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what is there to do/see in New Orleans

what is there to do/see in New Orleans

Old Feb 7, 04, 4:29 am
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what is there to do/see in New Orleans

does anyone have any tips of unmissable places to see/restaurants/music bars? We are going in April- what is the weather like? I know it is in the early 80s, but is it humid, does it rain a lot?
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Old Feb 7, 04, 9:04 am
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Hello fiona, if you use the search function in the upper right hand corner of the page and type in New Orleans for the US South forum, 13 other threads on New Orleans information will come up.

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Last edited by Sweet Willie; Nov 15, 04 at 7:51 am
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Old Feb 7, 04, 9:16 am
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Thanks- new to this section. I have just been using the FF airline section up till now. I especially like the dining section!
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Old Feb 8, 04, 10:48 am
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When in April? The French Quarter Festival is 4/16-18, and Jazzfest starts 4/23. Both are must-do's if you are in town then.
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Old Feb 8, 04, 10:59 am
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I can't believe I wrote April- we are not going until October!!( We are away elsewhere in April)
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Old Feb 9, 04, 8:49 am
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As mentioned elsewhere on FT, be sure to wander off the beaten path that most tourists seem to travel. This can apply especially to restaurants, site-seeing and simply walking around neighborhoods. This is an especially good rule of thumb IMO since New Orleans has a few major tourist attractions that seem to be the only sites some visitors ever see in the city (i.e., Bourbon St. etc.).

Definitely search here and in the dining section for ideas. If you break away from the tourist crowds, which can be especially heavy in the French Quarter, you will be surprised and impressed with the city. You may also be uncomfortable or intimidated in some neighborhoods, so use good judgement as you would in any city.

Most of all, enjoy the good food and local culture - NOLA is a terrific place to visit. If you enjoy good food at all, you should sample some of the better local restaurants. Good local or regional cooking is abundant in the most humble-looking cafe and in the most formal (and expensive) restaurants.

Edited to add: October is a good time to go, although you may run into crowds from a large trade show or convention. But regardless, the weather should be nice.

[This message has been edited by Pietro (edited Feb 09, 2004).]

[This message has been edited by Pietro (edited Feb 09, 2004).]
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Old Feb 9, 04, 12:08 pm
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thanks Pietro. I had been told to stick to the tourist areas for safety but we do like to wonder around to see the "real" place.
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Old Feb 9, 04, 3:25 pm
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October is a nice time to visit, weather-wise. I grew up about 90 miles east of the city and have visited many times. When my sister moved to Belfast for 5 years we were concerned about violence - her son pointed out more people are killed in New Orleans each year than in all of Northern Ireland, so do be careful. Treat New Orleans policemen with respect or you may find yourself handcuffed in the backseat of their car!

Go to a fine restaurant each day. I love Brightsen's near the west end of St. Charles Ave. Go to Commanders Palace and get the bread pudding souffle. Take tea at Windsor Court on the weekend and ask for the curator's tour of their art collection -this way you see the Grill Room restaurant without paying for it. (OK, some Scots may not choose to go anywhere near Windsor-anything while on vacation.) Don't expect to find Emeril in his restaurant - he can't be ten places at once.

Eat a po-boy at Mothers or go to Uglesich's (lunch-only M-F). Camellia Grill on Carrollton near St. Charles is another great low-budget place.

Buy some wine, cheese & pate at Martin Wine Cellar for a picnic at Audubon Park or in your hotel room. The paddleboat cruise from Audubon Zoo to the Aquarium is fun. Ride the streetcar the full length of St. Charles.

See American football - the Saints play in the Superdome.

I haven't even mentioned the French Quarter, yet. The city has so much to offer in addition to jazz, blues & drinking, but you can certainly get your fill of that. Have a drink or 3 or more in the courtyard of Pat O'Briens. Give a dollar to the street musicians and tap dancers. Take a carriage ride through the quarter.

Two more food tips: Enjoy cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde. The gospel brunch at House of Blues is a blast.

Have a great time!
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Old Feb 9, 04, 5:16 pm
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wow Suthurn- I only have a week!!! Thanks for the many ideas. I am printing off all the replies and am looking forward to trying them out!
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Old Nov 15, 04, 7:50 am
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Originally Posted by fiona
wow Suthurn- I only have a week!!! Thanks for the many ideas. I am printing off all the replies and am looking forward to trying them out!
So how was your trip? suggestions?
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Old Dec 14, 04, 11:20 am
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Should have put my report in before this! Actually we ended up staying mainly in the French Quarter. I absolutely loved NO and will return. I have copied the report I made in another site and have included memphis.


