I often have friends headed to New Orleans who want to know what to do. I am more than happy to share the things I love.

My enjoyment of New Orleans is “Uptown”- centric. This is the area upstream of the French Quarter and Central Business District. There is nothing wrong with Marigny or Bywater or the other popular districts.  I just happened to come to know Uptown because my introduction/relationship with NOLA came through a friend at Tulane. I have only lived Uptown and do not partake in nor support the competitiveness & rivalries between NOLA neighborhoods that are less than friendly competition.  It’s all good, y’all. If you stay in a different area and would like to write one of these, I’ll be happy post it or link to it from here. I would like it for myself, as I certainly dig some ruts.


People who ask for my advice are usually either arriving for something going on at or near the Convention Center (Red Star on Map Below) or are looking for a Bed & Breakfast.  I will write this assuming you are based at The Convention Center. I also assume that you have done basic map research and I can use street names as if you knew them as well as I. The compass does not work in New Orleans- learn your directions: Upstream, Downstream, Riverside, Lakeside. When I can, I will include mapping info since most people have smart phones now. Look these places up online and check menu prices.  You can do NOLA on $1 a day and $1000 a day. I’ve done both and they both make you fat. Please preview everything on this list and decide what you have time and money for. Do NOT make reservations at 5 restaurants then decide at the last minute where to go and stiff the other four or we will hunt you down and cut you.

I am listing stuff more or less in order of importance to me. I’m not really into Mardi Gras or NOLA kitsch. I’m there for food, music & nature. But the people are beyond lovely, home-grown or not. You will see a lot of heart-break, too.

My #1 advice is to get the Heck out of the French Quarter.  The French Quarter is wonderful if you know what you are doing or have a local guide. Otherwise you will end up in Tourist Trap Hell for sure. A quick walk up & down Royal & Chartres St. Early in the morning while the place is being hosed down should suffice.  Get a cup of coffee, check out some architecture, look into some store windows, then get on a street car and go Uptown. I’ll revisit the Quarter later.

Very important: Do not be afraid of New Orleans cabs. Take them anywhere Street cars don’t go, including from one side of the Quarter to the other at night. Everything is 10-15 minutes away and the cabs are cheap and friendly. Nothing in New Orleans is clean. That’s the first sign of a tourist trap. Call United Cab, White Fleet, Yellow Cab, etc.  Load a few of them into your phone contacts before the trip.

Also, many of the best places in NOLA do not have web sites and and many places are cash-only.   Carry lots of cash. Don’t get mugged. You’re in the big city now. Leave your jewelry at home or someone may simply take it from you. Do not be a lone female without NOLAsmarts. Use cabs.
1. Ride The St. Charles Street Car

If you’re only in New Orleans for 3 hours on a layover, you have time to squeeze in a streetcar ride and a Po Boy from anywhere. Get on the green St. Charles Street Car (read that site about $) and take it all the way Uptown to Riverbend / Carrolton.  Look at everything on that side of the street. Ride the street car back to Canal St and look at everything on the other side of St. Charles. Catch it in the Central Business District (CBD) on Carondelet (which corresponds to Bourbon St.) or St Charles (which corresponds to Royal St). It crosses from one to the other on Canal St. I think the round trip is advertised at about 90 minutes.

Uptown has several shopping districts reachable by the streetcar on St. Charles Ave. or by bus on Magazine St.

Near the end of the street car line headed Uptown is called Riverbend or Carrollton.  There are a handful of great restaurants around St. Charles / S. Carrollton / Hampson St.
There are also two shopping/restaurant districts, Oak. St (map) (Facebook) and Maple St., (map) which you could visit before heading back to the city on the Street Car.

Some of my favorite dining places on Hampson & Oak:

(and thereabouts)
Rue De La Course, Zot’z coffee (Facebook) (do not miss the courtyard the back),

Refuel (map), Le Madeleine (map), Dante’s Kitchen (map)

The Chef at Refuel stirs his grits by hand for hours each day starting at 4a.m. It is general consensus that these are the best in the city. Cooter Brown’s is the best outdoor Beer & Oysters lunch going (don’t forget to tip the shucker). Hana is usually the first place I go when I get to town.

Mat & Naddie’sBrightsen’s

Late Night:
Maple Leaf Bar (map) (Try to see Rebirth Brass Band-usually Tuesday nights. It’s expensive and starts late and is overrun with college kids, but well worth it. Save room for the street BBQ)

Over on Maple St. there is:


Coté Sud
There are many, many more restaurants worthy of visiting around here, which I encourage you to investigate on the district websites above if you have the time.  These are the places where I hang out sometimes just because I fell into a habit, and I can only deluge you with so many here.

