NOLA recs?

SoBeCuse

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#1
Have never been actually! Will be there for four days in a couple of weeks with lots of free time. I already have compiled some intel from some various hardcore foodie friends as well as some other logistical intel. Staying in Downtonish/Business District and apparently a 10 min walk to the Quarter.

There is a 6 or 7 year-old NOLA thread in this forum but I figured I would start a new one.

Has anybody been to Commander’s Palace? Worth the hype? The $0.25 martinis at lunch seem too good to pass up! Are the John Besh spots worth the hype as well? Acme? Don’t know much about the beer scene but have heard Port Orleans and Urban South are solid. I’m not going to nor have any interest in Abita. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!
 

Shrmdougluvr

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#2
Lots of folks visited during the LSU game last September. Try digging up one of the threads from the Tickets/tailgaiting forum.

I'll post my own little insights later. Keep in mind though, I went with my wife who is borderline a teetotaler, and two young boys (4 and 7 at the time).
 

Eric15

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#3
Have never been actually! Will be there for four days in a couple of weeks with lots of free time. I already have compiled some intel from some various hardcore foodie friends as well as some other logistical intel. Staying in Downtonish/Business District and apparently a 10 min walk to the Quarter.

There is a 6 or 7 year-old NOLA thread in this forum but I figured I would start a new one.

Has anybody been to Commander’s Palace? Worth the hype? The $0.25 martinis at lunch seem too good to pass up! Are the John Besh spots worth the hype as well? Acme? Don’t know much about the beer scene but have heard Port Orleans and Urban South are solid. I’m not going to nor have any interest in Abita. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!
Brennan's Restaurant : A New Orleans Tradition Since 1946 : French Quarter Restaurant

This place is wonderful -- my wife and I went here the night before the LSU game. It's where the dessert Bananas Foster was invented, and they make it table side for you with a big flame shooting up.
 

chugg21

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#4
I've been like 10+ times and actually heading there for New Years after the bowl game. Favorite city in the country and nothing else is close. I put up a huge post for the LSU game and will go find it.
 

chugg21

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#5
Found it. Off the top of my head I know that Kenton's was changed into some kind of upscale middle eastern place. There is a newer brewery that just had its 1 year anniversary, Parleaux Beer Lab. It's right next to The Joint & Bacchanal. Honestly that's probably my favorite night in Nola is grabbing some brisket at The Joint and then walking over to Parleaux and then ending up at Bacchanal. Can't express how much better that is then being anywhere in the FQ. Anyway, here is the prior post...



Been to Nola at least a dozen times, had my bachelor party there, my 30th bday (Bills game at the Saints was on the exact day) and even named my dog Nola. Just weathered Irma there for 6 days last week and here is my list of places for everyone to check out while you're there...

Bourbon St - Just do it one night with a Hurricane from Pat O'Briens and a Hand Grenade from Tropical Isle and take it all in just so that you can say you have. Pretty much every bar with live music playing will let you walk in with drinks from other places. A veteran move is to just grab beers at one of the stores or bring them from your hotel with you and crack them as your walking and can avoid paying $6-7 each. Pretty much any of the little shops will have coolers with singles available. Good way to try out the craft scene as most of the Bourbon bars have garbage taps with just the big national crap along with maybe an Abita or 2.

Frenchman St - Slightly less touristy than Bourbon St, home to a bunch of Jazz bars. Can walk from the French Quarter as its in Marigny, right next door to the Quarter.

BBQ - Its the south and home to a couple really, really great BBQ spots. Central City BBQ is pretty new and is outstanding. Has the best smoked wings I've ever had and they are only 50 cents during happy hour and can wash them down with a $1 High Life. The Joint is the Nola standard for BBQ. Its located in the Bywater which is about 2 miles outside of the Quarter and the Brisket is the best I've had outside of Texas.

Parasol's - Great dive bar with arguably the best Roast Beef Po'Boy in the city. Their Red Beans & Rice are absurdly good as well. Place is ran by a guy named Billy (big dude with a ponytail) that is from Rochester. Super nice guy that you can talk to forever.

