Thanks to all of you for your assistance and valuable tips! I also used the popular NO websites for recommendations too, and correlated with what the local experts here recommended.
New Orleans trip, September 2013, 4 nights, 2 adults, husband/wife, mid – 30’s. Weather for all 5 days was in the 80’s during the day, 70’s at night, no rain. Some humidity but a nice enough breeze to not feel suppressive to me. I was prepared for horrid 100% humidity and 89 degrees, but I did not mind the weather at all.
Checked into hotel around 5:30 pm. Sheraton Canal Street. Asked for a King bed, got one on the 24th floor with view of the river and pool. This was a beautiful hotel but chosen only because my conference was here. I was happy with it, it was clean and everything worked well. It had a beautiful lobby. Left hotel around 6 pm and headed straight for Bourbon Street. We checked a few things out and ended up eating at Acme since there was no line. We sat right at the Oyster Bar and the gentleman shucking the oysters was very friendly to us, as well as all of the staff and welcomed us to the city. We shared raw oysters, chargrilled oysters, and peace maker po boy, and seafood gumbo, with Abita beer and a few hurricanes. Maybe it was because it was a first NO meal, but I can honestly say this was our best meal. The taste of the food was great, not over processed or “touristy”, even though I know this place could be considered a tourist trap. Took a couple drinks to go, and headed back to Bourbon.
Hit some daiquiri shop for Fireball shots, popped in a few music venues, found our way to Pat O’s, which was not even really on our list for the first night. But we headed in and had the famous hurricane sitting at an outdoor bar. I must say it was tasty, but I would not get one again. I like fruity drinks and I like strong drinks, but to me this was like nuclear Kool Aid with rubbing alcohol mixed in. Regardless, we drank it all and were glad for the experience. We also had some fried alligator which tasted just like chicken. The courtyard was beautiful so we enjoyed that for a while. We were leaving when we heard the dueling pianos and squeezed our way in, ended up staying an hour or so singing our lungs out – that’s what a few Bourbon drinks can do for us. Left there and headed to some walk up daiquiri stand for I think a Tropical Itch. Drank that but it was not that great and I wouldn’t have it again. A nice guy on the street pointed out that the next couple bars were gay bars but Lafitte’s was two blocks up and we headed there. I loved Lafitte’s. It was so unique. It was not very busy on a Wednesday night, and we got to sit at the bar and then our own table and a couple Jack’s or Jim’s and coke which seemed appropriate there. Someone was starting a piano routine and we stayed a bit before heading back out. Somewhere in here I had some Tropical Itch daquiri or something and bought some beads with footballs on them. Don't ask me how or why. On the way back across Bourbon, we saw Preservation Hall, and a great band was playing and we headed in there for some drinks and songs. After PH, I know that we left, and that we walked back to our hotel but I cannot tell you how that happened. The night ended with a $30 order of room service (mediocre, but what do you expect at 2 am). I was up around noon the next day but DH was in bed until 4 pm, and then he only crawled down to the pool.
Thursday: Around noon I headed back out to Bourbon and enjoyed some beignets and life music at Café Beignet in Music Legends Park. This was a lovely courtyard and I enjoyed the weather and music and calm here for about an hour. Then I walked around Bourbon and then down to Royal to browse some of the stores. I am not into antiques or really many trinkets but it was nice to window shop and I went in a couple stores looking for a few souveniers. Back up to Bourbon and decided to eat at Pier 424 for a salad and chargrilled oysters. Oysters were good but not as good as Acme. It was a peaceful lunch, sitting inside but open to the outside and people watching. Very friendly service and they had an extensive fresh fish selection and I wish I had gotten some fish instead of my oysters.
