Looking for New Orleans Recommendations

I’ll be going to New Orleans next week for a bachelor party with 5 others and am looking for two specific recommendations.

  1. Does anyone have a recommendation for a swamp tour on a fan boat? I understand I could not get much more touristy if I wore a fanny pack with a novelty hat, flip flops and a camera around my neck but we’d really like to do it anyway.

  2. Any good brewery tours in the area? It looks like Abita is 30 miles north, anything closer to the city?

We are coming from Chicago and will have no car - are cabs plentiful around there?

Thanks for any information!

This is one of the most common threads in this forum. It comes up every few months and has for years. There is a lot of good info there already. Just do an advanced search for threads with ‘orleans’ in the title. There are cabs everywhere in New Orleans. Swamp tours are really cool. The boats they use for it aren’t usually fan boats but they are boats specially built for the swamp and can travel in really shallow water for their size. The swamp tours are outside the city and take time to go round trip. I don’t think you will have time to do that and a brewery tour. There is way more than enough to do in the city proper to last literally a few years so you may want to focus there first. I always liked the walking tours like ‘Haunted New Orleans’ and the cemetery tours. Don’t worry about looking like a tourist. You will only be one of countless others doing god knows what and that is part of the fun.

What? You already know where to eat? :slight_smile:

Thanks for the info. I know there are tons of N.O. threads, but I didn’t take the time to wade through all of them to find out about swamps and breweries.

We’ll be there for almost 5 days so I think we’ll try to get both of these things in (along with all the food, drink and music recs in the other threads).

The Crescent City Brewing Company is a brewpub on Decatur (a main drag that runs along the French Quarter) that has good food and beer, but it’s not a huge place and I don’t know if they offer tours or not…

Whatever you do, DO NOT rent a car—New Orleans is not a place where having a car is an asset for a tourist, as parking is a hassle and cabs are always available and dirt cheap.

I am flying down to New Orleans is a couple of weeks, and I wouldn’t take the responsibility of having a rental car if it meant getting my plane ticket for free; it’s just not worth the hassle.

Nope, there are no brewery tours anywhere within the city limits. If you want to arrange a swamp excursion, there are little kiosks in a few places in the French Quarter near Canal Street that can arrange them for you - the concierge at your hotel will also be able to do this if you’re staying at a nicer place.

(And try not to go on a swamp excursion in a fanboat - they do a lot of damage to the plants in the bayous. Honey Island Swamp Tours is about an hour outside of the city and gives it tours on regular tour boats, so I’d recommend them.)

Have fun!

  • tsarina, New Orleans resident.

Since Honey Island Swamp Tours is about 15 minutes from my house, and I know (knew) the person who started it, I will recommend it as well. It is well worth the time just so you can say you have seen the swamp.

There are three swamps around New Orleans - Honey Island, Maurapa, and south of the city-some of the tours south of the city are called Lafitte tours. I am not actually aware of any organized tours of Maurapa, but it is a huge swamp. I suspect the Lafitte tours would be more touristy-accents and more tourist trimmings-but quite worth it. Honey Island is the place I would recommend if you had an afternoon and wanted to seriously see a living swamp.

Note none of the places around New Orleans are even close to the experience of the Achafalaya. That is the largest, most vibrant living and inhabited swamp in the country. But you won’t get there much less see anything, in less than a couple of days. Any tourist trips from New Orleans that get you back home that day can’t do it justice. Head for Honey Island. Far more to see there than anyone can see in a day.

Oh, as for the airboats-those don’t work in a swamp. They are suited for marshes-open flooded grasslands. Swamps have trees and relatively deep bayous. A quite different envrionment and definitely not suited for speed.

Honey Island it is - thanks tsarina and rbroome. Looking forward to spending some time in your city.

The Old New Orleans Rum Distillery is where it’s at!

Go to the French Market, a stall called the “Organic Banana”, it’s a smoothie stand. An older, portly gentleman, Bob, is standing in front of said stand. He drives the free shuttle from the French Market to the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery, where, for $8 a person, they serve you a “Cajun tea”, show you the entire distillation process, and then let you taste samples of the 4 types of Rum they produce (they recently started making Ginger beer, so you might get to try that too)!

Check out their reviews in Tripadvisor. They have a website, as well.
Cabs in New Orleans are pretty abundant, so I wouldn’t worry about that.

There used to be the Dixie Brewing Company in New Orleans but the brewery was damaged by Katrina and has never gone back into production. Dixie beer is now made by other breweries under contract.

