This guide, formerly known since 1996 as Pike's Picks is a not for profit site intented for the use of friends, family and students and NOT an offically sponsored Washington U site. It's also not to be confused with a site about sporting information that recently filed a copyritght infrigment notice with me of the same name ( even though we had the name for more than 19 years before them). With the advent of iPhones and apps like the Urban Spoon and Yelp, finding your way around New Orleans is less of the challange it used to be. It's a town that you have to work hard at getting a bad meal, but when you have a limited time for your visit, why take chances on crappy tourist spots? These then are my personal suggestions for your visit to New Orleans, enjoy!
I recommend you get a good, detailed map of the city. AAA maps are good,
but nothing beats a GPS. Be warned
not all streets are listed, many smaller streets are missing depending on your software. The
city of New Orleans is very confusing. Forget North, East, South, and
West and learn to refer to places in terms of Uptown, Downtown, Lake,
River . The numbering system is equally confusing, and numbers from
parallel streets may not match. Expect to get lost, but that's part of
the charm of the city. It seems these days all the streets are torn up with various degree's of construction. My favorite set of directions to a place was
given with the admonition, "Easy to get to, hard to find", this will be true
of any number of places in this guide.
Here are some of our favorite places and others that have been recommended over the years. Reservations at many of the restaurants are nonexistent. It is advisable especially on weekends to call first to see how crowded the place is. During Mardi Gras, almost everything is. Be aware that Mardi Gras is actually the worst time to visit any eating establishment in NOLA. Staff are over worked, food is flying out of the kitchen, and every one is stressed. Having said that, there are few places in the world that have as many great places to eat at then New Orleans. New places open all the time, and some close, so this list is by no means the ultimate guide.
La Peniche: 1940 Dauphine St. 943 1460. Open 24 hours a day, serves an extensive menu and a great place for breakfast or that late night snack, a very local clientele, reasonably priced. I like the omelets. (Stan)
Elizabeth's Restaurant: at the corner of Chartre and Gallier st., if you get lost call 504 944 9272. During the week, only open for lunch and dinner, on weekends for brunch. Its a little way from the French Quarter along the Mississippi river in the Bywater section, but its worth the drive for brunch and the Praline Bacon and the Eggs Elizabether are awsome. Recently I've had dinner here a few times and both times the food was very dispointing, in one case the softshell crab was way beyond its serve by date. Be aware of the speed camera on Chartres before you get there! (Stan, Kate, Eldon)
Mothers: Poydras St. Another place for breakfast and lunch. It may seem like cafeteria style, but most food is cooked to order. If your an ex-Marine, this is the place for you. Lately, a lot of tourists can be found here and the line to get in can be long (not worth the wait IMHO), and its almost on the "Famous But Overrated" list. (Stan)
Slim Goodies: 3332 Magazine Street, a new addition to the list, a great diner spot for breakfast. Rosemary liked the waffels, but I thought them too thick for my liking. The Omelets were excellent. Check it out, but it always seems busy.. (Marie, Stan)
Camllia Grill: 626 S. Carrollton Ave., 504 866 9573, Talk about a place that had its ups and downs, one of the great eating instutions in New Orleans, it was taken over by new management in 2004 and run into the ground, poor service, bad food, it actually made it onto the "Famous but Overrated" section. Katrina closed the place and it looked like the end. It reopened in 2007 under new management who vowed to reclaim its past glory and its on its way to doing just that. Marvin is back and the food and service staff is working hard to improve. I like breakfast there and in particular the pecan waffles, but its also well known for supper fluffy omelets and late night burgers. Not as cheap as you might think however. They have opened up a branch in the French Quarter that has a similar look to the original, but I have not checked it out yet. (Stan)
Cake Cafe & Bakery: 2440 Chartres, in the Bywater neighborhood. Not only great baked goods, but a terrific breakfast, omelets and egg sandwiches and of course coffee. They are open now on Monday and take VISA cards! (Kate and Eldon)
La Boulangerie: 4526 Magazine St. A terrific French bakery, wonderful pastries and of course French King Cakes in season. Stan loves the chocolate croissants but Aimee is all about the fruit filled. The bread is of course some of the best in the city and its all made in front of you. (Stan, Aimee)
Croissant D'Or: 617 Ursulines Ave. (in the French Quarter), an excellent bakery (although not as good as La Boulangerie), with croissants and some good coffee. They also sell French King Cakes here in season. Cash Only
Betsy's Pancake House: 2542 Canal Street, 504 822 0214, This place really is like having breakfast at someones house, the staff is super friendly and it seems like everyone here is a local. The egg specials are a great deal and the pancakes are excellent. I have my reservations about the waffels, the batter seems a little too sweet for me. If you leave here hungry, its your own fault. (Stan)
Poppy's Grill: 717 St. Peters, open 24 hours, inexpensive, across from Pat O'Brians, basic burgers and grease. (Arthur N.)
