With complete honesty, I never looked at New Orleans as a city or place to visit. But I was of course excited and more importantly intrigued when asked if our family would like to visit and tour the city. And if I could somehow make it work in my book writing schedule, then of course it would happen (I’m SO glad, it worked out!). Admittedly, I went into this New Orleans trip with two thoughts. One: But what can I do there? And Two: well, I guess it doesn’t matter, I do want a vacation and it seems nice, so I’m sure we can enjoy our family time together. (Oh and one more thought: a vegan in New Orleans, how will that work? But we can talk about that later.) What I didn’t expect with this trip was to not only enjoy some time, but to enjoy every single moment and fall absolutely head over heels in love with this city. New Orleans is magical. One person commented on my instagram, “people come and visit and either get it or they don’t. I sure feel sorry for those who don’t.” I can’t imagine not getting it— the magic is everywhere— in the buildings, the food, the stories, in the colors, in the walls, in the art and culture, and especially in the people. I’ve already said it on my instagram, but there are not many places I can connect to here in the U.S— granted, I haven’t explored every city and town in this country, but regardless, I’ve never felt the *connection* like I do with New Orleans. I like a lot of cities and enjoy many parts of them, but not like this. New Orleans has something different to it— a kindness that’s hard to find. I knew very little about New Orleans going into this trip. For example, I had no idea there was an actual skyline. But going in and exploring, I never, not ever, felt out of place. I now understand the pride that is felt from the residents— New Orleans has a new forever fan. We can’t wait to go back some day. 
I have a lot of stories of the people we met and the places we visited and I’m going to try to not spill it all out at once, but instead to have it align up with the moments photographed each day. I’m also going to be splitting the trip into a few posts— because the amount of photos I took is absolutely obscene (in the best way, if you ask me). Originally I had planned only two posts for this trip— but after spending my weekend going through our photos— it seems like there is going to be a few more 😉
Pictures, links, and more… after the cut…

First of all, before I start can I say, Marlowe can be iffy at dinners (picky with the slightly unfamiliar), but with planes, she’s a rockstar. But you know what saved us everywhere we went? These mosaic sticker things. Jen recommended them a few weeks ago and they are the absolute perfect-no cell phone way to entertain a toddler. (We used them on our Miami trip too). Jen, I owe you a million dollars for this recommendation. Thank you so much. (see you soon, maybe?) Go say thank youuuuu, Jen if you try them.

We stayed at the international house hotel. Yes, this is a picture of the bar and not the hotel— but you can see instantly how this hotel might be a good (amazing) place from looking at the bar alone. There really is a hotel option for everyone, but I really liked this place/wanted to stay here, because it has a small boutique feel— which I always enjoy and tend to actually prefer. And when a hotel makes efforts to be eco-friendly and has vegan/cruelty free soaps and shampoos as their only bath option? Well, it’s a great option, obviously. And having this gorgeous bar right downstairs, didn’t hurt either— because yes, you can order drinks and bring them up stairs to where you have a sleeping toddler— no going out required. There’s a gym too, but I didn’t even look at that, like I tried to convince myself I would.

After we checked in, we hit the street to try to visit a restaurant everyone recommended, but it was closed for the week. We were sad, stopped in a coffee shop to re-plan and opted to take a longer walk down to magazine street for the place we planned for dinner, juan’s flying burrito. I took no pictures there, I was busy stuffing my face with a burrito. 
It’s no surprise that it was hot in New Orleans. I was surprised that it was cool enough to wear pants (the first day). Lately, I’m in a guaranteed sweat the minute I open the front door here in Florida— in New Orleans it was hot, but thankfully not as hot. Regardless, I didn’t wear jeans again after the first day.

We took a lot of shady breaks. Marlowe asked for them quite a bit, and I gladly accepted.

We stopped in this beautiful umbrella store which is where I received the first real dose of genuine contagious niceness— granted the owner was from Seattle, but still, New Orleans kindness is real. Marlowe was obsessed with all the frilly umbrellas. Is it amusing to anyone else that the man from Seattle sells umbrellas?

We then headed back to the hotel for a quick heat, quiet time break (we woke up at 5 am that day, after going to bed at 1 or 2 am!) and then took the quick 5 minute walk to the waterfront to check out the aquarium.

We then had a bit of time left and opted to check out the insectarium before it closed—- a place one of my south florida friends actually recommended. It was one of the coolest things we did the whole trip. I mean, bugs give me the heebie jeebies— and roaches will make me scream, but this place was awesome. 

Hey look! A family photo!

Afterwards we headed back to magazine street to find a Vietnamese place we had passed earlier. I absolutely, 100% regret not buying more egg rolls. They were SO GOOD.

I bought a hat.

Lately when I ask her for photos I get two reactions, one is the most adorable pose and smile ever. The other is a fake mad face. Emphasis on the fake— I don’t know why she does it, but I know I did it growing up too— so maybe that explains it 😉

lilly’s cafe: do not skip this. this will be the first place we visit next time we head to new orleans. Straight off the plane: egg rolls please. 

We then jumped in a cab—something I think I’ve ever done only once here in Florida (lots of times elsewhere of course)—- headed back to the hotel, and zonked out for the night. 

international house hotel.

magazine street (a funky little street of mostly independent shops and restaurants).

bella umbrella (on magazine street)
free people

audubon institute aquarium
audubon institute insectarium

juan’s flying burrito
lilly’s cafe

*I plan on doing a whole separate vegan new orleans post in the near-ish future of my favorites and what not— there were so many good spots!
*marlowe’s yellow dress is from HERE.

This trip was in partnership with The City Of New Orleans. A HUGE thank you to NOTMC for inviting us to your beautiful city.  &&a huge thank you to all those who recommended such amazing places! Nola, we love you. 


  1. What a great trip full of lots of wonderful memories!!!! I seriously love that family photo of you guys! And the one of Alex and M through the window. I'm so glad you had such a good time!
    ~ Samantha

  2. Great post Drea! I've only been to NOLA once for a day or two, but I thought it was amazing as well. And I happened to stop at the insectarium which I was agree, was totally awesome. 🙂 we'll have to go back now that we are only a 7hr drive!

  3. Um, I need those red shoes you are wearing ASAP!! 😉 do they make your
    feet sweaty? I stopped wearing toms because of that. Haha.

    • They're hand made in italy– I got them off a boutique truck— (?? I feel like theres a better word for that?) — sweaty, yes, but not as sweaty as toms since they are lighter and with cut outs in the fabric 🙂

  4. Wow you make New Orleans look really great. I've never found it that appealing before and when friends have visited it sounded like it was just Mardi Gras drunk girls with no shirts on all the time haha But I'm aware they would have other culture too. My mom has been begging me to go with her and now maybe I'll go! Savings this and upcoming posts for our possible future trip. Super thankful you point out good vegan eats!

    • well, there's def. the party side— but there's really so much more. Go with your mom!

  5. Thank you for this! My husband and I plan on a road trip that way soon! Love the tips you've given so far. This is pinned, needless to say.

  6. New Orleans sounds wonderful. We would have loved the insectarium as well, such beautiful butterflies. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of your posts. CJ xx

    • she dresses herself 😉 she also asked me if she could go to fashion week one day— "maybe when she's ten"