lined, tree covered streets of the garden district. So much pretty everywhere you look!
We decided to stop at another neighborhood dive bar on our list called "Les Bon Temps Rouler", which I previously mentioned, means Let the Good Times Roll! It was mid-day so although we were some of the only people in there, the bartender poured good drinks and it was another cool spot. We fell in love with these neighborhood-style bars, and wish we had some back home!
They had kitschy décor, a pool table, a big juke box, and even old-style video and arcade games along the walls. We loved the old bungalow style buildings that housed a lot of these bars, complete with the original old wood floors, brick, and beams.
After our late liquid lunch, we decided it was time to get some food and maybe actually make it to a happy hour! We made attempt #2 to go to Samuels Blind Pelican for the famous $.25 oysters and crawfish boil, and this time we were successful! We got their right at 4pm for the start of happy hour and got a lovely table outside on the wraparound porch. Again, the restaurant was in a big old house, and we loved the style.
We had to wait about an hour for the crawfish, but we got probably the best oysters we had had so far on the trip while we waited. I failed to take photos but we got both raw and charbroiled and they were DLEICIOUS. The charbroiled were SO good. We sipped some drinks and just sat back and relaxed while waiting for our crawfish. neither of us had ever had them before so we were really excited. Once they were ready our waiter brought out a big 3lb box filled with crawfish, sausage, potatoes and corn, all wonderfully seasoned and so delish.
They are like mini baby lobsters, super sweet and delicious! We weren't too sure on the 'proper' way to eat them, so we pretty much just dug in with our hands and went at it.
I kept on my mimosa kick, and Nick tried a couple different beers on tap.

The sausage and potatoes were a nice added touch, and they were both so flavorful and good. We loved the Cajun spices and flavors down there.
THE AFTERMATH. We totally destroyed the 3lbs of crawfish! So worth the wait, and another thing we can check off the bucket list.

When we were heading out, I snapped a picture of the big open fire grill basin that they had been cooked in. Really cool! I think I need one of these in my backyard.
After happy hour we were pretty smelly from all of that seafood, and from getting soaking wet in the swamp, so we really need some showers and a change of clothes. We stopped back at Le Pavilion to clean ourselves up and make a plan for the evening. 

Since we still had the car, we decided to hit up one of the spots we were most excited about for dinner called Bacchanal, which was about 5 miles away in the Bywater district/9th Ward. This place takes the cake for one of the coolest restaurants we have ever been to together. The word Bacchanl itself means "an occasion of wild and drunken revelry".... YES! It is in an old brick home building, complete with original shutters and a totally natural weathered look. The first floor is actually a wine and cheese shop, filled with tons of different wines from all over the world and magnificent cheeses to try and buy. But, it is no ordinary wine shop in that when you buy your wine, they open it for you right then and there if you want to stay and then you can grab glasses and head right outside to the backyard.

The backyard is filled with small trees strung with string lights, along with plenty of tables and seating on a lush patio, and a small performance stage for live bands and musical groups. It was such a neat space with a really cool, relaxed vibe. Everyone was just sitting around, enjoying the music and chatting while sipping wine and eating.

Here is the stage! Bacchanal is also a restaurant, so Nick went up to the window at the back of the house where you can order food from. We picked some smaller items off the menu since we were still quite full from all the crawfish, and I set out to find us a spot to sit. It was yet another order-at-the-window and find your own seat style restaurant that we loved. It was pretty packed, and at first there were no tables available expect for some high top standing-only tables off to the far left side. I grabbed a spot of one of those and scanned the crowd. There were several other people looking for a regular table as well, so I knew it was a long shot. I saw from all the way across the yard a couple that looked like they were getting ready to get up and leave, so I bee-lined across, and asked nicely if they were heading out. They were! I scored the PERFECT table right next to the stage with a great view.
I had picked out a nice bottle of cabernet from the wine shop, which was recommended from the owner as one of his favorites, and best bang for the buck. They had actually gone out to the vineyard themselves in California and selected a few of the wines to bring back to their store. The guys were so friendly and helpful and I would have been in there for quite some time if it wasn't for their assistance and recommendations. The wine ended up being excellent, and was one of the better Cabs we have had. It wasn't too dry at all and didn't leave you feeling dehydrated or like you needed to chug a huge glass of water. Now that I am home I want to try and order some online- Chasing Lions 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Here is the view from our table looking back towards the building. The second level had indoor seating, as well as a big second floor balcony overlooking the backyard and patio.

We had gotten number 26 with our order, which just happens to be my favorite number. Fate!

The wait for our food was not long at all. We started with the bacon wrapped dates as an app and we inhaled them so quickly I didn't take a picture. They were sweet and savory and really good. I had also ordered the trout salad, and Nick got the ceviche. They were the perfect size as we weren't overly hungry, and both were really fresh and delicious.
The dressing on the trout salad was great, a buttermilk vinaigrette, and I had never had trout on a salad before so it was nice to try something new.
Nick's ceviche was filled with gulf fish, squid, peppers, tomato and cilantro. We both absolutely LOVED Bacchanal and had the best time, we did not want to leave! Towards the end it was getting more and more crowded, and since we were sitting at a table for 4-6, a group of three asked if they could share our table. We said yes and were excited to maybe get to talk to some locals. They ended up being Debbie Downers and although one of the girls lived in Nola now, they were not originally from here and pretty much met our questions with one-word curt answers. After we finished our wine bottle, we decided to move on for the night and left them to the table. OUR table. Word to the wise... if you ask to join others at THEIR table, be nice, be friendly, be kind! You never know who you could be sitting next to.
Once we left Bacchanal we knew right where we wanted to head back to... the infamous Snakes and Jakes Christmas Lounge that we had stopped at earlier in the day when it wasn't open.
It fully lived up to all of it's dive bar expectations! Check out this interior! So dark and dingy but we loved it. We could tell the crowd was probably about half regulars/locals, and half tourists. We actually ended up meeting and talking to a group of young guys who were on spring break from Massachusetts! I was also sitting next to a guy who had been living in Nola for about ten years, so I was able to ask him about his favorite spots (Mimi's!) and the best bars to hit up late night.
Snakes and Jakes even had a friendly dog sleeping on a couch in the corner, and it certainly lived up to it's no-frills dive bar name, and we were really glad we got to experience it.
Can't remember why I took this photo, but I think it was because the kid in the photo reminded us of my brother.

Such a cool little dive right in the middle of a neighborhood street.
The night was still young so we headed back to the city center. We took the freeway and passed the infamous Superdome where the Saints play, and where thousands took refuge during Hurricane Katrina. It is really the heart of the city and was lit up in all it's glory! It's huge!

The rest of the night we bounced from place to place... a locals music/dance club in Treme, several cool hipster bars in the Marigny although they were a little too smoke filled for us, and then we even hit up Frenchmen Street for some live jazz bars. I think we probably hit at least 10 bars that night! Some we just stopped in, others were too crowded, but it was fun to just bounce around and check out the many different places that NOLA has to offer. I think we even ended up back in the French Quarter at Chart House or Lafitte's again before calling it a night. It was definitely our most "wild" Nola night on the trip, hence the zero photos to show for it after we left Snakes and Jakes much earlier in the evening. Stay tuned for Part Three, the last day of our New Orleans adventure! Thanks for following along!

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