A couple of weeks ago, NOLA native Laura Redmond shared her list of New Orleans favorites. Now, guest blogger John Redmond shares his:
Born in Rochester, New York, I moved to California after college and never left. My love of music brought me on regular visits to New Orleans. On one such visit, on a hot day on Frenchman Street just outside of the French Quarter, I was introduced to a Louisiana girl. She had moved to California and knew many of my friends. We had all arrived in New Orleans for Jazz Fest. “How can you two not know each other” they asked us. Two decades and two little boys later, we still reside in Cali, but consider New Orleans a second home. I may be Yankee born, but if you ask me about favorite spots in New Orleans, I have a list a mile long:
Where to Eat
- Arnaud’s, French Quarter. A long-time New Orleans restaurant, the website is worth a visit just to read about its colorful, only-in-New-Orleans history.
The dress code here is on the more formal side: jackets for men are preferred and collared shirts are required. No shorts, t-shirts, or flip flops.
- Port of Call, French Quarter. Described as a ‘50 year old dive’, they have awesome burgers. Laura recommends their Monsoons, but “just have one!”
- Tujaque’s, French Quarter. Known as the ‘second oldest restaurant in New Orleans,’ Tujaque’s serves original Creole cuisine.
- Liuzza’s, Mid-City. A neighborhood restaurant for po-boys & gumbo. Liuzza’s is cash only, no credit cards.
- The Camellia Grill – the original is Uptown on Carrollton near St. Charles. This is an old fashioned diner.
- Mr B’s, French Quarter. A gourmet bistro serving Creole cuisine.
- Brennan’s, French Quarter. Recently was completely renovated and restored. Serves contemporary Creole cuisine. The dress code is on the more formal side.
Bars & Such
- Cafe du Monde, French Market. Established in 1862, they are famous for their beignets. They also serve traditional coffee and chicory.
- Rock & Bowl. As the name implies: live music and bowling all under one roof.
- House of Blues, French Quarter. Yes, it’s a chain– but it’s dedicated to honoring the roots and spirit of the South through music, art, and cuisine. And they’ve usually got some of the best lineups in town. Check out the Sunday Gospel Brunch.
- Preservation Hall, French Quarter. Traditional New Orleans Jazz. If you get there early enough, you can secure VIP ‘seats’ (benches in the front), otherwise it’s standing room only. Only cash is accepted.
- Vaughan’s Lounge. Neighborhood dive bar in the 9th Ward. Live music on Thursday nights.
- Igor’s Lounge A 24-hour dive bar and burger spot, it’s a combination pool hall, laundromat and bar.
- Blue Nile Word is to check their calendar before you go as it can pay to get tickets ahead of time.
- Spotted Cat, Fauborg Marigny. Intimate jazz club (means very small). Often standing room only.
- d.b.a, Enjoy craft beer and live music in the Fauborg Marigny (next door to the French Quarter).
What to Do in New Orleans
Musicians to look out for:
- Walter Wolfman Washington, Singer and guitarist– plays a blend of R&B and funk.
- Monk Boudreaux Genre is described as New Orleans/Africa/Funk/Blues
- Dr. John singer-songwriter, pianist and guitarist, whose music combines blues, pop, jazz as well as zydeco, boogie woogie and rock and roll.
- Galactic, a jam band.
- Any of the Marsalis Family: Ellis, Branford, Wynton, Delfaeyo, Jason
- Trombone Shorty, the bandleader and frontman of Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
- The Soul Rebels New Orleans Brass band.
- Russell Batiste, drummer.
- Allen Toussaint New Orleans legend.
- Irma Thomas The Soul Queen of New Orleans.
- Marcia Ball, blues singer.
- John Boutte, jazz singer.
- Buckwheat Zydeco, accordionist (say that 5 times fast!) and zydeco musician.
- Louisiana Music Factory,Fauborg Marigny. Traditional and contemporary regional music, music books, t-shirts, and videos.
- Perlis Clothing. Perlis’ flagship store on Magazine Street is a favorite. Get ready to get your preppy on! Be sure to buy a crawfish polo shirt (or hat, tie, whatever). I bought my seersucker suit here.
- Jackson Square, A historic park in the French Quarter, full of artists, magicians, jugglers, mimes and jazz bands.
- St. Louis Cathedral, just behind Jackson Square. Dating back to 1794, this is one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States.
Tours and Museums
- Plantations – About 90 mins outside of NOLA you’ll find Oak Alley – http://www.oakalleyplantation.com/. Continue along River Road for more Plantations.
- Cemeteries – St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest. To protect the graves from vandalism, the archdiocese now only allows visitors who are accompanied by a tour guide.
- Audubon Institute: Many wonderful opportunities to interface with nature. Uptown, see the white white tiger and alligators at the Audubon Zoo. Walk among the majestic mossy oaks in neighboring Audubon Park. Downtown, visit the Audubon Aquarium and Audubon Insectarium. Don’t miss the beautiful butterfly garden!