First of all I will NEVER fly with KLM/NWA again unless I have no choice! I won't go into it much in this post - just say we have now been given 3 sets of miles as compensation and can probably fly to Amsterdam with them!!! When I've a spare couple of hours I will add a report to the airline section.
Entry into the States now involves being fingerprinted and photographed. No big deal though. During two of our flights we were "selected" for special screening- seemed all Brits were!! They even swab your hand baggage!Again no big deal.
On our way out we landed at Memphis but took a flight on to New Orleans. As I am typing this I am remembering the heat and humidity,and looking out to a dismal day! We arrived at about 8pm but by the time we got our luggage and the taxi had crawled through heavy traffic, it was 10pm before we had freshened up at our hotel and were ready to hit the road! ( Remember- we had put our clock bck 6 hours as well!) Not really a good time to hit Bourbon Street. Everything was face on and manic as it was Friday night! After wandering about in a daze we ended up in TGI Fridays, had a snack and a couple of drinks and called it a night.
Out hotel, Omni Royal, was in a peaceful location yet only 3 mins walk from the mayhem! The room was very small but everything was there and the furniture was beautiful. I think that if you want to stay in the French Quarter you just have to put up with small rooms! It had a rooftop pool with great views - we only went there twice- late afternoons- as we had too many places to see.
On Saturday we had a wonder around the Quarter- you turn a corner and are faced with yet another brilliant group playing right in the middle of the street. There were also loads of other street performers. This was something whch really made my holiday.
We went on the Natchez steamboat that afternoon-just how I imagined it!
We also went on 4 other trips- the graveyard/vodoo, the swamps, and walking tours of the French Quarter and the Garden district.
A word about our guides and those in bars, restaurants etc- what a joy they were- everybody polite, helpful and with some sense of humour. We found that with Americans in general- you couldn't even go down in the lift without someone striking a conversation. We were always the only Brits on tours- most were Americans and Canadians and they were all very friendly and outgoing.
The following day we went on the swamp tour. Our guide( Jerry) was something else! He has lived all his live in the swamps and it tells! He knew everything about it and could make the sound of any animal or bird in the swamp. He is an alligator hunter( they only have one month when they can legally hunt- September). Whenever we saw an alligator he called it over( really!!!) and fed it marshmallows! The swamp area is beautiful and we have stunning photos from there.Here is one of them.
http://www.wunderground.com/wximage/...=0#slideanchor
The trip was supposed to last about an hour but we were on the water for nearer two.
A word about the weather- all the locals were complaining all the time- they wanted the winter to start as it had been too hot for too long!!! Whenever we were on a tour everyone tried to stay in the shade but the guide would joke with us Scots that we could stand in the sun if we wanted!

We used Gray Line for our tours. They were very professional. On the swamp tour for instance they use hunters for guides. Our next tour was the voodoo/cemetary one. This was in the morning and thank goodness it was- it was very hot there and would have been pretty unbearable in the afternoon. We went to St louis 1 Cemetary where the voodoo queen Marie Laveau is buried. The tour is fascinating. Cemetaries have to be above ground in New Orleans. There are many stories of "gran" floating off in her coffin! New Orleans is below water level and indeed, since the last hurricane, estimates of when NO will disappear altogether have been greatly revised to just over a hundred years.When the family vault is "full" bodies are placed in chambers( locally named ovens) for at least a year and a day. These chambers are then opened and the remains ( of which there is precious little) are put in the family vault. I loved the voodoo tales. Seems that it really came about as it was the only way slaves could have any sort of control of their "masters". We were given a gris-gris which should give you good luck. My husband is now convinced they work as, while we were unpacking, he was listening to his football team and as he picked up the gris - gris they scored! Bearing in mind this is Aberdeen football club it is by no means a regular event!!
Our guide was an extrovert and had so many good stories. She was on her third husband- I'll bet the others decided they needed a more peaceful life!
Our afternoon was a walking tour of the Garden quarter. There are some beautiful houses there. Also, unusually for NO, they had garden ground. We were shown some celebrity houses- the one which most people were interested in was the lead singer of the Nine Inch Nails. Never heard of them- has anyone here? All the houses were being decked out for Halloween. Halloween is a huge celebration over there. It would be great to be there this weekend. Our final walking tour was one around the French Quarter. Again, our guide was great. I had wondered about going as we'd already walked miles around and about, but its good to get a locals knowledge. We also went into the Cabildo Museum. It was the recommended one if you also choose to go to one. We really didn't have time to see more.
We found the Time Out New Orleans to be good for tour recs and for walks to do on your own, also for nightlife.
Naturally we went to Pat O'Briens( I think it is a bit like Raffles in Singapore- you HAVE to go and have their cocktail! This is called a Hurricane and it could certainly blow you away if you decide to have more than one. It has a couple of bars inside and a vast courtyard which has a fountain spouting water during the day but fire at night. You also get to keep the Hurricane glass.
An unsual bar to try is Carousel Bar. This is at the hotel Monteleone. You sit down at it and completely rotates in 15 mins. This takes some getting used to and the twice we went was at the beginning of the night- I'm not sure if I would have stayed on later on!!
New Orleans is worth going to just for the music! Apart from some street musicians you have your pick of live music bars. Our two favourites were the Blues Bar and Storyville, both on Bourbon Street. I found it hard to believe that groups such as the ones who played there were playing in a pub! Most groups have CDs on sale on the night- between $10 and $20. We bought a couple! The tip bucket is passed round from time to time but there is usually no cover charge.
Food is another good reason to go to NO. We were never disappointed- Husband had his fair of oysters( I can't stand them raw though!). As we were only there a short time we went to the most talked about restaurants. Prices are a lot cheaper than here but then you have to add a !5-20% tip on to that. ( Tipping is BIG there- if it moves you tip it!!!)
One place everybody visits in NO is Cafe Du Monde. Open 24 hours but breakfast is its busiest. You go for cafe au lait and hot beignets. The closest thing we have to this are doughnuts. They are squares of fried dough absolutely drowning in powdered sugar. You can not eat these without making a mess!! Absolutely delicious, as is the coffee. BTW if you want anything else to eat, you can't- they only sell beignets!!

