Where to Go
Bourbon Street is the undeniable initial destination of all visitors to New Orleans. The visions of jazz music floating out of the clubs, a Hurricane in hand and the smell of Cajun and Creole eats are ready and waiting for all to enjoy. Stop at the Absinthe House for a stiff drink and stroll the famous street and all it's temptations. Take heed to the City's 19th Century sign that states "Beware of Pick Pockets and Loose Women." Visitors can get distracted with so much to take in. Just use common sense and have a good time.
After "doing Bourbon" go check out the "local" Jazz scene down river on Frenchman Street in neighboring Fabourg Marigny. It is a short walk from the French Quater but some may want to take a cab or rickshaw ride. Clubs such as the Spotted Cat, D.B.A., Snug Harbor and the award winning Blue Nile feature live jazz music every night of the week. After listening to some music throw a little money in the tip jar and head over The Praline Connection. Order the fried chicken dinner. Some of the city's best and It comes with 2 sides and cornbread. You'll sleep like a baby.
To see the city's Uptown,Central Business and Garden Districts take the St. Charles Street Car. It is a peaceful ride rolling by Loyala and Tulane Universities, The Audubon Park and Zoo and many stately homes. Get off at the Carrolton stop (#43) and eat at the landmark, Camellia Grill. The diner opened in 1946 and serves southern quality food, diner style. Happy servers adorn vintage uniforms and breakfast is served all day. If you are thirsty head across the way to Cooter Brown's Oyster Bar. The dark oasis serves over 400 beers, 42 on tap. They also feature an interesting menu of Alligator Sausage, Louisiana Crawfish, Softshell Crab, Hot Boudin and of course oysters. The locals use the streetcars as a form of transportatiion. Don't be suprised to see school children using it to ride to and from school.
A must see is Jackson Square. Start your morning at famed Cafe du Monde with melt in your mouth beignets and a cup of cafe au lait. If there is a line it is worth the wait and a great way to kickstart your morning tour. The sqaure boasts the majestic St. Louis Cathedral... the oldest cathedral in the United States. Stop in and be amazed at the stained glass, vaulted ceilings and architectural beauty. For a small donation, light a candle for a loved one. It is an amazing experience. You'll be happy you did. Also around the square the local artists sell their wares and practice fortune telling. Head over to the French Market for some fun shopping and food tasting. All kinds of handmade jewelry, antiques,fresh pralines, souveniers and fun items are available for purchase.
Many visitors to New Orleans come for the Festivals. Mardi Gras, the Jazz and Heritage Festival, Sachmo Summerfest, Louisiana Seafood Fest and the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest are to name just a few.
Other areas of interest include art galleries which are plentiful, especially on Magazine Street. Also visit the "cities of the Dead" New Orleans unique cemetaries Try your luck gambling at Harrah's casino, go on a swamp tour,ride a river boat or enjoy a sporting event at the Mercedes Benz Arena home of the New Orleans Saints.
Where to Eat
The undisputed king of brunch is the Commander's Palace. Celebrity chef, Emeril Lagasse worked here under Paul Prudhomme before starting his own restaurants. Located in the Garden district across from Cemetary No.1 this 5 star rated restaurant is known for it's Eggs Sardou. 2 Poached Eggs on creamed spinach, atop of artichoke bottoms and english muffins topped with a sassy hollandaise sauce. Pair it with their award winning bloody mary spiked tableside and you are your own the king or queen of the day. The restaurant also features an open kitchen you can walk through to take a peek at the precision of the chefs. After brunch, head out to the courtyard where you can sip your drink and enjoy the live jazz band which has been featured in countless motion pictures. If time permits go across the street to the cemetary and visit famous voodoo queen, Marie Laveau's tomb. Jazz brunch is held every Saturday and Sunday.
You can find Emeril's flagship restaurant over on Tchoupitoulas Street in an old brick building that was once a pharmacy. Menu choices includeevery scrumptious thing from "Emeril's" New Orleans Bar-B-Que Shrimp to the Whole Truffled Fried Chicken for Two (with all the fixins'). Try and get a seat at the chef's Food Bar where you can watch all the action in the kitchen. Reservations are recommened.
Lunch at Mother's is an institution since 1938 boasting the "World's Best Ham". Get in line and order the Famous Ferdi Special Po Boy (the Original). It comes on fresh bread layered with Mother;s Best Baked Ham, roast beef, slaw, debris and gravy. Unless you are famished, be prepared to share.
SoBou (south of Bourbon) restaurant is a great spot for happy hour appetizer's and cocktails. Items like Pork Rinds ($1), Creole Beer Nuts ($4) can be washed down with drinks such as the Georgia O'Keefe and Elephants on Parade. They also feature 25 cent Martinis at lunch time. The limit is 3 per person... as their menu states "cause that's enough."
Other notable restaurants include New Orleans oldest restaurant, Antoine's fine dining which features classic french cusine. It is also the home of the original Oysters Rockefeller founded in 1889. Tujague's is the 2nd oldest restaurant which opened in 1856. They specialize in Creole dining.
If you're a late nighter and need something to soak up your Bourbon Street experience, check out The Clover Grill. This 24 hour joint is located right on Bourbon and serves up breakfast and burgers all day and night. Your juicy burger will be cooked up on their flat top grill, covered by an American made hubcap to that greasy perfection. Your stomach will thank you in the morning.
Where to Stay
There are many choices for accomodations in New Orleans depending on what kind of experience you are looking for. If you want to stay in the French Quarter the Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street and is 1 block off Bourbon. This luxury hotel features guest rooms, suites, the Criollo resturant and the famous Carousel Bar and Lounge. The bar was implemented in 1949 and is circus themed. The carousel has 24 seats that slowly spin a full rotation every 15 minutes while you sip on libations.
Another place in the Quarter is the Laffitte Guest House. This 1849 luxury boutique hotel is on Bourbon Street in a residential strech just down from the hustle and bustle. It features 14 rooms some with private balconies, a courtyard, and a communal kitchen where hot breakfast is available every morning. Being in a residential setting, offers you a feel of French Quarter living as schoochildren pass by below heading into the school nearby. The views of downtown are spectacular.
If you are looking for a romantic getaway stay in the Garden Disrtict. Some suggestions would be the Magnolia Mansion or the Queen Anne Garden District Hotel. Transportation to the French Quarter is accessible using the St. Charles Street Car.
If visiting for a covention or a game to see the New Orleans Saints stay in the Central Business District. The Royal St. Charles offers "value packages" which include free shuttles to the airport and free parking.
Local Tip: New Orleans is a walking city, make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
|Local Tip: While at the French Market, make a stop at Meals from the Heart and try a Vegan Power Smoothie. It gives you the energy to keep shopping and is refreshing and delicious.|
Visit mysterious New Orleans for all the abundance of food, fun, music and history. Take your time as you enjoy the adventure of twists and turns of the Mississippi River and the brick lined streets of the Crescent City. Listen closely as you may hear a spirit from the past gently guiding your way.
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