14 Ways Visiting New Orleans Is Way Different After Undergrad


New Orleans was my last trip of 2015 in the year I had traveled to 14 different cities. This was my fourth time in The Crescent City, but it was wholly different than the previous visits. The first two trips were for college road trips and the third was part of a vacation with an ex-boyfriend (we’re going to disregard the third time).

This time around, we were going for New Year’s Eve and a friend’s 25th birthday. It was on this trip, almost five years since the last visit (remember we’re disregarding that one time), that I saw the city from a different perspective and in a completely different way.

These are 14 ways that America’s Most Interesting City is different from undergrad once you’re in the real world:

Undergrad: You can’t get enough of hand grenades and hurricanes.
Real World: You get nauseous from the sight of one and the hangover they’d bring.

You eat the cheapest thing possible because you’re broke as hell.
Real World: You research all the best restaurants and are more excited for food than anything else.

Undergrad: You spend all of your time on Bourbon Street raging your face off.
Real World: You venture to other parts of town like Frenchman and the Garden District.

Undergrad: You ride the bull at Bourbon Cowboy.
Real World: You make fun of the people riding the bull at Bourbon Cowboy.

Undergrad: You collect a ton of beads but don’t remember how you got them.
Real World: You collect memories that you’ll have for a lifetime.

Undergrad: You consider yourself a tourist because you went to Café du Monde.
Real World: You forget about being a tourist and try to see the city as a local.

Undergrad: You stay somewhere on Canal Street with hundreds of people from school.
Real World: You stay in the French Quarter with the few people you still talk to.

You ask your parents to help pay for your trip and you end up spending that $20 to get into the strip club.
Real World: You make your own money and spend it… well probably still something questionable, but at least it’s your hard-earned cash.

Undergrad: You spend two days recovering from the weekend trip.
Real World: You spend a week recovering from the weekend trip.

Undergrad: You walk the streets of Nola through the night and probably get lost.
Real World: You get smart about driving in NOLA and order a Lyft, an Uber, or take a street car.

Undergrad: You take way too many blurry pictures that are also with strangers.
Real World: You don’t take enough pictures to get solid likes on Instagram (because that didn’t exist before).

Undergrad: You wait an absurd amount in line because it’s probably a tourist trap.
Real World: You ask a local and get your po’boy from the back of a convenience store.

You think the live music in the French Quarter is the best thing ever.
Real World: You know the live music in Frenchman is really the best thing ever.

Undergrad: You party until the sun comes up and drink a Natty Light when you wake up.
Real World: You party until the sun comes up and then drink a mimosa at brunch.

Undergrad: You have the best time of your life.
Real World: You have the best time of your life.

So while The Big Easy can be vastly different in just the matter of years, it doesn’t change how amazing the city is. No matter what point of your life you visit N’awlins, you’re going to fall in love with this town.

These streets are filled with music, great drinks, beautiful architecture, tons of history, fantastic food, and even ghosts. The streets of this city are guaranteed to be a good time no matter how old you are… It just might take a little more time to recover.

Haven’t beignet? You should go.