Headed back to the city you will see one of my favorite evening snack/late night places, The Delachaise. They have a really smart wine & spirits selection. I go there when I have a hankerin’ for Frogs Legs, Pommes Frites and a glass of Txakolina. If you sit outside, don’t sit by the gas station or you will be pan-handled and no one will do anything about it.A little off the beaten path, but one of my favorite lunch spots (and probably the larges Wine Store in town) is Martin Wine Cellar (Map). It’a on Baronne St. between Peniston St. and Gen. Taylor, pretty colse to the St. Charles & Napoleon intersection and directly behind (lakeside) the Columns Hotel (where Brooke Sheilds played a pre-teen prostitute). I recommend the Baronne Beast, The Nova Delight and the Steamboat sandwiches. If you find yourself in Metaire, the big Martin Wine Cellar is out there.

2. Visit Audubon Park
Headed back downstream on the St. Charles street car, you will come to Audubon Park (Across from Tulane & Loyola Universities).  Around the lagoon & golf course have a walking / biking / blading path that is wonderful to walk around early in the morning or as evening comes.  It’s great to walk off lunch, too as long as it’s not too hot for you that day. I used to love going to sit and watch the birds come home to roost at the rookery on Ochsner Island.  Some of them came home quite dramatically.  A few years ago the rookery was abandoned though, and different birds have come in that are less of a show.

Audubon park reaches more or less to Magazine St., across which is the Audubon Zoo, which is TOTALLY worth your time. Make sure you see the Swamp Exhibit.  There is a boat that will ferry you from the zoo to the Aquarium in the Quarter, if you ever need to plan it that way. Along side of the Zoo, the walking park continues along Exposition Blvd. Hidden back here is the Etienne de Boré oak, probably the most fabulous live Oak tree (certainly the largest) you will see in New Orleans or maybe your life. There are some good ones inside the zoo, too and some stellar ones outside the city, but this one is bang for your buck.  If you’re one of those “tree people”, you might cry a little bit. Another popular morning walk or jog for me is the sidewalk in front of the houses on Exposition Blvd. from the Etienne de Boré oak all the way back to St. Charles. Similarly, on the other (Golf) side of the park, there are houses with their backs to the park, but you have to walk down Walnut St. to see the front of them. The houses around the park rival the ones in the Garden District, so they are worth checking out.
Behind the Zoo, however is a secret-The mighty Mississippi river-just sitting there!  There is a park called The Fly (also Avenger Park or The Riverview) and THIS is how you want to experience the river. Again, early in the morning as the fog burns off, or as the sun sets with a bottle of wine or a cigar.  I lived here for years before I found out about this place.  The locals are pretty tight-lipped about it.  Frisbee, crawfish boils and sunbathing happens here.  You will see unbelievable boats on the river.  Entrances to The Fly or on either side of the Zoo.  Access by car through the Zoo parking lot (to the right) or by foot by walking down the road behind the Etienne de Boré oak.
3. Walk around the Garden District.
The Garden District is famous for large homes that have a little land so ornamental gardens were possible. These days, most areas uptown, even ones that suffer neglect, are full of people who love to grow gardens, so the Garden District gardens don’t stand out as much as they may have in the past. The Garden District is where many famous people live. Sandra Bullock has the old Koch-Mays House, which is probably the only Swiss Chalet you’ll see in town; The house from Benjamin Button; Nicholas Cage & Trent Reznor’s former residences and Anne’s Rice’s old house that has roses in the iron fence that look like skulls from another direction. Next to Commander’s Palace is Lafayette Cemetery #1 where movies such as as Easy Rider and Interview with a Vampire were filmed. Luckily there are many self-guided tours online (this person did a really good job). The only house I think he missed was 1527 Harmony St. Google a tour or wander aimlessly. Right next to the cemetery is one of the most important Restaurants in the world, Commander’s Palace. Years ago, they set many of the industry standards you enjoy today, not to mention training future celebrity chefs like Paul Prudhomme and Emeril. Brunch at Commander’s is an experience of a lifetime. It takes hours and a roving jazz band will eventually wander up to your table. Drink lots of champagne and make your reservations now.
Everything I do begins with coffee, so I recommend starting this adventure at Still Perkin’ to which you can quickly walk from the street car line. I spend a lot of time on the deck. It’s my favorite place to read the Sunday Paper. They make one of the better Chicory coffee preparations in town, so test your palate on that. Also in that building (an 1884 World’s Fair Skaing rink) is the best Bookstore for New Orleans-related books. If you look over the baristas’s shoulder, through th window you will see The Garden District Book Shop, then have a look-see (no outside drinks!).
If you wander as far as Magazine St., Magazine & Jackson is a wonderful place to start your Magazine St. experience.
4. Shop or Windowshop Magazine St.*
*This is a link to an association that I think you need to pay to join. It is by no means a complete directory.
Magazine St. is six miles of shops and restaurants. It begins as Decatur St in the Quarter and ends a little past Audubon Zoo & Park. It has real clothing boutiques which will blow your mind if you are used to Mid-west chain stores. There are more restaurants than addresses and each is better than the last. This is also the place for practicalities like groceries, drug stores, Laundromats and gas stations which can be troubling to find when visiting big cities. Antique stores, furniture stores, art galleries and most importantly, working art studios such as Pots-a-lot Pottery which is a studio that produces work that should be used in your home daily when you tire of mass-produced garbage from Target that is made by slaves in China or India.
All of Magazine St. is worthy of a walk-about, but since it is so dang long, I will concentrate on four major districts. Though know that I have walked from Jackson St. to Audubon park many times. I’ll let you peruse the shops as some sell tchotchkes and T Shirts and some sell $25,000 Chandeliers. Don’t be afraid to go into those places where you are obviously only there to look. Everyone in New Orleans treats you like their favorite child or grandchild.
I’ll let you find your shopping niche and mention my favorite places for food, since that’s where all my money goes.
4a. Magazine St. & Jackson Ave.

