Settling in to New Orleans
December 19, 2006 6:51 AM   Subscribe

I've recently broken off a 2-year relationship and come to New Orleans as a disaster relief worker (housing inspector). I'll be here for 6 months or might move permanently if things work out. I need help finding places to go, things to do and nice people to meet to help take my mind away from the old life and begin anew.

I'm 31. I came to New Orleans from Austin, where I enjoyed the hiking, watersports, music, bookstores and cool shops and restaurants. I've had to leave my awesome dog behind, but may be able to bring him over after I find a more permanent house. I'm borrowing a place down in the Bywater area for now.

I've already enjoyed doing a little of the FQ tourist bit in the crowd of strangers. I can tell I'm going to need to make some real friends before I go crazy, though. Recommendations on places to go to meet smart, interesting people around this town would be most appreciated. I've been single for about two months now, and wouldn't mind knowing where the cute, brilliant, sexy girls are hanging out, either. General recommendations on things to do here are very welcome, too.

Thanks, Mefites!
posted by Jonasio to Human Relations (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: When I was in town last August, I got the impression that the French quarter was mainly a tourist crowd, with a couple hidden-gem type local joints interspersed throughout.

If you're looking for smart gals, I'm sure there's some good bar scenes near the Uni's, but I didn't get much time to go out around there.

I did meet some great people through the church that my team was down there working with to help gut houses in the local neighborhoods, if you have any interest in that, I can tell you more - email in profile.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:05 AM on December 19, 2006

The town is bar-heavy, and limited in outdoor activities. But, there are lots of interesting people.


Circle Bar. Its at [Robert E.] Lee Circle, and there is music most nights. Small, intimate, sort of hipster but the New Orleans' hipster is way more casual, and probably doesn't own an iPod, preferring vinyl. There's a Mod Dance Party every other Saturday that is fun.

Molly's at the Market is at the lower end of Decatur Street, wich is the street closest to the River in the French Quarter. It's an Irish bar, and around 11pm on Saturday every local in town will pass through. Very easy to talk to people.

Cosimos is far from tourists, dark, and sometimes awesome. Hards to find if you don't know where you are going, it is on the backside of the French Quarter (1201 Burgundy St., 522-9715). Beautiful bartenders. Has a pool table, and a more upmarketish and eccentric but not pretentious crowd. Juke box is a mp3 player accessible from the bar. Play whatever you like for free.

Columns Hotel Bar is a pretty bar on St. Charles Avenue. It's essentially the front veranda of a mansion. Good to go with friends. Large columns. Architects love it.

Frenchman Street. This is right outside the French Quarter, and a few blocks past Molly's at the Market. Just take a stroll ere on Saturday night around midnight. The street will be packed, and there are many bars and music joints.


Audubon Park is uptown across form Tulane on St. Charles. Has pretty girls, a soft running/bike track, and ducks. The back side is accessible from Magazine Street (across form the zoo) and has a golf course.

Clubs, music:

House of Blues, One Eyed Jacks, and the Republic all have music. One eyed Jacks has an eighties dance night which is packed on Thursday night within teeming masses of 20 something women vibrating into the dawn. The Republic also has a club type of thing, as does Ampersand.

There's a lot of gorgeous women doing the elliptical machines at the New Orleans Athletic Club. It also has a bar and a library (reading room.)

More on cabs, if you don't know your way around you have to take a cab. United is fast and reliable : 504-522-9771.For example, there is a violently notorious public housing project just two blocks outside if the French Quarter. Don't get lost! And the town is so small it will only run you $5-$10.
posted by four panels at 8:30 AM on December 19, 2006 [2 favorites]

i bet it's a mediocre scene post-disaster, but you might be able to go on some dates off of or craigslist. it's alarming how many of my guy friends i met on nerve- dates (probably works best if you don't make out with them).
posted by twistofrhyme at 8:37 AM on December 19, 2006

Hi Jonasio--glad you're doing this! I'm about to make my fourth relief-work trip down after Christmas. The city is addictive, and so is working to fix it. There's a real influx of youngish people who come to work for a bit and end up staying. Who will you be working with?

I second Frenchman Street. Much, much less touristy and crowded and expensive than Bourbon Street, and (unlike many parts of the city these days) actually does have old dudes playing blues on the corner. The Spotted Cat is probably the most famous of the jazz bars in the neighborhood. The Apple Barrel is also a favorite of mine. Eccentric and friendly characters, and so tiny you can't be further than eight feet from the band. There's an incredible restaraunt upstairs, too--Italian-Greek if I remember right.

The Rock'n'Bowl has dancing and (of course) bowling, and might be a good place to meet people.

Magazine St's a good bet for wandering around and finding interesting stores, coffeeshops, and (on parts of it) the yoga-and-granola population.

If you want to meet other relief workers, there's always a crowd from Common Ground hanging out at Kajun's bar (2256 St. Claude Ave).
posted by hippugeek at 9:01 AM on December 19, 2006

Now that I think about it, the restaurant may be upstairs of the bar next-door to the Apple Barrel.
posted by hippugeek at 9:08 AM on December 19, 2006

That's Adolfos.
posted by four panels at 9:14 AM on December 19, 2006

I was just in town a few weeks ago and don't have much to offer except for touristy things. We did however enjoy the song stylings of Big Al Carson at the FQ bar called "The Funky Pirate". Nothing special about the bar...just a whole in the wall, but Big Al is a great entertainer.

Also, wandering around St Louis Cemetary #1 was very interesting (and a bit freaky)...not sure how many dates you are going to get there.
posted by mmascolino at 10:06 AM on December 19, 2006

The Spotted Cat is probably the most famous of the jazz bars

No, it isn't, but there never seems to be a cover and does attract more younger people (despite being more inter-generational than most music-oriented bars in the US), if that's what you're looking for.
posted by raysmj at 10:12 AM on December 19, 2006

Come to the Crown and Anchor in Algiers Point and you'll make some friends. (Just take the ferry over from the base of canal street, and then depending on when you leave, you'll need to take a cab back home.)
posted by pyjammy at 1:04 PM on December 19, 2006

Response by poster: Wow, I came home from a tough day in the field and found a cornucopia of great suggestions! What an encouragement. Thanks to everyone here, and also to Amber and Seth, who each sent great suggestions and advice by email. I have quite a few good ideas to run with now, and I'm feeling better about this town already. You all get "best answer" in my book!

I'll further respond to some of you individually over the next day or two, as time permits. Also, if any NOLA Mefites would like to meet up for a friendly drink sometime, hit me up. More info on my profile page.
posted by Jonasio at 4:23 PM on December 19, 2006

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