Author Topic: New Orleans--what to do?  (Read 4217 times)

norabird

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New Orleans--what to do?
« on: April 06, 2016, 09:13:10 AM »
Recommendations for NO, go! I'm there from a Saturday night to Tuesday afternoon in a week and a half.

Food? Activities? Cheap or free are good but have never been and of course will be spending some money. There is a nice cemetery somewhere right? (I love cemeteries). Staying in Treme. Advice on getting around would be welcome too! What areas are best to visit?

acroy

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2016, 09:39:47 AM »
Love NO!
Honestly just walk around and soak it in. You're there for a nice long visit.
Watch the movie 'Chef' before you go :) get some of the local food, beignets & coffee they are known for.
If you feel like a day trip, might be interested in the home of Tabasco Sauce:
http://www.tabasco.com/avery-island/visitor-information/

katsiki

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2016, 09:48:11 AM »
WW2 museum if you like history.  Lots of history and architecture if interested.

Go to Cafe Du Monde and get beignets.

PhysicianOnFIRE

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2016, 09:52:14 AM »
Recommendations for NO, go! I'm there from a Saturday night to Tuesday afternoon in a week and a half.

Food? Activities? Cheap or free are good but have never been and of course will be spending some money. There is a nice cemetery somewhere right? (I love cemeteries). Staying in Treme. Advice on getting around would be welcome too! What areas are best to visit?

Lots to do in New Orleans. I've been there at least ten times.  The last time I was there, I used a Groupon for a several hour long city tour.  It was about $22 and well worth it. Visited the lower 9th ward where new houses are being built with $ from Brad Pitt & Angelina.  Stopped at City Park and the sculpture garden, AND of course, one of the famed above ground cemeteries. 

If you're staying in the French quarter, there is a cemetery within walking distance (away from the river). Walking around the quarter can take up a whole day, especially if you're into photography.

Dueling pianos and a hurricane at Pat O'Briens is a tradition, Preservation Jazz Hall, a good, reasonably cheap burger at Yo Mama's.

Take the St. Charles street car to the Garden district and walk around the historic mansions.  Some famous people live / have homes here. Archie Manning, Sandra Bullock, maybe Jon Goodman, Pitt...

Lots of movies feature the city, of course. Runaway Jury, Pelican Brief, Benjamin Button, dozens of others.

You're a couple weeks early for the big Jazz fest (which features all different genres of music).  Have a great trip!

Nola584

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2016, 12:28:21 PM »
You can take the other street car line (the red one) to City Park in mid city...lots to explore there.

One of my favorite activities to take visiting friends/family to is the Haunted History tour of he French Quarter. It's a walking tour that ends up being mostly history, some haunting stories, and is always great quality and is a good value. It's so pleasant just to walk around the French quarter at night and learn some about the city's history. It's a great alternative to bars/etc in the evening time.  Price is around $30 normally, less if you're a student.

Frenchman street is great for local music. There's also a night market to browse with local artists etc.  Rebirth Brass Band is a great show if you can catch them.


By the River

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2016, 12:51:46 PM »
Agree with walking the quarter...especially Royal Street and the French Market.  Find a small restaurant with a balcony and have appetizers or gumbo while people watching.   Take the Algiers Ferry across the river and back for a great view of the riverfront. 

If you are in town on 4/15, the Historic New Orleans Collection (hnoc.org) on Royal Street has a Cajun band, Roddy Romero, playing from 6-8 in the courtyard.   Costs $10 and includes 3 drinks with admission and access to the first floor of the museum. 

norabird

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2016, 12:58:06 PM »
A walking tour sounds like a nice option. Intrigued by Avery Island too...that would mean renting a car and spending an afternoon outside of the city though. Worth it?

justchristine

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2016, 01:50:05 PM »
I enjoyed the Plantation & Swamp tour that I went on.  They had a bus that picked up at my hotel and lunch was included.  I also had a blast just sitting and watching the street performers while I sipped my margaritas.  The paddle boat trip was also nice, but I'm a sucker for anything boat related.

dcheesi

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2016, 03:03:52 PM »
Seconding the Preservation Jazz Hall. Otherwise just walk around the Quarter and take everything in, stopping when/where you feel like it.