Parkway Bakery & Tavern: 538 Hagan Ave. (Bayou St. John off Orleans) 504 482 3047 This place which has been here for decades is a Po-Boy institution in New Orleans is one of my must go-to place for a Po Boy when in New Orleans. I am always torn between the Roast Beef and the Shrimp but twice a week they often have oyster Po Boys as well. The bread is of course excellent but be warned the Roast Beef can be messy. No meal is complete without an order of cheesy fries. I've been going here for years and only recently tried some of the gumbo and it was one of the best I have ever had in NOLA, alligator and turkey gumbo, who would have thought! You get in line, often long, order your food and when you name is called, pick it up. If you need something from the bar, get it after you have ordered your food and find a table and dig in! They do take credit cards.
Guy's Po Boys: 5259 Magazine 891 5025, Open 9:00am-4:00pm. Closed Sunday. Although it has a few tables inside, it's mostly a take out. I like the shrimp Po Boys, but tell them to go easy on the ketchup if you get it "dressed". Oddly enough, they do not sell oyster po boys here, never did. Cash only!!! (Stan)
Johnny's Poor Boys: 511 St. Louis. Breakfast and Poor Boys, inexpensive $3.95-5.95 range, Stan says the shrimp Po Boy is spicy and awesome, Rosemary prefers the crawfish Po Boys. M-F 7am to 4:30 pm, Sat. & Sun. 9:00-4:00. No Credit Cards! (Arthur N. & Stan)
Fiorella's: 1136 Decatur St. 504 528 9566 Sun.-Wed. 7am to midnight, Thurs.-Sat. 7am-2am. Fiorella's is noted for casual dining in the Quarter by the famous French Market with its famous fried chicken fried fresh to order. Line forms outside the front door, (its a small place inside). No reservation, but they do accept credit cards. Bingo starts in back at 10 pm usually. Cheap enough. Special note, (under new management as of Fl 08 and my last trip here the service was just terrible, I keep giving this place another chance, but I may give up on it, visit at your own risk, (Jimmy says he has) (Stan, Jimmy)
Verti Marte: 1201 Royal Street, 525 4767, it only looks like a grungy little bread and eggs store, it actually has a little short order take out kitchen in the back. Daily specials and of course po-boys to die for, try one of Kate's favorites, the french fry and gravy po-boy for only $4.10. This place is a trip, but don't forget to tip the cook if you want a little something extra. Stan's new favorite is the "all that Jazz po boy" Open 24 hours "always open". (Kate and Eldon)
Taqueria Corona: 5923 Magazine & 857 Fulton St. Not as Inexpensive as it used to be, but if you want some Mexican food check this place out, be warned cash only, no charges. (Arthur, Kate & Eldon)
Frankie and Johnnie's: 321 Arabella, (Arabella and Tchoupitoula)s. (Arabella is not noted on AAA maps; nearest street is Nashville) This is the place to have solid, neighborhood, down home cooking. Stan always got the crawfish pie as an appetizer. Red beans and rice with local sausage a cheap but great meal. Under new management as of 2013-11 and the place after some bad years is as good as ever, a wonderful local place to sample typical New Orleans food. Last trip to NOLA I had both raw and chargrilled oyesters here and they were some of the best I've ever had! $7.00-$15.00 range, depending on drinks. 504 899-9146 (Pike & Stan; Kate and Eldon)
