Any suggestions for things to see or places to eat?
The places to eat list is so long…
Let’s start with a place: One of my favorite places to visit that I’ll never stop talking about because it blew my mind is the hidden collection within M.S. Rau’s Antiques.
As far as foods, I still have the turtle soup at Commander’s Palace on my list. It’s usually quite busy but I believe weekday lunch is the best time to go. If you’re looking for old school dining, Galatoire’s, Antoine’s (where the Café Brulot is said to have been invented. The Grill Room at Windsor Court also fashioned a specific contraption for their version that’s pretty cool), Brennan’s and Arnaud’s are the main ones.
When you’re in the quarter, tucked in the back of Erin Rose Bar on Rue du Conti is Killer PoBoys. Delicious and cheap.
I’m still dreaming about a sandwich I had at Cochon Butcher.
Are you looking for more activities? What month are you going?
Thanks for your suggestions!
You’re welcome! I was hoping you’d say April. This festival is very fun. Lots of opportunity to try things like alligator sausage and crawfish boils, and take in great local music: https://fqfi.org/
Another suggestion is to check out the WWII museum if you like history. It’s Smithsonian affiliated and very well done. I didn’t arrange this visit, but I was able to see the archives of all the artifacts that aren’t on display. It looks like this is a service they offer to the public now: Behind the Lines Tour | The National WWII Museum | New Orleans
After the museum, head West on Magazine Street for a nice stroll. Magazine goes all the way to Audubon Park. You can then walk Northeast to St. Charles Avenue and take the trolley back. It’s a great way to see some of the neighborhoods and the classic houses with columns and wide porches. At this time of year, all the trees will still have Mardi Gras beads everywhere.
I’ve heard the WWII museum is phenomenal, as well. I enjoyed Mardi Gras World far more than I expected - it’s a great behind the scenes look at the craft that goes into the world famous party.
The New Orleans Museum of Art had a fabulous exhibit when I was there - check out their current exhibitions for the month that you’re there to see if anything catches your eye!
This place also blew me away, so much so that I added it to The Atlas.
Morher’s Restaurant - po’boys are excellent here
Galatoires - fine dining
The St. Louis cemeteries are a must-see if you enjoy that sort of the thing. The above ground tombs are fascinating!
Walk up and down Frenchman St. It’s where the locals and the tourists convene. A strip of a bunch of jazz clubs that you can walk in and out of, usually with fantastic musicians. Unless you like Vegas-type shenanigans, skip most of Bourbon St. (outside of Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop because PIRATE BAR).
I agree that skipping bourbon street is a great idea. We braved it once to go back to Lafitte’s after many years, and even Lafitte’s was AWFUL! Seriously the grossest bathroom experience of my life, and that is saying something.
I would write a bunch here, but I just saw this article recently that includes virtually everything I would say and more, all the way down to the delicious peas at the Longway… More than Mardi Gras: An Insider’s Guide to New Orleans
New Orleans, like many of America’s old cities is a great gem. So many layers to peel back. General suggestion is to relax first and let the current take you to what seems interesting. You cant do it in one trip or even ten. Advice regarding Bourbon St above is good, check it out once get out. Here is a short list all easy assuming you are staying in the French Quarter or Central BD.
Take the St. Charles St. car to Lafayette Cemetery. Its a fun ride you will get to go around Lee circle (no Lee anymore). There is an odd little mall/coffee shop one block up and across the street from the Cemetery you can relax and the locals are friendly. Great photo opportunities under the live oaks along the (outside) cemetery walls around when the sun is getting low.
You have to do St. Louis Cemetery 1 but you need a tour guide to get in. Last time I was there you could still get into Cemetery 2 for no cost and its huge, just take a friend, its not a place you really want to be alone.
Frenchmen St. is good, its becoming a little touristy but some really good acts. I like Cafe Negril but DBA is solid.
If you are looking for something near Canal that is easy, Ill give a shout out to Mahogany Jazz clubs its low key and a place to relax. Give Connie the bartender a shout out.
I would highly recommend the Pharmacy Museum, well worth $5. Ill admit I have a soft spot for the little bar behind the Cathedral in Pirate’s Alley.
Food wise I tend to be low key but Coops place has really good and authentic working persons food, Belle’s is neat just for the WWII decor and 50s style Diner atmosphere. Very friendly service and reasonable. Not “Creole” but good.
