Archive for the ‘Sightseeing’ Category

Exploring the French Quarter with Kids

Posted on: August 23rd, 2018 by FrenchQuarter

French Quarter with Kids Photo courtesy of French QuarTour Kids on Facebook

While “child-friendly” or “family-friendly” may not automatically come to mind when, say, Bourbon Street is mentioned, New Orleans is packed with things you can do as a family, for kids of all ages. Here are our favorite family-friendly destinations and things to do in the French Quarter. You can cover these in a day, on foot (or in a carriage!), and with kids in tow.

Food

Start off with a relaxing breakfast of crawfish frittata or boudin benedict at Vacherie Restaurant located inside Hotel St. Marie. Chef Jarred Zeringue concocts inventive Cajun and regional Louisiana dishes using local ingredients like Andouille sausage and Creole tomatoes. There are kid-friendly items on the menu too, such as omelets, oatmeal pancakes and house-made granola.

For an old-world French breakfast or lunch, head to Croissant D’Or. This intimate, Parisian-style patisserie tucked between Royal and Chartres on Ursulines Street will satisfy the whole family with its array of cakes, quiches, fruit tartes, and sweet and savory croissants. Everything is made daily and served fresh from the bakery. The cafe au lait and cappuccino are perfect, and there’s a magical little tiled courtyard.

Of course there is the classic local breakfast/snack option, the 24-hour Cafe du Monde on Decatur Street. Since 1862, this iconic cafe has been serving a simple menu of coffee and beignets. The cafe is open-air, so there’s a lot of room in which to navigate, no reservations necessary. Your visit will probably be accompanied by live music coming from any number of the street entertainers performing nearby. For a sneak-peak at how beignets are made to order, walk all the way back inside the cafe.

Another French Quarter gem, the gleaming and spacious Salon by Sucre at 622 Conti Street, serves a dizzying array of confections complemented by a state-of-the-art coffee bar. Try a macaron or artisanal chocolate. Upstairs, Salon Restaurant by Sucre serves full lunch and brunch menus with freshly baked pastries, desserts and sandwiches.

After a day of sightseeing, cool off with one of La Divina Gelateria‘s inventive gelatos or sorbets, made daily from scratch. La Divina also offers freshly baked pies, cakes, cookies, and cannoli, as well as a full lunch menu of panini, salads and soup.

Entertainment

While some tours are decidedly not for little ears because they focus on vampires and ghosts, French Quartour Kids caters to kids ages 4 to 18 with four 1-1.5 hour-long walking tours, all within a six-block radius ($20, chaperones required). There’s the Spooky Tour, a child-friendly version of the ghost tour. The teen tour (13-18) explores the history of French Creoles and the military and trade past of New Orleans. The Creole Kids tour (7-12) focuses on 19th-century life in New Orleans. The tour for the very little ones (4-7) keeps it simple and fun with a treasure hunt and dress-up.

Don’t feel like committing to a guided tour? The Cabildo and the Presbytere, two historic buildings flanking St. Louis cathedral on Jackson Square, are part of the Louisiana State Museum. Each offer excellent exhibits (admission to either is $6). The Cabildo houses such precious artifacts as a painting of Marie Laveau by Frank Schneider and a rare death mask of Napoleon.

On the other side of the cathedral, the Presbytere houses two permanent exhibits. The all-encompassing “Mardi Gras: It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana” tells the story of the Carnival traditions in Louisiana; the dazzling costumes alone are worth the visit. The “Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond” exhibit offers interactive displays and artifacts related to that disaster.

To give your feet a break, grab a mule-drawn carriage tour on Decatur Street right outside the Jackson Square gate. It’s first-come first-served, 8 a.m. through midnight daily ($40). The Dixie Bohemia tour is a good alternative to a daytime walking tour and covers the French Quarter and, depending on the time of day, either St. Louis Cemetery #1 or the Marigny. It’s perfect for families with small kids because it’s one hour long and can seat up to eight passengers.

If you want a quick respite from the crowds, Louis Armstrong Park just across Rampart Street in Treme is a 32-acre expanse of green and is excellent for a quiet walk and turtle-spotting. Or head to the Mississippi River boardwalk and watch the boats go by. New Orleans is still a busy port, and you can spot freighters, cruise ships, barges, tugboats, and the uniquely Twainesque Steamboat Natchez. Bring a po-boy or a muffuletta for a bench picnic, and walk the stretch of the riverfront dotted with public art and street performers.

If you have a few hours to spare, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, located on the riverfront, will keep your kids enthralled with its walk-through tunnel, otters, penguins, sea turtles, a stingray touch-pool, and an expansive replica of an offshore oil rig submerged in 400,000 gallons of water.

On the other side of the French Quarter, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, located in the U.S. Custom House on Canal Street, is packed with bug-centric interactive exhibits and features a dreamy butterfly garden.

Shopping

Your kids will probably get a kick out of the Maskarade, 630 St. Ann Street, which features a selection of fabulous creations by local artists as well as high-end handmade Italian masks done in the Venetian style. Or visit Mask Factory, 515 Decatur Street, to get a souvenir to take home.

Also on Decatur, Shops at Jax Brewery is a four-story mall full of gift shops, boutiques, kiosks, and restaurants. Further down is the French Market, perfect for browsing, with its six-block-long stretch of the farmer’s market, flea market and food stalls. Vendors come from all over the world, and whether you are looking for a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce to bring home or spices or a Zydeco CD — you’ll find it there — along with raw oysters, po-boys, gourmet cheese, and pralines. Happy browsing and exploring, family-style!

New Orleans Streetcar Sense

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by French No Comments
By: Jyl Benson

new orleans streetcar

In 1947 Tennessee Williams penned “A Streetcar Named Desire,” effectively immortalizing the public transit line that, from the 1920s, served the rollicking French Quarter as well as the working class Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods, located downriver. Sadly, the last car to serve the Desire line rattled through town in 1948, a victim of transportation “progress.” It was replaced by a choking diesel bus, which lacked the aesthetic value of the streetcars. Where 235 miles of streetcar tracks once formed a lace across the city’s streets most of the tracks were ultimately paved over, as noxious buses became the standard. Blessedly, even the Purveyors of Progress could not bear to dismantle the charming St. Charles Avenue streetcar line and its service has remained uninterrupted since its inception in 1893. Spacious olive green 900-class streetcars built by Perley A. Thomas Car Company in 1923-24 still serve the line today. These cultural icons were fully restored and refurbished between 1988 and 1994.