Fat Harry's - For my fellow Bills fans, this is the Bills bar in Nola. The wings are surprisingly good, real good actually. There is usually a crowd of 70 or so watching games. Don't forget that they start at noon. Fat Harry's is also great on Mondays for MNF as their wings and pitchers are half priced during the game. Its in the Garden District and you can either drive like 3 miles or there is a streetcar stop right outside.

Oysters - Blind Pelican has happy hour 7 nights a week from 4 to 8. $3 for a dozen raw oysters or $10 for a dozen chargrilled with the purchase of a drink. Both are a helluva deal. Kentons has an awesome whiskey/oyster happy hour too, don't remember the exact days/hours but its a nicer place and pretty great. Luke is a more upscale oyster spot with oyster happy hour every day from 3-6 if you prefer white table clothes while slurping down buck oysters.

Breweries - They are just really starting to get after it. 2 of the bigger ones that are close to downtown are NOLA, The Courtyard and Urban South. Urban South has a hazy IPA called Jucifer that is pretty damn good.

For those coming with a girlfriend/wife, can't recommend Bacchanal enough. It's 1 block away from The Joint and is probably the best date night I can imagine for a pair. Shovel brisket in your face and then head over to Bacchanal. Its sort of hard to describe, you walk in the door and it's a wine store and you pick a bottle and then go into the fridge and pick a couple cheeses and go to the register. You hand them your cheese selection and they give you a number to display on your table outside. You go outside with your bottle of wine, grab a couple glasses and pick a table out in the courtyard where there is a big stage and live Jazz being played multiple times per night. Then your cheeses come out as a full cheese plate with all the extras to go with it. Its literally my wifes favorite place in the country and is always what I use as an excuse to go back to NOLA and to go to the Joint.

Other than that, all I can say is definitely don't spend the entire time on Bourbon and in the French Quarter. Go check out Marigny, Bywater and the Garden District to see/eat a much more authentic NOLA. I can answer most questions if you have any about places to check out.
 

chugg21

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#6
Have never been actually! Will be there for four days in a couple of weeks with lots of free time. I already have compiled some intel from some various hardcore foodie friends as well as some other logistical intel. Staying in Downtonish/Business District and apparently a 10 min walk to the Quarter.

There is a 6 or 7 year-old NOLA thread in this forum but I figured I would start a new one.

Has anybody been to Commander’s Palace? Worth the hype? The $0.25 martinis at lunch seem too good to pass up! Are the John Besh spots worth the hype as well? Acme? Don’t know much about the beer scene but have heard Port Orleans and Urban South are solid. I’m not going to nor have any interest in Abita. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!
Commanders Palace is definitely an institution as are most of the Brennan family locations. They are all fairly similar though so I'd just pick 1 of them. Of the Besh locations I've only been to Domenica for the pizzas which are really damn good but it's still pizza in New Orleans which is kind of pointless and to Luke for the oyster happy hour which is also excellent. Can and should skip Acme for sure. Antoines for their Rockefeller and Dragos for their charbroiled are still touristy but usually don't have a line outside and have perfected what they do.

The beer scene as was in my other post is still fairly new and without anything that's really spectacular. I still go straight for Jucifer when I'm in town unless Ghost in the Machine is available. That's probably the most famous LA beer for beer nerds. Might find it on tap or a bottle somewhere even though I think it is a summer release.
 

SoBeCuse

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#7
Commanders Palace is definitely an institution as are most of the Brennan family locations. They are all fairly similar though so I'd just pick 1 of them. Of the Besh locations I've only been to Domenica for the pizzas which are really damn good but it's still pizza in New Orleans which is kind of pointless and to Luke for the oyster happy hour which is also excellent. Can and should skip Acme for sure. Antoines for their Rockefeller and Dragos for their charbroiled are still touristy but usually don't have a line outside and have perfected what they do.

The beer scene as was in my other post is still fairly new and without anything that's really spectacular. I still go straight for Jucifer when I'm in town unless Ghost in the Machine is available. That's probably the most famous LA beer for beer nerds. Might find it on tap or a bottle somewhere even though I think it is a summer release.
Ah, forgot about the LSU game/thread. Thanks a bunch. Great stuff! Have heard similarly re: Bacchanal and Luke. Also heard Seaworthy is a great oyster spot as well. A little more upscale a la Luke. The GF will be there for part of the time so Bacchanal will happen. Possibly Gautreau’s as well. Heard Parkway Tavern is great for shrimp poboys. Cure for cocktails somebody else said and Vessel Uptown. We plan on taking some streetcar routes to get around via that method as well to get a more authentic vibe/flavor. Originally wanted to stay at the Henry Howard Hotel in the Lower Garden District but it was a little out of my price range! Looked amazing, however!
 

