I need touristy guidance! I am going to NOLA in October (over the Halloween weekend). Just need to know where to stay, etc...and a little heads up so I don't look like too much of a tourist! I have a hotel in mind...but I will take any advice.
Ok, there's this wonderful restaurant that you have to check out. If you are standing in front of the St. Louis Cathedral (the famous one that's in Jackson Square), there's a restaurant across the street to the right on the corner. It's called Muriel's (here's the website: http://www.muriels.com/). We went there for brunch one day and they have these orgasmic goat cheese crepes and an excellent creole-style eggs benedict.
Also, even though it's on Bourbon street, you have to go down to Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop and get the purple drink - I forget what it's called - Black Magic, maybe? It's way down past the gay bars. It's a tiny little bar that's really old. It actually once was Jean Lafitte's (the pirate) blacksmith shop, only the blacksmith thing was just a cover for the piratey things. It dark and small and old and the atmosphere is really kind of spooky.
Take the streetcar ride through the garden district and look at all the pretty houses. We took a swamp tour on a fan boat that was really fun, but be prepared to get dirty. They also have some really fun ghost tours which would be perfect for Halloween, if you're into that. Ride the ferry across the Mississippi and back, just for the hell of it. Visit St. Louis Cemetery #1 and see Marie Laveau's grave, or visit any of the cemeteries. Some of those tombs are incredible.
On one of our visits we stayed at the Loew's hotel near the French Quarter and it is still my favorite hotel I've ever stayed in. And, of course, when you're all done with the night's activities, you have to stop by Cafe Du Mond on the other side of Jackson Square from the cathedral and have a 2am beignet and coffee. Just hold your breath while you're taking a bite or the powdered sugar will go everywhere.
I love New Orleans but haven't been in a few years. I'm itching to get back! Have fun and do post about it when you're back! :)
Wow!! That sounds absolutely wonderful!! I can't wait!! Thanks for the advice and information...Muriel's looks awesome!! I will definitely do all those things..Blue Nile, 2am coffee...I will post pictures and everything when I'm back!! Thanks guys!!
Thanks Jennifer ;)
Thanks Laralee!! Great advice and information!
I will keep all of that in mind! I think I'm just going to wear my little utility jacket and keep my money in a pocket inside!!
I cannot wait to try those hand grenades!!
We are flying out there...so we will just walk everywhere...I think my Pam (true blood) pumps might end up in my hands...;)
I will definitely be seeing the cathedrals and cemeteries...I am a hard core atheist..but I am fascinated with the architecture and the creepiness of it all!! I can't wait to see the Mississippi River....
Thanks for the statistics..good to know!
Go to Bourbon street and get drunk once but not more than that. It gets old quick! Still I think you should look for a reasonably priced hotel in the French Quarter. The best thing to do while there is volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. Hard work but rewarding.
Hey I lived there for 6 years or so. Everyone here has had some good advice, I would add that you MUST go to 2 restaurants while you are there: 1. Dante's Kitchen (in the reverbend area. Any good cab will know where it is, it is a leetle bit pricey, but SO worth it) and 2. Frankie and Johnnies's. F&J's is a bit of a dive, but the po'boys are the best!
Halloween weekend can get super crazy, so I second Laralee's advice about being careful. Also, when you're on Bourbon Street, I would wear shoes that you don't mind getting dirty. I made the mistake of wearing flip flops once... Bad idea, my feet got puked on:(
You should definitely check out the street party they have in the Fauberg Marigny on Halloween night. Just walk up Bourbon St. until you cross Esplanade Ave.... Then you're in the Fauberg Marigny. The costumes there can get pretty outrageous (all the gay guys dress up and they really go all out).
Also, I know it's been said before but, you MUST get beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde at 2am (or 3 or 4, you know, if you're younger than I and can stay up that late:)
Man I'm so jealous! I now really want to go back....
I can't get used to people around the country wanting to visit new orleans. I'm sixty miles away, and i don't care for new orleans at all. Lots of homeless, lots of thugs. Watchout! I went to mardi gras down there from age 10 to 18. We had to leave twice because of gunshots. Don't walk alone away from an establishment. The locals love to stab and rob you. Just being honest. Not my scene at all.