Historic St. Charles Avenue Line

The St. Charles Avenue Streetcar may very well be the nation’s most pleasant form of public conveyance existing today. The line was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. To maintain this stature, the Regional Transit Authority, which operates New Orleans’ streetcar system, has rejected adding air conditioning and making the streetcars wheelchair accessible. However, the 46 streetcars’ double-hung windows can easily be opened to emit the cooling breezes generated by the moving cars so it’s always a comfortable ride.

For a leisurely exploration of the Central Business District, the Garden District and Uptown, visitors staying in the French Quarter should board the St. Charles Avenue streetcar at the corner of Carondelet and Canal streets (Stop No. 0). Each car stop has a designated number and there are dozens of stops along the line. The line serves a 6 ½ mile run that stretches between Stop No. 0 at the edge of the French Quarter, down St. Charles Avenue to the Riverbend where it turns onto South Carrolton and continues to its terminus at South Carrollton and South Claiborne avenues. The cars turn around at the end of the line and head back in the opposite direction. A one-way trip along the line takes about 45 minutes.

Riverfront Line

In 1988 when city officials unveiled a new 1.9 mile Riverfront Streetcar Line they were amazed by the enthusiastic reception it received. What was originally planned as a novelty project to be rolled out in conjunction with that year’s National Republican Convention quickly became a favored means of transportation for both visitors and locals. It was the city’s first new streetcar line since 1926 and the Powers That Be quickly determined that with regard to public transit in New Orleans the old ways were, indeed, the best. Plans to re-invigorate streetcar service throughout key areas of New Orleans were soon underway. Seven bright red streetcars now service the Riverfront line, which includes 10 stops between Esplanade Avenue and the Morial Convention Center. The one car with its doors located at either end is a vintage Perley A. Thomas’ built in 1923-24, like the St. Charles cars. The remaining Riverfront cars were built by the RTA in partnership with local vendors and craftsmen. Though they are not air-conditioned, like the St. Charles cars the double-hung windows open to emit the river breeze. All of the cars are wheelchair accessible.

The Canal Street Line

In the spring of 2004, streetcar service was joyously welcomed back to Canal Street after a 40-year absence. The new Canal Streetcar Line tied into the existing Riverfront Streetcar Line from Esplanade Avenue to Canal Street and along Canal Street from the Mississippi River to a streetcar terminal at City Park Avenue and the Cemeteries. A spur line along North Carrollton Avenue connects Canal Street to City Park at Beauregard Circle, making for easy access to the park and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Streetcars run in the neutral ground on Canal Street for the entire 4.13 miles. Tracks for the one-mile spur on North Carrollton Avenue run in the left traffic lane and terminate at Beauregard Circle opposite the New Orleans Museum of Art. Like the St. Charles Avenue Line, the Canal Line provides French Quarter visitors with easy access to some of the city’s other unique neighborhoods – in this case Mid City and the cemeteries.

 

The Rampart/St. Claude Line

In 2016, the latest addition to the New Orleans streetcar network opened to the public: the Rampart/St Claude line. This fully air conditioned route skirts the edge of the French Quarter along Rampart St (once the literal walls of the city), running from Canal St past Armstrong Park and the Treme. At this stage, Rampart St splits off and the streetcar follows St Claude Avenue to its intersection with Elysian Fields Avenue. The line provides access to sites within the Treme like St Augustine Church, Armstrong Park, and the Backstreet Cultural Museum, and gives visitors a glimpse of the French Quarter that is often missed by many tourists.

Like the Riverfront cars, the 24 cherry red cars that service the Canal Line were locally built under the auspices of the RTA. All of them are air-conditioned and provide wheelchair access. Due to the space needed to accommodate wheelchairs, the Canal and Riverfront cars provide seating for 42 passengers, 18 fewer than the St. Charles Avenue cars.

All three of New Orleans’ streetcar lines provide service 24-hours a day with frequent service during the day and hourly appearances from midnight to 6 a.m. The fare for each is $1.25 per person. Transfers cost $.25. Exact change is required.

Meet the Mississippi: Exploring the New Orleans Riverfront

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by French No Comments

New-Orleans-Riverfront



The Mississippi River looms large in the American identity, from the history and literature taught in schools to the nation’s modern economy.

In New Orleans, you can easily experience the river in all its bustling activity, natural splendor and historical significance via the riverfront area adjacent to the French Quarter. Sweeping vistas, public art, family activities and jumping-off points for riverboat tours are all clustered here along a linear park and walkways.

The Mississippi has always been a working river and for generations most New Orleanians were cut off from any access to it by floodwalls, warehouses and very busy wharves. That began to change in the 1970s through the 1980s, as underused industrial buildings near the French Quarter were razed and replaced by Woldenberg Park, a grassy open space named for local philanthropist Malcolm Woldenberg, and the Moonwalk, a walkway named for the former New Orleans mayor Maurice “Moon” Landrieu. Today the area attracts an estimated 7 million visitors annually, according to the Audubon Institute, the organization which runs it.

A great place for a picnic of po-boys or local seafood, a jog or just to catch a cooling breeze on a typically humid New Orleans day, this mile-long stretch of the riverfront is also the setting for many community celebrations and special events. For example, the largest stages for the annual French Quarter Festival (www.frenchquarterfestival.org) are set up here each spring and the park is prime real estate for viewing fireworks during the city’s Fourth of July activities, known collectively as Go Fourth on the River.

A bronze statue of Malcolm Woldenberg in the park that bears his name is one exhibit in what has grown into an informal sculpture garden along the riverfront. Near the philanthropist’s statue is a stainless steel sculpture called “Ocean Song.” Created by local artist John Scott, the piece depicts the motion of water in eight narrow pyramids, polished to a reflective gleam.



Further downriver is the elegant “Monument to the Immigrant,” crafted from white Carrara marble by sculptor Franco Allesandrini. The work faces the riverfront with a ship’s prow topped by a female figure reminiscent of Lady Liberty, while behind her stands a turn-of-the-century immigrant family looking toward the French Quarter. A few blocks downriver is Robert Schoen’s “Old Man River,” a stone human figure also made from Carrara marble. Weighing in at 17 tons and standing 18 feet high, the statue speaks to the river’s power and majesty in its rounded, circular body forms.