Ernj

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#10
I will start by saying I lived in New Orleans back in the day and worked in restaurants the entire time i was there.

I wouldn't suggest going to the French Quarter during the day. Part of the ambiance is the neon lights and scene. You don't get that during the day.

Commander's Palace is great. Very traditional, old-school service. Food is good.

My go-tos when i go back to visit: Dick & Jenny's and Jaque Imo's (though i prefer D&Js).

https://www.dickandjennys.com/

Jacques Imo's Cafe | Real New Orleans Food

Buddy of mine and his brother opened MOPHO a few years back. Interesting twist - it is a Vietnamese/New Orleans fusion restaurant based off a pho concept but many more things than just pho. Gets great reviews -though i havent been back to NO since it opened so havent eaten there myself (other friends eat there on the regular and love it).

Mopho

Acme is ok for oysters, though in the Quarter so busier and touristy. For oysters i would go to Pascal's Manale. It is uptown.

I usually got my Po-Boys from Parasol's though Parkway is good also. I also went to R&O's a lot since i lived near there. Technically, it is Metairie but a block from the 7th St Canal which is the border of NO and Metairie. Its a whole in the wall and a little far out fromt he downtown area and on Lake Pontchartrain. Probably not a spot you want go to if only in NO for a few days though.

If you want live music, the Maple Leaf is great. It is Uptown near Tulane. If you go on Tuesday night Rebirth Brass Band plays there. The Marigny is great for Jazz too.

Want a burger - Port of Call (on Esplanande at the non-touristy end of the Quarter bordering the Marigny). One of the best no-frills burger i have ever had. Every time i go back to visit, I hit up Port of Call at least once.
 
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SoBeCuse

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#11
I will start by saying I lived in New Orleans back in the day and worked in restaurants the entire time i was there.

I wouldn't suggest going to the French Quarter during the day. Part of the ambiance is the neon lights and scene. You don't get that during the day.

Commander's Palace is great. Very traditional, old-school service. Food is good.

My go-tos when i go back to visit: Dick & Jenny's and Jaque Imo's (though i prefer D&Js).

https://www.dickandjennys.com/

Jacques Imo's Cafe | Real New Orleans Food

Buddy of mine and his brother opened MOPHO a few years back. Interesting twist - it is a Vietnamese/New Orleans fusion restaurant based off a pho concept but many more things than just pho. Gets great reviews -though i havent been back to NO since it opened so havent eaten there myself (other friends eat there on the regular and love it).

Mopho

Acme is ok for oysters, though in the Quarter so busier and touristy. For oysters i would go to Pascal's Manale. It is uptown.

I usually got my Po-Boys from Parasol's though Parkway is good also. I also went to R&O's a lot since i lived near there. Technically, it is Metairie but a block from the 7th St Canal which is the border of NO and Metairie. Its a whole in the wall and a little far out fromt he downtown area and on Lake Pontchartrain. Probably not a spot you want go to if only in NO for a few days though.

If you want live music, the Maple Leaf is great. It is Uptown near Tulane. If you go on Tuesday night Rebirth Brass Band plays there. The Marigny is great for Jazz too.

Want a burger - Port of Call (on Esplanande at the non-touristy end of the Quarter bordering the Marigny). One of the best no-frills burger i have ever had. Every time i go back to visit, I hit up Port of Call at least once.
Much obliged. Good stuff! Yeah, my GF is Vietnamese (born here) so we plan on taking advantage of the big community there and various supposedly amazing offereings. Nine Roses (among others) was suggested and your Mopho place popped up on our radar though we generally prefer the more divey/hole in the wall spots for most Vietnamese or Asian. Cheers.
 

