Laissez les Bon Temps Roulez: Part I

New Orleans is one of my favorite places in the US.  Having traveled there multiple times and working there once, I’ve discovered a few favorites that I tend to go back to time and time again.  When anyone mentions that they are going to be visiting my favorite city; I’m quick to offer a few tidbits of info.  Having done this time and time again; I decided to go ahead and spend the time to put all the information together in one place for easy access.

There is more to New Orleans than Bourbon Street. To get the most out of NOLA, I recommend that you explore not only Bourbon Street but the surrounding area and even the outskirts of the city.

Magazine Street

Magazine Street is one of my favorite neighborhoods. Magazine Street runs parallel to the river and depending on where you’re staying I would recommend simply taking a cab. It’s a bit far to walk from Bourbon Street.  There are numerous shops, restaurants, cafés and coffee shops to keep you busy for an afternoon or two. In addition, the nightlife is laid back and mellow with multiple ‘locals’ bars to keep you entertained. Check out The Bulldog  if you’re traveling with Fido. Dogs are allowed and encouraged on the outdoor patio.   It’s a great place to go for a great variety of brews; there are generally about 50 different beers on tap.

Baru Bistro  is a great little restaurant with a cozy, upscale atmosphere. Baru has a tapas’ menu and I would encourage you to bring some friends so you can try multiple menu items. They have a constantly changing menu so you’re always guaranteed to find something new if you’re a frequent flyer. I recommend the fish taco’s if they happen to be on the menu during your visit.

If you haven’t tried it yet, Community Coffee is a sure choice for a good cup of coffee. The chicory coffee is a local specialty. I especially like the fact that they support our troops by frequently offering a Military Match program. You can buy one for you and send one free to a soldier. The location on Magazine Street has a quaint courtyard with free Wi-Fi.  During my time working with the wounded soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center I used this program and the soldiers on the floor were always thankful to have a great cup of coffee.  If you don’t know anyone in the Military and want to use the Military Match; message me and I will provide you with an address so you can send the match to Landstuhl.

The Garden District

To get there, hop on the St Charles Streetcar line getting off at Jackson. Start in the morning so you can stop by St Charles Tavern for the BEST Bloody Mary that I’ve ever tasted (I like mine spicy but be careful with this; taste first). They also serve a decent breakfast buffet (or at least it was good after a horrendous 12 hour shift paired with the world’s BEST Bloody Mary.

If you need laundry done, why not stop into Igor’s Lounge where you can do your laundry while enjoying a game of pool and some pub grub? It’s just down the road from St Charles Tavern.  There are multiple places to eat but I recommend you stop by Mike Serio’s Po Boys and Deli  before you go and pick up a poor boy to take along with you for lunch. My favorite is the shrimp. Hold off on the Muffaletta; I’ve got that one covered in Part II.  Mike, the owner is a huge Tulane University fan and the place is decorated with all sorts of memorabilia. Serio’s is also a great place to visit before or after a game (if you’re a Tulane fan).

Where to have lunch? There’s no hurry; we’ll get to that.

Take your time and walk down St Charles Ave (after your Bloody Mary). The homes along here are beautiful. There is a printable walking tour that I recommend printing for a great route and additional information on the homes.  The above walking tour will also lead you right to Lafayette Cemetery #2.  The walk is mostly shaded and pretty comfortable most of the time. Make sure that you watch your step as your gazing at the homes; the sidewalks could use a little tender loving care.
After your walking tour, hop back on the street-car and head down the road to Tulane University Campus. Right across from the campus is Audubon Park and Zoo where you can stop and enjoy that poor boy that you picked up earlier.

See, I told you we would get to lunch. After you have savored every last bite of your poor boy, relax and enjoy some time people watching, reading or bring a Frisbee along for some mid-afternoon exercise. If your feet haven’t given in on you yet, take a walk around Tulane University campus. It’s full of Southern charm.

When you have had enough walking and exploring; hop back on the St Charles Streetcar and head back toward Bourbon Street. There are multiple high-end restaurants you can choose from on St Charles Ave if you’re in the mood for something a bit more extravagant. One of Emeril’s restaurants is here, the Delmonico.  If you’re lucky; maybe you’ll catch him in house.

Miscellaneous Tips

– Check out Tipitina’s for some local music. I was once seated at the bar just a few stools down from Fat’s Domino
– Preservation Jazz on Bourbon is a NOLA classic.
– Oyster House will fill you up on some of the freshest oysters ever (if you’re into that…I’m not).
– Try the crawfish!! Pinch the tail and suck the head.
– Wander down Bourbon after dark. It really is safe as long as you’re not being cocky or an ass to people. If you’re feeling a little bravado (and your significant other is home watching the latest survivor or is with you but very open minded); work for some beads (women) or purchase some to give away (men). If you need a lesson on this; contact me personally and I will give you step by step instructions.

If you haven’t had enough of New Orleans yet, head over and read PART II (coming soon).