The most recent addition to this collection of public art is the city’s Holocaust Memorial, which was dedicated in 2003. Created by Israeli artist and sculptor Jacob Agam, the memorial is often described as a “living work” because its images and shapes change as a visitor walks around it.

Vestiges of the area’s industrial past remain, like the warehouses and wharves that begin behind the French Market and the freight trains that still rumble along a corridor between the river and the French Quarter. Much gentler rail traffic comes in the form of the city’s red Riverfront streetcars, built in 1988 with a vintage look and modern amenities to carry passengers from Canal Street to the lower end of the French Quarter.

Past the French Market, going along St Peters St, one can spy the latest pedestrian-friendly addition to the city’s riverfront real estate: the entrance to the Crescent Park, an unmissable pedestrian footbridge linked to the ground by an elevator and staircase. The Crescent Park plays with the city’s shipping heritage, drawing upon that legacy to create a severe, post-industrial aesthetic that includes open air pavilions, concrete buttresses, long walking and cycling paths, and rusted metal features like a pedestrian bridge, all laid out in a linear park that runs from Faubourg Marigny through the Bywater. Using the Crescent Park’s linear pathway, you can walk all the way from N Peters and Marigny St to Chartres and Bartholomew St.

Anywhere you go on the river, you’re likely to spot modern shipping traffic. The ports, refineries and terminals clustered between the mouth of the river and Baton Rouge to the north make the Mississippi one of the world’s busiest rivers, and from a bench along the riverfront visitors can watch as tugs, tankers, freighters, cruise ships and long strings of barges navigate its currents. Street musicians usually perform nearby for tips, adding to the ambiance with their saxophones or trumpets. Indeed, from the French Quarter, visitors can see with their own eyes how New Orleans earned the nickname the Crescent City as large vessels follow the dramatic turn in the river upon which the French Quarter is situated.



If all these maritime vistas give you the urge to use your sea legs, the Steamboat Natchez (504-569-1401) will take you out on the muddy Mississippi and offers tours of varying length and themes. Designed to resemble the old steamships that once brought cotton, gamblers and jazz up and down the river, this modern vessel gives today’s visitors a way to experience the Mississippi up close and view the city’s skyline and intricate French Quarter roof-scape from the river.

Back on dry land, the riverfront area is also home to two of the city’s most popular family attractions, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and the Entergy Imax Theater (both at 1 Canal St., 800-774-7394). The active area outside these facilities is filled with whimsical sculptures of marine life, well-shaded park benches and outdoor vendors serving light refreshments.

Just upriver from the aquarium area is the Spanish Plaza. Dedicated in 1976 during the U.S. bicentennial, the plaza was a gift from Spain in a gesture of friendship to its one-time colony. It features a large fountain ringed by tile mosaics of Spanish coats of arms representing that country’s provinces. Vendors in the plaza serve smoothies and snacks, while the Riverwalk Marketplace Mall is just next door for air-conditioned shopping.

The Dark Side of the Quarter

Posted on: June 12th, 2018 by French No Comments
By: Jyl Benson

Throughout the course of its history the French Quarter has all but sounded a siren’s call to extreme personalities. Depending upon what drives them they may lob off the heads of chickens and invoke mysterious spirits while chanting and dancing around a burning fire, as did Marie Laveau, or brutally mutilate and torture those in their non-paid “employ,” as did Delphine LaLaurie.

Are the reports of the French Quarter’s “hauntings” merely attempts to re-invigorate these fascinating characters and make life more interesting, or were these personalities and their acts so morbidly compelling as to have somehow infused the present with vestiges of themselves?

Add physical drama in the form of elaborate above ground tombs, secret passageways and courtyards, and imposing aged mansions and you have the French Quarter’s Dark Side.

Haunted French Quarter
Photo provided by Reading Tom

Haunted French Quarter: LaLaurie Mansion

The story of Delphine LaLaurie and the heinous manner in which she tortured her slaves is probably the most widely known of the French Quarter’s macabre tales.

Madame LaLaurie, a respected socialite, hosted many a grand event at her opulent home 1140 Royal Street. Her lavish lifestyle was made possible by a troupe of slaves. Mistreatment of slaves was illegal and society began to shun LaLaurie after a neighbor witnessed the elegant woman chasing a young servant girl with a whip. The neighbor saw the girl leap to her death from the roof in her efforts to avoid LaLaurie. The neighbor summoned the authorities and that was the end of LaLaurie’s social career. She was shunned as a pariah.

Upon her arrest authorities removed the slaves from LaLaurie’s home. A short time later a fire broke out in the kitchen. In their efforts to thwart the fire neighbors and firefighters stumbled upon a grisly attic torture chamber. Nude slaves, most of them dead, were discovered. Some were chained to the walls, some were strapped to makeshift operating tables, and others were confined in cages made for animals. They had undergone various elaborate forms of torture and mutilation.

When news of the findings was published in the local newspaper an angry mob drove LaLaurie and her family from the city.

Reports that the house is haunted have been rampant ever since. Many have claimed to hear screams of agony coming from the empty house. Others have seen apparitions of slaves walking about the property. There are reports of having been attacked by an angry slave in chains.

Though the house has changed hands numerous times and has served as not only a private home but also a musical conservatory, a school for young women and a saloon, among other things, many of the building’s owners have experienced some form of misery or another associated with the house.

Clearly, New Orleans women aren’t necessarily ladies. The activities of Marie Laveau, another of the French Quarter’s well-known dark characters, underscores this.

French Quarter Cemeteries

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and Marie Laveau

Both her life and her burial place have long evoked interest in Marie Laveau, New Orleans’ undisputed Queen of Voodoo, who is buried in St. Louis No. 1 cemetery, the city’s oldest burial ground.

The water-logged, swampy soil upon which New Orleans is built makes digging more than a couple of feet impractical, especially if the reason for digging is burial of anything more substantial than a hamster. This gruesome revelation was made soon after the city’s first cemetery was established on St. Peter Street just inside the current French Quarter. Graves started popping to the surface with a grim “Hello” and bodies floated down the street when it flooded – which was often.

The solution was to avoid burial altogether and house the dead in aboveground tombs. In the mid-1800s the site of hundreds of little marble, granite or stone “houses” led to the coining of the term “cities of the dead.”

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 was established by the Spanish in 1789. In addition to Laveaux, many of the city’s first occupants and more notorious personalities are entombed here including Etienne de Bore, father of the sugar industry and Homer Plessy, of the Plessy v. Ferguson 1892 Supreme Court decision establishing separate but equal Jim Crow laws for African-Americans and whites in the South.

