- New Orleans,
- North America,
- United States
Heading to New Orleans for Jazz Fest. My first trip back since Katrina. Very excited to see my old stomping grounds and to show Andy around. Planned must see's & do's include a visit to Cafe Du Monde for bengiets and cafe au lait, A po-boy from Mother's, Gumbo from the Gumbo Shop, Hangrenades, Hurricaine's from Pat O's, Pimm's Cup's from the Napoleon House, Brunch at the Court of Two Sisters, dinner at Dick & Jenny's and two solid days of jam packed ear tingling fun at Jazz Fest!
See + Do
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Louisiana
After Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest is the city's biggest celebration, when dedicated music fans pack the infield of a local horse-racing track for hundreds of national and local acts performing on half a dozen stages. Jazz, funk, rock, and world music groups rule the stages, while soul-soothing power choirs rock the gospel tent. Over the years, national touring acts (Al Green, Foo Fighters, Bonnie Raitt) have infiltrated the lineup, which routinely showcases New Orleans legends (the Meters, Dr. John, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, miscellaneous Marsalises). The concession booths take festival food way beyond funnel cakes and nachos, with transcendent roast-pork po'boys and creamy Crawfish Monica. As always, Jazz Fest falls during the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May.
See + Do
French Quarter, Louisiana
Evocative, romantic, and mysterious, the French Quarter (also known as the Vieux Carré) is the literal footprint of historic New Orleans. Hugging the high ground on the banks of the Mississippi, the Quarter is a mix of tourist schlock (bead shops and overpriced "Cajun-style" eateries) and historical treasures, such as cathedrals and centuries-old Creole restaurants. Weekenders tend to stay in the area, sipping café au lait and munching sugary beignets (flash-fried square donuts) at the perpetually packed Café du Monde (800 Decatur St.; 504-525-4544; www.cafedumonde.com) or wandering Jackson Square (St. Peter St. at Decatur). Don't miss these standards, but also spend a few hours giving yourself over to the hidden treasures: art galleries on Royal Street, antiques shops on Chartres Street, or the quiet residential stoops away from the commotion of Bourbon Street. A good guideline for avoiding tourist traps: Go away from the light. Bright neon signs seem to attract sloshed frat boys like moths to a flame.
Frenchmen Street, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Don't worry about "checking local listings": The music in this up-and-coming entertainment zone in the Faubourg Marigny district (just beyond the French Quarter) practically washes through the streets on weekend nights. Jazz hounds make a beeline for pianist Ellis Marsalis's home in the city, Snug Harbor (626 Frenchmen St.; 504-949-0696), while the salsa and world music crowds congregate at Café Brasil (2100 Chartres St.; no phone). Blues trickles through the doors of the Spotted Cat (623 Frenchmen St.; 504-943-3887) and the dingy Apple Barrel (609 Frenchmen St.; 504-949-9399). Before you settle in for a show, take a quick walk and sample the sounds, then choose one that fits the night's mood.
Carousel Bar, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
Tel: 504 523 3341
This ornate watering hole couldn't be more aptly named: Every chair rotates at a glacial pace around the circular carnival-themed bar, making exactly four revolutions an hour. A subdued atmosphere, leering jester heads, and a star-speckled ceiling make it a suitably Dalí-esque place for a nightcap.
Open daily 11 am to 2 am.
Bourbon Street, Louisiana
Most locals don't spend a lot of time here, but just about every first-time visitor gets drawn into the neon-lit vortex of Bourbon Street. Whether you're looking to relive college-day glories around the piano bar at Pat O'Brien's (718 St. Peter St.; 504-525-4823; www.patobriens.com) or you're lured in by the bands at the Famous Door (339 Bourbon St.; 504-598-4334), this after-dark pedestrian zone provides all the frozen hooch and sensory overload that the law allows (and toting alcohol on the street is legal). If you go, know one thing: Beads outside of Mardi Gras season are best left to socially challenged conventioneers.
Art of the Afternoon Cocktail, Louisiana
New Orleans's reputation for colorful, high-octane libations—Hurricanes, Hand Grenades, Screaming Blue Orgasms—often overshadows one of the city's more civilized traditions: a long, leisurely cocktail sipped at a historic barroom. The 25-foot cypress bar at Tujague's is a quick trip back to 1856, when the French Quarter saloon first opened its doors. Order a whiskey-based Sazerac, a classic cousin of the Old Fashioned, and appreciate the towering ceilings and old-world vibe (823 Decatur St.; 504-525-8676; www.tujagues.com). A few blocks away, the Napoleon House serves up its signature highball, the refreshing gin-based Pimm's Cup, in your choice of open-air venue. The intimate front room faces street traffic, for people-watching, while the shaded courtyard provides a suitably gracious alfresco experience (500 Chartres St.; 504-524-9752; www.napoleonhouse.com).
Dick and Jenny's, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Tel: 504 894 9880
You just can't get any homier than this renovated Creole cottage steps from the landmark Tipitina's nightclub. With hand-painted plates on the wall and oilcloth-covered tables, this Uptown restaurant seems rustic enough, but don't let the grandma vibe fool you. The daring menu serves down-home American standards, but it also blends a few eclectic influences to create innovative comfort food. Though the menu changes seasonally, expect inventive dishes like savory crawfish and sausage cheesecake, seared duck breast with chorizo, and pecan-crusted Gulf fish, sautéed and paired with smoked mushrooms and cheese grits. If it's on offer, the mile-high lemon meringue pie packs just enough tang to raise a pleasing post-meal pucker.
Open for lunch Tuesdays through Fridays, dinner Mondays through Saturdays.