Take the time to see the Katrina Exhibit its moving. There is at least one surviving post Katrina Banksy and the street art out in the upper and lower 9th wards is amazing.
Also keep your eye open for street Koi in Bywater, a relatively recent but neat addition to New Orleans local character.
I could go on but I think you will need to craft your own adventure.
P.S. If you find yourself needing a fresh T shirt at 1:00 AM there is a T shirt vending machine in the 8th District Police station on Royal and it benefits the local LEO auxiliary and is even tax deductible (consult your accountant).
I was there end of March last year (with AO!) - most awesome trip ever!
Here are some thoughts:
Not typical NO cuisine - but what’s happening in food right now: Boil Seafood House Opens in the Garden District With Vietnamese Crawfish on the Menu - Eater New Orleans
Cafe du Monde is pure touristy - but it’s really pleasant if you go super early (or super late, depending), at like 6:30 AM: http://www.cafedumonde.com/
The square in front of the cathedral at that hour is cool, pleasant, and uncrowded.
Agree on the recommendations for Frenchman Street.
And: Visit — New Orleans Jazz Museum for history (and a quiet place to visit if you need one).
Ahhh - New Orleans is the very best! My most favorite American destination.
Here’s the best hidden secrets:
For craft beer, great environment, and a James Beard award winning bar menu check out The Avenue Pub in Garden District. A great time to go here is after doing a Garden District “tour” by taking the St Charles street car all the way to the end and back, getting off near the pub (about $3).
For wine, perfect charcuterie, and a hell of a dinner menu, and some of the best gypsy jazz (check their calendar) go to Bacchanal in the Bywater. It’s absolutely wonderful - my most favorite, actually. About two blocks away and for later in the night there’s a dive bar called Vaughnn’s that attracts some truly phenomenal bands, specially brass. Seriously worth checking out.
Specifically for Monday night’s check out Mother’s. A dive with a backyard in the Treme, owned by Kermit (watch Treme on HBO before your trip to get in the vibe). He’s an amazing musician and will play there along with other musicians. There’s a cover charge but you will listen to amazing local music while they host an included cookout in their backyard grill. Locals will dance and enjoy a cold one with you!
If you like weird dives and really, really late nights check out Snake and Jakes Christmas Club Lounge. It’s not about Christmas, it’s sketchy, but I’ve only had exception times there. I have never arrived before 3 am.
The not so hidden secrets but worth checking out none the less:
-Spotted Cats for fantastic jazz, but specially on Mondays for less tourists and higher quality bands. It’s on Frenchmen St, you can’t miss it.
-If traveling in August, check out the Red Dress Run for an opportunity for live music, cold beer, and running around with 10k people in red dresses. It’s fantastic!
St Louis cemetery requires a guide now for a hefty $25+ which is a pain but the one on St Charles one is great, too.
Agreed that Frenchmen is getting a bit too touristy BUT Spotted Cat & the DBA are still fire, specially on Mondays.
Was that St. Louis 2 or 3. The Diocese started requiring a tour guide on 1 a year or two ago, didn’t get to check on 2 when I was there in October 18.
I actually agree with them charging for non-family. My only issue is having to get a tour guide when they have a person at the gate every day who could levy the same charge via square. I love the tour guides of NOLA used to drink with them at the Spitfire bar before it went under but sometimes you just want to wander peacefully. Most of the vandals jump the walls at night anyways and I have some pictures (and some memories of things I saw that I wouldn’t take a picture of out of respect for the dead) of the horror they can cause…stupid scary stuff… destroying history.
Happy Mardi Gras!
I agree entirely. I don’t mind the entrance cost, I just don’t want to have to walk around with a Guide or a group. I enjoy walking around and just taking it all in sat ny own pace.
—If you like art, Edar Degas lived in New Orleans with his brother, aunts and uncles, and cousins. His mom was born there. A tour of his house by a relative of his was super interesting. (Book ahead. 10:30 AM tour). www.degashouse.com
—FYI: The NO Art Museum has a painting of his (and a terrific sculpture garden).
—On the same block as Degas house, is the Free People of Color Museum in a beautiful mansion. Book ahead. Eye-opening tour at 1:00 PM. www.lemuseedefpc.com