The tombs here are of whitewashed stucco-covered red brick and shine with their own eerie brilliance in the gloom of evening as well as the midday sun.

Marie Laveau Tomb French Quarter

It’s easy to find Laveau’s tomb. Many small red Xs cover its surface, signs that visitors have made a wish in hope of obtaining Laveau’s assistance. The faithful also leave behind offerings of coins, pieces of herb, beans, bones, bags, flowers and other tokens in hopes of invoking her good will.

Some believe Laveau materializes annually to lead the faithful in worship on St. John’s Eve. The ghost is always recognizable, they say, thanks to the knotted handkerchief she wears around her neck. A man once claimed to have been slapped by her while walking past her tomb. It is also said that Laveau’s former home at 1020 St. Ann Street is also among the French Quarter’s many haunted locales. Believers claim to have seen her spirit, accompanied by those of her followers, engaged in Voodoo ceremonies there.

Jyl Benson is a New Orleans-based writer and publicist and frequent contributor to Time, New Orleans, St. Charles Avenue and the Times Picayune. She also regularly contributes to travel and guide books on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Famous Streets of the French Quarter: North Rampart Street

Posted on: April 17th, 2018 by FrenchQuarter

Rampart Streetcar
Rampart-St. Claude Streetcar by Cheryl Gerber

For people who like living on the edge—of the French Quarter, that is—North Rampart Street is where it’s at. This street serves as the northernmost boundary of the French Quarter, dividing it from Treme. You’ll find less foot traffic on this bustling thoroughfare than in other places in the Quarter, but no shortage of photo-worthy destinations. Plus, thanks to the newly installed streetcar line, getting around Rampart Street is a snap. Here are a few must-see destinations on the historic thoroughfare.

Rampart-St. Claude Streetcar Line
Long ago, almost all of New Orleans was crisscrossed by streetcar tracks. In the mid-20th century, streetcars fell out of favor as buses became the norm, and many tracks were ripped up and repaved. Today, as the charming, energy-efficient form of mass transportation regains popularity, several new streetcar lines have opened.

The newest streetcar line is the Rampart-St. Claude route, which travels from the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal to the intersection of St. Claude Avenue (Rampart changes to this name when it passes Esplanade Avenue) and Elysian Fields Avenue in the Marigny. Each ride costs only $1.25 (exact change required).


NOAC by Cheryl Gerber

New Orleans Athletic Club 222 N. Rampart Street
Established in 1872, this marble-clad, chandelier-hung gym boasts the Old World-opulence you’d expect of a club where Tennessee Williams and Clark Gable once worked out. Modern exercise equipment meets luxurious amenities, including a saltwater lap pool, free parking, group exercise classes and a full bar. Your hotel key, ID and $20 gets you a day pass to this storied gym, and you truly can make a day of it. Start with free coffee and newspaper in the library, move on to a yoga class in the ballroom, then sit in the sauna, shower, grab a cocktail and head out on the town feeling refreshed.

North Rampart Arrow Cafe
Arrow Cafe on North Rampart Street by Cheryl Gerber

Arrow Café 628 N. Rampart Street
Patrons say the Four Barrel coffee at this quaint café is the best in New Orleans—and it’s joined by organic iced teas, vegan pastries, and small gift items. Whether you’re looking for a pick-me-up or a souvenir, this petite coffee oasis delivers.

North Rampart Armstrong Park
Armstrong Park on North Rampart Street by Cheryl Gerber

Louis Armstrong Park 701 N. Rampart Street
Inside this leafy, 31-acre park, a large statue of Satchmo himself presides over fountains, walking trails, lagoons and the Mahalia Jackson Theatre. Armstrong Park is also the location of Congo Square, where enslaved Africans and free people of color congregated on Sundays to socialize, dance and sell goods in the 18th and early 19th centuries. This historic park is the birthplace of jazz, named for a jazz legend, and it’s definitely worth a visit.

Saenger Theatre by Cheryl Gerber

Saenger Theatre 1111 Canal Street
The beautiful, 4000-seat theater opened in 1927 as a silent movie destination. Recently renovated after years of neglect following Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters, it shines more brightly than ever. One hundred and fifty lights twinkle in the domed auditorium ceiling, evoking a starry nighttime sky, and the entire interior resembles a 15th-century Italian courtyard replete with columns, arched doorways and mosaics. Broadway shows, touring musicians, comedians and more make stops at this theater, which is listed on the National Register of Historic places—you should, too.

For more, read Famous Streets of the French Quarter.

Neighborhoods Near the French Quarter

Posted on: April 17th, 2018 by FrenchQuarter

New Orleans Arts District
Photo by Antrell Williams on flickr

By some counts there are as many as 73 neighborhoods in New Orleans. They are divided by the lakes, bayous, and the Mississippi River; by the railroad and streetcar tracks; and, sometimes, by the arbitrary geographical boundaries.

The city is a culturally rich tapestry of its neighborhoods, with some of the oldest ones clustered around the French Quarter. They make up the core part of what makes the city unique and draws visitors to its architecture, history, food, and magic. Here’s a quick snapshot of the three of the neighborhoods adjacent to the French Quarter, and what to see, do, and eat there.

South Rampart by Cheryl Gerber
Photo of South Rampart by Cheryl Gerber

CBD/Warehouse District

 Boundaries: The City Planning Commission defined the CBD as an 1.18 sq. mi. area as bound by Iberville, Decatur and Canal Streets to the north; the Mississippi River to the east; the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Julia and Magazine Streets, and the Pontchartrain Expressway to the south; and South Claiborne Avenue, Cleveland Street, and South and North Derbigny Streets to the west.

History: The Central Business District (CBD) was once the plantation of Jean Baptiste LeMoyne de Bienville, founder of New Orleans. The land changed hands until Bertrand Gravier subdivided the plantation after the fire of 1788, and named the subdivision Faubourg St. Marie after his deceased wife. After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase the area experienced an influx of Americans, who built brick townhouses and Protestant churches.

What it’s like today: The modern CBD is a long departure from its 18th century, largely residential ancestor. It’s now home to many office high-rises, restaurants, boutique hotels, retail stores, and lots of historic commercial and residential buildings.

What to see and do: The area contains the South Market District, an upscale shopping destination, and Orpheum, Joy, and Saenger theaters. The area around Canal Street, which borders with the French Quarter, is home to numerous retail stores and restaurants, as well as the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Insectarium, and the Harrah’s casino.

