Last week I visited New Orleans for the first time and, I have to say, it was a pretty incredible experience. I left NOLA with new friends, tons of new connections, knowledge and inspiration on how to uplift our seacoast community, and it lit a (even larger) fire in my heart.
The Leader’s Retreat is hosted by The Rising Tide Society and Honeybook. It is a yearly retreat / workshop for all of the chapters across the world. After experiencing my first retreat last year in San Franciso and how fast it all goes, I decided to spend an extra day in NOLA to take in some of the sights and experience some of the culture. You can read more about last year’s retreat in San Fransisco here.
I am so fortunate to have experienced such a fun city with such talented and inspiring women. Myself and 8 other leaders shared an AirBnB in the Garden District together. Laura, Jenn, Tiffany and Mackenzie and I had all roomed together last year and this year we invited some more New England ladies to join (woo hoo!). Kate, Katherine, Meredith, and Erica became part of our crew and I had so much fun meeting some talented New England chicks.
Katherine, Kate, and I flew in late Saturday night and we all woke up excited and eager to learn Sunday morning for the first day of workshops. The workshop was held at the The Pontchartrain Hotel and we were welcomed with coffee, breakfast goodies, and fun design elements.
(See below for credit on all the creative talent who made the retreat possible)
Over the course of two days we discussed how we can serve our community better, listened to speakers who inspired us and challenged us, had group discussions with other leaders sharing our experiences leading our local chapters, ate all the beignets (no really, I had FIVE one morning), and danced the night away at a masquerade ball.
Some of the New England Leaders (minus Erica and our Portland peeps) below with the founder of The Rising Tide Society, Natalie Frank.
After saying our goodbyes on Monday morning, I headed to the French Quarter to check in at my hotel. Once I dropped my bags, I threw on some sneakers and headed out to walk around.
Headshots below by Katherine Brackman
Here are some of the places I visited:
Cafe Du Monde: This place was highly recommended however I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of people and the puddle of coffee my feet were sitting in (at the only available table). I grabbed a coffee, didn’t want to wait for a beignet, and quickly made my exit.
Cafe Beignet: LOVED this place. Way more relaxed, super pretty, and had really delicious coffee and beignets!
French Market – Locals selling food, art, groceries. I met Beatrice Ann, who is a childrens author and purchased her second book called The Chicken and the Egg for my 4 year old niece. I was told the French Market was a cool place to check out at night too. Maybe my next trip. =)
Jackson Square during the day – Super pretty, lots of history, lots of activities and street performers.
Jackson Square at night – Lots of drunk people, lots of tarot card and palm readers (I did this – it was awesome), and haunted tour walks (Do one! I recommend Ghost City Tours with Loretta *she also owns and operates Bark and Breakfast where you can stay and enjoy the company of some adorable pups. If you fall in love with one of the pups, you can adopt them and bring them home!)
Royal Street – Great music, shops, restaurants. Check out the Carnival Bar at Hotel Monteleon (during the day – impossible to get in at night), the French Antique store where you can purchase a chandelier for a mere $95,000.
Frenchman’s Street was super beautiful and had lots of live music.
Bourbon Street – Not really my vibe except I did enjoy the pop up parades!
Later in the afternoon I took the street car over to the upper side to visit with Sapphire Events where they recommended I check out Cavan and Bouligny Tavern. At Cavan, the bartender and I chatted and he shared some King Cake that one of the servers had brought in for the staff. I got the baby slice which was both weird, and hysterical, and it apparently means I need to buy the next King Cake for the group.
After enjoying a few cocktails uptown, I headed back to my inn in the French Quarter. Before calling it a night, I grabbed some cash and headed to Jackson Square and sat down with a tarot card reader. I think was that the perfect way to end my trip. All in all, I think I experienced a lot during my short stay and I can’t wait to go back!
Venue: Pontchartrain Hotel
Planning Logistics: Logan Doerries
Gala Photographer: Trevor Mark
Stickers:The Nap Time Artist
Agate Placard Calligraphy: Romey Marie
Cards: Lily and Grey
Florist: Antigua Floral
Session Photographer: Madison Short
Signage Calligrapher: Anna Kornick
Balloon Installation: Badass Balloon Co.