I haven't done a ton of restaurants there. Mostly I remember having appetizers at a place called Masparo's while we waited for our reservation at K-Paul's; K-Paul was very good but overpriced, and I found myself wishing we'd just stayed at the first place!

Central Grocery is the home of the original Muffaletta sandwich, right near the French Market. Nothing fancy, just a darn good sandwich.

Personally I was underwhelmed by Cafe Du Monde, but I seem to be in the minority?

sunshine

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2016, 07:22:11 PM »
We were recently there. Do a search for free things to do in New Orleans. I love the self guided tours of the Garden District and a few other places. There are a lot of walking tours. The Creole Queen paddle boat tour is really interesting. Really just take the street car and go explore. The French market it really neat.

Gimesalot

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2016, 09:02:47 AM »
There so much to do in New Orleans, that's why I love it here!

Free stuff:
Sitting on the Mississippi River and watching boats go by.  You can do this in the French Quarter, Crescent Park, or the Fly
Awesome parks: Audubon Park and City park
Museums:  Historic Collection in the Quarter, New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, Old U.S. Mint
Fitness / Dance Classes: Yoga and Pilates N.O. Jazz H.P. (Wednesdays and Saturdays)  and Swing dance lessons (Wednesday, Friday, & Sundays)
Music: N.O. Jazz H.P., Jackson Square, right outside clubs on Frenchmen
BATHROOMS: French Market, Old U.S. Mint, Pat O'Brien's, Jax Brewery, Canal Place

Cheap and Good Food in the Quarter:
Salt n Pepper for Indian Food
Killer Poboys
Jager Haus
Rouses (Super Market)
Verdi Mart
Felipe's Tacos
Ali Baba

Ghost_Ship

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2016, 10:41:02 AM »
Finally got motivated to make an account just so I could reply to this topic!

If you like oysters, go get an order of char-grilled ones at Acme Oyster House. I was in NO several years ago, and my mouth still waters when I think of them: blackened edges, melted garlic butter, served with crusty bread for sopping. So good. Po'boys there were delish as well.

In the French Quarter, take the time to go to MS Rau Antiques--museum-quality jewelry, fine art (Monet and van Gogh!), furniture, and oddities (they had a $95k cave bear skeleton for sale when we were there) all out where you can see it up close. it would be very un-Mustachian to buy anything, but it's free to wander around and look.

http://www.rauantiques.com/

Cognitive Miser

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2016, 01:05:02 PM »
I was a resident of New Orleans for 10 years.  I left in 2011 and haven't visited since then, so my knowledge isn't the most current.

BUT a lot of these suggestions seem really expensive/overly touristy to me.

If you drink in the French Quarter you will be paying way too much.  Try Frenchman Street in the Marigny for a more relaxed/cheaper experience.  A lot of the bars in the FQ have drink minimums - ie, you must buy two drinks per set of music.  If you DO end up at Pat O'Brien's, note that there are three different bars - the outdoor bar with the fire fountain, the piano bar, and the nondescript bar with the big TV.  Drink prices are DIFFERENT at each bar and cheapest in the TV room (it's to your left when you use the St. Peter St. entrance).  You can take your go-cup from the TV bar into the Piano bar.  Hurricanes are unique - don't spend the $ on one unless you have tried someone else's first and know you like it.  And ask for a plastic cup unless you really want the glass souvenir glass.  You pay for that glass anyway.  If you do want it, the dude by the door will wrap it up and box it for you on the way out.  If you don't want it, you just left $2 or $3 on the table.  That said, Pat O's has one of the nicest bathrooms in the FQ and it is worth the $1-$2 tip to the attendant.