Left there and just browsed around some more before meeting DH at the pool around 4 for a cool down. Got cleaned up in the room and met a friend to head out for dinner. We went to Remoulade. The ambiance was very nice, and service was very good. We all enjoyed our dinners but I just ordered too much food and could not finish it all. I had some combo platter with beans and rice, gumbo, and a stuffed soft shell crab. The crab was delicious. Had a spicy bloody mary here and that was excellent. Since it was my friend’s first night in town we walked around Bourbon with her and I got an obligatory daiquiri from one of the vendors. It wasn’t bad but I was all set with one. Since my DH and I could not fathom another night of drinking just yet we called it early around 10 pm.
I had to go to my conference most of the day. My DH went sightseeing (what I mean is, he didn’t take the map I made for him and got very lost, returned to the hotel hot and tired, and spent the rest of the day in the pool). In the evening we met my friend again and decided to work our way down to Frenchman street. We ate at the Gumbo Shop – two orders of BBQ shrimp over pasta and blackened catfish. It was underwhelming. Maybe we should have gone with gumbo here!!! Their pasta’s were alright but not much of it, and my fish was not spicy at all. We left there, walked past Jackson square, and saw our first wedding. I guess that is called a First Line? But it was beautiful and fun to see. Since we were in Jackson Square I knew we were close to Pirate’s Alley so we had to stop there. This is the tiniest little bar and if you were not looking you would never find it. I wanted to try Absinthe and I know all the arguments as to whether it is “real” or not. I just wanted to try some and watch the water and sugar cube and all that (no flame). It was interesting and the bartender was very kind and patient and friendly even though I know she gave the same spiel 100 times a day. The absinthe was interesting, I did not see any green fairies, and we pressed on.
We finally made it to Frenchman street and it was great. We found dba which was excellent but the band was just about ending at that point. Bar selection was unreal there and we did enjoy a few drinks; I recommend this club for the music and the amazing drink selection. We did not want to stay for the $10 cover band next so headed out, listened to some music in the streets and found a local open air art market with lots of interesting items, right on the street in between bars. We were kind of hot and tired of walking but otherwise would have spent more time there looking and purchasing.
On the way back we decided to find our way up along the river and ended up walking along that river until we got near Canal. It was a pleasant walk but just a little creepy in the dark. Then we all decided we needed some midnight post-drinking grub. Thanks to all my research I knew of a couple 24 hour places very close and we ended up at Daisy Duke’s on Chartres. It was fabulous, but maybe it was the hour. Great burgers, not greasy or thrown together for the midnight crowd. Delicious pancakes with tons of syrup. Just a great place, and the waitress was very friendly. Stuffed ourselves and strolled down the street to the hotel, maybe around midnight.
Conference most of the day for me again. DH went sightseeing again and had a muffaletta someplace but he cannot recall where. In the evening we walked over to Carousel Bar. It was around 5 on Saturday and very busy, we were very lucky and got a seat when another couple was getting up. It was a very neat experience but one drink was enough. The drinks were lovely and carefully made (had a Brandy milk punch and a Pimm’s cup – our first of each!) and the bartenders were great. But there was a rowdy Saturday night crowd that belonged in some other bar so we enjoyed our drink and pressed on. We ate at Felix’s that night as the Acme line was long. It was very good but you will need to add me to the crowd that likes Acme better. Felix’s chargrilled oysters were tasty but at the end of grilling they literally scoop and giant ladle of liquid butter stuff all over the plate. And the raw oysters had a few bits and pieces in them that we had to pick out. So, it was good but not great. Stayed on Bourbon that night, people watching, laughing at some bachelorette parties, seeing some live music, spent time in Bourbon Cowboy and a bar called Beach Club or something, which was great but similar music to what I have at home so we didn’t stay long. Bought a profane t-shirt for DH and made our way back to Daisy Dukes for another late night snack. Flew out Sunday morning.
All in all it was a great town, everyone was very friendly, I felt safe in the areas that we went to. Food and drinks were great, and it was very easy to walk to many things. If I stayed longer I would have seen more in depth sites, but this was a quick trip without much money so we just stayed local to enjoy the French District. Any questions please ask!