#FinCon14: Experiencing New Orleans on the Cheap

I thought that my sister was insane when she left college at eighteen to follow some dude in a band to New Orleans.

My sense of adventure and travel experience was underdeveloped at twenty years old, so it was hard for me to understand the appeal of the dirty cajun city, especially after Hurricane Katrina tore through it a couple of months later.

I was positive my sister would return to Massachusetts after that, but the ravaged city only seemed to attract her further. As it turned out her timing couldn't have been better and she was able to score a sweet deal on tuition at a private school that was struggling with enrollment after the hurricane.

Over the course of her five years in the Big Easy, I was able to visit several times, especially once I had moved to Nashville. I quickly learned how special and unique the city is – the history, the music, the culture, and the food – continually discovering something new and alluring with each visit.

When I learned that FinCon14 was taking place in the Crescent City, I knew I had to be there. I couldn't be more excited to be returning to my old stomping grounds as I embark one step further into my journey as a personal finance blogger.

Getting Around

I'm planning to take the bus to and from the airport to the French Quarter. It'll take about 90 minutes each way, but the $4 roundtrip price tag can't be beat.

The trip wouldn't be complete without a ride on one of the historic street car lines. An RTA day pass will only set you back $3, and the streetcar services operate every 7 to 15 minutes, seven days a week.

Nearby Staple Snacks

Need a quick snack? Here are a few picks that are relatively close to the hotel:

Verti Marte
1201 Royal Street New Orleans, LA 70116
(.9 miles, 17 minute walk)
Open 24 hours
Delivery, late night, cash only
Good for: cajun, po’ boys

Café Beignet
334 Royal St, Suite B New Orleans, LA 70130
(.3 miles, 6 minutes walk)
Hours: 8:00 AM – midnight (or later) every day
Good for: beignets
Coupon on website for a free café au lait – http://www.cafebeignet.com/coupons.html

Note: Rumor has it that FinCon is serving beignets at Thursday's welcome reception.

Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls
Spanish Plaza at the Riverwalk Marketplace
1 Poydras Street New Orleans, LA 70130
(.3 miles, 6 minutes walk)
Hours: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Good for: sno-balls
http://www.iwsnoballs.com

Note: If you’ve got some extra time, Hansen’s is the original and more renowned New Orleans sno-ball establishment. It's probably worth the trek.

Music

Frenchman Street

Located just east of the French Quarter (1 mile from the Marriott), Frenchman Street has some of the city's best jazz and blues clubs. A local's alternative to Bourbon Street, many venues don't charge a cover and amazing music can be heard on the streets. Favorites include The Spotted Cat, d.b.a New Orleans, and Three Muses.

Second Line Parades

Looking for a quintiscential New Orleans experience? Look no further than a Sunday second line parade. The schedule for next Sunday's Goodfellas Annual Parade is here.

To Do

Still looking for budget friendly things to do? These two articles have some solid suggestions. My picks are exploring the city by bike and visiting the Crescent City Farmers Market.

26 Cheap Things to Do, Eat and See in New Orleans by The Huffington Post

In New Orleans, a Trio of Thrifty Lures by The Frugal Traveler via The New York Times

Readers: What are your frugal New Orleans picks? If you're heading to FinCon, what's on your itinerary?

Not attending FinCon, but want to stay in the loop? Follow me on twitter for live updates throughout the weekend. Looking forward to meeting y'all!

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Discussions — 26 Responses

  • NZ Muse September 15, 2014 on 5:44 am

    Weirdly enough our accommodation in NOLA was some of the cheapest on our entire US road trip! Granted, we stayed at a seedy caravan park….

    I love that city! Have a blast.

    Reply
    • Addison Cash NZ Muse September 15, 2014 on 1:03 pm

      It’s been a few years since I’ve been down there, so I’m really looking forward to it!

      Reply
  • Mrs. Frugalwoods September 15, 2014 on 6:34 am

    Sounds so fun! I really wish I was going to FinCon this year :(. P.S. kudos to your sister on the tuition deal–nice!

    Reply
    • Addison Cash Mrs. Frugalwoods September 15, 2014 on 1:04 pm

      There’s always next year, right? Yeah, I’m definitely a bit jealous of her discounted college education at a private school.

      Reply
  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach September 15, 2014 on 8:51 am

    sniff sniff-the fincon posts are already starting. 🙁 I’m happy for you, really! I’m just suddenly very sad now that I had to cancel. I’ve never been to Nola so I can’t offer any tips. Maybe I’ll go eat some cajun food in spirit. 🙂 Have a great time!

