Interested in knowing what goes on in the mind of a NOLA visitor? Well, we got to dive into Dan Brian’s mind. Dan is a New York-based travel and lifestyle influencer who has traveled the world making friends and changing minds. Yet, even after all of his travel adventures, Dan hadn’t experienced anything quite like this. Dan received a one-of-a-kind tour of New Orleans from Tru, a member of the Caramel Curves, an all-female, African American biker gang.
Needless to say this wasn’t just any old tour. It started on the back of a pink motorcycle that sprayed ink smoke. The tour is part of a series called Unexpected Tour Guides, where select visitors get to see New Orleans through a unique lens. If you want to see the whole series, you can stream it on @VisitNewOrleans IGTV. At the end of Dan’s trip, we caught up with him to ask a few questions about his overall NOLA experience. Here’s what he had to say.
As a first-timer to New Orleans, what was your overall impression?
I loved that you could FEEL the energy of the city as soon as I arrived. My cab driver from the airport was extremely friendly and welcoming. The history that’s inherent and passed on by the local residents and businesses brings a charm and warmth to New Orleans.
What surprised you the most about when you first met Tru and saw the pink smoke coming out of the bikes?
Honestly, I was intrigued by how they actually made the smoke pink. I had never seen that before and it was so awesome! But more importantly, I loved how fabulous and confident the Caramel Curves are.
Were you at all intimidated to get on the bike and drive around the city?
YES! I had never been on a motorcycle, but Tru was a true (see what I did there) professional and made sure I was comfortable.
Your first stop on the tour was The Half Shell on Bayou Road. Did you enjoy venturing out of the French Quarter?
It was definitely a unique experience I haven’t had in other cities. The change in architecture from one area to another as well as the defining qualities of different neighborhoods was such a pleasant surprise.
What did you find most interesting about the Krewe of Zulu or the history of Mardi Gras in general?
I learned that they do so much more than just Mardi Gras. Their concentration on social and community outreach does so much to develop the area. I also loved how each king has such an extravagant and beautiful ceremonial dress.
Do you plan on coming to Mardi Gras any time in the future?
I would absolutely love to! I can’t even imagine how full of life the city is!
What was your favorite moment of the tour?
Hanging out with the Caramel Curves! Seeing their passion for the city and their organization is truly inspiring. Not to mention they looked absolutely stunning! It was so much fun being part of a biker club for the day.
Did you make it to any LGBTQ-friendly bars while here? If so, what was your favorite?
Yeah, I stopped by Bourbon Pub & Parade! I don’t drink, but I had a Coke and Red Bull. The atmosphere was really awesome. I also stopped by an LGBTQ+ store and picked up a few New Orleans-themed goodies.
If you had to sum up the city in one word, what would it be and why?
Unique. It was like no city I have been to before. You can almost feel the history of the city with its diverse architecture and design. I love all the pops of color and art you find everywhere you go. The people were surprisingly friendly and welcoming as well. They would go out of their way to help you out.
What’s one thing you didn’t get to do while you were here that you would have liked to do?
I wish I had the time to take a ride on the streetcars through the Garden District. I’ve heard amazing things about that neighborhood and would’ve loved to see it! I’ll have to come back soon!
*Editor’s Note: Caramel Curves tours are not available for booking.