Come to think of it, perhaps I miss-typed when I wrote that “Magazine & Jackson is a wonderful place to start your Magazine St. experience”. This area is the most quirky on Magazine and may be one to skip if you don’t have time or an area to get out of the way if it doesn’t suit your needs. First off, if you need food when you get here, there are two amazing places, side-by side: District Donuts & Sliders (you must get the Nitro cold brew coffeee that foams & settles like a Guinness) and Stein’s Deli (ask them about the secret beer room out back). I couldn’t choose between the two. I decide by what the wait is like.

Just a few blocks toward the city is a small park surrounded by shops called Sophie B. Wright place. There are many shops (and HiVolt Coffee) from Sophie Wright place to District Donuts & Sliders, and just a little past that, at First St. is Defend NOLA, a great souvenir/local pride place. I strongly urge you to visit the studio / antique store of Simon (pronounced “Simone”) on Jackson just riverside of Magazine. You will see his art work all over the city, including the entire set of the local television news cast, which is set up to look like a bar. Simon is very friendly and talkative, may give you free stuff and may let you pet his bulldog. The antique store curated by his wife is unbelievable.

Between Magazine and The River are two stunning old Catholic churches that you have to see if you are a fan of architecture, art or religious artifacts. In the mid-19th century, each local immigrant ethnicity group required their own church. Grand and glorious structures were built then abandoned as post WWII white flight drove everyone to the suburbs after that desegregation business happened (well that’s what they told me). St. Alphonsus was founded by the Redemptorist Order (‘cuz he founded them) for the Irish community. It was “desacralized” in the 70s and is now a secular Art and Cultural Center. It’s stained glass is the work of F.X. Zettler and the Renaissance-worthy frescoes are by Dominique Canova and you can just walk in between 10am-2pm, or check their website to see if an even is happening in the evening.

Next door in the “Ecclesiastical Square” is the German St. Mary’s and the Blessed Tomb / Shrine / Gift shop for Father Xavier Seelos, 19th-Century mystic healing Redemptorist priest, beatified by Pope JP II (the giant clock tower). This is another very welcoming place that you should simply walk into though it looks like you shouldn’t. Check the website for best hours. They will let you wander the congregation room and take pictures, including the loft.

Anne Rice went to school here and featured it in her books. The Redemptorists sold St. Elizabeth’s (At Napoleon & Prytania) to her in 1993. Now it’s condos. One of the many ways she angered the local community by throwing her money around was to close the chapel and tell the surrounding neighborhood to go to St. Mary’s.

4b. Magazine St. (Washington Ave. to Louisiana Ave.)