Acme: French Quarter, on Ibienville just South of Bourbon St., West side of Street. Excellent oyster bar, boiled crawfish and fried food as well as char grilled oysters. One of the few places I'll eat in the quarter. A good place to bring large groups if you are afraid of sorting out large tabs. The Po Boys and Gumbo are only so-so here, I stick to the raw bar and crawfish although I am a big fan of their char grilled oysters. Sit right at the bar if you want the whole experience, but be a sport and drop something into the tip jar. 522- 5973 (Pike & Stan)
Mr. Ed's Oyster Bar and Fish House 512 Bienville St. 504 309 4848 This is a reasonably new addition to the French Quarter, they have another location in Metairie and are now also on Bienville near Decatur at the edge of the French Quarter. I recently ate here twice, once for lunch and again later in the week for dinner. Its not a big place, but being off and away from Bourbon street, in both visits it was not too crowded. I found the raw oysters to be great and as good as anything I'd had at the Acme, the chargrilled were in the top 5 of my choices for chargrilled oysters in NOLA and also very good. In my group there was also some gumbo ordered and some fried food and it also held up well. The service was not terrible, but it was not great either. If the line at the Acme is too long, I would consider this a real alternative. (Stan and Aimee)
Felix: French Quarter on Ibienville across the street from Acme, also a good oyster bar and has regular sit down service with a waitress, if you can't get into Acme, try here. Be wary of the other menu items, on our last visit, the turtle soup was terrible and the gumbo only so-so. (Stan)
Central Grocery: In the French Quarter, Decatur Street across from the French Market, on the North side of the street. Home of the Muffalato sandwich and Italian-Creole that's incredible, a must for lunch. One is too much for any mortal to eat alone, bring a friend. If the lines are out the door, consider coming back another day, it's good here, but not sure its worth a 45 min. wait. (Pike & Stan)
Cafe Du Monde: French Quarter, old French Market at Jackson Square. The place to have Cafe au lait and Beignet's (deep fried doughnuts, covered with sugar) after a long night on the town or to start a new one. A great place to kick back and watch the street scene go by. Also one of the few places to use the bathroom in the quarter without paying. A New Orleans institution. (Pike & Stan)
Deannie's: Interstate 10 West to West End Blvd. Exit, go North till the Blvd. dead ends in a traffic circle, go left around traffic circle and exit onto Hammond Hyw., go over a canal, take a second left onto Lake Ave., Deannie's will be on the left side of the street 1/2 block. Found in a section of the city referred to by the locals as "Bucktown, U.S.A." If you are real hungry for lots of fried seafood, this is the place. Very fresh, local stuff here. Always a wait on weekends. A $15.00 platter is plenty for two adults, the $25.00 platter enough for four. They recently opened another location in the French Quarter, which although not having the charm of the Bucktown place, has pretty much the same menu.(Pike & Stan)
Olivier's: 2519 Dreux, call 282 2314 for info. This is North up near the lake. Take Elysian Fields North to Fillmore. Turn right at Fillmore to Franklin. Turn right at Franklin onto Dreux, follow Dreux approximate. one block on the right. Excellent neighborhood place, great seafood, and daily hometown specials, great gumbo and soft shell crab. Open Wed.-Mon.
