General Question

Rarebear's avatar

Where should I go in New Orleans?

Asked by Rarebear (21080 points ) April 25th, 2011

I’m going to a conference later this week in New Orleans. It’s on Canal street in the French Quarter. I’ve been there a couple of times, but it’s been awhile. Favorite places to eat and hear music? Ideally within the French Quarter as I’m lazy, but I’d take a bus or streetcar if I had to.

Also, good museums?

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38 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

I don’t remember much about Bourbon St or the French Quarter. Watch out for the hurricanes.

My favorite things were the swamp tour, the haunted tour and the dinner Jazz cruise on the Natchez.

naivete's avatar

Although I haven’t been to New Orleans, I know a friend who has been. He says that when you get there, ask the locals where they eat. People tend to flock to the famous streets that they know. If you ask the locals, you’ll get the best of the best.
Have fun!

crisw's avatar

Mike directed at a bridge tournament in New Orleans a while ago in the same area and had some good spots- I’ll tell him to get you the info.

Sunny2's avatar

My favorite old style French Quarter restaurant is Galatoire’s. They don’t take reservations so it’s best to go as close to 5PM as possible, when they start letting people in. Also, Commander’s Palace, very fancy and terrific food. It’s worth the cab ride to the Garden District.
There’s an A&P in the the French Quarter. You can get a lot of the fancy food type souvenirs at a much cheaper price than along the riverwalk. New Orleans has an art museum that’s worth seeing and it’s in a huge park. If you have time, take the streetcar through the Garden District and back just so you see something besides the French Quarter.

dxs's avatar

Try their po’boys, which is a sandwich. I don’t remember exactly what it was (I only had abite of my brother’s), but I know that it was very juicy and messy. We are it at a place called “Mother’s”. Also try the beignets, which will make a mess. I’m pretty sure that the original restaurant is Cafe Du Monde on Decatour Street—someone correct me if I’m wrong. My family and I were going to go there, but the line was about three hours and it was very crowded and we only had a limited amount of time in New Orleans (my dad was on a business trip aswell, so we only had 2½ days). We went to another Cafe Du Monde which was in a boardwalk mall that was really nice. It had a deck with a beautiful view of the Mississippi River. I like what @WestRiverrat said about “haunted tour”; that sounds interesting. I tend to be fascinated by the surreal, and there’s a lot down there; Lots and lots of voodoo. Ther’re voodoo shops as well which were pretty cool. Also, I remember outside shops that were in the French Quarter. There’s also the St Luis Cathedral, which is really nice. Many painters near the block across it, too.

dxs's avatar

@boffin Is there a real “House of the Rising Sun”? Your link didn’t work :(.

boffin's avatar

@dxs
Try this…

Where is the House of the Rising Sun ? | Blake Pontchartrain™: New Orleans Trivia | Gambit New Orleans News and Entertainment
http://www.bestofneworleans.com/gambit/where-is-the-house-of-the-rising-sun/Content?oid=1331493

iamthemob's avatar

Oh god…do many places!

To eat, Jaques-Imo’s. It’s uptown, but it’s easy to get to from the quarter. Get there early or be ready to wait – but the good thing is that you can wait at the Maple :Leaf…a bar down the street. Great authentic brass band music (especially if Rebirth is playing).

If you’re looking to hang with the funky kids…head on over to the Marigny (it’s next to the French Quarter). Mimi’s is a fun but crowded bar there.

You’ll also want to hit Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, a unique New Orleans experience. Also, for a more upscale place…the Hotel Monteleone has the Carousel Bar which has…well, a bar that’s a carousel.

That’s all I can think of for now. Mid City is a great neighborhood…but if you don’t KNOW it…you probably don’t want to wander.

lillycoyote's avatar

If you’re going to be there this weekend, Friday the 29, Saturday the 30th, or Sunday May 1st then you will go to Jazz Fest; no question. That’s a given. Jazz Fest is something not to be missed.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Cafe du Mond for beignets and coffee.
If you’re traveling with children, Storyland and the Audubon Aquarium are lots of fun.

New Orleans is a great city to just wander around in.

iamthemob's avatar

I’m going to get on board with @BarnacleBill here about du Monde – it’s one of those places that is both totally a tourist trap, but is also where the locals go to get some of the best coffee and beignet’s ever. EVER.