In Here you will find
Sucré, a premium confectioner. In my world, the girls go here while the boys go to the cigar lounge across the street.
Fleurty Girl was a T Shirt Shop a local girl started with a tax refund. When she got National attention with a
cease & desist order from the NFL and resultant CNN coverage, her business exploded and is now an all-things-New Orleans shop. Since she has Television experience, she is more or less the
Ambassador-in-Chief for New Orleans. Some places I love to eat here are
Coquette (fine dining),
Ignatious for Gumbo & Red Beans,
Slim Goodies for breakfast (get the Jewish Coon Ass), and just past Louisiana St. is
Mahoney’s subs who have some of the best Po’Boys I’ve had.

4c. Magazine St. & Napoleon Ave.

This is my current ‘hood. My house is a 3-minute walk from here. There are a few good curated collection shops here, like Red Arrow. Casamento’s Oyster shop is another world-famous historical restaurant. It’s shuttered when oysters are out of season. If you get in, the wall is covered in T-shirts signed by celebrities and Presidents who have visited. I only fight to get in during Blue Crab season. La Petite Grocery is one of my new favorite fine-dining restaurants. Every single thing I eat here is inspired and amazing, even if it’s just a burger at the bar. Every single plate is a knock out of the park from this chef. I also spend a lot of time at Hey Cafe.

At the intersection of Napoleon and Magazine is another giant church, St. Stephens. I like this one because the clock tower is low and large enough that you can appreciate that it has a wooden clock face. If you wander Napoleon to Tchoupitoulas St. you can check out the walk-of-fame at Tipitina’s. Rouse’s grocery store is there if you need a break from restaurants. A large part of my diet is from their hot seafood bar. And if you just can’t get enough restaurants, Dick & Jenny’s is there. Dick & Jenny are in Buffalo now, as post-Katrina diaspora.

Headed upstream on Magazine from Napoleon, La Boulangerie is a place I visited every morning for 5 months once. It has recently been sold by the start-up owners to a reputable restaurant group. I loved it but opinion is presently suspended until I can get back there. They used to sell Simon‘s work here. Surrey’s has the best Corned Beef Hash breakfast I’ve ever had, but you have to lie on the floor for the rest of the day afterward.

4d. Magazine St. (Jefferson Ave. to Nashville Ave.)
This is the well-to-do, nouveau riche beehive, approaching the Audubon neighborhood. Here are the women who have a career of going to Pilates and buying expensive stationary before picking up the day’s fresh comestibles at Whole Foods (known locally as “Whole Paycheck”). They don’t have the money for the $24,000 chandeliers like the old-money peeps, but they have entire closets full of the most expensive stretchypants. We’re also right by the colleges, so this is the best bird-watching in the city, if you know what I mean. I eat lunch from the Whole Foods prepared foods section and sit outside here occasionally. This Whole Foods building is a re-purposed streetcar barn built in 1893 and is known as “Arabella Station”. Like everything else in the city, it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

One of the trinket shops here is owned and operated by an actor (Mad Men, if I remember correctly). Go to the Paris Parker Salon and have a hot girl cut your hair and curl your toes. Here is my favorite T Shirt shop, Dirty Coast
. I want every shirt they have, as well as a framed print. I think I have 2.

MOST importantly, this is coffee heaven. There are 5 shops within jittering distance of each other. Sometimes you can see me shimmer out-of-phase and vanish in front of one only to appear in front of another like an excitable electron flitting around its orbit. CC’s
and PJ’s
are right on the corner. Don’t forget Whole Paycheck has a coffee counter and our friends at District
have a little cutie store that could have been built inside your garage. Instead of doughnuts & sliders, they sell handpies. Don’t forget to look up in here. At Nashville Ave. You have HiVolt and Cafe Luna, which is an old Victorian house where you can lounge outside on the gallery. Need a beer? Get a NOLA Blonde at St. Joe’s Bar and once again DO NOT miss the courtyard in the back. Need a bottle of wine? Hopper’s Carte des Vins
is a very thoughtful collection from which you can choose, probably for the more experienced wine buyers. Once you cross Nashville Ave, you are again walking distance form Audubon Park / Zoo / The Fly. Pick up your watercolors at National Art & Hobby on your way.

Of course Magazine St. can be enjoyed headed downstream instead of upstream.

