Laissez les Bon Temps Roulez: Part II

This is a two part series of posts.  When I  writing out my recommendations for NOLA, I quickly began to realize that I had too much information to put into one quick-to-read post.  I decided to break it down so not to overwhelm you.  In Part I, I covered Magazine Street and The Garden District.  As promised, here is Part II.

Jackson Square

To get here head toward the river from Bourbon Street to Jackson Avenue.  PLEASE NOTE: I do NOT recommend hanging around this area late at night. It’s ok to head over to Café Du Monde after a night of drinking on Bourbon St but be aware of your surroundings and travel in a group. It’s perfectly safe during daylight hours.

This is quintessential New Orleans. Here is where you’ll find the St Louis Cathedral. The horse carriages along Decatur Street will take you for a tour from here. There is nearly always a plethora of street performers, palm readers, tap dancers, etc.   Café Du Monde, located across the street from Jackson Square is not to be missed.  If you are here during Mardi Gras or one of the festivals; try slipping inside and grabbing a table (most of the time a lone patron will allow you to share a table if there aren’t any empty ones available). Sometimes you’ll get caught and asked to go back outside and wait but most generally, it’s a quick way to get served when they are extremely busy. (I’m not sure why I’m disclosing my secret here…now the next time I go it will be ruined).

Warehouse District and Frenchman Street

These are both areas of NOLA that I haven’t yet explored in any depth to give a proper recommendation.  The Warehouse/Arts District is an up and coming part of NOLA.   Here is a site to get you started.  I have always intended to check out Frenchman Street as well, but it’s just never happened. Please find out what all the fuss is about and let me know!!   There is some additional information about Frenchman Street  HERE to get you started.

Riverside Park/Market

Spend an hour or two and peruse the French Market.   The market is mostly ‘made in China’ trinkets but if you look closely you’ll find some wonderful local artists displaying and selling their creations. You must try ‘Gator on A Stick’ and the market is the place to find it. There are also all sorts of hot pepper jellies and other locally produced items. Just before the Market on Decatur Street you’ll find Southern Candy Makers. Stop in for some freshly made pecan pralines.  Pure sugary goodness is all I have to say…although I will admit that South Carolina really does it better. If you are looking for something sweet and spicy (NOLA style); you should try some of the hot pepper pralines. They don’t have them on the website but they were making them the last time I was in. Ask if you’re interested. I don’t think you can find them anywhere else in the world.

Central Grocery  on Decatur Ave has the city’s best Muffuletta. Depending on the time of day, there will be a line out the door and down the sidewalk. If you have any trouble finding it, ask around at Café Du Monde and someone will point you in the right direction. It’s just across the street walking away from the Jackson Square about a half a block.

Miscellaneous Tips

– Stop by Pat O’Brien’s for a hurricane.
 If you stop and enjoy a street performer; please remember to tip them! They are providing a service/entertainment and deserve a token of your appreciation.
– Try the “BBQ Shrimp”. It’s a local concoction and has nothing to do with BBQ or BBQ sauce. It is however buttery, totally messy and delicious. I’ve been told that the best place to try this is at Pascals Manale (close to garden district). I’ve had this dish in several different restaurants and felt it was equally as good in all
Mothers Cafeteria is a NOLA institution with ‘just like mama made’ food at a very reasonable price. I suggest the Ferdi Special.
– Port o Call serves my favorite burger ever. Go with a huge appetite the burgers are massive and served with a perfectly baked potato topped with your choice. It’s always packed so plan on waiting. It would be a great stop after perusing the Market as it’s just down the road and around the corner.

Out of Town

A wonderful day trip takes you out of town to the plantations. My recommendations? Oak Alley and the Laura Plantation. I would recommend renting a car for a day and taking your time. There are many other plantations that you can visit if you have time.  I choose these two due to the extreme difference in them.  It’s an opportunity to experience the diversity that existed in the deep south. You can cover both in one day and they are remarkably different.  Oak Alley is the traditional Southern Style plantation that you immediately envision when you think ‘plantation’. The oak trees lining the original driveway are beautiful as well as the rest of the grounds and home. The Laura Plantation is a traditional Creole style plantation and couldn’t be more different from Oak Alley. The Laura if brightly painted, single story. I loved hearing about its history.

There are also gator farms you can visit and airboat tours all over. I’ve not participated in these so if you get an opportunity to go; please send me your feedback.