Take the ghost tour if you can too. There’s one house on it that used to be owned by Nicholas Cage…the story they tell you about it…holy God, it was the worst thing I’ve ever heard.

geeky_mama's avatar

I’m glad @BarnacleBill and @dxs mentioned it – no visit to N’Awlans is complete without Beignets and Cafe au lait at Cafe du Mond – in my humble opinion.

I also recommend a BIG breakfast at Brennans – they claim to have invented Banana’s Foster..and brunch there involves having Banana’s Foster…which sure is yummy.

For museums.. I really liked the Mardi Gras museum. I was at a conference where they rented the place out and we had our own “mini Mardi Gras” event..
http://www.mardigrasworld.com/mardi-gras-world-tours

My Dad feels that any visit to New Orleans is incomplete without at stop at Pat O’Briens—and I agree, it’s a veritable institution in the old French Quarter..so going for a drink and to admire the architecture seems worthwhile to me, too.

Rarebear's avatar

Thanks everybody! Links printed out and put in my file.

Rarebear's avatar

@geeky_mama Agree on Pat O’Briens. I’ve been there twice and I love it.

Kardamom's avatar

I’m offering advice via Guy Fieri’s Diners Drive-ins and Dives. He eats so much awesome food all over the place. He went to a place called Parasol’s that has some of the best Po Boys in New Orleans. The owners, moved their place just up the street, re-opened and called it Tracey’s

dxs's avatar

@geeky_mama thanks for actually crediting me on Cafe Du Monde. And why do some people say “N’awlans”? I’ve heard it before…is it just slang?
@lilycoyote Jazz Fest seems cool I wanted to go to that but the festival going, called Decadence, was a fest for the gay. Woulda preferred jazz fest

lillycoyote's avatar

@dxs Jazz Fest is so much fun. I’ve been twice and it is a fest for the everyone. :-) Music of all kinds, for everyone. Here’s a link to this year’s Jazz Fest. Check out the music schedule tab. Once again, as always, and incredible lineup. I was going to list a few of the highlights but just too many great bands and performers to even try. Some big names on the main stages in the evening. My favorites stages/tents are Congo Square, the Gospel Tent (not a believer but I love black gospel music and things get pretty roused up and a’ rockin’ in the Gospel Tent), the main stages, those are where people like the Meters, The Nevilles (depending on who the Neville Brothers feel like being from one day to the next), The Radiators, the big names, Robert Plant and Jeff Beck play the main stages, they’re going to be there friday evening.

And then there’s the food. Obviously there’s great food all over New Orleans but here’s the food list for this years Jazz Fest. It doesn’t get much better than being in New Orleans at Jazz Fest and rockin’ out to The Meters, with a hot sausage po-boy in one hand and a cold beer in the other. They have big shows/concerts at night that are not included in the tickets for access to the grounds and shows during the day. We went to one because it was Little Feat but mostly found the line ups for the night shows not that appealing. What we did was to go for one weekend or the other and go to the festival during the days and hit the town, go to the clubs around town at night. Best of both worlds.

If you get a chance, go. It’s beyond fun.

Anyway, check out the line up. I can’t look at it again because now I’m upset that I won’t be there and it will take me a while to get over it.

geeky_mama's avatar

@dxs – Not totally sure. I think people call it “N’Awlans” because that’s how it sounds out loud when someone from Louisiana says it.. But, that’s just my guess.

iamthemob's avatar

@geeky_mama is totally right. Unless they’re uppity old school rich Nawlins people. Then they pronounce it “New Orlee-ehnz.”

Uppity folks. ;-)

lillycoyote's avatar

@iamthemob The way people say New Orleans down there, at least to me, has always sounded more like “Newallens”. It’s pronounced like it’s one word, but the “new” is still almost entirely ther; prounounced like “new”, “wall” as in the wall of a house and “lens” like the lens of a camera, but all one word, three syllables, slight emphasis on the middle syllable, but all one word kind of slurred together. Maybe the people I know from New Orleans are middle class and pronounce it somewhere in between :-)

iamthemob's avatar

@lillycoyote – No no, it varies how many syllables they decide to have based on how HOT it is down there. ;-)

I will now stop being off topic.

lillycoyote's avatar

@iamthemob LOL. Yes, I forgot about that, though I think it’s the humidity rather than the heat, but I think you’re right, the humidity can be so draining that they don’t have the strength or energy for both a third syllable and holding a drink and there’s only one choice there :-)