5. Prytania (between Upperline and Robert)


This place is very near and dear to my heart. In the strip plaza is Prytania vet, where I worked at a vet tech in the late 90s. It was in seeking a Biochem degree at CWRU as a Veterinary School hopeful that I was diverted to a 13-year stint in biomedical research, for which I am immeasurably grateful. Science has always been a passion for me, but I credit this place with getting me on the path. On Robert St. is my all-time favorite restaurant, Le Crepe Nanou. It’s not fine dining. It’s just a neighborhood crepery with a meh wine list. To me, it just has perfect decor, awesome staff who stay for years and know you, and my undying Moon-eyed nostalgia. They have not changed much since I met them and that’s fine with me. They don’t take reservations, so ask for a table way in the back, get a Sazerac at the bar and sit on the curb outside with everyone else. There may be people in formal wear and people in jeans & a sweatshirt and it’s all comfortable. They also serve my favorite whole-grilled fish prep. Eat here, if you do nothing else in the city.

Upperline restaurant is an old favorite of just about everyone and along Pytania, between Upperline and Crepe Nanou are a half-dozen more places for food, including an incredible deli/cheese shop that serves awesome sandwiches called St James Cheese Company. If you need a cold snack, try the Creole Cream Cheese ice cream at the Creole Creamery. Coffee at Manhattan Jack, Sushi at Kyoto and a wine shop, The Wine Seller (get it?) make this a “what else do I need?” neighborhood block. You can walk here from the street car line from the Robert St. Stop.

Freret St. Between Napoleon & Jefferson

When I lived Uptown in the 90s this was a no-go, stray bullet area. The businesses were run down and the neighborhood was neglected. The post-Katrina flood hit here pretty hard and the ensuing re-build led to the rebirth of this district that now has- you guessed it- a dozen more of my favorite restaurants (and some stores of course). There are many farmer’s markets and food & merchant festivals in this area on weekends.

I live at Mojo Coffee House when I’m in town. Seriously, I was there every night for 3 months once. During the school season, you often can’t get a table. It’s a ghost town when school is out.Cure has the best cocktail mixologists Uptown. Hi Hat Cafe has an incredible menu that I can never get to because the daily specials are always so good. Next-door is the equally-amazing Wayfare. Ancora has the coolest pizza oven you’ll ever see and you have to get the Kim Chi burger at Mint. I love this place.

7. Find some Music.

When I first went to New Orleans, I was chatting with a cab driver. He asked about my hopes and dreams for New Orleans. I told him I wanted to see all the local music.
“Oh Yeah, like who?”

I listed a few. When I got to Pete Fountain he said, “Pete Fountain! Look kid, you don’t want to hear millionaires play music. You want them hungry. The music has to be what’s feeding them. Get out to the clubs.”

Best advice I ever got.


I’ve already mentioned Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf on Tuesday nights. They and George Porter Jr. are New Orleans royalty. Try to find them if you can. There are a few others I try to see as often as I can. Luckily they gig non-stop. Cellist Helen Gillet is often at Bacchanal on Monday nights. Vibraphonist Mike Dillon has scores of bands and you want to see them all. He’s part of The Dead Kenny G’s (all heroes to me). I like to catch him with bassist James Singleton and drummer Johnny Vidocovich (from Astral Project) as DVS Trio, and their new project with JFJO’s Brian Haas, NOLAtet is wonderful. Catch anything any of these guys are involved in and you can’t lose. Leyla McCalla is a real-live Hatian Creole (from Brooklyn). Her album ‘Vari-Colored Songs‘ is just the most perfect thing, ever. Don’t miss her. The Local Skank were always entertaining but I don’t know if they’ve been active since one of them had a baby. Also look for the poet Raymond “Moose” Jackson. Kermit Ruffins is always worth a slog across town, but I’ve never done the wait for Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which I regret.


There are a few venues I watch. Of course there will be tons of music on the street in the Quarter and on Frenchmen St. You might see
Tanya & Dorise or Grandpa Eliott. My favorite place Uptown is Gasa Gasa. It’s the kind of place you can wander into no matter what is going on and have a good time. Tipitina’s is of course legendary as is The Maple Leaf. Hey Cafe used to have a pretty good late night music scene. Circle Bar is on the border of Downtown. Kermit Ruffins has a new place in Tremé: the resurrected Ernie K-Doe’s Mother-In-Law Lounge. Whatever is going on here is going to be good. I have no idea how Vaughn’s is doing without him. Standards on Frenchmen St. Are Blue Nile, Snug Harbor, Spotted Cat, D.B.A. and The Maison. Yuki Izakaya is a small Japanese restaurant that alwasy has something entertaining going on. Over in the CBD is Howlin’ Wolf and the quater has One-Eyed Jack’s and a House of Blues (if you’re up to it).

In sum:
It doesn’t get much better than DVS Trio upstairs at Blue Nile (I was at this show).

