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Visit to New Orleans

Phoenix, Arizona
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Visit to New Orleans

My wife and I are planning a trip to New Orleans for next month. We wanted to get the full NOLA experience. I was wondering if anyone can share some things to do.

We are looking into some tours. Does anyone has have their favorites?


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New Orleans...
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1. Re: Visit to New Orleans

Read through this board and try to make your questions more specific so we can help better. There are literally thousands of restaurants, bars, tours, attractions, "things to see" etc in NOLA and it's hard to recommend anything without knowing more about your likes/dislikes.

In general, the French Quarter is where most people start. Great food, architecture, sights and sounds. From there, Marigny (jazz music) and Garden District (architecture) are probably the next most visited places, then the Central Business District./Warehouse District (great restaurants) and mid city (city park, museums). And don't forget the Uptown area, accessible via the streetcar. MORE great food and sights, along with Tulane University and Audubon Park/Zoo.

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2. Re: Visit to New Orleans

Stay in the FQ so you can walk to all the attractions. Be sure to visit the clubs and bars on Frenchmen Street in Marigny just E of the FQ. Visit the French Market in the FQ. Take the streetcar to the GD and walk around looking at the nice homes there. Visit Magazine Street in the 4/5 thousand block area and shop at the neat places there. Go to the WWII DDay Museum in the WHD. Enjoy your visit.

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3. Re: Visit to New Orleans

How long will you be in NOLA? This will determine what you will have time to see. Don't worry about doing everything this trip, because NO ONE has ever been to NOLA just once (unless they died)! Some practical advice: Order the Entertainment Book online if you are going to be in NOLA more than a couple of days (FULL of 2-fers); pick up a couple of JAZZY passes at Walgreens on Decatur St or Royal St so you can ride public transportation whenever you feel the need.

I agree the French Quarter is the place to start. Most 1st time Visitors make an introductory pilgrimage to Jackson Square, to the park there, and to see the artists around its perimeter, selling their paintings. There are also shops and restaurants along here, on the ground floor of the Pontalba Apts. You will probably want to check out St Louis Cathedral, which is open to the public (but be respectful), and the Presbytere (Museum on the the right as you look at the Cathedral). Here they have a sobering exhibit on Hurricane Katrina and a fun one on Mardi Gras. Then take a walk across Decatur St and the Riverfront Streetcar Tracks, and head up the steps to the levee, for a stroll along the Moonwalk at the Mississippi Riverfront.

When you are ready for a meal, return to Decatur St, NOLA's busiest restaurant and cafe drag, and sit down anyplace you hear music that appeals to you. French Market Inn, Cafe Maspero and Angeli on Decatur are all convenient and reasonably priced. If it is before 5:00pm (they close @6:00pm), head on down Decatur to the French Market area which is full of shops and ends with the Flea Market (lots of crappy souvenirs, but some really nice locally made stuff, too-- like the Candle Lady).

If you feel a need for a break, stop at The Gazebo for an Ice Cream Daquiri ("Nutty Irishman," my favorite). Other things to do in the French Quarter: Tour the VooDoo Museum, the Ursulines Convent (REALLY!), JAZZ at the Parks Center, Old Post Office Jazz/Preservation Hall Exhibit (most coupons are in Entertainment Book). Have gelato at Divina Gelateria on St Peters St., and Dinner in Pat O'Brien's Courtyard (LOVE their Cajun Shepherd's Pie and the Hurricanes). Speaking of Hurricanes, get 1 to go in a plastic cup, then stroll down Bourbon St, just taking in the crowd. Cap off your 1st day late night at Cafe DuMonde with Cafe au Lait and Beignets (one order enough for 2 people and very inexpensive).

Next morning, after an early breakfast at the Croissant d'Or Patisserie on St Peter's St (if staying in the FrQtr), take the St Charles Ave Streetcar to Washington Ave and walk around admiring the beautiful homes in the Garden District. Of course, you will have reserved ahead online for 11:30am lunch at Commander's Palace. This will run you @$45-$50.00 with tip, but it will be the best meal of your trip-- and don't forget to have at least one 25cent Martini while you are there. (LIMIT 3 each!) Dress is casual, but neat (comfortable shoes, but no sneakers). After lunch, cross the street to Lafayette Cemetary, and wander around, eavesdropping on the various tours you'll encounter there. Beware that the gates usually lock @2:00pm (which is why the early lunch hr).

Walk down Washington Ave towards the River, until you come to Magazine St, and turn RIGHT (do NOT turn left-- waste of time). Magazine St is another main drag, through one of the busiest residential sections of the city, and brimming with tourists and locals, slipping in and out of bars, shops, cafes and restaurants. If you like zoos (I do), you can hop on the Magazine St Bus here, outbound, to the front door of the beautiful Audubon Zoo (@ 1 1/2-2 hr visit-- also in the Entertainment Book). Or, just explore a bit of Magazine St.

Catch the Magazine St Bus inbound from the Zoo and either jump off someplace along Magazine St for dinner (I love "Lilette"-- ask the Driver to call out the stop), or ride all the way back into Canal St on the edge of the FrQtr. Spend the evening in the Fauborg Marigny, either dining, or just bar-hopping along Frenchman St. Best restaurants here: Marigny-Brasserie and Praline Connection.

