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New Orleans: Q&A with Kathryn of Staying Afloat

I can’t stress the importance of community enough when you’re blogging, especially with current events!  That’s how I was able to network with Kathryn from Staying Afloat.  It turns out that we both really enjoyed New Orleans and thought it would be interesting to see how our opinions on our time spent there would compare.  Enter a Q&A swap!  Kathryn shares her answers below and if you’d like to read mine head over to her site, Staying Afloat.  Spoiler:  we both have excellent taste.


When was the first time you went to NOLA?

Kathryn:  My first trip to the Big Easy was under less then stellar circumstances. I was sent down in 2010 in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that happened on Earth Day of the same year. It was a really good time for me to take the work as I was actively seeking a job at the time and getting an all expenses paid trip to New Orleans seemed like something I couldn’t pass up! I ended up living in a hotel room in the French Quarter for a month before moving into an apartment just off Bourbon Street for another two months. I was able to walk to the office every day and had the opportunity to explore so many different restaurants while I was there. Not surprisingly, also put on a few pounds (haha!)



What did you expect?

Kathryn:  To be honest, I was so focused on the oil spill and the job that I didn’t invest much in the planning aspect of it. All I knew is that it was a top tier destination that would have really great food and entertainment options. I didn’t know anyone else that was going to be working there so the whole experience was new for me.


What was your first impression of Bourbon Street?

Kathryn:  It’s a lot! If you aren’t used to big city crowds, it can certainly be overwhelming. But you have to see it, at least once, purely for the ‘adult playground’ aspect. On Bourbon Street, it’s Mardi Gras EVERY NIGHT. So anyone that visits gets a chance to experience a slice of the chaos. The amount of trash that amasses along the street on a daily basis as a result of careless tourists was pretty upsetting to me. They do have street cleaners that go by each night to freshen it up for the next day’s crowds but it’s still disconcerting.


How many times have you been back/would you go back?

Kathryn:  After spending three months there initially, I couldn’t wait to go back. The city burrows itself deep inside you and leaves a feeling you just can’t shake, “I NEED to go back!” And I did, I’ve actually been back three more times in the last decade. And every time, it’s with someone new, who is new to NOLA and it’s a thrill to watch them experience it for the first time. Sharing what I consider a part of my life with them is an experience that will never get old. And I will continue to go back over, and over, and over. It really makes every trip back a new experience for me as well. And the city has so much to offer that it’s hard to get bored of it!
My last trip was with my partner and two other couples for Mardi Gras 2020 (just prior to the COVID pandemic hitting the US). While I probably won’t do Mardi Gras again (been there done that sort of thing) we had an absolute BLAST! We stayed in the Bywater and took in most of the festivities there. We did wander over to the French Quarter to see what Bourbon looked like and all the costumes that were about. We also attended one of the main parades (Krewe of Orpheus) to see what all the hype was about as far as the floats and throws.



What is your one piece of advice for a first time?

Kathryn:  For the love of all that is holy, venture off of Bourbon Street! This city has SOOOOOO much more to offer! Leave Bourbon Street, heck, leave the French Quarter! Head to the Marigny, Bywater, Garden District and the various other neighbourhoods. Jump on the Charles Street trolley and take it west, to the end of the line. It’s well worth the couple dollars it costs and you’ll see more!



Kathryn’s favorites in NOLA:


TV show/movie

American Horror Story Season 3 – Coven something about the dark history of the city really makes it come to life so much more when you are there.



“My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now” by Dirty Dozen Brass Band – this song brings back fond memories of late night dance parties to the classic local sounds of street corner brass bands, it’ll get your feet movin!



Royal Street (at night) – just one street over from Bourbon Street, this street is the break you need from the chaos. The art gallery windows are all lit up an provide perfect exhibits for any passers by to feast their eyes on.



White Russian Daquiri – because daquiri.



