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7.02.2013

Travel Tuesday: Road Trip from Austin to New Orleans

 
One of the positive sides to moving halfway across the country is that we now have new places to explore in road trip distance.  One of the first road trips we took after our move to central Texas was a road trip from Austin to New Orleans to celebrate my 30th birthday.  It has not been the last road trip we have taken to Louisiana since!  We have discovered some great eats and things to do along the way and in New Orleans that I wanted to share with you during this Travel Tuesday post.  I hope some of these tips help you in your travels!  For more travel tips, check out any of the blog posts in my Travel Tuesday series.  For some new NOLA favorite restaurants and bars, see my latest blog post on New Orleans here.
 
3015 Main Hwy # A
Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
 
 
Upon entering Cajun country, trust me when I say you MUST eat at Poche's in Breaux Bridge.  Honestly the best Crawfish Etouffee I have ever had.  I am salivating thinking about it.

Evangeline Oak
St. Martinville


Near Breaux Bridge, head south to St. Martinville to see an historic Acadian town, and the famous Evangeline Oak of Longfellow's epic poem Evangeline on Bayou Teche.  I found the poem really cheaply on Amazon and read it aloud to my husband on the Kindle app on my iPad during our drive.  The oak itself is said to be over 500 years old, and the piece of the bayou it sits on is lovely.

I have some more tips on places to hit on your drive back through Cajun country later in the post.

Hilton New Orleans - St. Charles Avenue
333 St Charles Ave.  
New Orleans, LA 70130

We stayed in this hotel for my birthday weekend in New Orleans based on the recommendation of a friend, who grew up in New Orleans. The location was awesome, just a short walk from the French Quarter without being in the bustle of Bourbon Street. Rooms were gorgeous and comfortable, with great views. One of the highlights of the hotel is their on-site restaurant, Luke, which I highly recommend (see review below). Even in a great food city like New Orleans, I was amazed that some of the best food I had on my trip was at a hotel restaurant!

Café du Monde
800 Decatur Street 
New Orleans 70116


You can not go to New Orleans without visiting the Café du Monde. They only make a few things, but they make them well! Beignets and a cup of coffee are the perfect way to start a morning in the Big Easy.

Gumbo Shop
630 St Peter St.
New Orleans, LA 70116

This place was recommended to me by a New Orleans native, so I knew it had to be good. I was not disappointed, as it was the best gumbo I have ever had. Definitely a must-stop during a trip to New Orleans!

Luke
333 St Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70130 (At Hilton St. Charles)

As mentioned above, I was surprised that even in an amazing food city like New Orleans, that some of the best food I had was at a hotel restaurant! I now recommend a visit to Luke to anyone who is visiting New Orleans. Some of the items I especially liked were the mussels (I wanted to drink the sauce they were in, it was so tasty), and the oysters, which were some of the best I have ever had. My entrée and the cheese/fois gras platter were also excellent.

Pirates Alley Café and Absinthe House
622 Pirates Alley
New Orleans, LA 70116


There is a quaint cute bar in Pirates Alley that serves Absinthe in many unique ways.  We opted for the traditional.

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar
941 Bourbon St.
New Orleans, LA 70116


Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar was (according to their website) "built between 1722 and 1732 by Nicolas Touze, is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States." Definitely the oldest bar in New Orleans.  A fun place to visit for the historical value.  Also, I am pretty sure this place is haunted if you are interested in that sort of thing.

Walk Around


I find that we don't end up spending a lot of money when in New Orleans, as there is so much to see and take in just by walking around.  Architecture from multiple eras, history all around you, music - lots of live jazz and zydeco music played on the streets and in restaurants, unique art from this melting pot of culture, and things you don't see anywhere else (dried alligator heads anyone?).

Voodoo Museum
724 Dumaine St.
New Orleans, LA 70116


This was a fun stop to learn more about the voodoo culture in Lousiana... and of course to pick up some gris gris.

Plantation Alley Drive

Image Source: Road Trip USA


On our drive out of New Orleans, we opted to drive the Great River Road through Plantation Alley for a bit before getting back onto the interstate.  You can see some beautiful old plantation homes such as Oak Alley (see my photo above). Visit Road Trip USA for a map.

Acadian Cultural Center and Vermilionville
Lafayette



On your way back you can get more Cajun/Acadian history by visiting the Acadian Cultural Center, and Vermilionville (a "living history and folk life park") right next door.  Above you can see an oak dripping with picturesque Spanish moss, and my husband getting a lesson in the fiddle from a man at Vermilionville.  They also have a great Cajun buffet, but I would save your appetite for the po-boys I am about to tell you about in Lafayette.

Olde Tyme Grocery
218 W St Mary Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506

The best po-boys in this area can be found at Olde Tyme Grocery in Lafayette.  As this is a hot spot for students at U La La, it can get pretty busy around lunch, but the shrimp po-boy is both huge and worth the wait.

Now have fun eating your way through this road trip!

For some new, AHmazing NOLA food and restaurant reviews, see my latest New Orleans blog post here.

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