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- Posted:Wednesday, May 18, 2016
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Top 7 Weird and Cheap Experiences in New Orleans
New Orleans sure is unique in its weirdness. From the hipster HQ of Frenchmen Street, to the legendary French Quarter and right onto the epicentre of boozed up carnage, Bourbon Street, the city is full of the strange and fascinating. Along with the food and the music it’s what makes it so appealing to us travellers. If you’re looking for the weirdest things to do in New Orleans, with the smallest price tag, here’s where you’ll find them.
1. Bourbon Street
The street where no local will go, apparently. Bourbon Street in New Orleans is one of the strangest, stinkiest, craziest 13 blocks I’ve ever been on. Of an evening you’ll see people throwing beads from balconies, apparently in return for girls flashing their boobs but I actually only saw one flash and I saw hundreds of beads. Come midnight and the streets are covered. Apparently this road is cleaned twice a day to try and keep up. It’s here that you’ll find the legendary cocktails of New Orleans. If you want to ‘do’ Bourbon Street you need a Hurricane from Pat O’Briens, a Hand Grenade from Tropical Isle and an absinthe from The Absinthe House, all in one night. One of the best things about this area of town is that you can buy a drink from any bar and take it into the next. Expect absolute carnage, and you wont be disappointed.
Free to infinity, how much will you spend on drinks? Expect around $10 a drink here!
2. Pepper Palace
Fancy yourself as a bit of a hot sauce aficionado? Want to see how you hold out when trying the nasal napalm? Pepper Palace has 100s of hot sauces for you to try and buy, from mild salsas to sauces so hot you have to sign a waiver and be over 18 to try. Every sauce is graded 1-10. I was showing off for my Snapchat (VickyFlipFlop) and ended up covering my tortilla in an 8 and regretting it for at least the next 10 minutes of my life, which was spent panting and sucking on ice cubes. No way was I going near a 10.
Free to try, to buy, how much do you like hot sauce?
3. New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum
Voodoo came to New Orleans when the slaves did way back when in the 1700s. Thankfully slavery was abolished but the essence of voodoo has stuck around in its many forms ever since. Marie Laveau is the most well-known practitioner and you’ll see her name referenced around the city. The New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum offers daily tours around New Orleans or you can take yourself on a guided tour around the museum whenever you like. Expect lots of skulls, voodoo dolls and I’ll tell you one interesting little fact I picked up, tribal people used to carry masks of themselves as passports, like in the photo above. If you’re into Voodoo, there are lots of shops around town that will tell you more and you can even get a reading. If there’s one place to obey those ‘no photos’ signs though, it’d be in there.
$5 for a museum tour or $20 for out and about
4. Cemetery tours
You know the actor Nicholas Cage, the one who hasn’t done anything good for a long, long time and looks a bit like a potato? Well he’s already got his pyramid tomb paid for and built up in St Louis Cemetery No 1, on top of the grave of another family. Locals think he’s crazy, well the two I spoke to about it used a stronger word than that, and legend has it that he did it to be in the same cemetery as the aforementioned Marie Laveau’s family tomb, as he bought her house once and has considered himself cursed ever since. For some reason he’s decided that this will lift that curse and set him free. Ok Cagey Boy, whatever.
Free to explore, or take a guided tour for around $20
5. Mardi Gras World
This is the home to many of the floats used in the legendary Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans. Every February the city goes crazy for Fat Tuesday and the celebrations last for days. Mardi Gras World is where they’re thought up, built and wheeled out from. Visit for the day and you can tour the 18-foot floats, see how they create the incredible characters and wander in and out of the creations as well as learning more about one of the biggest carnival celebrations in the world.
6. Street Car cruising
You can buy a day ticket for the street car for $3, which covers the normal buses too, but who wants them when you can rattle down the tram lines in a car from 1895? When the Americans built their side of the city the French refused to give up the street cars and they’ve since become one of the signatures of New Orleans. Cruise all the way up and down St Charles Avenue and get a window seat for the best views of the incredible houses that line the avenue.
7. Daytime drink on a balcony
There are plenty of bars with balconies around the city, find one at happy hour (like Crescent City Brewhouse and Dat Dogs), perch yourself there for the afternoon and you’ll see what life in New Orleans is really like. People watching is one of the best activities when you’re travelling on a budget. I saw all sorts from up there, but I’ll let you enjoy it with an open mind. Have fun!
Happy hour drinks $2.50-$5
Where to stay
You’re in New Orleans, you need somewhere fun and friendly to make the most of your time there. You need the Auberge NOLA. It’s one of my favourite hostel experiences of my many 100s. Located in one of the old antebellum Louisiana-style houses, it’ss more like a house than a hostel. There are three social spaces, depending on whether you want to play computer games and instruments, do some work or read, or you want to get down to it and make some friends. This is the best hostel in North America as voted for in HostelWorld’s annual Hoscars – can you imagine how good you have to be to win that accolade?
The fun staff are a big part of the cool atmosphere here – every night one of them will take you out to a different part of New Orleans so you can make the most of the nightlife there rather than wandering around aimlessly on your lonesome. I ended up riding a mechanical bull on our night on Bourbon. There’s plenty of space in the hostel rooms here, the bathroom is like you’re at home and there’s a great outdoor area where you pay just $10 for free beer from the cooled keg all night. And, to add to all that, it’s located just off St Charles Avenue, right between the French Quarter and Magazine Street, and in among the incredible houses of the area.
Thanks to Louisiana Travel for the Flickr pic!