Clusters of art galleries on Julia Street known as the Warehouse/Arts District, host openings on the first Saturday of the month and special annual events like White Linen Night. There’s also much to see at the Contemporary Arts Center, the World War II Museum, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The Superdome, the Ernest Morial Convention Center, and the Outlet Collection at the Riverwalk are all located in the CBD.

Get a taste of how Mardi Gras is done by touring Mardi Gras World, find a statue of the Confederacy of Dunces hero Ignatius J. Reilly at the site of the now-closed D.H. Holmes department store on the 800 block of Canal St., or simply walk the trendy Warehouse District, restored to its former industrial glory — to get the feel of what was the “American Sector” of the city.

CBD is remarkably easy to access from other areas of the city too: Cross Canal Street, and you’re in the French Quarter. Several streetcar lines can take you to Mid-City, Marigny, and Uptown. If you walk to the river, you can take a ferry to Algiers on the West Bank.

Where to eat, drink and hear music: The culinary destination hits keep coming, especially in the Warehouse District, so there’s no shortage of innovative restaurants to choose from. Donald Link’s Cajun-Southern Cochon on Tchoupitoulas Street has some of the best pork ribs in the city. Justin Devillier, the chef and co-owner of the New Orleans restaurants La Petite Grocery and Balise, is a James Beard Award winner and multiple-year finalist.

The curried goat by chef Nina Compton at Compere Lapin is divine, and draws from the Caribbean culinary influences of the chef’s native St. Lucia. Herbsaint is always a good choice for the upscale-French dining experience. The elegant Emeril’s was one of the first restaurants to make CBD its home, and Domenica has some of the best pizza in the country.

The nightlife in the CBD is best represented by Republic NOLA, a music venue and nightclub in a former warehouse space, and the iconic dive on Lee Circle called the Circle Bar. The Howlin’ Wolf, located on S. Peters Street in the old New Orleans Music Hall, is also a must stop.

Treme
Photo of The Candlelight Lounge By Cheryl Gerber

Treme

Boundaries: The 442-acre Treme is defined by Esplanade Avenue to the east, North Rampart Street to the south, St. Louis Street to the west and North Broad Street to the north.

History: It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, settled in the late 18th century and heavily populated by Creoles and free people of color. The area was named after Claude Treme, a French hatmaker and real estate developer who migrated from Burgundy in 1783.

What it’s like today: Treme is known for its music clubs and soul food spots (many double as both), Creole architecture, and cultural centers celebrating the neighborhood’s African-American and Creole heritage. It’s a vibrant, diverse neighborhood, home of many a second line parade and the star of popular HBO’s namesake series.

What to see and do: The beautiful St. Augustine Church is the most famous African American Catholic church in the city (though not the oldest). It was founded by free people of color in 1842. Don’t miss the Tomb of the Unknown Slave, tribute to the victims of the African diaspora, located on the church grounds at 1210 Governor Nicholls Street. Two blocks away, on the same street, is New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture and History, now under renovation.

Treme is also home to the excellent Recreation Community Center. You’ll find an incredible collection of Mardi Gras Indian costumes and other cultural memorabilia at the Backstreet Cultural Museum, founded (and manned for many years) by Sylvester Francis.

One of the city’s most famous “cities of the dead,” St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, is located at Basin and St. Louis Streets. (You may remember it from Easy Rider.) Civil rights activist Homer Plessy and voodoo queen Marie Laveau are buried in this cemetery, which was founded in 1789. Across N. Rampart Street from the French Quarter stretches the 32-acre Louis Armstrong Park, home to the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts, the iconic Congo Square, Armstrong’s statue, and several annual food and music festivals.

Where to eat, drink and hear music: Treme is said to have invented jazz, and it’s still a great place to hear live music. The Candlelight Lounge and the Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar are both excellent options for Creole food and brass bands. Kermit’s Treme Mother in Law Lounge on N. Claiborne belonged to the late R&B and jazz legend Ernie K-Doe and his wife Antoinette. When both passed, Kermit Ruffins bought it and continues the tradition with live music and BBQ.

The family-owned (since 1960s) Willie Mae’s Scotch House may look like white-painted shack, but it serves some of the best friend chicken in New Orleans and other delicious soul food. Another legendary soul food restaurant is Dooky Chase’s. Chef Leah Chase’s Creole staples include gumbo z’herbes, which is not easy to find on the restaurant menus in the city. It’s a meatless version of gumbo made with several types of greens.

Not far away on Orleans Avenue, Greg and Mary Sonnier have reopened in the fall 2017 their famous restaurant, Gabrielle, which used to be in Mid-City on Esplanade Avenue, but has been shuttered since Katrina. And, speaking of Esplanade, Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe is a popular choice for a casual soul-food breakfast.

Marigny
Walking in the Marigny by Cheryl Gerber

Marigny

Boundaries: North Rampart Street and St. Claude Avenue to the north, Press Street to the east, the Mississippi River to the south, and Esplanade Avenue to the west.

History: Marigny is named after Bernard de Marigny, a French aristocrat with well-documented joie de vivre, whose plantation and its subdivisions formed the area in the early 19th century. Just like Treme, the neighborhood was inhabited by a vibrant mix of Creoles and free people of color.

What it’s like today: Faubourg Marigny is one of the city’s most densely populated neighborhoods with an eclectic mix of residents. It’s peppered with excellent bars and restaurants, covetable historic houses, and iconic music venues. It should also be lauded for the lack of retail chains, its walkability, and the fact that it’s one of the oldest gayborhoods in the South.

What to see and do: Just taking a walk down Royal or Chartres Streets will be immensely rewarding because of all the Creole cottages, funky little stores, and bars and restaurants. Or take a stroll down Frenchmen Street any time of day. Most music shows start later at night, but you don’t even have to enter any clubs to hear an excellent brass band — it’s often spilling out on the street corners. It’s also home to a sprawling indie record store, Louisiana Music Factory. On Elysian Fields by Frenchmen is Washington Square, a lovely little park with swaths of green and a small playground. The Healing Center on St. Claude Avenue is a multi-story community center that contains restaurants, a bookstore, a botanica, a performance space, a co-op, and more.