If you want to see really artsy stuff, heavy metal, punk or noisy young people stuff (usually played by old people), an awesome cluster of venues is Siberia, Hi Ho Lounge and the Allways Lounge & Theater at the corner of Marigny and St. Claude. Again, everything that happens here is awesome.

Check all of these people and places as soon as you get your travel calendar and see if anything looks cool. I find that a lot of artists are better at keeping up with Facebook than their websites (this is not exclusive to New Orleans).

If Audubon Park is not enough green space for you, City Park is more than four times the size of Audubon Park and more than 150% the size of Manhattan’s Central park. Here you will find the Museum of Art, The Botanical Gardens, a dog park, athletic accouterments, children’s attractions such as Storyland, Putt Putt and a carousel and a 4-acre waterpark coming.; the largest collection of mature live oaks in the world, some of which they decorate for Celebration in the Oaks around winter holidays. Don’t miss the Duelling Oaks.

Sadly, in their infinite, benevolent wisdom, City Park have decided to turn much of the park into a Golf Course paying no mind to the people protesting by occupying trees, the fact that Golf in general has been in “stuctural decline” nationally regardless of the number of babes Tiger Woods pulls, Audubon Golf (which takes up 80% of Audubon park) has been losing $500K/year for a dozen years, The local PGA course, TPC just had to get a $9.2 Million tax-funded bailout and amid worries of serious ecological wetland endangerment concerns annnnnd the fact that so many amendments were made to this plan after the public was given a chance to respond, it is in fact a whole new project from what the public saw at that time. $10M of the $24M project will come from Louisiana while police face cuts and Universities face 40-60% cuts in state support (which may be OK, depending on how much of that is being used to install 9-gender bathrooms).

There was previously a golf course at the north end of the park which was wiped away by the post-Katrina flood. But of course they do not intend to stay within that footprint. To add insult to injury, they erected screens to prevent anyone from seeing them bulldoze old-growth trees. All this to essentially use 40% or our park to generate 9% of their budget costs.
(at least according to these folks).

Now, I’m not one of those anti-golf course people (you know those people). But I would like a little green space that I can ride my bike to instead of trucking down to Jean Lafitte or the Atchafalaya Basin every damn time. Not to mention this is a de facto needed nature preserve with supposedly Federally protected lands. Cunts.

Near City park (and not too far from Martin Wine Cellar, Metaire) is Longue Vue House.  If you want something akin to a plantation home tour but can’t get out to River Road, and just couldn’t get enough of the Botanical Gardens, this is the place you want to visit.

9. French Quarter

I have to admit, this is a difficult one for me. I really only go to the quarter for specific shows, events or restaurants. The France Quarter (or Vieux Carré) has an amazing history. It used to comprise the entire city of New Orleans. It changed European hands so many times (in card games and such), the city walls are reported to have had canons facing out for foreign enemies and canons facing in for any 5th Column activity. The street names change as you cross Canal St. Because that was the division between the French and Americans once they were thrown together. The Canal St. “neutral ground” was where they met and were not allowed to shoot each other. What I love most about the FQ is in books.

I recommend the FQ early in the morning. Get a cup of coffee and walk around and maybe make a list of stores to hit once they open. There is really good art mixed in with a lot of bad. The antique shops are out of control compared to Magazine St. You will see all of the local businesses receiving supplies for the business days and the NOPD writing them tickets. You will see kitchen staff hosing off the sidewalks. This is because the FQ at night is just fat white people from the mid-west puking on themselves.

The FQ is described as “European” That means it stinks. It stinks like Hell, puke and donkey shit. Get out of there before the sun comes up and hits that black water you’re trying to avoid stepping in. Don’t get me wrong- cool stuff goes on there, but you won’t find it as a tourist.

A place I used to go almost every visit is the parking garage attached to Canal place Mall. It’s accessible by foot through the Canal Place Mall elevators by foot and the car entrance is off Badine St. (behind the aquarium). You can go to the top floor and take pictures without the obligation of buying something.