Mandina's: 3800 Canal Street. A well known neighborhood place where you stand at the bar while you wait for a table, but stay out of the way of the waiters. Generous portions in the $6.00-12.00 range. On my last visit, I had a really super dinner of crawfish etoufee and a great bowl of gumbo along with some of the best shrimp remoulade I have ever had. The loaf sandwiches are very large, the 1/2 is like most wholes and no mortal can eat a whole. Ed the waiter may seem surly, but he's a good guy, pay attention to his advice! Often crowded. North on Carrollton to Canal St., turn right on Canal, go about three blocks, it will be on the right side of the street. 482-9179 Mandina's WWW site (Pike & Stan)
Liuzza's: 1518 North Lopez, Lopez and Beinville (one block North of Canal), in the same area of Mandinas. A classic New Orleans family joint, Liuzza's typifies another of the city's unique gastronomic subcoultures-Cajun-Itailan. Fast becoming one of our favorite places, very informal, family place. Coldest beer in town, served in frozen mugs. Great neon sign out front. Not to be confused with Liuzza by the track, which I have been so bold to suggest that its not as good as. Call for info 482-9120. Liuzza''s WWW site ( Stan & Kevin)
Port of Call: 838 Esplanade, at the edge of the French Quarter, some will tell you they have the best burgers in New Orleans (a bold statement), served with baked potato, often crowded but worth it if you're into burgers. Call 523-0120 for info. (Kevin)
Company Burger: 4600 Freret Street 504 267 0320. IMHO, this place indeed makes the best burgers in New Orleans. The soft buns are amde in a north shore bakery, the meat is fresh ground Harris Ranch beef and the cheese burger, well the cheese seems to be melted into the beef. The onion ring are really terrific the fries are good, but the rings terrific. Eldon says the corn dog on a stick is not to be missed. For a tight neighborhood, they have a rather large off street parking lot.(Eldon-Stan)
Dat Dog: 5030 Freret St. A new find, a temple devoted to the workship of the stuff meat tube. Really, a hot dog et all place where you can get it all from the traditional to the fish hot dog. Cheap enough. They also have a location on Frenchman street and if you go there you have the option of eating on the balcony which is very nice when the weather is good. (Kate & Eldon)
Louisiana Pizza Kitchen: Reputed by some locals to be the best pizza in New Orleans, for what that is worth, (A East Coast Pizza Snobs Attitude). European bistro atmosphere, Lamb to Alligator pizza, often long lines, one located in the Quarter near the French market but the location on 2808 Esplanade is rumored to be better. Personally, if I'm in NOLA, I'm not eating pizza. (Kevin)
Delicious Pizza: 617 Piety St. 504 676 8482, This is a very odd place located in the Bywater neighborhood. Great N.Y. style pizza that although pricey, is IMHO, the best pizza in New Orleans. Great daily specials, salads and the gralic knots are terrific sides. You need to check out the menu for the day at their blog site, then call in to order or they can be a wait (do NOT leave a messsage, they don't check it) They also have a smal eat in. Their bog site is: http://pizzadelicious.blogspot.com/
Rocky and Carlo's Restaurant and Bar: 613 W. St. Bernard Highway. Located outside New Orleans in a neighborhood called St. Bernard Parish or (Da Parish for short), this place is a real experience, Deli style service of local and Italian cooking. This is Eldon and Kates new favorite place, and they are very big on the mac and cheese and Eldon likes the Veal Parm. The breaded pork chop is cooked to perfection he says. Very inexpensive and you won't leave hungry. (Stan & Kevin; Kate and Eldon)
Jack Dempsey's: Another fried seafood restaurant in the great New Orleans tradition of down home cooking and enormous platters of eats. Not much in terms of atmosphere, unless you are into plywood siding, but lots of funk and neon. My last visit the food was only ok and many menu items where sold out, the portions are very large however. 738 Poland Ave.; call 943-9914 for information. Dinner Wed.-Sat. (Pike, Stan & Kevin)
Clover Grill: Excellent late night spot, open real late, diner atmosphere. Their motto"We love to fry and it shows". (Kate and Eldon)
Kim Son: 349 Whitney Ave., Gretna; 504 366 2489 You need to cross the Miss. River bridge to get here, but its worth the trip. Unusual Vietnamese food with a specialization in seafood. I will tell you the Salted Baked Crab is some of the best crab I have very had, anywhere. The scallops are terrific, and four people can eat four main dishes, with drinks for less than $70.00. Closed Sunday (Stan, Jimmy & Marie)
The Praline Connection: 542 Frenchman Street; 943 3934; (the other side of Esplanade, from the quarter) Soul food and proud of it. Sorry to say that the quality of the food has been sliding since Katrina. Avoid the BBQ oysters, simply terrible, but the ribs are good and the greens excellent. I was disapointed with the gumbo and the meatloaf had a very odd flavor. The pralines remain excellent, but stick with the original flavor. $6.00-15.00 (Pike, Stan, Kate)
Drago's: 3232 N. Arnoult Road @ 17th Street, Metairie 504 888 9254 Yes, I knows its all the way up in Merairie, but this is really a terrific seafood place. They say they invented the Char Grilled oyster here, I don't know about that, but they did make it famous. The fried foods are done just right and not too greasy and even the gumbo was good. Its a big place, but no reservations. They also have a place in the Hilton at #2 Poydras, but I have not been there. Rosemary says it's her new favorite place to eat. (Stan and Rosemary)
Mat and Naddies: 937 Leonidas (..where Freret meets the river..) 504 861 9600 One of our new favorite places to eat, Chief Steve always has something new and interesting. The char grilled oysters are great, but not the typical found at Acme or Drago's. I loved the grilled tuna, cooked just right and on a bed of polenta. Great service and atmosphere. (Stan, Denise)
R and O's: 210 Hammond Highway, Metairie 504 828 0140 Sun-Thurs 11am to 10 pm/Fri and Sat 11am-11pm. This used to be one of our go to places, but the quality of the food and service has dramaticly slipped, no longer recommended. (Eldon and Kate)
Venezia: 134 N. Carrollton Ave., 488-7991, Specializing in down to earth, home style Creole and Italian food. Packed with locals who turn out for pizza, fried calamari, veal Parmesan. Try the Vatican Eggplant - it's like a religious experience. Lunch and dinner weekdays; dinner only on weekends, major credit cards.