Where to eat, drink and hear music: Frenchmen Street and St. Claude Avenue have the highest concentration of live music avenues, including the legendary Spotted Cat and d.b.a. Though increasingly packed, Frenchmen Street is still an unsurpassed destination for local music and nightlife. Many nightclubs double as excellent restaurants, like the upscale Marigny Brasserie (sidewalk dining!), the popular Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro with its big acts and Creole fare, or the Three Muses (small plates, great jazz shows).

Mona’s Cafe, an inexpensive Middle Eastern restaurant and international market combo at the foot of Frenchmen, is a must stop for falafel, and Praline Connection has an extensive Creole and soul food menu. The cozy and romantic Adolfo’s is not easy to spot (it’s upstairs from the live-music hangout dive Apple Barrel), and has some of the best seafood on its Creole/Italian menu.

Marigny Opera House on St. Ferdinand Street, a popular performance venue with great acoustics converted from the church that was built in 1853, hosts everything from puppet shows to Sunday musical meditations.

Marigny is home to a slew of neighborhood bars you wouldn’t want to leave, like the Lost Love Lounge, the Friendly Bar, the 24/7 Buffa’s (with live music and bar food), the R Bar, and many more. The bi-level Mimi’s In the Marigny has small plates, pool, and some of the best DJ’d dance parties around.

Across the street, the revamped New Feelings has an Elvis-themed bar and courtyard dining. SukhoThai is a popular neighborhood restaurant with exposed brick and specialty Thai cocktails, or head to the Bao & Noodle on Chartres Street on the edge of the Marigny for Chinese tapas. The AllWays Lounge & Theatre, Siberia and the Hi-Ho Lounge on St. Claude are all great choices on any given night for the indie bands, DJ nights, burlesque, and experimental music and theater shows.

Famous Streets of the French Quarter: Burgundy Street

Posted on: April 17th, 2018 by FrenchQuarter

Burgundy Street
Burgundy Street Tiles by Cheryl Gerber

The French Quarter is many things: a historic site, a shopping and entertainment district, a premiere food and drink destination and, to many tourists, an adult Disneyland. But for roughly 3,888 New Orleanians, according to the 2010 Census, the French Quarter is home. Nowhere is it easier to remember that the Vieux Carre is a living, breathing neighborhood than on Burgundy Street. Unlike Bourbon Street, with its daiquiri bars and strip clubs, or Royal Street, with its antiques shops and boutiques, Burgundy Street is lined with the down-home essentials that make the French Quarter livable. From parks to bars, Burgundy Street is the place to go if you want to live like a local. Here are a few favorite neighborhood hangs.

Buffa Esplanade Ave
Buffa’s Lounge by Cheryl Gerber

Buffas’s 1001 Esplanade Avenue – where Esplanade Avenue meets Burgundy Street
A neighborhood staple since 1939, this 24-hour destination isn’t so much a dive bar as it is a community center. On any given night, patrons will find Bible discussion groups, live music, open mics and more in Buffa’s back room. The menu ranges from classic bar bites (burgers and fries) to Louisiana fare (gator balls and red beans and rice). Plus, there’s breakfast and a Sunday brunch.

Cabrini Playground 931 Barracks Street – where Barracks Street meets Burgundy Street
This fenced playground backs up to Burgundy Street, and if you’re traveling with kids, it’s a must-stop and a great place to let little ones burn off excess energy. Slides, climbing equipment, jungle gyms, grassy fields and more are all available at this newly updated neighborhood park.

Cosimo's New Orleans
Cosimo’s by Cheryl Gerber

Cosimo’s 1201 Burgundy Street
This dim, dog-friendly neighborhood hang is just the place when you’re in the mood for a pint and conversation in a laid-back environment. During crawfish season, you might get lucky and stumble upon one of Cosimo’s boils, and the bar serves top-notch pub grub year round. It’s a great place to take in a New Orleans Saints game, too. Plus, there’s pool tables, Pac-Man and pizza—what more could you need?

The Ruby Slipper 2001 Burgundy Street
Looking for a brunch? Cross over into the Marigny and hit up The Ruby Slipper, a local chain serving Louisiana-tinged breakfast staples, such as barbecue shrimp and grits or banana pecan pancakes. Plus, there’s a full bar. Just don’t get there too late—this popular spot attracts a weekend crowd and long waits.


French Quarter Wedding Chapel by Cheryl Gerber

French Quarter Wedding Chapel 333 Burgundy Street
From cake pulls to second lines, New Orleans has rich wedding traditions, which is just one reason so many couples plan destination weddings in the Big Easy. But for spur-of-the-moment nuptials, this petite, 24-hour wedding chapel fits the bill. Reverend Tony Talavera can waive the 72-hour waiting period that usually accompanies a wedding license application, so you can get married on the spot. Whether you want a quick 20-minute ceremony ($200) or a two-hour affair that includes a violinist, photography, second line and hankies for 50 guests ($4,700), there’s a package for every price and preference. It’s no wonder more than 15,000 people have gotten hitched here.

For more, read Famous Streets of the French Quarter.

Famous Streets of the French Quarter: Dauphine Street

Posted on: April 17th, 2018 by FrenchQuarter

A dauphine is the wife of French king’s oldest son—and just as its name suggests, a stroll down Dauphine Street will make you feel like royalty. That’s thanks in part to the standout restaurants that line the elegant (and, yes, regal) corridor. But Dauphine Street is also host to attractions that range from humble to down-out weird. Here are just as few top spots on Dauphine Street.


Killer Po-boys 219 Dauphine Street
Killer Po-boys launched as a pop-up in the rear of Erin Rose Bar—and the proprietors still sling sandwiches there. But if you want to taste the innovative po-boys in a more expansive environment, this counter-serve restaurant fits the bill. Killer Po-boys expanded to these new Dauphine Street digs in 2015, where a steady flow of French Quarter workers, locals and tourists rub shoulders over truly outstanding po-boys. There’s a sweet-potato and greens version for the vegan crowd, a cheddar omelet po-boy for breakfast fiends, and a seared Gulf shrimp and sriracha version that has the flavor profile of banh mi. In short, Killer Po-boys has a po-boy for every palate.


Museum of Death 227 Dauphine Street
What better place to contemplate your own mortality than the most haunted city in the United States? The Museum of Death offers creepy, oddball and downright disturbing artifacts and paraphernalia. Shrunken heads, mortician equipment, serial killer letters, graphic crime scene footage and more fill the space. This morbid museum may be a little too intense for children, as well as some adults.


