bugsy running on lone rock beach with the airstream and f-150 in the background

Three nights in New Orleans, LA (visit #3)–Tucson for Christmas trip

We were in New Orleans in January 2024, as part of our Tucson for Christmas trip. Read about our previous visits in 2021 here, and in 2020 here.

Bugsy in her sequined Mardi Gras hat
Bugsy in her cousin’s Mardi Gras hat

Oh boy oh boy oh boy we love New Orleans but we were especially excited to visit in January because it was KING CAKE SEASON!!!


hanging at our campsite at FQRV
enjoying our campsite at FQRV

Once again, we stayed at the incredibly convenient French Quarter RV Resort. It’s a couple blocks from the French Quarter, adjacent to the Lafitte Greenway, and one block from New Orleans’ oldest/most famous/most haunted cemetery St. Louis No. 1. A raised highway zooms over the campground, so there’s some road noise; next time we’ll book a Premium site to get farther from the interstate.

Running and walking

Bugsy and a mural in New Orleans
Bugsy liked the dragon mural

The best way to see New Orleans is to walk around! While you’re exploring, keep an eye out for the 140+ murals around the city.

bugsy in Southern Paws
Bugsy bought some gifts at Southern Paws

We walked Bugsy into the French Quarter to admire the architecture and do some shopping, for king cakes, specifically. No dice. We did get Bugsy and her cousin Joy–whom we would be seeing shortly–some cute things at Southern Paws pet boutique. The FQ may be known for its rowdy nightlife, but away from the Bourbon Street revelry the neighborhood is beautiful and historic. And possibly haunted. Lots of places in New Orleans are possibly haunted.

Bugsy walking the trail in Couturie Forest
walking the trail in Couturie Forest

Bugsy’s next adventure was a ramble through Couturie Forest in City Park, a peaceful bird-watching desination. We had a lovely stroll and my notes said “gator bait central” so interpret that as you will.

St John Bayou
Bayou St John

Our go-to run in New Orleans is up the Lafitte Greenway from the campground to City Park. The greenway is a 2.6-mile linear park beginning near Jackson Square in the French Quarter; we like to take it almost to the northern end, veering right to run along Bayou St John, and turning around at the New Orleans Museum of Art.


delicious bread service at Doris Metropolitan
the incredibly delicious bread service at Doris Metropolitan

I snagged us reservations at the bar at Doris Metropolitan after reading about it in this travel guide; it mentioned the Ottolenghi-inspired menu, which to me, emphasized veggies. It’s a steak house and upon looking at the menu I couldn’t remember why I chose it (because–steak) but holy cow. If you’re a steak guy, get the spinalus cut, which was new to J. He said, and I quote, with a drumroll: “it’s the best steak I’ve ever had.” So there’s that. For us non-steak-eaters, the bread service is bonkers good, and I enjoyed the tomato salad and the branzino. J says we’ll definitely be back.

Bugsy in front of the Turkey and the Wolf mural

We returned to our favorite lunch spot, Turkey and the Wolf. The collard melt it so good that J got it too! We also shared the cabbage salad which was so yummy but our tummies hurt and we have to do a better job of sharing next time. Love this place.

breakfast bounty at Molly's Rise & Shine
breakfast bounty at Molly’s Rise and Shine

And because we love Turkey and the Wolf, we were excited to try Molly’s Rise and Shine! First of all, driving there is awful. But after you find parking, everything is super: we ended up with a bonkers delish breakfast biscuit / scallion pancake with spicy crispy rice salad / carrot yogurt and collards to go and were sooooo happy the next day. Can’t wait to go back! We think it’s even more delicious than Turkey and the Wolf!

salmon bowl from True Food Kitchen
salmon bowl from True Food Kitchen

Looking for something lighter and healthier (can you blame us after how we’d been treating our bodies), we ordered delivery from True Food Kitchen. It’s a regional chain of fresh and seasonal bowls and salads and our bowls totally hit the spot.