Jacques Imos – it’s definitely off the beaten path but well worth the trip and wait, if you arrive at prime time.



Muffuletta from Central Grocery (paired with a Bloody Mary from Willie’s Chicken Shack a few doors down) – it’s now a tradition for us. A muffuletta is a mixed deli meat sandwich on sesame bread with olive salad inside the sandwich. It’ll turn an olive hater into an olive lover (at least it did for me!)


Cultural aspect

The mash up of French and African cultures that created everything that NOLA represents.



What’s your number one “can’t miss” recommendation for NOLA?

Kathryn:  The night art market on Frenchman Street and a walking tour with French Quarter Phantoms.



If you were going to get someone a souvenir from NOLA what would it be?

Kathryn:  A praline from one of the MANY praline shops (love them all!) – a creamy sugar “cookie” filled with pralines.



Who Dat?



Kathryn Roy is a marine biologist and freelance writer. In her free time, she manages Staying Afloat Blog, an eco-budget travel blog she runs with her partner. Her writing style combines her scientific perspective with her passion for travel, in an attempt to bring awareness to the natural beauty of the places she travels.


Planning future travel and need inspiration?  Pin for later!


Can’t get enough New Orleans?  Read more on my NOLA experiences like how to spend a long weekend and where to eat.  Have a NOLA favorite?  Leave a comment below and let me know!

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  1. Irene

    May 21, 2020 at 2:10 am

    I’ve never been to New Orleans but I feel so inspired to visit after reading this post! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Morgan

      May 27, 2020 at 11:03 am

      I think Kathryn & I would both highly recommend it! Thanks for reading!

  2. kileen

    May 21, 2020 at 3:38 am

    i need to go back to NOLA!! those pralines sound delicious!

    cute & little

  3. Becky

    May 21, 2020 at 10:42 am

    New Orleans is super high on my list of places to visit. Reading all of this makes me super excited to go someday, when all of this has calmed down a little bit!

  4. Stephanie

    May 21, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    As if I didn’t already want to visit New Orleans. Now I want to go even more! My husband and I had hoped to plan a trip for 2020, but it’s looking like that might be less of a possibility – at least for the near future. Hopefully one day I get to visit. I want to eat my way through the city hah!

  5. Melissa

    May 21, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    My boyfriend and I would love to go to New Orleans. Sounds super interesting and a fun place to visit. I really want to try the food there!

  6. Katerina

    May 22, 2020 at 8:30 am

    Great post! We loved visiting New Orleans and I totally agree with the advice to venture off of Bourbon Street. Hope to come back soon again (when we’re allowed)!

    1. Morgan

      May 27, 2020 at 11:02 am

      Glad you liked the post! Here’s to hoping you can get back to NOLA soon!

  7. benzir katara

    May 27, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    I have never been to New Orleans, but I feel so inspired to visit after reading your post. sounds good.

    1. Morgan

      May 28, 2020 at 7:43 pm

      I hope you get to visit someday! It’s a really wonderful, vibrant city that Kathryn from Staying Afloat and I both love!

  8. benzir katara

    May 27, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    first time i herd about this place and search on google, found beautiful through your post thanks for sharing I found new bucket list with this.

  9. Lecy | A Simpler Grace

    June 1, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    New Orleans is one place I’ve never been before but would love to visit. The culture, the food, the people, the atmosphere are all things that draw me to that city.

  10. Patricia @ Grab a Plate

    June 1, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Super-cool! I’ve always wanted to go, but have never been yet! I have heard to explore outside the usual spots. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Kelsey

    June 1, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    I have never been to New Orleans but it definitely sounds like an intriguing place! Thanks for providing so much detail!

    1. Morgan

      June 2, 2020 at 12:59 pm

      I think Kathryn and I would both recommend a NOLA visit at least once! There’s really something for everyone.

  12. Kelly

    June 2, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    I have always wanted to visit! Hopefully one day soon!! Thank you for all the amazing information!!

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