Bike N Vote Nola bringing the community together for a ride to the polls @bikenvote
Come along as we hit New Orleans, Louisiana for 2 Days on 2 Wheels! NOLA is the second stop along our tour of cities that participated in our Final Mile program. Check out more about the entire Final Mile program at finalmile.peopleforbikes.org.
The goal for our visit was to use updated and new infrastructure to check out the city by bike! Hop on a rental, your favorite touring bike or the local bike share and follow along as we hit some well-known sites and discover more along the way!
Our first stop of the trip was a no brainer… Right up there with jazz and Mardi Gras, Cafe du Monde beignets have become a symbol of New Orleans. Piping hot and covered in powdered sugar, these French “donuts” are a must-have fuel when biking around this beautiful city. We stopped by the new City Park Cafe du Monde location surrounded by beautiful oak trees and small bridges crossing the park’s bayou, but you can find the original location in the heart of the French Quarter that has been there since 1862.
New Orleans’ City Park is one of the best ways to experience nature while being only a 10-minute bike ride from the heart of the city. It’s an impressive size for a small city — more than 50% larger than New York’s Central Park — and contains miles of protected bikeways including a newly expanded bike path around 95% of its perimeter. The park contains at least eight different ecosystems, and you’ll bike by swamps, open fields, dense forests and a golf course (does that count?). Laborde Mountain stands near the center of the park, New Orleans’ highest peak at a whopping 43 feet above sea level.
On a spring day you can see paddleboaters and casual kayakers drifting through the park’s network of ponds and lagoons. No alligators have been sighted… yet! City Park is also home to the newly built Children’s Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art which boasts paintings, sculptures and more from dozens of historic eras. Pack a picnic and prepare for a lovely day of adventure!
Something for everyone at this museum.
As we mentioned above, City Park is home to the Museum of Art! The Museum's collection includes more than 40,000 objects, spanning 5,000 years of art. It is noted for its extraordinary strengths in French and American art, photography, glass and African and Japanese works, and it continues to expand and grow. With permanent and rotating exhibits, this museum will surely have something for every art enthusiast out there.
Get lost in the architecture of this cemetery.
As the American city with the third-highest annual rainfall plus being built on a swamp, you can see why burying bodies underground might not be such a good idea. Almost all New Orleans graves are above ground, and given the historic importance of graveyards in the city, there are several major cemeteries in the city center. We biked along oak-lined Esplanade Ave. to St. Louis Cemetery and respectfully dismounted to walk among the elevated graves, many of which stood more than 10 feet tall. The festive tones of the city fell into hushed reverence as walking deeper into the cemetery took us back in time with the thousands of residents — some of whom were born more than 200 years ago — who have called New Orleans home.
Are you hungry yet? We sure were, and joined the staff of local advocacy group Bike Easy for a po’ boy and banana pudding at Parkway Bakery. Since 1911, this New Orleans icon has proudly dished out po’ boy sandwiches filled with fried shrimp, oysters, roast beef, hot sausage and more, as well as their homemade potato salads, fries and desserts. The line was around the block on Friday at lunch time and their outdoor tent seating area was packed! The wait gave us time to hear from Bike Easy staff about the new infrastructure across the city creating safer and more-protected bikeways.
Blue Bikes are ready to go.
Blue Bikes are NOLA’s local bike share system. If you've never checked out an e-bike before, we recommend using one as you roll out to another stop. With hubs all over the city, they are easily accessible and make biking just as convenient as taking rideshare. Take advantage and grab one if you need one!
As we wrapped up day one, we headed back to the location of our Airbnb, a beautiful stop we couldn't resist was Louis Armstrong Park. This local park honors the jazz great Louis Armstrong and is home to the iconic, arched entrance bearing its name. Inside you'll find sites like Congo Square (a historic meeting place for slaves in the 1800s), sculptures, duck ponds and lots of open spaces for relaxing. Enjoy its beauty and get ready for Day two!