Ernj

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#12
Much obliged. Good stuff! Yeah, my GF is Vietnamese (born here) so we plan on taking advantage of the big community there and various supposedly amazing offereings. Nine Roses (among others) was suggested and your Mopho place popped up on our radar though we generally prefer the more divey/hole in the wall spots for most Vietnamese or Asian. Cheers.
Nine Roses is yummy, cant really go wrong there. Fully understand about hole in the wall places. When i choose a place in a city i do not live in the 2 main factors i look for when it comes to ethnic food is: 1. a hole in the wall and 2. do people of that ethnicity eat there. If yes to #2 i will always eat there even if #1 is not met.
 

SoBeCuse

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#13
Nine Roses is yummy, cant really go wrong there. Fully understand about hole in the wall places. When i choose a place in a city i do not live in the 2 main factors i look for when it comes to ethnic food is: 1. a hole in the wall and 2. do people of that ethnicity eat there. If yes to #2 i will always eat there even if #1 is not met.
Yep. Exactly.
 
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#14
If you’re looking for an affordable hotel in a cool neighborhood that’s close to everything my girlfriend and I really enjoyed the Prytania Park hotel. Easy to get back and forth to Bourbon Street but also in a quiet part of the Garden District.

If you enjoy history the World War II museum is pretty incredible. My girlfriend and I had an absolute blast in NO and can’t wait to go back. Also not a bad city to drive in and getting a rental car isn’t a bad idea considering the location of the airport.
 

SoBeCuse

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#15
If you’re looking for an affordable hotel in a cool neighborhood that’s close to everything my girlfriend and I really enjoyed the Prytania Park hotel. Easy to get back and forth to Bourbon Street but also in a quiet part of the Garden District.

If you enjoy history the World War II museum is pretty incredible. My girlfriend and I had an absolute blast in NO and can’t wait to go back. Also not a bad city to drive in and getting a rental car isn’t a bad idea considering the location of the airport.
Yeah WW II museum is on the list for sure. Went with The Troubador which is a newer Hilton ‘Tapestry’ property. The price and deal I got was too good to pass up and we won’t be in the room much, regardless. Basically like $465 with the taxes for four nights at a 4* hotel.
 

Shrmdougluvr

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#16
Below is the body of an e-mail that has circulated among many people, preparing for a first trip to NoLa. I believe the author is a Tulane Law alum.

Here is the long-awaited NOLA memo:

Intro
Dear __________, Congratulations! You have made the decision to go to New Orleans (pronounced “or-lins”; Only tourists say “or-leens”) and that is SMART. You also decided to go for more than just a bachelor party or weekend, which is smarter. You also decided to go during Jazz fest, which is smarterer. You also came to me for advise, which is SMARTEST. Despite all the socio-economic-environmental issues that make Nola (also an acceptable name) very complex, enjoying Nola is stupidly simple and people often over or under think it. Enjoying Nola is about 3 things: Eating, drinking, and live music (and enjoying 2 to 3 of these categories at once). When you are there and return, people will grill you on those three categories and judge whether you did it right. I will judge. There are relatively few things outside these categories that are worth doing (and I will mention them), so don’t worry about spending too much of your time at landmarks, museums, etc. as if you were in NYC or Europe or wherever.

FOOD
Absolutely the most important thing. New restaurants have sprung up since I left 3 years ago, but here are a list of my favorites:

Commander’s Palace (Garden District) – super fancy and kitschy mansion with people dressed up in old-timey southern style and waiters in tuxes unveiling dishes with silver lids kinda place. Dinner is legit (and expensive). I would recommend going for lunch. Here’s why: if you get the pre-fixe menu (~$25) you get 25cent martinis I you not. Definitely go and make a rez. Dress up, but it’s a fun experience. Take the street car up. Walk around the neighbourhood and cool cemetery across the street

Jocque-Imo’s (Uptown) – on the other side of the city near Tulane. Worth the $20 cab ride each way. This place has character and amazing food. It’s in everyone’s list and all the guide books. They don’t take rezs so go during the week. There may be like an hour wait, but there’s a bar next door and I swear it’s worth it.

Domenica (French Quarter) – in the Roosevelt Hotel. One of my favorites. Not specifically New Orleans food, but amazing. I took a bachelor party here once as well as my entire fam for graduation dinner and everyone’s meals were amazing. The head chef won some James Beard award. It’s basically Italian/Middle Eastern/Nola fusion.