NOLA: On St. Louis across the street from Johnnies Po Boys, also run by the same guy who owns Emerils, but less expensive and very informal. Had some great veal here, reservations a must, but if you can't get them, get there early and ask to sit at the Chefs Bar. Its informative and entertaining. In the $25.00-50.00 each range (without drinks), but worth it, Rosemary and my favorite place for a splurge meal. You need to call for reservations like a month ahead. (Stan)
Casamentos: 4330 Magazine, uptown 895 9761, Decked out in art nouveau tiles that makes it look like a gigantic bathroom. A venue for oysters and po boys. We recently had a super lunch here, but be warned, they have unusual hours and close between lunch and dinner and keep in mind, cash only and NO reservations. (Stan, Aimee & E. Turk)
Paladar 511, 511 Marigny St. 504 509 6782 This is a new place for me, its on the edge of the Marigny in a converted warehouse building. I've eaten here a few times and think the food is very good. The small plates are the way to go here, I've had the tuna and the ravioli and they are my favorites (I've also had some of their papredelli and it was also good). The pizzas are small and the strength of them is the sauce and of course the crust. It's a little pricy but the food is well prepared and the service during both my visits was excellent. Really special is that they take reservations! Kind of a crappy part of the Marigny so don't park too far from the door. (Stan & Rosemary)
Cavan 3607 Magazine St. This is a reasonably new place on Magazine street uptown and it seems not on the tourist radar yet, its a very cool place, actually a renovated home and the interior is done in a very interesting way. We had a great meal here and I got a chance to sample a couple of the entree's. They also have some great starters (do not miss the oyster toast). It's not an inexpensive place, and I am not so sure about the description as a gastro pub, its far from a pub, but the service was terrific and the food great and its a very nice dining experience. Oddly enough, recent reports say they are under new ownership, so I am not sure what that means. (Arthur & Caroline)
Pacal's Manale: 1838 Napoleon Ave. 504 895 4877 This place has been here forever it seems, it has a very 40-50-s vibe to the decor and general layout. The bar is oddly cash only but they accept cc's in the dining room. There is a very good oyster bar right in the bar, making waiting for a table nicer than just sitting there for 30-45 mins (not an unlikely wait) while you have a dozen and a drink. They say they invented the BBQ shrimp here, perhaps, and its very good (especially with the warmed bread they provide), but its really large shrimp in butter, with lots of pepper and some extras, and although I and my companion enjoyed it, it is more pricey then it should be. The rest of the meal was solid neighborhood stuff in the New Orleans tradition, the gumbo was good but not great and the rest of meal also in that class. I found the wait staff attentive and we were seated in a timely manner. Overall, a very nice experience but it is more expensive than you might think, its not a place to eat if your a super value oriented consumer. If you can, call for reservations!
