My tips: Transportation: The streetcar
: a cheap way to travel. It's $1.25, or you can purchase an all-day pass for $5. One line runs Uptown/Garden District, and the other runs along Canal, which is the border between the CBD (Central Business District - aka "Downtown") and the French Quarter. Exact change required. Cabs
are easy and pretty cheap. There is a gasoline surcharge, tho' - usually a dollar or two, and they charge another dollar for extra passengers. United Cab is the best. A small tip is expected, as well.
Cabs to and from the airport are, I believe, $32, plus the surcharge, and extra if you have more than 2 people or massive amounts of luggage. The cabbies will not "trick you" by taking you on a circuitous route, as the fare is posted in each cab. Again, a small tip is expected.
The airport is in Kenner, which is about 35 minutes (depending on traffic) from New Orleans. If the hotel you're staying at has a shuttle, take that. If you take an airport shuttle that makes the rounds to all the hotels downtown, it's cheap but it may take up to two hours before it reaches your particular hotel. Food/entertainment:
The cheapest place to eat, but one of the best, and a must-do, is Cafe du Monde at Jackson Square on Decatur. Get an iced coffee and a plate of Beignets (bin-yays), and you have yourself a great meal for about 5 dollars, including tip. Great place for people-watching. It's open 24/7. They have indoor seating if it's cold and/or rainy. Just walk to whatever table is open and take a seat (you may have to wait in line). Pay the waitstaff when they deliver the food and coffee. Enjoy the people-watching.
Most bars are open 24/7/365. You can walk around on the streets with your drink, as long as it's in a plastic cup (a "go-cup"). If you're at one bar, and have a bottle of beer or a drink in a glass, and want to leave, ask the bartender for a go-cup, and they will oblige. If you walk into another bar or a restaurant or the hotel with a drink in your hand, nobody cares.
Try a Muffuletta or a po'boy (sub sandwich) from Mother's or Central Grocery. A HUGE amount of food for very little. If you have a fridge in your hotel, it's good for two meals.
Coop's on Decatur is a great place to eat, an absolutely must-go-to place. They are famous for the rabbit Jambalaya. Get the sampler plate. And say hi to Stella, the resident kitty, usually in her perch at the window. The Abbey, a few doors down, is a weird little scary hole in the wall bar to stop into. Angelina and Brad have been spotted at both places, if that interests you. They live nearby.
If you see something called a "sno-ball" - GET ONE! They are SO GOOD. NOT a snow-cone. It's vaguely similar to one, but very different. If you like Raspberry or Strawberry, get a "stuffed Strawberry with condensed milk". What this means is that they stuff ice cream in the middle, and drizzle condensed milk on top. SO GOOD! My favorite is Orchid Vanilla Cream, stuffed, with Condensed Milk. It's incredibly good. A brilliant violet color, too. Don't worry about staining your mouth/tongue - it's a badge of honor and will inspire jealousy.
Also on Decatur - go to a shop called Sterling Silvia. WARNING! If you love jewelry, this place is DANGEROUS! I could get one of everything! LOL They usually have a pretty good sale going on.
Magazine Street (Uptown) is great for window shopping - antiques and funky clothing stores. Royal Street is also famous for antiques and re-sale shops.
Music is free at a lot of places, but they collect tips for the band. See who's playing at Checkpoint Charlie, at the corner of Decatur and Esplanade. House of Blues is overpriced, but if it's a band you like, go for it. The food's not worth it, though. Stop in to Tipitina's for some jazz. I believe there is a (cheap) cover for that, though.
There's a place on Decatur that makes and sells their own cigars, and will let you watch them roll them. Interesting, and free to watch.
Uptown, stop in to Lucky's at 1625 St. Charles Ave. Drinks are cheap, the place is fun. Great porch to sit and relax at, and watch the streetcar and people go by. Both Checkpoint and Lucky's also have pub food and are a laundromat, so you can wash your clothes while you eat and drink. Lucky's has free red beans & rice on Monday nights starting at 7 PM until it's gone.