Cochon (Warehouse District) – expensive but worth it. On everyone’s top list.

Herbsaint (Central Business District) – also expensive and award-winning and on everyone’s list.

Gallatrois/Arnauds (French Quarter) – super old-school old-money establishments. I actually never went to either, but they are definitely landmarks

Mothers (Central Business District) – famous southern comfort food. The baked ham is legendary

Willie Maes Scotch House (Treme) – best mothering fried chicken on the planet. It is known. You’ll get mad props from locals for going here, for few tourists know its power. After Katrina, it was one of the first things rebuilt. That should say something. Go during the week and for lunch. They have weird hours/days, so check to make sure it’s open. But goddam it’s good.

Elizabeths (Bywayer) – go for lunch/brunch. Get the duck and sweet potato hash on a cornbread waffle with a side of praline bacon. will get you turnt.

Bacchanal (Bywayer) – cool spot to go for dinner (go midweek or else it’s too nuts) and listed to live music. It’s actually a wine and cheese shop where after you buy your wine and cheese, you sit out in the backyard and they bring the wine and cheese (cut up with bread) to your table while you listen to live music and you can also order small plates from a window. Super cool and great for a chill night.

Court of Two Sisters (French Quarter) – expensive buffet brunch, but good food and a lovely outdoor courtyard with live jazz

Killer Po’Boys (French Quarter) – if you find yourself in need of a quick sandwich, go here. My favourite po’boys in the city. In the back of Erin Rose Bar.

Vietnamese Food – the only really good “ethnic” non-Nola food you can get here

Crawfish - it’s crawfish season. A lot of bars and restaurants will be selling. Eat them.

Good food is everywhere, so these are just some suggestions.

BARS/LIVE MUSIC
Remember that there are no open container laws here. But if you need a destination between drinking on the street and ordering your drinks to go…

Bourbon Street – this place is heinous as you will immediately discover. It smells, it’s crowded with tourists and shysters and doesn’t really offer anything that special. But it’s a hot mess that you can’t look away from. It’s an anthropological experience. I’d advise against wearing nice or open toed shoes. However, you should definitely venture down this street while you’re there (akin to checking out Times Square your first time in NYC). There definitely are at least a few fun bars. Check out Pat O’Briens. This was our law school guilty pleasure – big courtyard and the birthplace of the hurricane drink. If you get there a little earlier, check out the dueling pianos, which is actually really fun.

Frenchmen Street – I like to say that the only reason to walk down Bourbon Street is to get to Frenchmen Street. Frenchmen is in the Marigny neighbourhood, which is just past the French Quarter (you can easily walk). This is where (more) locals actually go out. Better bars, better live music and better scene. It’s a 3 block stretch of live music venues. Most are no cover. Check out Maison, DBA, Spotted Cat, Blue Nile, Negril and Checkpoint Charlie, to name a few.

Basically, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a bar and/or live music any day of the week.

OTHER THINGS TO DO
Here are some things to do during the day (between meals and Jazzfest)-

Wander around the French Quarter – doesn’t need much explanation

Take the streetcar uptown along St. Charles Ave – it’s a beautiful tree and mansion-lined street. It ends at Tulane and Audobon Park, which is nice.

Take the (same) streetcar to Magazine Street and the Garden District – and walk around

Swamp/Gator Tour – good way to spend a hot afternoon. Generally for like $40/50 you get pickup and dropoff at your hotel, 1 hour drive, then like a 2-3 hour tour. It’s pretty fun and you can buy beer to bring on the boat. It think I used Cajun Pride Tours.

Ghost/Vampire Tours – never did, but I heard they’re surprisingly fun and interesting.

Blackstreet Cultural Museum (Treme)- probably the only museum I’d recommend. It’s basically the closest thing to an African American New Orleans culture museum in the city with an emphasis on Mardi Gras Indian culture. Very interesting for like an hour or so.

Wednesdays in the Square – free weekly food and music event in Lafayette Square in the Central Business District (5-8pm). Beer and great local food vendors and live music (your week it’s Kermit Ruffins, who’s fantastic). Definitely worth checking out for late afternoon fun.