EXPENSIVE EATS (good stuff, in many of the guide books, but too rich for Stan and Pike)
Pelican Club: Exchange Alley, 5 head chiefs, varied menu. Here is the WWW site- Pelican Club's WWW site
Commander's Palace: 1403 Washington Ave.; 899 8221 (Jacket required, tie preferred) Some of my local references say its past its prime and only tourists go here, but I think the food is still great, and it's a great experience. (Stan)
La Gaulois: Hotel Mariden, 614 Canal St.; 527 6712
Galatorie's: 209 Bourbon Street; 525 2021
Mr. B's Bistro: 201 Royal Street, 523 2078 For more info, here is their WWW site Mr. B's WWW site
K-Paul: 416 Charters. You have seen him on TV, now a chance to get the real thing. Finish your meal, clean the plate, and get a gold star. In the Quarter, very famous, long lines, expensive, no reservations, but many say its worth the price. Generally, only tourist eat here now, and its almost on the overrated list. I gave the place another try here recently for lunch and yes, it's still on the Famous but Over Rated list. (Stan & Pike)
Clancy's: One of my new favorite laces to eat if you have some extra money to blow on a great meal. Terrific wine list, great service. 6100
Annunciation St. (504) 895 1111 (Jimmy and Marie)
FAMOUS BUT OVERRATED*:
Antoine's; Mosca's; The Caribbean Room; Dooky Chase's; Gautrea; Ralph and Kacoo's; Eddie's:
*Yea, yea, I know you love anyone/all of these places aand they are all insitutions, so go write your own guide....
PLACES TO AVOID-WORSE THAN OVERRATED IMHO:
Borgne; 601 Loyola (has Besh ever really eaten here?)
R & O; Bucktown
Jacques-Imo; Oak Street Uptown
The American Sector Cafe; At the WWII museum
NEW PLACES TO CHECK OUT:
Here's a list of new places we have not yet checked out, but have been told are good neighborhood places, if you're in an adventurous mood, give them a try and let me know how they were.
Lilly's Cafe 1813 Magazine street 504 599 9999, NOLA has a terrifc and vibrant Vietnamese community and some great returants to go with that, a lot of them on the other side of the river. This place is rumored to have some of the richest, tastiest broth in the city.
Mr. Ed's 1001 Live Oak, Metairie 504 838 0022 Seafood and Italian food.
Fury's 724 Martin Behrman Ave., Meterie. 834 5646 Neighborhood seafood cafe in the old style, the deep fat fryer is king here.
The Joint 701 Manzant Street, Upper ninth ward (IMHO, its more like the edge of the Bywater than the 9th), listed in Zagats!, supposed to have great BBQ.
Willie Mae's Scotch House 2401 Saint Ann Street, supposed to be the best fried chicken in NOLA! You decide and report back to me.
Domilise's Po-Boys5240 Annunciation Street, (504) 899 9126, between Jefferson and Upperline, po-boys rumored to be as good or better than the Parkway, bold talk, supposed to be on the expensive side for po-boys however.
MUSIC CLUBS & BARS; A NIGHT CRAWLERS NIGHT OUT
"I'll Sleep When I'm Dead"
The Columns Hotel: 3811 St. Charles Ave. 899 9308 (St. Charles & Gen. Taylor) This massive old home was used as a location for the movie "Pretty Baby". Sit outside among the columns and enjoy a cocktail as the world rolls by. A great place to start your night out. Lately the hip, young, privileged types are hanging out here. Look up their WWW site: Columns Hotel WWW site (Pike, Stan)
The Mayfair Lounge: 1505 Amelia St. at Prytania. Ring the door bell and Miss. Gertie welcomes you to this cluttered, good little bar. Long time favorite of the well coiffed Tulane Student. (If Daddy only knew where his money was being spent) (Pike)
Markey's Bar: 604 Louisa Street (at Royal) 504 943 0785, This is a very serviceable, small Bywater bar and a real neighborhood place with lots of colorful character and a solid pool table and shuffle board game along with lots of HD TV sets hung off the walls. Cheap drink and a nice crowd, (Eldon and Kate)