If you have another day, I recommend you take the Canal St Streetcar to City Park (make sure it doesn't say "Cemetaries"), and check out the Museum of Art (again in Entertainment Book) with its fine Miniatures and Faberge Exhibits, the Botanical (fee) and Sculpture Gardens (FREE), and just explore the St John neighborhood a little. Take the streetcar back to the end of Canal St and get on the FREE Ferry to Historic Algiers Point. Here, you can have lunch at the friendly Dry Dock Cafe, right across from the Station. Afterwards, wander the tree-shaded streets of the old neighborhood a bit (don't cross Opelousa St), and head back to the shore where you can take in a little of the Jazz Legends Riverfront Park-- a hiking/bike/fitness trail, really, but great views of the FrQtr from here).

Spend this evening at the Rock 'N Bowl on S Carollton Ave in Mid City. You could take the St Charles Ave Streetcar again, but we usually call a cab (United @504-522-9771) which will run @$12.00 from FrQtr but this place is well worth it. Admission is just @$8-$12.00 for some of the best bands in town (Zydeco on Thursday nights). Mostly locals here, dancing and bowling and a really great, friendly bar. You can eat at Rock'NBowl (cheap but tasty pub grub), or at the Tavern next door if you want a more substantial meal.

If you have still have another day, go to the World War II Museum in the CBD at Lee Circle on the St Charles Ave line. Don't miss the Tom Hanks movie (again, this place is pricey, but you'll save with the Entertainment Coupon). Allow at least 3-4 hrs here with the movie (50 mins). American Sector restaurant on-site is good. We have been to this museum several times and still have not seen it all. We also like Liborio (Cuban restaurant) down the street.

The Cabildo and 1850's House are also good for history buffs, as is the Chalmette Battlefield Tour on the Creole Queen (coupon), and the Grey Line Tour to Laura Creole Plantation or Oak-Alley Plantation. These last two are really expensive @$50 each, but-- again-- Entertainment Book to the rescue!

Hope this outline is useful to you, and that you have a great trip to NOLA! Let us know if any specific questions arise. . . .

Phoenix, Arizona
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4. Re: Visit to New Orleans

Thanks for the great ideas. My wife and I are staying for a week. We are interested in some tours and other cultural activities.

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5. Re: Visit to New Orleans

Here are SOME of the "must dos" in the French Quarter alone:

-Visit Jackson Square and peruse the offerings of the artists and craftsmen there.

-Stop often and listen to the street musicians and observe the street performers.  BE SURE TO TIP THEM IF YOU LIKE THEIR PERFORMANCE. ( For that reason, be sure to bring a bunch of dollar bills, and fives too.)

-Go into the beautiful old St Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square. Again, BE SURE TO LEAVE AN OFFERING to show your appreciation.

-Visit the French Market to peruse the Flea Market and the Farmer's Market and the associated restaurants and shops.

-Take a buggy ride from Jackson Square around the Quarter to get narrated history lesson.

-Eat a beignet at Cafe Du Monde.

-Eat a po'boy sandwich or some crawfish or alligator on a stick.

-Drink a Hurricane in the courtyard at Pat O'Briens.

-Take a walk along the Mississippi River levee.

- Take a cruise down the river on the Riverboat Natchez.

-Take a FREE ride on the Algiers Ferry to get a great view of tje Quarter from the river.

-Peruse the art galleries on Royal Street.

-At nite, either watch or particpate in the spirit of bacchanalia on Bourbon Street.

-As an alternative at nite, walk over to Frenchman Street to the jazz clubs.

-EAT, EAT, EAT, EAT, EAT, EAT at many of the dozens of superb dining establishments in the Quarter.

-SHOP, SHOP, SHOP, SHOP, SHOP, SHOP in everything from "touristy" shops to high-end places.

-DRINK, DRINK, DRINK, DRINK, DRINK if that is your wont.  Lots of places and lots of differnt drinks.

-Take a ride on fhe streetcars, which opens up an entire new set of activities OUTSIDE of the FQ!

-Take a tour to visit local plantations or swamps or a "Katrina tour" to understand the devastation and recovery from that terrible event.

And this list has only touched on SOME of the highlights.  Others will, I'm sure, add to this list.

Lewes, Delaware
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6. Re: Visit to New Orleans

Evangeline57, has the Croissant d'Or Patisserie opened a new shop on St Peter's, or have they moved? The last time I visited them, they were on Ursulines.

Orlando, Florida
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7. Re: Visit to New Orleans

kjosker...Croissant d'or is still on Ursuline across from the hotel villa convento...great place for breakfast on st. peter is the old coffee pot..maybe thats what evangeline57 meant.

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8. Re: Visit to New Orleans

Sorry! Ursulines St is correct for Croissant d'Or. I was thinking of the Divini Gelataria when I wrote St Peters. Hope that slip didn't inconvenience anyone out there. Mea Culpa!

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9. Re: Visit to New Orleans

Since you will be there for a week, you may appreciate another indoor activity in case of rain. Check out my recent review of Mardi Gras World on TA where I give specifics, but you can figure about 2-3 hrs for this place if the idea appeals to you. They also have an informative website.

10. Re: Visit to New Orleans

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