A few months ago, a couple of friends and I took a trip down to New Orleans to celebrate our last spring break. I immediately fell in love with the city’s vibrancy and colorful architecture. Just like Miami, New Orleans is home to a mix of architectural styles, thanks greatly to its rich history.
While native land to the Chitimacha people, New Orleans was colonized by the French in the early 18th Century. Some half century later, it was ceded to Spain, and became under Spanish control. It returned briefly to the French, before being sold to the United States in the historical Louisiana Purchase. Much of this history is still preserved in the buildings of New Orleans.
The Creole townhouses were my favorite because of the interesting juxtaposition of simple design yet vibrant colors. Many of these buildings also have a stucco exterior, which for some reason, I am in love with. While some people may disagree with me on the stylishness of stucco exteriors, I find them to be incredibly idyllic and picturesque. Perhaps it’s because where I am from, there are zero to none stucco-exterior buildings, so whenever I see one (especially painted in white or blush pink) it just reminds me of tropical vacation getaways. (For the record, stucco is not really tropical-climate friendly but for some reason I associate the two together.)
In addition to its ethnic heritage, New Orleans culture has also been greatly shaped by religious influences as well. Namely, Voodoo and Catholicism. While the former was brought over by enslaved Africans during the slave trade, the latter was brought over by Western colonizers (the Spanish and the French) in the 18th Century. While we did not visit a real Voodoo practitioner or shop (more than likely, the ones you pass in French Quarter is nothing more than a tourist trap), we did pay a visit to St. Louis Cathedral. The Cathedral was the site of Pope John Paul II’s historic visit. Earlier this year, a statue of the Pope was unveiled to celebrate the 40th-year anniversary of the visit.
New Orleans is a city that thrives on tourism, which means there are two things it does particularly well: (1) having things to do, and (2) good transportation. We were in no shortage of sights to see and places to go during our five-day stay, and we were able to accomplish much of it either by foot or by bus. There was one day where we traveled to all of our destinations via only one bus route.
I’m a pretty tame (read: lame) person, and the night club / bar scene isn’t really my cup of tea. Even though I didn’t get to experience the crazy nightlife of the Big Easy à la Girls Trip, the vivacity of the city has nonetheless left a lasting impression on me.