Down the street from Lucky's is Slice, which is a great pizza place, and VooDoo BBQ, which is a local chain, but has decent food, especially the smoked sausage. The St. Charles Tavern is open 24/7/365 and serves whatever meal you feel like having - even pancakes and beer at 4 AM. It's a GREAT place to people-watch - all the locals go there. They have very good Boudin balls and shrimp po'boys, and their Catfish is above average. The Avenue Pub, a block up from Lucky's, seems like just another divey local bar, until you eat their food. It's quietly gaining a good following and great reputation among locals.
Frenchman Street, just past Esplanade (the street after Checkpoint Charlie) is a great place to go for food and music. Snug Harbor, 13, The Spotted Cat, The Apple Barrel and dba are great.
Chartres is on the other side of Jackson Square (Decatur) - go to the Pharmacy Museum (514 Chartres). It's $5, and very creepy and cool. Further down is Napoleon House. Get a Pimm's Cup to drink, and a Muffuletta to eat.
If you go to a Voodoo museum (there are a couple - one is on Dumaine), make sure you leave a coin or two at the alter "for Marie LaVeau". It's good luck.
Acme Oyster House is fun and pretty cheap. They'll teach you to eat Crawfish, if needed, and their oysters are some of the best. All their food is great. It is a tourist trap, but it's a damn fun one. Same with Landry's on Decatur, only it's not as cheap as Acme.
The French Market/flea market is a fun place to go. You can haggle on prices, and they have some good stuff mixed in with the cheap and sleazy crap. It's fun to look at everything.
Decatur Street is one of the most fun streets, actually. Very touristy, but it has all the fun of Bourbon without the obnoxiousness, and it's pretty to look at. Climb on up the levee and take a gander at the Mississippi River going by, and watch the ships and boats. See Jackson Square, get your palm read. Palm/Tarot readings are "free", technically, but a $20 "donation" is average (and expected).
Watch the kids tapdancing for change and throw a few coins in the hat. If you see the Statue People, you can get your pic taken with them, or take a pic of them, but you must pay them for the privilege. About $2 - $5 is fine.
If you want to splurge, see the city by mule-drawn carriage. It's fascinating, and your host will be able to tell you a good tale or two. Whether they're true or not is another matter altogether. :)
There are several other tours to choose from, as well - history, haunted history, ghost, cemetery, riverboat, swamp, Katrina, Garden District, vampire, Irish in New Orleans, etc. Your hotel should have the information, and it's cheaper if you join a group, rather than do it on your own. Bourbon Street
If you've never been to NOLA, I guess it's a must-see. The Cat's Meow is a karaoke place that's pretty fun. The later it gets, the wilder Bourbon Street gets. Wear shoes you won't mind throwing away, and do NOT wear open-toed shoes (sandals). Beware of Hurricanes and Hand Grenades. Try one or the other, not both, and don't drink more than one. Even the most experienced drinker will vomit after more than that (hence the need for crappy shoes and non-open-toe). Pat O's is the place for Hurricanes.
If you want to eat really cheap food, you can try a Lucky Dog from the carts. At your own risk, of course.
A great cheap place on Bourbon is Remoulade.
Lots of good music clubs to duck into, as well. I like Patout's/Patout's Cajun Cabin for the music and food.
Most of Bourbon is cheesy and touristy, IMO. Crime
Watch yourself. Do not stray off the beaten path, especially in the French Quarter or on Bourbon. Do not go down any alleys or empty streets. Take a cab if you are unsure of the area. Never feel stupid taking a cab, even if it's only a few blocks. The state of the neighborhoods change quickly from one block to the next. Walk in groups. Beware pickpockets. Keep your money/wallet in your front pocket or in a buttoned pants/shorts pocket. Chain or clip your wallet to your pants, if possible. Do not get so drunk that you are incoherent (hence my warning about the seemingly-innocuous Hand Grenades and Hurricanes). If you're with (or are) a female - do not let her swing/dangle her purse by one hand. Do not clutch the purse tightly, as it makes it seem more attractive, as it obviously has money/valuables. Wear a purse with a long strap that you can drape around the body, and carry the purse part in front of the body. Do not wear fanny packs, as they are extremely easy for the experienced pickpocket. You "think" you'll know/feel it if someone is pickpocketing you, but guess what - you won't.