The pictures I have seen of the Dixie Brewery building look like they were taken in a futuristic wasteland, like something straight out of the Terminator film set.

The building would look at home in Baghdad, a bombed out shell of a once thriving business.

It’s hard for the average person to realize how much of New Orleans is still literally in ruins because of Katrina.

You could tour the Dixie Brewery, but that would fall under “Urban Exploration” and probably “criminal trespass”. The building is just a shell now. I’m not sure what they’re going to do with it.

The Jax Brewery is now a mall.

They recently renovated the old Falstaff sign atop the old brewery, but the brewery is now condominiums.

Other than a few microbreweries, there is no beer being brewed in New Orleans anymore.


I drove by the Dixie Brewery several years before Katrina. It wasn’t the greatest of locations then either.

When Dixie and Jax were still being brewed, you could have said the same thing. :smiley:

And has been a mall for a quarter century.

Brewery-little to do with New Orleans but an interesting story:

I know the couple who started the brewery. She is a chemical engineer and he is a mechanical engineer. She bought him a home brewing kit as a christmas present one year. The chemistry interested her-so she got an idea. :slight_smile:

Like all really cool ideas no one took them seriously enough to bother to stop them until one day they are a thriving business that is real competition to regional companies. And now they are too popular to be shut down. They might be out competed, but they are too popular to be just shut down.

I don’t know whether they give tours and Kiln MS is certainly not a cab ride out of N.O., (it is about 2.5-3 hours outside the city). But it is fun to listen to their stories.

Just one of their stories-MS has a law where you can’t sell alchohol outside the place of manufacture (ie a microbrewery/restaurant) directly-you have to sell through a distributer and you can’t sell to a distributer without a license which you can’t get unless you you meet some complex hoop that no one can meet. Except for one complex legal method (I don’t remember the details) that no one had ever tried. When she heard about the law she contacted a lawyer in the state capital who a) told her it couldn’t be done because the practical effect of the law was to stifle competition and b) he would charge a retainer to try to figure out how to deal with the system. She didn’t have b) and a) didn’t seem that hard compared to some of her engineering problems so she just showed up one day in Jackson (the state capital) and appeared before the board who would have to approve her application. Every time they told her she needed this form or that approval, she came up with what they needed. Since no one had ever tried (there are no breweries in MS as I understand it) and no one in the business knew who she was or that she was doing, and the people in the state capital were impressed with her determination, willingness to try something no one had tried, and her looks (she is a very pretty woman), she was eventually awarded the first licence of the kind in MS.

She still had to get the only licenced distributer in S. MS to carry her product-and he said no. So she set up a batch brewing system, produced a lot of beer, and went door to door visiting restaurants along the coast, giving taste tests and posting flyers about their little family brewery in the Kiln and generating a lot of buzz. Two days before her grand opening, the distributer caved in to demand and agreed to deliver her beer if she could produce enough (the distributer didn’t know she had been building up a supply) Imagine his surprise (she says it was priceless!) when she said sure come on down and load up.

Pecan beer? not a beer drinker, but that sounds-special. :eek:

Former NO resident chiming in here:

The old Falstaff Brewery is being converted to condos. Upscale condos.

The Dixie Brewery siteon Tulane Avenue was damaged by Katrina and is also in the footprint of the VA hospital proposed site. It may or may not survive.

The neighborhood around the brewery isn’t bad by New Orleans standards. Katrina made a huge mess, but it was over 5 years ago. Stuff isn’t as messed up as some in this thread would have you believe.

From the link:

The Dixie Brewery building was built in 1907 for $85,000 by Valentine Merz. The six story low rise’s purpose was to brew, store, and distribute what is present day Dixie Beer. During prohibition, the brewery manufactured and distributed non-alcoholic beer until 1933. When prohibition ended, Dixie Beer eventually reached the national market and gained an iconic status for the city of New Orleans.

The current owners purchased the building in 1986 and continued to produce and market the product until August 2005, when the events of Hurricane Katrina ravaged the property.

The brewing equipment was devastated beyond repair from flooding, and the property suffered significant damage.

Much of the delay in renovations can be attributed to the building’s location within the VA Hospital footprint. With the potential threat of being demolished to make way for the hospital’s expansive campus, plans for rebuilding have been put on hold. However, the Historic District Landmarks Committee of New Orleans has nominated the building as a local landmark, which can offer protective reasoning against its demolition.

Currently, Dixie Beer is being brewed and distributed in Monroe, WI and supplies a smaller national market from its pre-Katrina operations.