Bugsy in the King Cake Hub
Bugsy didn’t get any king cake at King Cake Hub

Why did we need the infusion of healthy food? Well: we found the mother lode. Zony Mash Brewing hosts a seasonal King Cake Hub. I don’t even know what to say. It’s KC mecca: any type or size of king cake you desire is there, plus merch, and we bought a sampler of gooey/gluten free/cinnamon/on-a-stick options. Glorious.



Bugsy in the tasting room at Zony Mash
Bugsy hanging out at Zony Mash

Since we were driving out to Zony Mash for the king cakes, we tried a flight of their sours and IPAs. I thought the sours were interesting and tasty, but J wasn’t impressed by the IPA. Their taproom/theater space is really cool, though, and dog-friendly.

beers and Bugs in the courtyard at Brieux Carre
Bugsy in the courtyard at Brieux Carre

We were advised by the Doris bartender to check out Brieux Carre (just outside the Vieux Carre–the Old Square in the FQ) beer garden: it’s a cozy dog-friendly outdoor spot for a drink, and we enjoyed sitting in the yard, but the beers didn’t suit us.


cocktails at the bar at Arnaud's French 75
a French 75 at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar

Do you enjoy a French 75 cocktail? If so, go to Arnaud’s French 75 Bar. Esquire said it was one of the top 5 bars in the country, and we love the swanky, old-school feel of the place (and I love a French 75).

cocktails at Jewel of the South
cocktails (and quail egg garnish) at Jewel of the South

Somehow we’d never been to Jewel of the South, a highly-awarded bar and restaurant in a sweet French Quarter house just a hop and a skip from the campground. We stopped by the bar and were impressed by the sophisticated ambiance and the quail egg garnish on my cocktail! As of this writing, they’re (at least) nominated for a 2024 James Beard award for Outstanding Bar. We’ll be back for sure, maybe to eat too.

the colorful French Quarter
walking through the French Quarter when we stumbled on Sylvain

I forget how we ended up at Sylvain for a drink at the bar–maybe we just walked by and liked the look of it? It’s a cool, dimly-lit spot with a big patio in the French Quarter and we enjoyed our drinks there.

The bartender at Doris also recommended Black Penny for its wide-ranging beer list, and we stopped by on way home from the FQ one night. It’s a super cool, kind of divey and historical-feeling bar even closer to home than Jewel of the South.

lattes at Backatown coffee
lattes at Backatown

Our other favorite drug is caffeine, so we very much appreciate having Backatown Coffee Parlour basically next door to FQRV. It’s been quite empty the several times we’ve visited, making it a great place to do some computer work.


The live music scene in New Orleans is legendary, and we felt a bit overwhelmed trying to figure out where to go. The easiest solution we hit upon was to head to Frenchmen Street and wander around until something caught our attention.

band at Cafe Negril
the band at Cafe Negril

Our first stop was at Cafe Negril, where we were drawn in by a jazzy, fun band. We stayed for several songs and then moved on…

Xcitement Band at 30/-90
the band at 30/-90

to yet another reco from the Doris bartender: 30°/-90° (which are the coordinates for New Orleans), a funky venue with fancy stuff like craft cocktails, oysters, and awesome music! We had a blast and stayed much longer than planned–these earlybirds went to bed way too late that night.

To do

Bugsy at the King Cake Hub
obviously on our to-do list is to eat all the king cake

I am excited about every single one of these to-do items!


  • Hungry Eyes, an 80s-themed cocktail bar/restaurant from the Turkey & the Wolf/Molly’s Rise & Shine team (closed Tuesdays)
  • Drink at Pimm’s Cup at Napoleon House–the historic restaurant in the French Quarter introduced the drink to America
  • Cure, an award-winning bar credited with bringing the craft cocktail movement to New Orleans


Other venues to try on Frenchmen Street: Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, DBA, Maison, Blue Nile, Mahogany Jazz Hall, and The Spotted Cat.

sunset over the Airstream and Bugsy at FQRV
sunset at FQRV

New Orleans was our last multi-day stop on this trip, so the next few posts will be a lot shorter and hopefully published much more quickly! Next up, Tuscaloosa!


  1. […] We were in New Orleans in February 2021 during our Winter Warmth trip. Read about our previous visit in 2020 here and our subsequent visit in 2024 here. […]

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