Last weekend, the Yelp Elite from over 25 cities came down to New Orleans for Yelp Spring Break to experience our fine city like a local, with locals.
We're talkin' four days packed with special events, tours, bar crawls and parties galore! On Thursday, we started off with registration, where everyone picked up their gift bags and special YSB buttons and custom go-cups and later that afternoon, the Yelp Like A Pirate Welcome Party at Indulge Island Grill, where we enjoyed light bites, New Orleans Ice Cream and cocktails made with Old New Orleans Rum. The jazzy sounds of Viper Mad had us swaying and everyone stepped into the Big Easy Photobooth for some souvenir shots!
Think that was enough partying for one night? Think again, for right after the Welcome Party, our first mates headed on over to the Fountainbleau Room for the Pirates vs Ninjas vs Zombies vs Madonna Bash at Fountainbleau Room where the party took place on their giant wrap-around balcony overlooking University Place and Canal Street, offering a most idyllic New Orleans experience. There were complimentary cocktails, thanks to our booze sponsors, VnC Cocktails. Jambalaya Girl & Cook Me Somethin' Mister spooned up the jambalaya to help sustain everyone's (drinking) power (though Madonna seemed to win hands-down over the other invincibles!)
On Friday, the Steamboat Natchez Exclusive Event offered us an incredibly delectable complimentary buffet and St. Germaine champagne cocktails and more in their Magnolia Suite. Everyone enjoyed the tours of the boat (the engine room was of particular interest!) and the hospitality of the staff blew us away!
Friday night we enjoyed the grandest gala of them all! The Yelp Spring Break Block Party had locals coming out in droves to join our visiting Elites and show them why New Orleanians put the fest in festival!
Although the weather prevented us from our original intention to have
the party under the stars (we feared it would have been more like under
the lightening!) Harrah's New Orleans, our main sponsor for the big event, wonderfully accommodated our attendees, vendors and entertainment inside.
To clue you in to our fabulous Yelp Spring Break Block Party vendors and entertainers, we had incredible edibles from Tomas Bistro, Daisy Dukes, Borracho, Manning's, Harrah's Buffet, The Kupcake Factory, Besh Steakhouse and Plum Street SnoBall; endless complimentary libations from Rougaroux Rum and Oryza Vodka from D-P Distillers, Covington Brew House, Gordon Biersch Brewery and Woodchuck Cider. Honest Tea was on hand to provide us with a non-boozy option and Little Soya added the perfect seasoning to our food samplings.
See more photos by Richard Strasbourg on flickr!
Yes, everyone knows it's important to eat their way through New Orleans, not to mention drink. Oh, there was plenty of that happening later on Saturday afternoon at the complimentary Tour & Tasting of Old New Orleans Rum Distillery! We all got to glean important information on how the rum is aged in barrels and more, but who can remember after all those incredible rum drinks and samples?!
You might be thinking, wow, it's Saturday afternoon, time for nap… Not! This is New Orleans and there's always time for more partying. This one was the Wine Straight Out Of The Oven With IJ Reilly at I.J. Reilly's Knick-Knacks & Curiousities, where we found the most U/F/C (that's unique, funny, cool)
nifty gifties to bring home and remind everyone of the awesome time that was had
at Yelp Spring Break, all the while chowing down on snacks that would make Ignatius and Mrs. Reilly proud!
Yelp Spring Breakers by now knew, where one shindig ended, another began – and this was the theme of the weekend of course. Saturday evening had us prepping for that evening's Mod About St. Claude Crawl by choosing one of two special dinners on the Avenue. There was the Sausage Fest @ Borracho, where Chef Chris Smedley offered up three courses of Housemade Potato Chips, Crispy Chicken Livers with Charred Scallion Aioli, Pepper Marmalade and a Sausage Sampler w/ Pomme Frites, House Aioli & House Ketchup, plus beer, compliments of Sam Adams and a blueberry mojito. Sugar Park offered up an array of specialty meat or veggie pizzas, sandwiches, salads and desserts, plus complimentary tropical cocktails, perfect to enjoy in their lush tiki garden!
Participating businesses in the Mod About St. Claude Crawl included Siberia, Faubourg Wines, Sugar Park, Kajun's Pub, NOLA Veggie Fest and Saturn Bar. Need A Ride Pedicab offered intrepid Elites rides between stops.
All weekend, Elites competed against each other to win the coveted title of superior scavenger hunter on the GooseChase app and winners were honored at the GooseChase Closing Party @ Sugar Park where we showed the weekend's hilarious photos on the big screen. Our winner, Scott F from Sacramento, won bottles of Rougaroux Rum and Oryza Vodka from D-P Distillers and a bottle of Cajun Mary mix from Daisy Dukes. Second place went to our lovely local Shercole K!
Sunday was all about UYEs (that's "Unofficial Yelp Events") offered up
by our local NOLA Elite Squad and yes, as was typical of the weekend,
the "evening" ended after sunrise. But first, there was the Elite Tour of Mardi Gras World that had us touring the Mardi Gras float dens, tasting king cakes and trying on ball gowns!
Wait, there's more! There were the daily Brilliant Bike Tours To Bywater & Marigny @ Confederacy of Cruisers had Elites visiting lovely parts of town filled with Creole Cottages, fascinating landmarks and unique local businesses. We learned all kinds of interesting NOLA history and fun facts., thanks to our fearless– and well-informed– leader.
And then there was also the ongoing special offers throughout the weekend from our Yelp Spring Break participating businesses:
Original New Orleans Movie Tours
French Quarter History & Ghostbuster Tours
Steamboat Natchez/Gray Line Tours
Old New Orleans Rum Distillery
A clip from one of our favorite reviews that feel really captures what YSB is all about: "The only thing that could top 2012 Yelp Spring Break, will be subsequent Spring Breaks… The people who attended where the cream of the crop from their cities, they emulated everything a Yelper should be: fun, smart, sharp, witty, clever, funny, interesting, engaging. Everyone I met, I wanted to sit and talk with or walk and drink with or go and eat with. And I want to have Spring Break in all of their cities, just to get to know them better and have them show me the best of their cities." Thanks, Melissa A, we couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Good times were had, sights were seen, friendships were made, tons of incredible food and drink were consumed… And not one single keg stand was had! Yelp Spring Break… being a grown-up has never been so fun!
NOLA Yelp misses you already! But SYOY! (See You On Yelp!)
Yelp New Orleans Community Manager