Rarebear's avatar

Thanks for all the suggestions! @lillycoyote I will probably disappoint you and not go to Jazz Fest. I tend to be a bit agoraphobic when it comes to large crowds and the only day I could go is Saturday. But I may change my mind.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Rarebear I understand. The crowd thing could definitely be a problem there. There are certainly plenty of other things to do and see in the city and lots of music and good food everywhere. It’s just that you just happen to be there during the first weekend of Jazz Fest and it seems like such a great bit of serendipity. But there should be some locals at your conference, talk to them and… I should have mentioned this first… the citizens of New Orleans love, absolutely love their city, as they should and will have plenty of suggestions for you. Talk to them about Jazz Fest and maybe mention that you don’t really like crowds and see if they think you’d be nuts (you can see my biases there :-) not to go since you just happen to be there. But if you don’t, like I said; more than enough to do for several weekends. You really can’t go anywhere without having a good time.

And have a muffaletta. Tied with the Rueben for best sandwich in the world, in my pantheon of sandwiches. I haven’t been there in a really long time so I did some research and the following link is the latest review/rating I could find for best muffalettas in New Orleans but ask the locals, they know best.

I’m sure bossy and opinionated, aren’t I? But you already knew that.

My final advice: Just work hard at your conference and play hard and have a good time in your free time. In New Orleans you can really help having a good time.

Have fun whatever you do, my friend, whatever you end up doing.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!!!

Rarebear's avatar

@lillycoyote Well, I think I’ll just have a muffaleta tomorrow night at the Central Grocery Store since it’s right down the street from where I’m staying, and then maybe a beijnet at Cafe du Nord for dessert. And then, I’ll pop down to the brewery down the street and have a beer to go!

Rarebear's avatar

@iamthemob Be off topic as much as you want. I wouldn’t DREAM of flagging it!

WestRiverrat's avatar

Don’t leave town without trying an oyster po’boy with a side of crawdad tails.

mdweber_jamul's avatar

@Rarebear – Cris asked me to drop you a note – Try the Acme Oyster House for your po’boy needs (and other Oyster dishes). I enjoyed the Court of the 3 Sisters for a bit of the upscale dining experience. As mentioned before -a trip to Cafe du Mond is worth it – get there early in the morning to avoid the lines.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Rarebear If you’re staying in that area the St. Louis Cathedral is beautiful, even for atheists. :-) and it’s about a 5 minute walk from there and the St. Louis Cemetery #1 is very cool and maybe a 20 minute or so walk. I’m using the Central Grocery as reference point because I don’t know where exactly you are staying. Those are things, maybe if you end up taking a “walking tour” close to your hotel. This is fun. I’m having a virtual, vicarious visit to New Orleans through you. Anyway, I’m done for now. Again, have fun whatever you do.

Rarebear's avatar

@mdweber_jamul Thanks! And welcome to Fluther!

Rarebear's avatar

@lillycoyote Actually, I love churches and sacred music. I have a whole collection of various sacred choral music.

Kardamom's avatar

Here’s some more choices from Guy Fieri’s Diners Drive-ins and Dives

Louie and the Redhead Lady

And Mahony’s Po Boy Shop

And Katie’s Restaurant and Bar

Now I’m getting hungry again!

Rarebear's avatar

Awesome, thanks!

BarnacleBill's avatar

A great thing about New Orleans is that you don’t need to rent a car. Between the street cars and the buses, you can pretty much get anywhere, including the Jazz Festival. Bring back voodoo and ju ju dolls as gifts, if you’re so inclined.

iamthemob's avatar

OOOH! I just remembered. The best breakfast in the entire world is at Clover Grill. It’s on Bourbon and Dumaine. Fancy awesome brunch can be had at the Court of Two Sisters (it’s where I had my Tulane Law School graduation brunch, sponsored by the school. Finally, check out Mothers for the po-boys. Get extra debris. It’s like gravy, only closer to meat. It’s liquid meat.

This site is pretty helpful.

Rarebear's avatar

@lillycoyote Okay, so I’m in the New Orleans airport now and I went to Jazz Fest. The crowds were crushing at times, but I escaped when they were. You’re right—I had a good time. But by the time I got back to the hotel I was so beat that I just took a shower, ordered a salad on room service, and went to bed. I didn’t get a chance to go to many of the wonderful restaurants people mentioned. But I did go to Mulate’s, and I did see a wonderful band at the Maison Bourbon jazz club.

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