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New Orleans

Willie Mae vs Dooky Chase: The Fried Chicken Verdict! (NOLA)

Willie Mae vs Dooky Chase: The Fried Chicken Verdict! (NOLA)

The verdict is in! I finally tried the two most famous fried chicken dishes in NOLA to determine which is better: Willie Mae or Dooky Chase. Which will it be?!

The last time I was in NOLA was summer 2016. I went to Dooky Chase's with my then-boyfriend from New Zealand. We gobbled down a buffet of Dooky's best, including her famous fried chicken. We loved it. But then we went to the airport later on and a fellow traveler told us Willie Mae's was better. Talk about #regrets!

So, upon arriving in New Orleans for a second time, Willie Mae's had to be on my agenda. I checked into my accommodation and I hopped in an Uber and sped over to the neighborhood of Treme. Now I can tell you which I think is the better dining experience.

NOLA Nightlife Deviance: Gay Bars, Burlesque, and Horse Poop!

NOLA Nightlife Deviance: Gay Bars, Burlesque, and Horse Poop!

I love myself a little deviance. I mean, where do you think this blog title came from, really? New Orleans is definitely not in short supply of queer, sexy, nighttime fun! And so I'm going to bring you the sampling I tasted back in November.

I had one night during my work trip to New Orleans to experience the nightlife. The other nights I had to behave. A bender on bourbon street would not have boded well for my conference presentations the next day. So I was very happy to have Saturday night to get a little wild with my bestie, Erin!

Our night included tons of queer, sexy, funny entertainment—and also some horse poop. Allow me to explain.

City Park in New Orleans: Sculptures, Nature, & Lights

City Park in New Orleans: Sculptures, Nature, & Lights

The last time I visited New Orleans was in July. I didn't make it to NOLA's City Park then because July happened to be the worst month of the year to visit NOLA. It was so hot.

November in NOLA was a totally different story. It was not only the perfect weather, the city was also buzzing with the upcoming holiday season. So I saw all the exciting lights being strung and holiday decorations going up everywhere—including in the park.

The comfortable temperature and holiday atmosphere are why visiting NOLA's City Park in November was such a great experience. It was so great I had to write this post all about it! As always, I have lots of photos to share, including beautiful art, nature, and a surprise holiday lights display!

17 Things To Do in New Orleans

17 Things To Do in New Orleans

I love doing these lists. They are a good way to sum up some of the extra stuff I did in a location that is good enough to share but does not warrant a full blown post.

So here's a bunch of photos with descriptions about stuff I did that's totally worth doing in New Orleans. This includes going to the French Market which was full of all kinds of excellent treasures (and giant watermelons) as well as taking my Atheist self to church on Sunday morning. Say what?!

You'll also recognize some emblematic experiences I've talked at length about elsewhere. Enjoy!

Ghost Tour in New Orleans: Murders, Hauntings, and Swamp Monsters

Ghost Tour in New Orleans: Murders, Hauntings, and Swamp Monsters

Last week, I shared stories from a cemetery tour of New Orleans about its burial processes, dead bodies, tombs, and vandalism. In this post, I share more unsettling stories from a ghost tour I took through the French Quarter.

When I was little, I loved to read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark illustrated with those horrific drawings by Stephen Gammell. Today, I love to watch thriller movies, dress up for Halloween, and learn every story I can about the supernatural, even though I don't actually believe a word of it.

If you enjoy this stuff, too, then you'll love this post even more than the last! I include lots of in-depth stories and lore about murders, hauntings, suicides, and monsters, so you'll get your fill of everything from real-life horrors to silly (but eerie) myths.

Cemetery Tour in New Orleans: The City of the Dead

Cemetery Tour in New Orleans: The City of the Dead

The summer is officially over, the leaves are starting to fall, and all my favorite kitschy Halloween stuff is showing up in stores. This is, hands down, my favorite time of year to be in the United States.

In New Orleans this past summer, I went on a free cemetery tour and a free ghost tour where I learned historical and present day tales of the dead and other spooky happenings. What I learned easily qualifies New Orleans as one of the creepiest cities in the country!

With October only a few days away, I am excited to finally share the chilling history of New Orleans in two installments. In this post, I share what I learned from my tour of the city's oldest cemetery.

7 Symbols of New Orleans

7 Symbols of New Orleans

It's been almost 2 months since I visited New Orleans and I can still feel it. That city had such a lasting impression on me, it's as if the symbolic elements of the city left a permanent imprint on my mind.

When I think of New Orleans, there are several iconic features that stand out to me.

If I had to paint a picture representing the Big Easy for you, it would not be complete without the following.

I Broke Into the Audubon Zoo and Had An Epiphany

I Broke Into the Audubon Zoo and Had An Epiphany

 I have a confession: I accidentally broke into the Audubon Zoo while visiting New Orleans.

Well, perhaps breaking in is an exaggeration. I wandered in through the exit without realizing I was bypassing the admission fee.

Sometimes people make honest mistakes in their life. Sometimes they take advantage of loopholes. My situation fell somewhere in between. And I'll tell you why I felt guilty about it. No, I did not feel guilty that I didn't pay. I felt guilty because I had an epiphany: The caged animals in that zoo are a mirror image of the human race. 

Allow me to explain.

12 Foods You Must Try in New Orleans

12 Foods You Must Try in New Orleans

At the end of 5 days in New Orleans, I felt like I had gained 100 lbs because of all of the eating we did. I regret nothing!

New Orleans is considered Americas "food city." There is literally something for everyone including some serious cultural eating you cannot get anywhere else. Yes, I'm talking about the Crescent City's famous Cajun and Creole influences.

In this post, I give a short review of all the traditional foods you cannot miss and the best places to order them. You'll also learn about the current BBQ craze and up-and-coming Vietnamese trend. Catch them both before they go out of style!

The Brassy Jazz Sounds of New Orleans

The Brassy Jazz Sounds of New Orleans

The music culture is one of the main reasons I decided to take Jono to New Orleans this summer.

Trumpets, tubas, and trombones lead the culture of this Louisiana town. It's where parades of brass instruments blare down the streets at the start of a new day and jazz processions commonly mark the end of a life.

From a famous, 20-year old brass band recognized by the Grammy's to simple street performing artists, I saw the Crescent City bring strutting jazz, indie funk, hip-hop attitude and old school swing together under one melodic genre that is uniquely New Orleans.

5 Neighborhoods of New Orleans: View From the Streets

5 Neighborhoods of New Orleans: View From the Streets

This is an introduction to New Orleans from the perspective I saw it: From the streets!

Aptly named the Big Easy, I comfortably explored the majority of downtown New Orleans by foot and street car last month. Jono and I were staying in an Airbnb that put us right at the cross section of several different neighborhoods within walking distance of the famous and lively French Quarter district.

Historic black culture, hurricane damage, enormous mansions, blaring brass instruments, drunken tourists and beignets—each of these characteristics define at least one of five neighborhoods in New Orleans.

Snapshots From My Trip to New Orleans and the Florida Keys

Snapshots From My Trip to New Orleans and the Florida Keys

This is going to be a quick post. I've run out of time to write something more extensive this week because I just returned from my trip to New Orleans and the Florida Keys!

I had an awesome time exploring these two parts of the USA with Jono who has been visiting me from New Zealand this summer. We spent 5 nights in New Orleans and 7 nights in Southern Florida. These places were vastly different from each other and incredible in their own separate ways.

Instead of going into a deep post this week, I've decided to share with you a few of my favorite photos from these two places. I think these photos best capture both locations in their individual glory.