JazzFest – I know you’re going, which is smart. I’d recommend walking there (about 2 miles from the French Quarter). Getting cabs to and from is le . Don’t wear nice things, because sometimes it’s muddy. I’d also recommend (if you happen to see any) bringing cheap fold up or collapsible beach chairs. And eat there – the food is diverse and amazing.

And I’m happy to provide ad hoc recommendations based on location, time of day, day, predilections, etc. Feel free to text me at __________________.

Enjoy!!!
 

SoBeCuse

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#17
Commanders Palace is definitely an institution as are most of the Brennan family locations. They are all fairly similar though so I'd just pick 1 of them. Of the Besh locations I've only been to Domenica for the pizzas which are really damn good but it's still pizza in New Orleans which is kind of pointless and to Luke for the oyster happy hour which is also excellent. Can and should skip Acme for sure. Antoines for their Rockefeller and Dragos for their charbroiled are still touristy but usually don't have a line outside and have perfected what they do.

The beer scene as was in my other post is still fairly new and without anything that's really spectacular. I still go straight for Jucifer when I'm in town unless Ghost in the Machine is available. That's probably the most famous LA beer for beer nerds. Might find it on tap or a bottle somewhere even though I think it is a summer release.
Is that cat Billy from Parasol’s an SU fan? Is that a potential ‘special’ spot to watch the game tommorow? I mean I can watch it anywhere down there obviously, even my hotel, but if he’s a Syracuse guy too then that would be cool.
 

chugg21

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#18
Is that cat Billy from Parasol’s an SU fan? Is that a potential ‘special’ spot to watch the game tommorow? I mean I can watch it anywhere down there obviously, even my hotel, but if he’s a Syracuse guy too then that would be cool.
I'm not positive if he's a college bball guy or not, it's certainly possible but I can't answer one way or another for sure. I probably wouldn't recommend it to watch the game as it's pretty small and more of a locals kind of spot. Fat Harry's or Cooter Brown's would probably be better for just having a couple beers and watching it but Parasols is closer to downtown and superior foodwise.
 

LeMoyneCuse

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#19
It's out of the way, but I loved The Avenue Pub when I was down for the LSU game. It's one of the best craft beer bars in the country, and it's open 24/7/365.
 

Ozcuse

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#20
I liked everything I ate there but my wife especially loved GW Fins which is an upscale seafood/trendy spot in the French Quarter. It is pricey but she still talks about it 2 years later.

Going the other direction, check out a Cafe du Monde and get some authentic hot beignets and a cafe au lait.
 

SoBeCuse

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#21
I liked everything I ate there but my wife especially loved GW Fins which is an upscale seafood/trendy spot in the French Quarter. It is pricey but she still talks about it 2 years later.

Going the other direction, check out a Cafe du Monde and get some authentic hot beignets and a cafe au lait.
Yup. The beignets will be probably the most of the ‘touristy’ stuff I will do but I hear they are tasty.
 

Shrmdougluvr

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#24
I can endorse Deanies, Killer Po Boys, and Cafe Du Monde. We also went to Virgil's, which I was told was more of a locals place. Didnt like it as much as Deanies. Willie Maes fried chicken was the absolute truth. But we didnt have to schlep out to the neighborhood location (which is sketchy), because the Sunday we arrived in Nola they were having Fried Chicken Fest down in Woldenberg Park, along the River. Honestly, loved pretty much eveything i ate there. Shrimp was the best I've ever had.

We did mostly sterotypical touristy stuff - riverboat cruise (fun); swamp tour (really fun and suprisingly not buggy); rode the St Charles Line Streetcar uptown to Audubon Park across from Tulane. Took the bus back along Magazine Street after trekking through the park (long story). Great way to be able to take in the Garden District.

For me, just seeing the remnants of Katrina was really interesting and enhanced the entire experience. I studied up a bit on the flooding before we went.
 

chugg21

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#25
It may be touristy.

Do it anyway. Soooo good.

A fun game is to try to pick the tourists from the regulars/locals. Sometimes easy, sometimes not so much.
I don't know a single local that goes there, would be like someone from Buffalo going to Anchor Bar.
 
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