Sighseeing in New Oreleans?

So, I’m headed to the Big Easy on business soon, and I was wondering what to see and do in “N’Orlins”…besides bar hopping in the French Quarter, that is. Also, what famous restaurants would be highly recommended (esp. in the French Quarter, but not limited to that part of town).

I thought for a minute this thread was going to be about seeing things in New Orleans that are no longer the same, then sighing over it.:smiley:

N’Awlins. :wink:

I’m not one for ‘famous restaurants’, so I couldn’t tell you about those. However, Ralph and Kaccoo’s (Zydeco plays on opening) is well-known, and I’ve been there. I liked it.

I always go to Clover Grill whenever I go to The Big Sleazy.

Frank’s Restaurant makes an awesome muffaletta (they claim to have invented it, which nearby Central Market also claims), and nice tiramisu.

Checkpoint Charlie’s makes a good burger.

13 Restaurant and Bar is good, and has vegetarian food if you’re so inclined.

For something a little different (from typical New Orleans fare) there’s Jäger Haus on Conti. I’ve had the Wienerschnizel, Spätzel, Hungarian goulash, German potato salad, American potato salad, and rabbit liver paté, and it was all good. Reasonably priced, too.

You never knows what can evoke emotions… My company will probably put me up in the Superdome just to save costs. That’s a sighsee… :wink:

Don’t know how much of a problem this is lately, as it’s been years since I was there, but Louisiana is notorious for flaunting due process and confiscating cars and other property from tourists and business travelers. Some car rental companies have charged extra for cars that may be driven into the state, much like European companies charging more for cars that might be taken into Italy. Some travelers driving the Gulf coast go to the considerable trouble of traveling inland to go completely around Louisiana. I think “60 Minutes” did a segment on this, and said that the derivation of local law more from French law than from English law made the situation somewhat unusual. I think there were also debates and court actions trying to exert US Constitutional influence on the question.

Maybe this has been cleaned up, but it might be worth checking around a little first.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been to New Orleans since my first trip in 1993. My last trip there was last June. Personally, I’d stay out of the cops’ way. I’ve never had any trouble with them, but friends who lived there were harassed in their home. In June I rented a car, and did not detect any untoward charges. (Hint: Rent a car in the city; not at the airport. It’s cheaper.)

Have a drink in Johnny White’s on Bourbon Street. It’s kind of a dive but it has genuine people and great service. It hasn’t closed since it opened, not for any hurricane including Katrina.

Oh, come on, you probably won’t get stabbed!

Bouncer: Do you have any weapons?

Patron: No.

Bouncer: Hang on, I’ll get you one.

I have flown down to New Orleans many, many (many) times in the past 14 years, (I am actually flying back down next month) but while I have never had any interaction with police besides asking for directions a few times, I would say for a visitor who will be staying in New Orleans itself, (Downtown or in the French Quarter) renting a car is a terrible, awful, foolish idea. Parking in the Quarter is a trainwreck nightmare, parking at your hotel is always 25 or 30 bucks additional (per day) on top of the room rate, car break-ins are not uncommon, while taxis are cheap, easy, and almost always instantly available.

I have probably flown down to N.O. 35+ visits in the past 14 years (Jazzfest, Mardi Gras, Halloween, Superbowl, Birthdays, New Years Eve, half price lap-dance tuesday) and would not be saddled with the responsibility a rental car if they offered to PAY ME $30 dollars a day to deal with the mollyfocking hassle.

As far as specific places to eat; wow, where to begin…

I certainly really like Acme Oyster Bar, Central Market, Johnnys Po Boy, Meenas, and Lil Dizzy’s, but those are all fairly inexpensive, more or less casual places. For high end dining, Commanders is exceptional, as is Brennans, though there is frankly NO NEED to spend huge money to eat like royalty in New Orleans. The food is uniformly excellent, even at the corner dive.

I could go on for pages, but the gist is rental cars are an unnecessary pain in the ass, and it will not be hard for you to find a world class meal, almost anywhere you go.

Have a wild and wonderful time—Matthew

Mr B’s Bistro is pretty good, as is Johnny’s Po-Boy.

For breakfast/brunch, go to The Old Coffeepot next to Pat O’Brien’s (right off Bourbon).

Mother’s is ok for Po-boys, but I prefer Johnny’s. Gumbo Shop is good, but not great also.

Clover Grill has good hamburgers and is just a trip in general, but if you’re uncomfortable around gay men, it’s probably not your place.

High-end restaurants (that I haven’t been to yet):

Brennan’s - on Royal directly across from the LA Supreme Court.
Commander’s Palace- on St. Charles past Lee Circle, IIRC. (or is that Emeril’s Delmonico?)
K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen

There are a bunch of decent places on Magazine St. (Uptown) like Byblos.

