A former (and hopefully future) guest of the Quisby, Khadeidra Le Gendre, has written a beautiful play by play of her stay at The Quisby, full of wit and charm, and we’re really excited to share it with you. If you’re hostel curious, this one’s for you.

Khadeidra has a line of colorful head turning handbags, you can ogle them here.

Diary of a mad solo traveler, by Khadeidra Le Gendre

If you’ve ever been terrified of trying something new, you’d agree that anxiety is like having an over protective great-aunt who lives in your head. She means well, she’s really sweet – but Auntie is just worried and constantly warning about everything possibly going wrong. Like that time I decided on extending a business vacation at a sterile conference hotel to experience New Orleans’ culture and see more of the city. I’d never traveled solo before. This was prime time for panic. I’m used to standard, corporate hotels, but a part of me wanted to break out. Auntie dearest, however, wanted to ensure I didn’t get all my earthly possessions vandalized, stolen, or didn’t get kidnapped and locked in a dungeon, having my eyelids chewed off by a llama. All very realistic concerns, of course.

To pacify Dear Auntie, I did my travel research.

Where to stay? Fact: Hostels are becoming a more popular alternative than traditional hotels for young travelers, aged 18 to 35.  They’re not the dirty, cramped, nose-wrinkling places Auntie warns me about. I found the Quisby – New Orleans’ newest hostel, with its cool modern retro facade of peach and olive tones. I learned it’s the renovated version of old Central City’s Audubon Hotel, which was built in the ’40s to cater to the captains and deckhands of Mississippi River boats. I liked the Quisby’s light, easy look and feel (through my laptop screen, of course).

The Quisby looked great online, but in person, it’s even better!

I checked out a few of The Quisby’s reviews: travelers from all over the world were impressed.  First timers like myself, and seasoned wanderlusts alike were happy with the neighborhood, being close to the streetcar and being in walking distance from the French Quarter. Seemed legit.

Okay, but Dear Auntie needed more reassurance. What about the amenities?

With great ambience, free breakfast, free high speed WiFi, free luggage storage, fully stocked lobby bar, and ensuite bathrooms – I was sold. It was time to get out of the manicured world of 4-star corporate-friendly hotels, and into something to better match my quirky personality and downtown-chic, artsy taste.

Read: No more pretentious towels folded into swans, thank you very much.

With the help of the coolest hospitality staff I’ve ever met, I checked into a female-only 4-guest room.

Views from the top…..(of my bunk bed… you get the point.)

Seeing how well kept, bright and airy my room was helped to keep Auntie dearest at bay. It’s surprising, but I’ve actually heard of (read about) hostels that don’t provide lockers. Hello, in this day and age, lockers should be standard, and you should never pay for security. I was able to store two large bags  in my locker, right next to my bed. Apart from the light snoring of my roommates, I slept very well – knowing that my electronics and I were safe.

Breakfast at Quisby’s (and did I mention free high speed WiFi?!)

A decent breakfast – that begins and ends when people are actually awake – is a blessing in the hostel world. Being a New Yorker, I’m used to a quick, small nibble along with really good coffee*, which costs about $9. Free breakfast at The Quisby, which starts at 8:00 AM, was a treat. Way to cut down that food budget!

*Bold statement alert: Coffee & Chicory is THE traditional favorite of every New Orleans native.   The Quisby’s maverick staff did not disappoint with coffee & chicory, laced with a splash of orange essence – a combo I’d never heard of, let alone tried before.

Mind (and tastebuds) blown.

Also mind-blowing was how friendly the staff was. They’re the type to initiate genuine conversation.  I felt like I really got to know them individually, and they’re not shy about offering their perspective of the city – no one knows NoLa like they do!

A seat at the (well stocked) bar!

After taking staff recommendations on checking out Lafayette Square and the Lower Garden district, I was pretty exhausted…but not too tired for a few drinks at the bar. After all, there was LIVE MUSIC IN THE LOBBY!

The lobby once housed the original Bamboo Dance Club as well as the Audubon Club.

Traveling alone, I decided, isn’t so bad or so crazy, after all. Especially at The Quisby, where I felt like the staff were just like old friends, and my hostel-mates were so laid back and open. I had a vacation, and so did Auntie – she was far, far away – not whispering sweet warnings in my head.

Sure, a straight-laced work conference brought me to New Orleans, but The Quisby will keep me coming back!