Bayona 430 Dauphine Street
Legendary chef (and James Beard awardee) Susan Spicer has crafted a restaurant empire, racking up accolades from Food and Wine, the John Folse Culinary Institute, the Zagat guide and many others. Opened in 1990 in a 200-year-old cottage, Bayona is the restaurant that put her on the map. Today, its globally accented Louisiana cuisine feels both classic and forward-thinking.

Good Friends 740 Dauphine Street
Laid back and welcoming, this is the Cheers of French Quarter gay bars. You’ll feel welcome at its mahogany bar (or on its second-floor balcony) whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth. P.S. Good Friends is a great place to watch the New Orleans Saints play.


Matassa’s Market 1001 Dauphine Street
It’s an MVP for French Quarter locals and tourists alike: a family-owned market where you can grab everything from a sausage po-boy and a six-pack to paper towels and bananas. Plus, they deliver. Is it any wonder Matassa’s business has been booming for 85 years?


Washington Square Park
Dauphine Street forms the northernmost boundary of this dog-friendly park in the Marigny, where you’ll find playground equipment, shady oak trees, benches and grassy fields. The 2.54-acre park is a comfortable neighborhood hangout and a great place to unwind. Grab a beer and a hot dog from a Dat Dog, or get an iced coffee and sandwich from Rose Nicaud, and enjoy a picnic in the park.

For more, read Famous Streets of the French Quarter.

All photos by Cheryl Gerber

Famous Streets of the French Quarter: Chartres Street

Posted on: February 8th, 2018 by FrenchQuarter

Chartres Street
Photo by Trevor Mark

When it comes to Chartres Street, a good rule of thumb is to keep it simple. That guideline pertains to both the street’s name (no need to pull out your French pronunciation guide—it’s simply pronounced CHART-ers) and your approach to exploration. Chartres Street is lined with historic sites, restaurants, bars and boutiques. Here are just a few top spots to check out.


Photo by Teemu008 on flickr

Napoleon House (500 Chartres Street)

Although this weathered brick building was offered as a refuge to Napoleon Bonaparte by its owner, New Orleans mayor Nicholas Girod, the exiled emperor died before taking advantage of the gesture. However, the name stuck. Napoleon House served as a family home, grocery store, and bar before coming into the ownership of Ralph Brennan in 2015, who added it to his lauded restaurant collection. Today, it’s a unique place to taste New Orleans’ cuisine in a setting that feels rich with history.


Photo by Cheryl Gerber

Pharmacy Museum (514 Chartres Street)

Truly one of New Orleans’ must-see oddities, this museum is a beautifully preserved, circa-1823 pharmacy. From leech jars to bloodletting devices and a soda fountain, the multi-story building’s medical paraphernalia and exhibits offer a glimpse into the past—and a reminder that simpler times weren’t always better.

United Apparel Liquidators (581 Chartres Street)

Frugal fashionistas: your mecca is here on Chartres Street. Balenciaga, Chanel, Givenchy, Alexander Wang—you’ll find all these designer labels at UAL, discounted 70 to 90 percent. The small chain was launched in 1980 and now boasts six locations across four Southern states. Find out why the New York Times calls it the best-kept secret in fashion.


Photo courtesy of Sylvain on Facebook

Sylvain (625 Chartres Street)

This chic gastropub is a great place to grab a cocktail or a multi-course meal. Lauded by publications including Southern Living and Travel + Leisure, it’s dim, intimate, and very New Orleans.


Photo by Cheryl Gerber

Cabildo (701 Chartres Street) and Presbytere (751 Chartres Street)

These neighboring 17th century structures were built in the Spanish colonial style (and later destroyed by a 1788 fire and rebuilt). They have served as courthouses and commercial sites, but today they house Louisiana State Museum.

Muriel's
Photo by Trevor Mark

Muriel’s Jackson Square (801 Chartres Street)

There’s no better place to sip a brandy milk punch than on the second-floor balcony at Muriel’s overlooking Jackson Square, where both the people-watching and the view are excellent. But the Muriel’s courtyard is a close second. Don’t forget to stop by the Sunday Jazz Brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. Somehow, shrimp and grits just taste better paired with the lively sounds of a jazz trio.

Old Ursuline Convent
Photo by Louisiana Travel on flickr

Old Ursuline Convent (1100 Chartres Street)

Built in 1748, this gracious, French Colonial cathedral is one of New Orleans oldest buildings. It was also the place where many of New Orleans’ founding matriarchs first resided. These casket girls, who were sent from France to serve as brides for colonists, lived with nuns until marriages could be arranged. Many locals proudly claim their casket girl ancestry—and even more come to this convent to pay homage to the original New Orleanians.

For more, read Famous Streets of the French Quarter.

If you’re planning a stay in New Orleans, be sure to check out our resource for French Quarter Hotels.

French Quarter Like a Local

Posted on: February 8th, 2018 by FrenchQuarter

French Quarter Like a Local
Photo by Cheryl Gerber

The French Quarter is without a doubt the most touristed neighborhood in New Orleans – but is it also a place where locals hang out? Are there even French Quarter locals?

Yes and yes. To be fair, the Quarter isn’t the residential neighborhood it once was. Well into the mid-20th century, this was a place where families hung out to do laundry and children walked to school. The famous French Market really used to be the local grocery store, in the sense that it was a spot where you could pick up produce and similar goods. This dynamic has obviously changed over the years. The Quarter has evolved into a place primarily aimed at visitors, and the residents that remain do not tend to raise children in the neighborhood, with a few exceptions.

This evolution reflects the Quarter’s changing identity – it has shifted, over the decades, more into a place to play as opposed to a place to live. But let’s not forget: New Orleanians like to play. And many locals prefer to play in the Quarter, which has a mind boggling number of restaurants, bars and shopping opportunities.


Photo courtesy of Mary’s Ace French Quarter Hardware

Where to Shop

Fifi Mahony’s 934 Royal Street
New Orleanians are serious about their costuming (also known as masking), and those who are in need of a specialized wig or hair piece to set off their outfits head to Fifi’s. It may not be the cheapest wig shop in the land (although the prices are actually quite reasonable), but as far as quality and attention to detail go, you just can’t do better. Plus, there’s always a scene here: drag queens and hair stylists, models and artists, all hanging out and trading the best costuming tips. If you’re into glitter, sparkles, and generally looking fabulous, Fifi’s has got you covered.