Walking up / down Royal, Chartres, Decatur- all the streets along the river up to about Jackson Square and as far away from the river as Royal. I can’t call to mind anything to see on Bourbon St. I go to a little cigar shop there. I used to tend bar at 201 Bourbon, but it has been renovated beyond recognition. I used to like Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo (739 Bourbon) when I were a mopey kid. There is some historical stuff like The Old Absinthe House (240 Bourbon), Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop (941 Bourbon), built before Mozart was born (now a crappy bar) which is pretty close to the LaLaurie Mansion at 1140 Royal St. if’n you’re into that sort of thing. Then you can walk up and peep Napoleon House(500 Chartres) and feel cultured.
At the base of the World Trade Center (which is apparently about to become a Hotel) is the Spanish Plaza. If you can’t make it up to The Fly, this is the place to see the River. You can walk along this sliver of a park to a little past Jackson Square. You won’t be terribly impressed. Near here is the French Market (1008 N. Peters), the country’s oldest city market. I haven’t been there since the 90’s when it was crap; barely more than a flea market. I don’t know what the Hipsters have done to it, if anything.

As mentioned before, the street music is good. The food is all good. Coffee & Beignets at Cafe Du Monde are not worth more than a 10-minute wait, but I won’t shun you for it- please don’t spend 10% of your vacation in this line. I fully support going into the garish shops and buying alligator on a stick and Tabasco suckers. I’ve never been inside the St. Louis Cathedral or Cabildo. Should probably do that one day. Maybe you could tell me what to do there and when. Even after reading the entire website, I still don’t know what a “Cabildo” is or what “THE” Cabildo is.

You must go to A Gallery for Fine Photography (241 Chartres St.). They have real Ansel Adams prints. They have f-ing Muybridge & Brassai there! Ask them to see some, a lot of it is in drawers. Don’t miss the second level. I do enjoy Crescent City Books (230 Chartres) and Arcadian Books & Prints (714 Orleans Ave.).
Other than that, Walk around and enjoy yourself until it gets too rowdy, then get some food. And there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the touristy stuff. If you want to take a picture with the guy painted silver while wearing a hat that is a crawfish that claps its claws when you pull a string, you do that. It’s a fun and silly place. That guy selling paintings on the fence for $100 a pop might have a gallery selling for $5,000 a pop when you come back, so support those artists. I can tell you, drinking hurricanes until you throw up on yourself is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Now for the obligatory food run-down. Aside from a snack from Acme Oysters, I pretty much do only fine dining in the Quarter. The Brennan family are the kings of Now Orleans food (Irish people, who’d a-thunk?). They invented the Banannas Foster. Commander’s Palace is their Flagship. The city loves them and people love working for them, which you need to know about any restaurant. The family is split up into different business groups but that is unimportant here. The most affordable is the bistro, Palace Cafe (605 Canal), where my wife worked some years ago. This food will knock your socks off. You should at least go in for lunch and order many small plates: Oysters Pan Roast, Crabmeat Cheesecake, Turtle soup (let them add lots of Sherry). Most of their restaurants have that turtle soup and Eggs Sardou for brunch (Oh, I do love the eggs sardou!). Brunch at the original Brennan’s is as good as brunch at Commander’s. Or peruse the menus here or here or here and see if one meets your personality. I love Oysters at the Bourbon House bar.

Carousel Bar is fun for a quick cocktail. Kingfish looks great but I haven’t been in yet. Chris McMillan is one of the coolest bartenders in town. I hear he just left Kingfish and will open Revel. Central Grocery invented the Mufaletta. Susan Spicer’s Bayona is the finest of dining. I never hear about old giants like Galatoire’s or Court of Two Sisters any more, but I do know Louis XVI closed. Marti’s is open in the old Peristyle spot in the back of the quarter after Ann Kearney left for Dayton.

For some reason, when falling-down drunk at Mardi Gras all I ever wanted was a corndog from a street vendor. You *must* get a Lucky Dog from a cart, then go home and read “A Confedercy of Dunces“. If you have already read “A Confederacy of Dunces”, the bronze statue of Ignatious J. Reilly is at 819 Canal St, under his clock. Do send me a picture.

The experience you’re looking for on Bourbon St. will probably be found on Frenchmen St.. I covered it pretty well in the “music” paragraph. The Art Market is cool at night. The thing that draws me to Frenchmen St. is The Louisiana Music Factory (421 Frenchmen). Get your WWOZ Shirt & bumper sticker and Local NOLA CDs here. If you don’t make it uptown, Frenchmen has a Dirty Coast T Shirts (2121 Chartres). If you have any time at all, take a cab over to Bacchanal and have a wine and some food in the courtyard. You wil be very happy that you did. And if you can, go to Elizabeth’s for breakfast.
11. CBD- Central Business / Warehouse Districts

Sadly, many people are at the convention center and want to do something very near there and I gots very little to offer. But things are looking up! The area that is walking distance from the convention center seems to be finally under development. I will add ideas as I discover them.