All too soon it was time to move on to Memphis. We arrived at the airport to be told by NW that our flight had been cancelled and to take ourselves over to Continental to see what they could do for us. ( The only thing NW did was put us on standby for a flight in about 7 hours time) Continental staff could not have been more different. They got us to Memphis about 3 hours later than original time, routing us through Houston. As I said, KLM and NW - hopefully I will not fly with them again( mind you I didn't fly with them to Memphis did I!!!) We only originally had an afternoon, a full day and a morning in Memphis - the flight delay meant that we lost the afternoon. ( We had originally only been going to NO but had to change in Memphis so we thought we would be as well spending some time there.
We stayed at the downtown Radisson. 5 mins from Beale Street and so in an ideal position. The reception area was very nice but frankly I was really disappointed with the rooms( we refused the first one we got) They are very worn and dated. Not really what I would have expected from a Radisson. The reception staff were efficient and helpful though. However, we only had 2 nights there so it wasn't too bad.
Beale street is great! Again the groups playing are amazing. Our favourite group- the King Beez were there. We went to BB Kings and came away with another glass to add to the collectiion!
Our main tour in Memphis was obviously Graceland. The house itself is surprisingly small and not as outragous as I would have expected- apart from the Jungle Room. The exhibition rooms though were extensive. You are given an audio tape which was an excellent way of finding out more about the exhibits. You were never hurried and could spend as long as you liked in each room. I think we were there for about 4 hours and you could easily have spent longer. The garden where Elvis is buried is very peaceful. The family are buried there. Apparently Elvis and his mum were originally buried in a nearby cemetary but his father obtained special permission to rebury them at Graceland as "fans" had several times tried to dig up Elvis' grave as they didn't believe he was dead!! Across the road from the mansion there are further exhibits. You can see inside both his aircraft and also visit the automobile museum with the famous pink cadillac amongst many, many others!!
The morning before our Graceland visit we took a city tour. We had a wonderful guide again, which really made the tour brilliant. The most bizarre part though is when they take you to the Peabody Hotel to see the famous duck parade. Every morning the ducks are taken down from their home at the top of the hotel in the lift and they then march along the red carpet, stopping to pose for photos a few times before finally reaching the fountain. They stay there till about 5pm where they parade back and enter the lift again! Hundreds of people go to see them.
We also visited Sun Studios - quite small but interesting and you get to hold Elvis' mike.
If you ever go to Memphis you MUST visti the Civil Rights Museum- we went there on our last morning - we were there a couple of hours but would have liked to stay longer- just didn't have the time though.This is actually situated inside the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was killed. The outside of the motel is as it originally was and inside - the bedroom has also been kept as it was. However, apart from that, it is completely changed inside. The exhibits really bring to life the struggles and sacrifices made by people. You even board a bus and listen to a re-enactment of the driver trying in vain to get a black woman,Rosa Parks, to give up her seat for a white man. She ended up in prison but this sparked the eventual end of bus segregation as black people totally boycotted buses for 381 days and resulted in many drivers losing their jobs.There are many other exhibits along the same lines. Fascinating.
We flew to Amsterdam with no lights and no sound on the entertainment system- the main lights were working but it was a night flight and the overhead ones were not working so you were in virtual darkness- I took a sleeping pill at this point. When we arrived at Amsterdam KLM told us we were on STANDBY. For a flight I had actually paid for 10 months ago. 16 others were in the same position. When we asked what would happen if we didn't get on it appeared that we would have to get a flight the next day. I say WE but at that point it was my husband- he thought it better that he dealt with it as I was raging( and I am usually the mild mannered one!) We DID get the flight, along with just two others( one of whom had been put in the same position on his last flight with KLM)
Holiday- absolutely brilliant!
KLM- no words I can use which would not result in me being banned from this site!!!
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Old Dec 23, 04, 6:47 am
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gumbo

Don't miss the Gumbo Shop on St. Peter St. in the French Quarter just behind the St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square. No reservations. Lunch and Dinner. Avoid the bellman who will book you on any tour company no matter what the quality. They get about $20 for everyone they book. (per our driver). We were directed to a great tour by a free service agent online - tourbookingsneworleans. Don't look for alligators when it's cold - you won't see any. Check out the Palm Court Jazz Cafe - it's much more comfortable than Preservation Hall. Snug Harbor is great for modern jazz - we heard Ellis Marsalis there!
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Old Jan 13, 05, 6:28 am
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Great food, Great Hurricanes

Pat O'Brien's on Bourbon St. ... A-W-E-S-O-M-E
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