I gained...10 pounds in 2 days? New Orleans is like...an experience. You can't really plan a good itinerary - I think you just pick a neighborhood or a street and start walking. That's your itinerary. I went for a business meeting and stayed right on the corner of Bourbon and Canal. I know it's hard to get a feel for a place in 24 hours, but I feel like I get it. I get why people go crazy for New Orleans. You can walk down a few streets and eat pretty much whatever you want, while hearing live music, seeing performers/dancers/artists, and taking in the beautiful architecture, history, and the amazing shopping.
And the beignets. Oh I most definitely had my share of those fried little sugar bombs.
In case you are looking into New Orleans, or headed there soon, here is a brief itinerary of what I did:
First I went to a meeting. That was sort of fun, and I wore polka dots, which was really fun.
Muffuletta: Central Grocery. I asked for a half because these sandwiches are HUGE, but the chef gave me a whole sandwich...as a favor? I could only eat half, but this was the first place I went and I knew I had to save my appetite for other things...
Beignets: Cafe du Monde, of course. Afterwards it's fun to walk around the French Market and check out the artists coop and little souvenir shops. I bought some Aunt Sally's pralines to bring home for Mark. They are also little sugar bombs.
I also went to Cafe Beignet which was totally charming and little birds joined me at my table while I ate my beignets. But I thought Cafe du Monde's were much better! But it was nice to have a more low key setting. Cafe du Monde is sort of a tourist trap and madhouse, but still a fun experience.
Shopping: I LOVED walking down Royal street and checking out all the cool art galleries, vintage shops, and random shops like a hat shop (I tried on a bunch of feathery costume-y hats with a store clerk - fun!), and I found a bookstore called Kitchen Witch that was filled bottom to top with cookbooks and records. That was it! Mostly cookbooks. The owner was a former chef who decided he was finished with the fast paced life of restaurants, so settled down in The Big Easy. I loved this guy and his shop. He almost convinced me to give up everything in DC and move my family down there to do...who knows what. Open up a shop selling vintage tins, watercolors, and baked goods (My secret fun idea of a good shop).
Live jazz: I headed to Maison Bourbon on Bourbon street to hear some old school jazz from a guy who sounded and sort of looked like Louis Armstrong. It was so charming!
Go for a run/walk down by the river: There is a really nice, well-kept park and running path right next to the Mississippi with great people watching and great boat watching. Check out the barges and ships riding along the Great Mississippi and imagine you are back in the days of Mark Twain.
It was a great trip and I'd love to go again, maybe this time with a little more salad in between my beignets. Honestly by the time I left, I felt so sick from eating sugar and grease, but oh MAN is that New Orleans food pure comfort!