New Orleans
April 30, 2004 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Inspired by the success of my Disney thread, I'm asking for more tourism advice. We're going to New Orleans next weekend. We're staying near Bourbon Street, and I'd like to see some good live music, in the bluesy-rock and/or Zydeco genres. Any ideas on that, or other must sees?
posted by MrMoonPie to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Uh, did you mean tomorrow? If so, do you know this is the last weekend of Jazzfest? We went last weekend and it's expensive but fun.

If you can get out of town, the Red Stick Ramblers are playing at a great happy fun Crawfish Festival in Breaux Bridge on Sunday.
posted by pomegranate at 12:54 PM on April 30, 2004

Response by poster: Not tomorrow, unfortunately. May7-10. And we won't have a car, so we want to keep it local.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:59 PM on April 30, 2004

I was in New Orleans about a year ago (just for a weekend, so it's not like I had time to see a lot), and very much enjoyed a tour of St. Louis Cemetery #1, just outside the French Quarter. Although many groups offer cemetery tours, take the one by Save Our Cemeteries if you can (although they only offer one on Sunday morning). Their tour guides are volunteers, and the tour revenues go towards cemetery preservation and restoration.

Beignets and cafe au lait at the Cafe du Monde is one of the standard touristy things to do--but in this case, rightfully so.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:43 PM on April 30, 2004

You might try the Gambit. Your hotel people will have PLENTY of info on "classic" NO bands and restaurants and the like.

Me? I'm 'bout done with the whole stinkin' Quarter. Too many tourists, too much roux on everything, nothing really imaginative happening anywhere. If you have your kids with you, avoid Bourbon street, unless you're okay with them seeing tired old strippers laconically shaking their titties in the storefront windows and middle-aged accountants gettin' their drunk on, Wild and CRAZy. Similarly, I didn't see anyone looking too excited about being on the dozens of "Vampire Tours" lurking about the Quarter after dark.

The Garden district, Magazine Street, the Aquarium, the Audobon Zoo, St. Charles, and the Warehouse district are all pretty great, though. You can get anywhere for a reasonable cab or if your kids are with you, you need to take the streetcars at least once. Don't eat anywhere they say is "Authentic Cajun cooking" - It'll be crap. There are dozens of amazing restaurants outside the Quarter, easily accessed by cab or walking. For instance, "Mother's" in the business district is the perfect breakfast place, lots of locals and crazy great ham and grits.

In terms of local musical acts, I've got nothin'. I usually see touring acts there. So sorry on that! Good luck, laissez les bon temps roulez and all that!
posted by pomegranate at 1:44 PM on April 30, 2004

Oh - and Central Grocery, and muffalattas.

Mmmmm. Muffalattas. Real ones, not stupid Jason's Deli bready nastiness. And Abita beers. And oysters.

Okay, I guess NO doesn't suck so bad after all.
posted by pomegranate at 1:47 PM on April 30, 2004

Uh, did you mean tomorrow? If so, do you know this is the last weekend of Jazzfest? We went last weekend and it's expensive but fun.

So many types of music, you can stay all day, for 25 bucks, 20 in advance.

When main concerts are going for 50 bucks and more, not only is jazzfest NOT expensive, its a fantastic bargain.

There are several threads on New Orleans already in ask mefi, so you might want to search for them.

There is plenty to do in the quarter, you just have to look beyond all the touristy crap. There are also several fantastic restaurants in the quarter. Don't listen to anyone who says it sucks. You may not want to live there, but you can have a great time.

House of blues, though touristy, often has good entertainment, as does tipitinas, though its not in the quarter.

Once you reach new orleans, turn your radio to 90.7 fm (wwoz). It's the best radio station I've ever heard, run by volunteers (all experts in new orleans music). Every hour or so they will annouce who's playing where in the quarter and elsewhere. Not just big acts, but small local ones also.
posted by justgary at 1:57 PM on April 30, 2004

Events – doesn't list that far ahead yet

Clubs – you must go to Rock 'n' Bowl at the Mid-City Lanes
posted by timeistight at 2:02 PM on April 30, 2004

you must go to Rock 'n' Bowl at the Mid-City Lanes

Agree, though its much better if know how to swing dance.
posted by justgary at 2:07 PM on April 30, 2004

Or bowl.
posted by timeistight at 2:21 PM on April 30, 2004

Or bowl.

Or watch people dance while bowling ;)

It is a cool place to bowl. Feels like your bowling in the 50s.
posted by justgary at 2:26 PM on April 30, 2004

I was there in March for my birthday, courtesy of the husband. The Garden District is indeed lovely to walk around, particularly for working off a fantastic meal at Commodore's Palace. The Funky Butt, d.b.a's, and Donna's all have wonderful music - definitely check the local listings for who is playing. Though terribly touristy, Preservation Hall, with it's traditional jazz, is worth at least one visit and you can stay for as many sets are you want.
posted by shinyj at 2:39 PM on April 30, 2004

I believe shinyj means Commander's Palace, which is indeed excellent. Don't worry too much about missing Jazz Fest this weekend. It was cancelled today for the first time since 1991 because of rain and it doesn't look like things will improve much over the next few days. As justgary and shinyj pointed out, there is much more to the Quarter than Bourbon Street. The Marigny area, generally located around Frenchman Street and the home of d.b.a.'s, The Blue Nile, etc., is the place to go for local flavor and great music.
posted by ajr at 2:51 PM on April 30, 2004

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