Preservation Hall is a good suggestion for traditional jazz.  That and One Eyed Jacks are about the only places I would go in the FQ for entertainment.

I like the Gumbo Shop for inexpensive gumbo.  They have a yummy vegetarian gumbo too.  I second Gimesalot's other suggestions for inexpensive food in the FQ.  And you kinda do have to try Cafe du Monde.  Don't wear black when you go - there will be powdered sugar EVERYWHERE.

I'd head uptown (you can take the St. Charles streetcar) for cheaper eating in general.  A streetcar ride up St. Charles is fun - tons of interesting architecture, Audubon Park, the Latter Library branch are all free for the eyeballs.  Magazine Street has a bunch of restaurants and fun shopping - it runs parallel to St. Charles, between St. Charles and the river.  Tipitina's or the Maple Leaf Bar are the two music venues I'd recommend uptown.  Jacques-Imo's is a super-fun restaurant near Maple Leaf, but they don't take reservations unless you have at least 5 people, and you can wait up to two hours if you don't have a reservation.

It will be crawfish season and you should try boiled crawfish if you never have before.  I'd go uptown to Big Fisherman seafood market and buy a pound, then take it across the street to the Bulldog bar and get a beer to have with the crawfish on the Bulldog's outdoor patio.  Get a local to show you how to peel and eat them, then go back for more if you like them.  (If you buy oysters or crawfish at Acme Oyster House in the FQ, you will pay 3x more.)  Or go get a poboy at Domilise's or Parasol's.  Or get a sno-ball at Hansen's - make sure you try the condensed milk if you like creamy cold treats.

If you do want a splurge meal, and you are bringing *dressy* clothing, try Commander's Palace or K Paul's.  Don't try Antoine's - it is interesting because they are the oldest continuous operating restaurant in the U.S. and they are still serving their original menu (and it is like a museum inside), but the chances of spending a ton of money on a dissatisfying antique French meal are very high.

I wouldn't go to Avery Island.  There are so many things to do in the city proper that you might kick yourself for spending the money to get a car or pay for an expensive tour bus to get there.

You might like Backstreet Cultural Museum if you are staying in the Treme.  Lots of Mardi Gras Indian memorabilia and it's not expensive.

Music - the only two types of music that are SOOOO "New Orleans" that you can't miss them are Traditional Jazz and Brass Band music.  Trad - look for the Loose Marbles, Palmetto Bug Stompers, Jazz Vipers, Preservation Hall.  Brass Band - look for the Hot 8, Soul Rebels, Rebirth, Free Agents.  I can also give a shout out for high quality entertainment courtesy of a couple of my friends:
Burlesque: Trixie Minx (a former professional ballerina with an amazing stage presence - she performs all over the world): http://www.fleurdetease.com/shows.html
Stylish Jazz: Jayna Morgan has a few bands.  Swing Setters play kids music, Sazerac Sunrise Band plays swing and trad jazz, and she just formed a new band called the Bella Donnas which is composed entirely of women.  I think they play trad jazz too but am not sure - their debut show is this weekend.
http://nolaswing.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TheBellaDonnasNOLA/

Transportation from the airport: try the bus, or maybe Uber.  Regular taxis cost $40+ one way to get into town (the airport is in a far-flung suburb).  Taxis are super-cheap in the city proper, and there are pedicabs too.  Don't even think twice about calling or hailing a cab if you are drunk and need to go a mile to get to your hotel - just do it. 

Some final notes on safety:  New Orleans is not a safe city.  You will need to bring all your street smarts, even for touristy areas like the FQ.  The Treme isn't the safest part of town.  DO NOT wear Mardi Gras beads.  If you want to keep some, put them in a pocket or a purse.  They will mark you as a tourist and you will be a target.  At least half of my friends have been mugged walking home to their places in the Marigny, Bywater, Treme areas.  Some have been knocked off bikes to be mugged, and had their bikes stolen too.  The police will take an hour or more to come if you call them - they are stretched beyond endurance right now.  I even know someone who was shot in the face right on St. Charles Avenue, which is generally considered to be safe.  If you have second thoughts about anything, choose the safer option.  Say "New OAR-lins" instead of "New or-LEENS" if you want to sound more local.  PAY for a GROUP cemetary tour if you go to any of the cemetaries near the FQ/Treme.  Tourists are definitely targeted if they try to explore alone.