    Reply
    • Addison Cash Tonya@Budget and the Beach September 15, 2014 on 1:05 pm

      Aw, totally bummed you aren’t going, Tonya. There’s always next year, though, right?

      Reply
  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde September 15, 2014 on 9:20 am

    I definitely have beignets, street cars and jazz on my to-dos when I am in New Orleans. Other than that, I am going to play things by ear. Looking forward to it though and I will see you there!

    Reply
    • Addison Cash Shannon @ Financially Blonde September 15, 2014 on 1:05 pm

      Yay! Looking forward to meeting you, Shannon!

      Reply
  • Michelle September 15, 2014 on 10:47 am

    Definitely some great ways to save money in New Orleans! I went last year for a vacation and I’m excited to go again this week. I hope the weather starts looking better though!

    Reply
    • Addison Cash Michelle September 15, 2014 on 1:07 pm

      Definitely, Michelle! I’ve never stayed in the Quarter before, so I’m sure it’ll be fun. Agreed regarding the weather!

      Reply
  • Bridget September 15, 2014 on 10:57 am

    Great list! I really wish I could make it to FinCon this year because I would love to visit New Orleans, but the September date just isn’t good timing for me as a student =\

    Have fun!!

    Reply
    • Addison Cash Bridget September 15, 2014 on 1:07 pm

      Maybe next year, Bridget? New Orleans is definitely a must-visit.

      Reply
  • AldoR@MDN September 15, 2014 on 11:07 am

    I was going to recommend people stay away from Bourbon street and go to Frenchman street instead for some great music and for a better overall vibe. I’m glad you mentioned it.

    Reply
    • Addison Cash AldoR@MDN September 15, 2014 on 1:08 pm

      I love Frechman Street! It’s great that we can walk over there from the hotel, too!

      Reply
  • Melanie @ Dear Debt September 15, 2014 on 12:56 pm

    Oooh I’ll have to check out Frenchman street for jazz. I’m so excited about FinCon! I’ll see you there! Glad you can make it.

    Reply
    • Addison Cash Melanie @ Dear Debt September 15, 2014 on 1:08 pm

      Awesome, Melanie! Looking forward to meeting you!

      Reply
  • Erin @ Journey to Saving September 15, 2014 on 1:07 pm

    I still have to get an itinerary, but I am looking forward to the beignets now that I’ve seen them mentioned a few times. Hope to see you there!

    Reply
    • Addison Cash Erin @ Journey to Saving September 15, 2014 on 1:09 pm

      Yay! I’m glad you’ll be there Erin and look forward to meeting you!

      Reply
  • debs @ debtdebs September 15, 2014 on 2:35 pm

    You are a NOLA pro! I’ve never been but would like to go someday. Have a great time at FinCon! Hopefully we can meet next year.

    Reply
    • Addison Cash debs @ debtdebs September 16, 2014 on 10:40 am

      Thanks, Deb! I’ll look forward to it! 🙂

      Reply
  • Alexis September 16, 2014 on 3:58 pm

    I’ve never been to New Orleans and I’m really bummed that I can’t go to Fincon. I’m probably about a 15 hour ride from New Orleans but I would definitely drive up for Mardi Gras.

    Reply
  • Roadmap2Retire September 17, 2014 on 8:47 pm

    Ive never been to NOLA. I should bookmark this if I ever go down there someday. Have fun at FinCon!

    regards
    R2R

    Reply
  • Kate @ Money Propeller September 19, 2014 on 12:51 am

    I’m sure you will have a good time in FinCon! I can’t wait to see your photos and updates!

    Reply
  • EL @ Moneywatch101 September 19, 2014 on 10:09 am

    Great story about your sister, I thought you were going to say she scored a great deal on cheap real estate after the hurricane. Im not heading down this year maybe next, but it sounds like a fun city to visit. Good for you for supporting the new orleans tranportation system and saving $$ in the process.

    Reply
  • Ch September 21, 2014 on 10:41 pm

    NOLA is such a charming city–and great for visiting on a budget! Taking a stroll in the French Quarter, listening to bands play on Frenchman, and exploring the Garden District are all free and wonderful. There´s so much to see and do, I´m really glad FinCon was here this year.

    Reply
  • Amos September 22, 2014 on 7:48 am

    I love your list. I wish you a good learning experience and meeting with fellow bloggers 🙂

    Reply

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