Stay aware. Stay aware. STAY AWARE.
Keep your head up and look around and meet people's eyes. Beware of people on bikes (the usual MO of purse-snatchers). Keep an eye on your cell phone. Have cash in different places on your body, so you don't flash all your money at once. Put your change away quickly, and don't bring out a wad of cash to pay for your goods or food.
Don't talk to Gutter Punks or homeless. You don't have to be rude, just walk on by.
, under any circumstances, go into a cemetery alone. ONLY with a tour group. Cemeteries are notorious for thieves/rapists/murderers. It's easy to hide a body in a cemetery, and it's easy to hide in a cemetery where there are only crypts - no below-ground burials - LOTS of places to hide. Scary.
You can bargain with the ppl in the French Market. Try it. "Oh, I like this, but there's no way I can afford $XXX". They'll probably come back with a deal. This doesn't work if you have a ton of bags from places, though...unless you spin it "I really like this, but I spent most of my money already - I can't afford $XX for this".
NOLA is a popular abbreviation for New Orleans
There is an Acme Oyster House in the airport
Sit on the riverbank with a Muffuletta sandwich from Central Grocery on Decatur, and eat and watch the river and the ships.
Take the ferry across the river for the view, and to visit Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras museum
Only tourists wear beads when it's not Carnival season. Buy them, if you want, but don't wear 'em.
If someone bets you a dollah they can tell you where you got your shoes, respond with a disgusted look, and say "I got my shoes right here on the sidewalk in New Orleans", then keep walking by
It's gonna be humid, no matter what the temp
I can't remember the street it's on, but it's between Decatur and Bourbon - it's called The Coffee Pot, and it is the most hidden-treasure, excellent place for breakfast. They serve "plantation" food - i.e., stuff they would've have served to masters of the house in slavery days. It's AWESOME. I believe it's across from a Marie LaVeau's VooDoo museum, and near Johnny White's bar (excellent place to hang out in).
Tujague - two-jacks
Esplanade - es-plan-ADE, not es-plan-ODD
Tchoupitoulas - chop-it-two-lass
Metairie - met-air-ee
Pitot - rhymes with teapot
New Orleans - N'Orlinz or New Or-lee-ans. Never Noo Orleenz
Praline - prah-leen, not pray-leen
Pecan - pee-can or p'cahn
Andouille - AHN-do-ee - a type of Cajun sausage. It's not spicy, but it is full of flavor. Gumbos and Jambalayas often feature Andouille.
Boudin - boo-DAHN - a type of Cajun sausage that is made with rice and meat. You don't eat the casing. Instead, you cut away the top and squeeze the contents into your mouth - almost like a meat push-up pop. If you see Boudin Balls on a menu, they are pretty much the same, except you can eat the whole thing.
Cracklins - chichironnes - fried pork skins.
Crawfish - pinch the tails and suck the heads! They'll teach you how to eat them if you don't know how.
Oysters - Eat 'em any way you can get 'em - fried, raw, charbroiled, baked, in a pie, in a gumbo...
Po-Boys - Po-boys are another name for submarine or hoagie sandwiches. However, they have very different ingredients. French Fry & Debris with Cheese? Yep. Fried Oyster? Yep. Fried Shrimp? Uh-huh. Roast Beef, dressed, with debris and cheese? Oh, yes.
("dressed" - tomato, lettuce, mayo. sometimes pickles; debris - the pan drippings from the roast beef, aka "brown gravy")
Red Gravy - red tomato sauce/marinara sauce
For information on bands and events, go to:
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