Vaughan's Lounge: 800 Lesseps St. (504) 947 5562 A very neighborhood place in the Bywater part of town. They often have a band here and the vib is gnerally very laid back with lot of locals.Note: Kermit ruffins no longer plays here thursday nights.. This place is part of the Bermuda Triangle of Bywater bars (the others being the Yellow Moon and B J's)
Bud Rip's Old 9th Ward Bar: 900 Piety St., Bywater. Yes indeed, boys and girls, this is a dive bar in the great NOLA tradition of the dive bar. Good place to watch the Saints play football on Sunday. People often bring in trays of food to share with everyone on Sundays. Cold beer thats priced right, congenial crowd without the usual crusty punks and hipsters often found in Bywateer bars.I saw the Saints win the Superbowl here a few years back, it was awesome. (Stan-Eldon)
Cooter Browns Tavern: 509 S. Carrollton Ave. 866 9104, A recent addition, during the day it's the blue collar crowd, at night the Tulane types arrive. Over 40 kinds of beer on draft and lots of stuff in bottles. Also a great oyster bar and plenty of pool tables, and to remind you you're in the future, free wireless internet. (Arthur O, Stan)
Saturn Bar: 3067 St. Claude Ave.; Well East of the Quarter. One of the Weirdest places I've ever been in, but one of our favorites. Neon chandeliers, a mummy hanging from the ceiling, in some ways looks like a bad acid trip. Stan's photo's adorn the walls with several thousand other artifacts. Local rummy's populate the place until 11:00 or so when the arty hipsters begin to stop by. Cheap drinks and great T shirts for sale. Nasty part of town, park near the door. 949-7532 (It is with great sadness that I report that on 12/22/05 O'Neill Broyard, the owner of the Saturn Bar, died of a heart attack, in New Orleans but his Nephew Eric and his family have reopened the bar, its all been cleaned up but still echos the old place. Live bands on weekends, but they seem to have crazy hours during the week and may only be open for shows on weekends these days. (Stan, Kevin & Pike)
Ernie K-Doe Mother-In-Law Lounge: 1500 N Claiborne Ave. (update, Kermit Ruffin's reopened the place but all the great Ernie KDoe stuff is gone and its just another bar with very little in the way of character going for it. A congenial crowd and music often way too loud for me.
St. Roch's Tavern: 1200 St. Roch ave. 504 945 0194 What a pleasant place to have a drink, its really an old school place with a very interesting crowd, you'll see rummies, crusty punks, hipsters and locals who just wander in. It's the Bywater slice of life and the beer is cheap enough. You'll see quite the difference between the day and late night crowd. Just acrosss St. Claud from the Bywater, so if your staying in a B and B there, a good place to drink and free WIFI!. Park near the door-a very questionable neighborhood.
Snug Harbor: 626 Frenchman Street, East and a little North of the Quarter. Excellent traditional New Orleans Jazz and Blues acts, $20.00 cover on weekends. Call 949 0696 or look up your WWW site! Snug Harbor WWW site
The Maple Leaf: 8316 Oak, West of Carrollton Ave. One of Pikes Favorite places for music, everyone dances, water cooler next to dance floor. Be sure to try the Abita beer, expect a $10.00-$5.00 cover. (Pike)
Tipitina's: 501 Napoleon, at Tchoupitoulas; A very famous local venue, big touring acts, home of the Neville Brothers, good any day of the week. This used to be a very nasty neighborhood, but there has been a lot of revitalization in the area recently and its better, but not perfect. Park across the street in the well lit Sav-A-Center or take a cab. Usually a $5.00-10.00 cover. You can find out who's playing, tickets etc at their WWW site! Tipitinas WWW site (Pike, Stan, Kevin, Jennifer)
The Club: Corner of Napoleon and Magazine, Recently recommended, down the street from Tip's, also known as Miss Mae's, is friendly and cheap- $1.00 drinks that can't be beat anywhere in New Orleans. This is your basic NOLA bar atmosphere, the people are nice inside and its a very diverse crowd, open 24 hours. (Jennifer F.)