The Contemporary Arts Center is in the CBD. The WWII museum is there, as well as many other museums. You can Google New Orleans museums as well as I can, and I rarely give advice to go indoors. But if you spend enough time in New Orleans, inclement weather will happen. The places out where I hung in the CBD are gone now. The Riverwalk Mall is an outlet mall. Please for the love of God don’t go to New Orleans and hang out in an outlet mall. The Casino does not exist in my world.

The CBD has one of the coolest wine stores I’ve ever seen. Don’t forget that this is my wife’s career. We’ve seen hundreds. Go get some bubbly at Keife & Co.. By the way they and many NOLA wine shops deliver. Don’t know if they’ll come up to The Fly.

For food, Mother’s has been a Sandwich favorite since 1938. I’ve never been to Mulate’s but it looks awesome and have been a public favorite for generations. For lunch I love Cochon Bucther but the line usually drives me away. This is a place where a table will open and someone way behind you in line will grab it and sit with no food while their friend waits in line and orders. The staff is completely unconcerned. My urge to fistfight usually kills my appetite and I leave. This is a growing problem as uncultured youth take over New Orleans, where I am usually proud of the restaurant etiquette of the young people, unlike Ohio, where it’s all screaming and group photos for Facebook in fine dining restaurants.

For dinner, Cochon (forget the dining room-sit at the bar in the back of the room that faces the wood oven). The Link group’s other restaurant, Peche was my best experience in a LONG time in the CBD. Lüke was awesome. August and all of the John Besh‘s restaurants seem to be great, but I’ve only been to a few. I’ll need to rack my brain to remember what else I do in the CBD/Warehouse district.

Other than that, I suggest you hop into a cab or onto a streetcar.


11.Outside of New Orleans.

If you are in NOLA long enough that you are afforded enough time to peruse things outside of the city-proper, a little secret is that the whole Gulf South, from the Florida Everglades to Browns-(Smokin’ in the boys’ room)-ville, TX is the most beautiful place on Earth. If you are in New Orleans on business, you’re not going to make it to the Mangrove swamps out east, but there is some stuff just out of town worth a car ride if you are in town long enough.

Just south of NOLA is a nature preserve named for Jean Lafitte. I like to rent a canoe from Bayou Barn and spend a few hours paddling through the bayou there. Call ahead though, sometimes the swamp is over-grown and impassible by canoe.

Along River Road, west of Orleans Parish is the Plantation trail. Honestly, I have only ever been to one, Oak Alley, but it is so great I keep deciding to go back there before exploring new ones, though San Francisco and Laura look fabulous.

As you head West, you enter real Cajun country and the Boudin trial is north of the plantation trail. I highly recommend getting out here and buying chicken-fried gizzards and livers at the local Chevron station. And dump on the salt and Crystal hot sauce. With an Abita Amber on a 97-degree day, it really doesn’t get any better than this. Go to a Piggly Wiggly within 30 minutes of Lafayette and just listen to people talk. It’s a lost and under-appreciated culture. In Ohio, I live with 20 minutes of one of the largest Amish communities- it ain’t the same.

Now then, may favorite place in the world is the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. This is where I will head in case of Apocalypse / New World Order / Alien Invasion / Unsuccessful retirement / Successful retirement. It’s just north of I-10 half-way between Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Before your adventure, stop at the Atchafalaya Welcome Center in Breaux Bridge to get your maps and travel guides. Couret’s Swamp Tours is right there.

Getting there on the I-10 twin-span over the swamp is an adventure in itself. Though it is the most diverse “ecosystem” in America, the Atchafalaya basin for the most part is not a national park but is privately owned. Therefore most of the old-growth cypress are ending up as mulch at your local Home Depot and Lowe’s. The local birds and other fauna that only nest in giant cypress are screwed. They have to wait 100 years for the present forest to mature. I know that Walmart is The Devil, but so far, they are the only ones to curtail use of mulch from this area once they learned of the situation. Recent evidence shows that much illegal logging has stopped in Louisiana, now that it is almost a wasteland. Atchafalaya Basinkeeper keeps an eye on it. And just like the Everglades, it is being overwhelmed with invasive species and petrochemical plants. Hate to sound like one of those people, but enjoy it while you can. My houseboat will be the one playing Iron Maiden.

Detail Map of Many things



If you have any questions or if I can make this better, shoot me some Electronic Mail. Constructive criticism welcome, copyediting or otherwise.