Bloggers Daniella Maney, ‘20 and Mark McPhillips, ‘20 embarked on a road trip this summer with their friend Samuel Piller, ‘20 before coming back to Conn. We will publish a series of posts about what they experienced along the way.... (Read Post 1)
Day seven was my day for sure. We finally arrived at my choice of destination: New Orleans. As I mentioned in this previous blog post, I picked New Orleans for a lot of reasons like its history with Voodoo and Haitian culture. I wrote my first essay in college about colonialism and its influence on Louisiana Voodoo culture for my Natives and Newcomers ConnCourse. I had some difficulty finding sources to fuel my research for the paper so I hoped to learn more about Voodoo and its history from our visit to the city. I also wanted to visit New Orleans for the food. With creole seafood and delicious desserts, I knew that this place was meant for me to experience. I have always found the energy around New Orleans enticing, stemming from the excitement around Mardi Gras and all of the stories I have heard from family members. Lastly, one of my favorite seasons of the show “American Horror Story: Coven” was filmed in New Orleans. Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates star in Coven alongside my idol Stevie Nicks.
Our first order of business was to get po boy sandwiches, a traditional Louisiana sandwich made with meat or seafood. One of Mark's friends and one of my friends both told us it is a must-do in New Orleans so we drove to the most famous place in the French District: Bourbon Street. We made our way down Bourbon Street, which is by far the busiest street downtown, and found a small store that served the sandwich. We all got the same kind, a grilled shrimp 8-inch po boy—the smaller size option. Our po boys were delicious. If you want a filling and great-tasting meal these sandwiches are for you. There are many other fillings, like chicken, if you’re not into seafood.
Both Mark and I discussed that we had to go to Marie Laveau’s gift store. Marie Laveau was a huge part of “Coven” and is world-renowned as the mother of Voodoo in New Orleans. Even though we knew the store would be a little corny we had to go in. A security guard stands at the front of the store yelling at people who attempt to take photographs or videos while inside, a big rule to break. We passed by Voodoo dolls, candles, and tarot cards. I had to buy some candles for good luck so I chose three candles and checked out. We walked around the French Quarter and popped into a few other stores then realized the very early dinner reservation I made was coming up.
As faithful American Horror Story fans, we knew that the Buckner Mansion, the main setting for the “Coven” season of American Horror Story, was nearby the restaurant. If you Google the Buckner Mansion many articles regarding “American Horror Story” and its ghostly haunting history come up. We could not pass up the opportunity to stop by and gawk at a place where my favorite actors and musicians have worked their magic. The mansion is HUGE and beautiful in a scary way. The spikes at the top of the front gate where the character Violet gets impaled while playing around with witchcraft give you a haunting feeling as you stare up at them. This may discourage some to come visit but I think it was totally worth it, even though you cannot go inside (unless you want to rent the mansion for $20,000). It’s an amazing house to see and a historical one because Stevie Nicks has been there (petition to make all of Stevie Nick’s performances historical sights?).
Our last stop was the New Orleans Cookery, a restaurant that I found online that had all of the things that we wanted to try: alligator, jambalaya, and gumbo. We paid a lot for parking. It’s hard to find parking in the French Quarter. Then we went to the restaurant which was much fancier than I had expected. We were seated in a room with romantic lighting, which was not the best setting for a friend dinner, but it was still nice. We ordered gator sausage bites, jambalaya, and seafood gumbo as appetizers. The alligator sausage tasted okay but pretty much like every other sausage, and the gumbo was also okay. The jambalaya on the other hand was amazing. We probably should have ordered three plates of that but it was good for us to try new things. We headed back to our hotel after dinner and talked a little about our day, and Mark’s disappointment at not having bought Tarot cards. We fell asleep looking forward to spending a little more time in New Orleans the next day.