Recently, I was fortunate enough to get to visit New Orleans. NOLA. The Big Easy. The Crescent City. Call it what you want, just be sure to recognize the incredible history and culture the area harbors. It was a short trip, but there were a few things I HAD to do while I was in town. No, I’m not talking about bar hopping down Bourban Street. If you know anything about me, then you already know that’s not my scene. (Although, I may have ended up bar hopping down Bourban Street a little bit anyway though. Hey, when in Rome, ya know??) Actually, the places I had on my must-see list were almost all National Literary Landmarks. And they most certainly did NOT disappoint.
Hotel Monteleone – The guest list at this beautiful hotel throughout its history is staggering: Truman Capote, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Charles Kelley, just to name a few of the noteworthy. (Okay, fine. I may have gotten a little overzealous including myself on that list. Sometimes I just get caught up in the moment and get carried away.)
After a few rounds on the carousel bar, I can clearly see the appeal. The gorgeous structure would make for a perfect writing retreat. Although, I’m willing to bet the folks listed probably had a slightly stiffer drink at the bar than me, but that’s alright. Inspiration comes from all sources, right?
Backspace Bar – This place has a seriously great writer’s vibe.
From their website: Both barflies and book clubs find solace in the cozy civility of Backspace Bar where liquor bottles lines the bookshelves and the patrons are equally obsessed with literature and libations.
The bookshelves are stocked with bottles between vintage typewriters.
I’d be remiss if I failed to mention one of the biggest highlights of this fine establishment; The Backspace Burger is legitimately one of the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life.
William Faulkner’s New Orleans House/Faulkner House Books – As great as my first two stops were, this one may have taken the cake.
Walking into William Faulkner’s house and purchasing a copy of his first novel in the same room it was written in, was quite possibly the biggest highlight of my whole trip.
Tennessee Williams New Orleans House – this was a seriously disappointing stop on my bookish tour as it was undergoing renovations.
It also seems like this might be a privately owned residence at this point, so other than the faded, unkempt plaque on the front of the house, there might not be much else to see here.
Stop by and stand in the presence of historical significance, but that might be about all the experience you can garner at this location.
My visit to the bayou was way too short, and there are several other locations that I didn’t have the chance to check out, like Sherwood Anderson’s salon, the Lillian Hellman Home, and the Beauregard-Keyes House. The rich, bookish history in this city is amazing and undeniable. It serves as such an incredible inspiration, and the hospitality is second to none. Not to mention the access to the standard vices for authors and artists lining the sidewalk up and down Bourbon Street.
I practically had to keep pinching myself to ensure that I wasn’t walking around in a dream the few, short days I got to spend in this magnificent city, and I can’t wait to go back. Maybe then I’ll have more time to check out some of the spots I missed this trip!
Thank you, that is all.