NOLA is one of my favorite cities in the US. We also went in October, just before Halloween, and had the best vacation ever! The weather was great - not too humid. Being from SoCal, I don't do humidity well. :) We stayed here: www.placedarmes.com and it was fabulous. Within walking distance to almost everything. Their prices are more than reasonable and they have the most gorgeous back courtyard (as do most places in NOLA). The Halloween decorations were already up - a sight to see. Be sure and walk up to the famous Cafe Du Monde and have the yummy beignets along with straight up strong coffee - no Starbux stuff!
And the French Market which sells a bit of everything is open every day - a great place for souvenirs and just about everything you can imagine. Ha, I think I was the only sober one on Bourbon Street - also easily within walking distance, there is no car rental necessary, it's so much fun to explore on foot. We even did a touristy swamp boat tour. Have a delightful time and let us know if you enjoyed it! Oh, and the food - be sure and get a muffuletta sandwich - not sure what all is in it, no matter.
Sigh. I could go on and on (and did :) we hope to go back one of these days.
Ok I lived in NoLa for almost 7 years, it really depends what you're looking for.
Bourbon st.: Most locals avoid it like the black plague. It's usually filled with idiot tourists that have watched too many girls gone wild video's trying to get girls to flash for beads 12 months a year not realizing that that's a mardi gras thing. Ok to check out once but unless you're a frat boy looking to get wasted or a business guy looking for a drunk girl... not the best.
Tail end of bourbon st: gay section. Less touristy, more localy, cooler atmostphere. (Upper end = closer to Canal st. Back end = closer to Esplanade st. These two streets form the upper and lower boundaries of the french quarter. Oz is a pretty cool club/bar down there.
Past esplanade: Marigny. This is more of the "Local" hang out area. Cool restaurants, bars, tattoo parlors, etc. There's one good coffee house but I forget the name of it down there. Worth checking out. Safer by day than by night if you wander off the beaten path.
As a general rule avoid empty/dark stretches of street near the back (esplanade) end of the quarter after 2-3am. Prime "Mug a drunk tourist because who else is wandering out here" areas since most of the activity is around the "top"section of the 1/4 or within a street or two of bourbon.
Decatur st: Local section of the french quarter. Cafe Angeli's near the back end of decatur rocks. Big local hang out. Try the garlic bread, it's basically a mini-pizza. My ex gf from spain asked me to bring her one back to Barcelona after she had it there ;) The restaurant/diner/bar across the st (forget the name at the moment) is great too. Lots of bars dotted around that area as well. When you go down decatur and pass the HUGE gold statue you're in the right area ;)
If you have any interest there's a goth club going on at Dragon's Den (I believe it's on esplanade). I'd expect some huge fun going on around there Halloween week for obvious reasons, lol.
St Louis Cathedral in Jackson square obviously worth checking out.
Pirates Alley which runs along side it has a nifty bar as well. Not what it once was but possibly worth stopping by since it's 10 seconds away from the cathedral.
If you or friends fancy a strip club outing I'd send you to Penthouse on Iberville (I'm biased, many old friends of mine work there, lol), but it is a nice, reputable, non-shady club. At least it was 2 years ago.
Uptown: Magazine st for sightseeing/window shopping/antiques.
There is a zoo uptown as well.
Swamp tours are interesting but I prefered going on the walking trails where they just have paths through the swamps to hike around at your leisure.
They do Haunted History tours but I found them idiotic. Lafitte's which has been mentioned is on bourbon and a "staple" of the area. My friends Uncle owns it so sure, stop by, lol.
The Dungeon would be well worth checking out around Halloween if it's still there. Little alleyway entrance off bourbon that you'd barely notice. Claustrophobic alley to walk down, then a tightly packed little goth club with an upstairs. More of a tourist than a local club but what the hell. Take a shot especially around that season ;)
*Most of my info is like 2 years out of date so if you like any of it ask somebody "Hey is the dungeon still around?" before tromping off on a wild goose chase.
Hope you enjoy yourself. NoLa isn't the cleanest, safest, smartest, most cultured, or prettiest city but it sure as HELL is the most RANDOM city ;)