If you’re looking for something to do, don’t miss the aquarium. It’s right downtown and is one of the best in the country.

Does anyone know of a restaurant in the French Quarter with a water fountain on fire? Too bad the name of this restaurant isn’t equally unforgettable! :wink:

That is Pat O’Briens in the heart of the French Quarter. It is really famous and big so you don’t need directions. I am always a sucker for the piano bar. New Orleans isn’t like other American cities. You don’t really need a specific plan unless you have something special in mind. People get irritated when I say that if they haven’t been there but it becomes pretty obvious when you step foot in the French Quarter. All you have to do is think up some things that you might like and go with the flow. That is what the city is all about. It is almost like a real-life version of an amusement park. All of the recommendations in this thread are good but strict planning isn’t really what New Orleans is all about and it is hard to have a bad time.

Other than eating or drinking, there are some cool walking tours you can do. If you are up for that sort of thing, I can recommend some stuff plus there are things like swamp tours but those are outside the city and will eat up at least half a day so that isn’t recommended on a tight schedule.

This claim needs a cite.

I have lived here for 30 years and this is the first time I have heard of this. There are problems with tourists in the city losing property or parking in the wrong place and getting ticketed/booted, but frankly that has happened to me more in DC than in NO. There was a rural sheriff 15 years who was known to make drug busts on the I-10 and confiscate the car and the money even if there aren’t really any drugs. But that sheriff and most of his department ended up in state and federal custody once it was shown what was happening.

all are very very good. I think Brousard’s Restaurant on Conti (in the quarter) is underappreciated. It used to be considered one of the top restaurants in NO but it’s reputation has been overtaken by others. But in my opinion it didn’t lose any quality, just got passed by truly exceptional places. I took my family there a couple of months ago and it was the best most relaxing experience we have had out in a long time.

The Aquarium is good-but in the opinion of people who have been there several times (I have but I am biased) it is small for what you see. If you haven’t been to many aquaria it will be very good.

May I suggest: Longue Vue House and Gardens? It would be a pretty long taxi ride-you should talk to your hotel as to the best way to get there but it is a very well-kept example of elegant style and living from the 30s and 40s. Definitely different if you like relaxing house and garden tours.

Take the street car uptown to the Garden district. Stay on the well-kept streets and you will see a very nice part of NO.

My wife and I are by no means experts on New Orleans, but on our last trip there, in October, we had good meals at the Royal House and at Deanie’s (try the barbequed shrimp at Deanies!).

Is that that dingy-looking place on the corner on Esplanade, a couple of blocks away from Port Of Call?

(Great burgers at Port Of Call, BTW. Long wait to get in sometimes, though.)

Mardi Gras World is pretty cool.

If the original Ruth’s Chris is still there, in unmolested condition, go there. Don’t recall the address, but it is /was in an old house in one of the neighborhoods. For sightseeing I’d take the streetcar up St. Charles St… Personally, and no offense to the Who Dat crowd, there isn’t all that much to see down there. Over the last 25 years or so it’s lost some of its charm. Excellent food, however. Just don’t bring your calorie counter.

I just got back from there last month. My wife was there on business, I simply checked out the entire city for about 8 days by myself. It was awesome.
I see a lot of people have recommended places in the French Quarter so I’ll first recommend 3 places an easy trolly ride away from there:

  1. Maple Leaf Bar - Great Blues music.
  2. Right next to that is an awesome restaurant called Jacques-Imo’s which serves up “Real Nawlin’ Food.”
  3. You must have a hamburger and a piece of chocolate pecan pie ala mode at The Camellia Grill.

As far as what to see and do… There are a couple of cemeteries that are pretty cool. St. Louis Cemetery #1 is within walking distance to the French Quarter. It’s safe to do during the day as there will be a lot of other tourists drifting around. Furthermore don’t pay the higherpriced tours of that cemetary… Right across the street is “Save our Cemeteries,” which offers good tour on the cheap.

I just read SanDiegoTim’s response, and I have to agree. The strength of NOLA is the food,not the sights. There’s no dietary fiber to found in the city! :slight_smile: The restaurants (and Blues bar) I mentioned above are all on the St. Charles line.

In the French Quarter, check out Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar. It’s a neat place, and unique that it’s illuminated only by candle lights. It’s ironic in a sense, as that would lead you to believe it doesn’t have electricity, however there are tvs in there playing espn, etc. go figure. Anyway it’s a pretty cool place to check out even during the day. It’s on Bourbon street… but a few blocks past St. Ann’s street which many people consider the ‘end’ of the real Bourbon Street.

If you like museums, check out the Cabildo Museum on Jackson’s Square. It was the sight of the Louisiana Purchase transfer ceremonies.