But have fun!  It is a wonderful place to visit :)
« Last Edit: April 07, 2016, 01:06:38 PM by Cognitive Miser »

Gimesalot

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2016, 01:28:09 PM »

If you drink in the French Quarter you will be paying way too much.  Try Frenchman Street in the Marigny for a more relaxed/cheaper experience.  A lot of the bars in the FQ have drink minimums - ie, you must buy two drinks per set of music.  If you DO end up at Pat O'Brien's, note that there are three different bars - the outdoor bar with the fire fountain, the piano bar, and the nondescript bar with the big TV.  Drink prices are DIFFERENT at each bar and cheapest in the TV room (it's to your left when you use the St. Peter St. entrance).  You can take your go-cup from the TV bar into the Piano bar.  Hurricanes are unique - don't spend the $ on one unless you have tried someone else's first and know you like it. 

Drinks in the Quarter can be expensive, but Rouse's Supermarket and Sidney's Liquor sell beers and some cocktails by the single serving.  Per unit it's a little more than buying a 12-pack, but it is not as expensive as a bar.

The TV bar at Pat O'Brien's is call "Locals Bar".

Trixie Minx has a free (be nice and tip) burlesque show at the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon every Friday starting at Midnight.  The drinks are $$$ but the talent is amazing!

Also, second the suggestion to not wear Mardi Gras beads outside of carnival season. 

CapLimited

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2016, 01:45:17 PM »

Central Grocery is the home of the original Muffaletta sandwich, right near the French Market. Nothing fancy, just a darn good sandwich.

Personally I was underwhelmed by Cafe Du Monde, but I seem to be in the minority?

Since you are only there for a limited time, get a muffaletta from Central Grocery (Decatur Street) to take home with you on your last day instead of eating one there (assuming you don't have pork-related dietary restrictions).  They are pre-made and pre-wrapped, anyway, since the sandwich is better once the olive oil soaks into and moistens the bread.  Central Grocery itself is an experience -- often there is a line, but it moves fast since the options, other than grocery items, are few -- half-muffaletta or whole muffaletta.  The proprietors are stoic and efficient Sicilian-Americans, not given to emotional expression.

I like Cafe Du Monde best late at night -- I'm not about to stand in line with all the tourists during the daytime, but at night, it is much less crowded.  I typically stop off there for cafe au lait and beignets in the wee hours, just before hailing a taxi back to my hotel.

Regarding cemetery tours, saveourcemeteries.org is a non-profit group that does tours in order to raise money to preserve the old New Orleans cemeteries.  We really enjoyed our tour of St. Louis No. 1, near the French Quarter.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2016, 01:57:36 PM by CapLimited »

Cognitive Miser

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2016, 02:31:43 PM »
I like Cafe Du Monde best late at night -- I'm not about to stand in line with all the tourists during the daytime, but at night, it is much less crowded.  I typically stop off there for cafe au lait and beignets in the wee hours, just before hailing a taxi back to my hotel.

Regarding cemetery tours, saveourcemeteries.org is a non-profit group that does tours in order to raise money to preserve the old New Orleans cemeteries.  We really enjoyed our tour of St. Louis No. 1, near the French Quarter.

Both good suggestions!  I think CdM is open 24 hours.

fallstoclimb

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Re: New Orleans--what to do?
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2016, 08:12:02 AM »
Reminding you about brunch at Buffa's on Esplanade on Sunday!  Arrive at 10.  A great jazz band performs and there's a full bar (I'm not usually one to drink at brunch, but they make a mean milk punch) and it's like the most New Orleans experience.