Mary’s Ace Hardware 732 N Rampart Street
Hold up: you’re on vacation. In New Orleans. Why do you need to go to a hardware store? This author had to deal with a Mardi Gras costume emergency awhile back with some visiting friends. Who came to the rescue with some Gorilla Glue and random timely advice on how to fix a stain on a hardwood floor? The folks at Mary’s Ace Hardware, a spot where you’ll find almost no tourists, but a bunch of New Orleanians who are doing what they need to do to fix up their homes (or costumes, as the case may be).

Chi-wa-wa ga-ga 511 Dumaine Street
Chi-wa-wa ga-ga is amazing because it’s not just a pet store – a brand of business where the mom-and-pop outfits are getting rarer and rarer – it’s a pet store specifically aimed at small pets. Yes, visitors often pop their heads in, but the main clientele are those New Orleanians toting around small dogs (and sometimes cats) who are in need of a costume for their little loved ones. Because sometimes, darn it, we just need to emphasize the identity of our wiener dogs by putting them in adorable little hot dog suits.

Speaking of pets, if you’ve traveled to New Orleans with a furry (or scaled or winged) friend in tow and they need some medical attention, try the French Quarter Vet (922 Royal Street) or the Pet Care Center (938 Esplanade Avenue). Both offices are friendly, helpful, and accustomed to dealing with patients from out of town.

The Quarter Stitch 629 Chartres Street
We mentioned earlier that New Orleans is the kind of place where people like to get into costume. That’s another way of saying New Orleans is crafty, and when the crafty folk need to get their DIY on, they often come here. There’s a plethora of needlepoint and yarn supplies at this Chartres Street store, as well as bins of beads, bling, and anything else you need to create a perfect costuming (or otherwise fashionable) statement.

Porter Lyons 631 Toulouse Street
What’s neat about Porter Lyosn isn’t the fact that this is jewelry with a Louisiana twist. There’s plenty of that to go around in this state. What’s unique is the way owner and Tulane graduate Ashley Porter utilizes local materials – from agates to nutria fur to alligator skin to labradorite – to form pieces that are truly grounded in the Pelican State’s identity. There’s no shortage of jewelry stores in New Orleans, but you’ll often find locals shopping here simply because they know they can find something heartfelt and unique.

Trashy Diva 537 Royal Street & 712 Royal Street
The Diva is a longtime favorite for New Orleanians who want to glam out in mid-century retro style fashion. The 537 Royal Street location is the standard clothing boutique where you can find gorgeous dresses and funky accessories that come in a wide, inclusive array of sizes for any and all body types. The 712 Royal Street location rocks some risque and fun lingerie, also aimed at the same diversity of shape.

Galatoire's
Photo courtesy of Galatoire’s Restaurant – New Orleans on Facebook

Where to Eat

Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House 144 Bourbon Street
It may be located in the very heart of the Quarter, but the Bourbon House is a longtime favorite for workers in the neighborhood and CBD who want some good seafood to accompany a drawn out lunch (or a decadent dinner). We’re a city that loves its seafood, so you better believe the locals’ stamp of approval goes a long ways here.

Galatoire’s 209 Bourbon Street
Galatoire’s doesn’t just attract locals – it attracts a specific cast of the city’s old money and high society, who are particularly known to pack into this iconic restaurant for Friday ‘lunches’ that tend to last until the last bottle of champagne is emptied and everyone is heading to sleep. How local is Galatoire’s? The last time we went, our host brought ‘his’ waiter a present – a portrait of the waiter.

GW Fins 808 Bienville Street
It takes a lot to divert old school New Orleanians from their favored dining institutions, but GW Fins has managed to do so in a neighborhood packed with grand dame Creole restaurants. This spot specializes in seafood, and their version is simply some of the best in the city. The menu changes with availability, but be assured that what comes to your plate is consistently fresh and delicious. An enormously popular date night option for those New Orleanians who are in a mood to splurge.

Acme Oyster House 724 Iberville Street
Acme is one of the more established oyster houses in the New Orleans pantheon, and it remains a favored destination for those locals in need of something delicious on the half shell. There’s something to be said for consistency, and this is what Acme provides: skilled shuckers who work fast to get you a glistening plate of Gulf-sourced goodness. While we tend to prefer our raw oysters straight, you shouldn’t leave town without trying an oyster shooter.

Brennan’s 417 Royal Street
A long, leisurely breakfast, accompanied by plenty of ‘eye openers’ (before noon cocktails) is a New Orleans tradition, and Brennan’s has been packing locals in for this ritual for years. While it’s been recently renovated, Brennan’s retains an old school, Creole castle charm, which makes for an attractive atmosphere as you scarf down eggs sardou and turtle soup. This spot is further commendable for its efforts to locally source from area farms and other food providers.

Verti Marte 1201 Royal Street
There is no shortage of po boy shops in New Orleans, but there’s a surprising lack of really good examples of the genre within the Quarter. Then Verti Marte raises its hand, as if to say: hey, we’re open all the time, and we got good grub. And do they ever, particularly the sandwiches, which are several meals packed between two loaves of bread.

Felipe’s 301 N Peters Street
While New Orleans is world famous for her food, not many people come here for the Mexican cuisine. But when locals are in need of a quick burrito or taco, many head to Felipe’s. It’s cheap (you can fill up for under $10 a person, especially if you skip a drink), it’s filling, and honestly? It’s really good – this may be a locals spot, but we also have friends from South Texas who attest to the reliability and tastiness of Felipe’s.

Cosimo's New Orleans
Cosimo’s by Cheryl Gerber

Where to Drink

Erin Rose 811 Conti Street
If you’re a member of the service industry in New Orleans and you’re out for a night in the Quarter – or if you’ve just kicked off of work – chances are you’ll end up in the Erin Rose. This is a small, cozy little dive tended by sassy staff, doling out strong drinks for the people who serve you strong drinks (and food).

Cosimo’s 1201 Burgundy Street
A true neighborhood bar located within the more residential side of the Quarter, near the Marigny and Treme, Cosimo’s is simply a very nice bar. There’s a great jukebox and potent drinks, plus a cast of locals to keep things interesting as the night goes on.

Port of Call 838 Esplanade Avenue
To be fair, Port of Call is as much restaurant as bar, and locals do love to come here for the excellent burgers. But we’d be remiss to not mention some of the amazingly powerful mixed drinks available here, ranging from the Red Turtle to the Windjammer. All of the above concoctions go heavy on the fruit – and the spirits, so be careful.

If you’re planning a stay in New Orleans, be sure to check out our resource for French Quarter Hotels.

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