Igor's Budda Belly Bar-Grill: 4437 Magazine St., another uptown dive bar, nice crowd and oddly enough, washing machine in the back. Drinks are cheap enough, don't look at the floor too closely. (Ester)
Milan Lounge: 1312 Milan Street (Uptown) In the great tradition of New Orleans dive bars, I present to you, the Milan Lounge. Its small, like 3 or 4 tables and a long bar, but that seems to be the point. No wait staff, just a bartender who often has a dazed look about him. Its run by a refugee from the South Side of Chicago and there are ancient Cubs stuff on the walls. The bathrooms are not for the faint hearted, but really, its a dive bar with cheap booze and lots of local characters. I like it as it was low on the drunken frat boys meter and more a local place for people in the area. the local ordinances related to no smoking seems to be ignored here so if thats an issue, steer clear of this place. Food options seem to be limited to Zapps chips and tobacco products, but if your looking for a typical NOLA dive bar with lots of character, this is a place to check out. Located in a neighborhood that is not so bad, so street parking is a safe option. (Aimee & Stan)
Molly's On The Market: 1107 Decatur St. 504 525 5169 There are not many places I'm interested in hanging out and drinking in the French Quarter, but this is one of them, decorated in a faux Euro-English pub style, its the hang out for literary types, BOBO's, Drunken Philospher Kings, hipsters and of course rummies. It was one of the few places to stay open all during Katrina and is the starting point for the French Quarter Halloween Parade. It's a nice place to toss back a few and the beer is always cold. (Stan)
Michaul's: 701 Magazine, corner of Girod, both old and new schools can be heard here as well as Cajun food specials. Cajun & Zydeco; live music Mon.-Sat.. 522-5517 Check out their WWW site to see what's happening.! Michaul's WWW site (not recently reviewed)
Palm Jazz Court: 1204 Decatur, features many of the same acts as Preservation jazz hall, but with far less crowds and better creature comforts.
Fritzels: on Bourbon Street, down a ways from the action, a small place with live jazz on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Usually full of Europeans listening to very traditional NOLA Jazz. Very quite the rest of the week, one of the few bars I'll go to on Bourbon, Bar Maids don't take any crap, so mind your manners. (Stan)
Pat O'Brien's: 718 St. Peter Street (in the French Quarter) 524 4823, This is one of those places that is so famous and tourist filled, that it should be in the bar section for "famous but overrated". I will admit to having downed a few here, I prefer the patio for the fire in the fountain. The house drink made famous here is the Hurricane, no visit here is complete without one. During Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras long lines to get in (and its not worth the wait). (Stan)
Mid-City Lanes and Sports Palace: 3000 S. Carrollton Ave.( they moved to Carrollton & Earhart) Live music (R.N.R., Rockabilly, Blues) and bowling, Thursday-Sunday, 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Bar with full service kitchen. No cover charge, but $10.00 an hour to bowl on week ends after 8 p.m. (Pike)
Snake and Jake's Christmas Club Lounge: 7612 Oak Street, in a residential neighborhood (but not such a great neighborhood), but you'll know you're there when you see the large Xmas wreath outside. One of the darkest bars I have ever been in, and looks a lot like a double wide trailer. There is kind of an unwritten rule that if you're naked you get to drink for free. I've read that this is Mick Jaggers favorite bar. Someone told me that Esquire magazine recently voted it one of the top 20 "dive" bars in the USA. Opens at 9:00 pm and stays open till to 7:00 am in the morning. I can't believe they have a WWW site! Snake & Jake's WWW site (Stan, Eric, Aimee)
The Saint: 961 St. Mary Street, lower garden district, 504 523 0050, In the tradition of smoky, dimly lit New Orleans bars, no question, it's a New Orleans dive bar with the usual characters and drunken hipsters. This is the place to end the evenings entertainment. Don't even open until 8 pm and stays open until "whenever". I like the photo booth here and the booze is cheap enough but has been described as a shithole bar. Part of my NOLA Dive Bar Crawl.
F & M: 4841 Tchoupitoulas, 895 6784 Famous for their dancing on the pool tables, F&M is a hopping place after about Midnight. Lots of Tulane and Loyola students. If you're looking for a pick-up joint with a little spice they say this is your place. In the grand tradition of laid back New Orleans dive bars. The Cheese fries are a great late night snack. Don't go too early!
NEW BARS AND MUSIC TO CHECK OUT
Muddy Waters: 8301 Oak Street 866 7174
Jimmy's: 8200 Willow Street 895 8477 ($5.00+ cover)
Howlin' Wolf: 828 S. Peter, 523 2551
PLACES TO STAY:
St. Charles Guest House: 1748 Prytania (nearest cross street is Jackson), (504) 523 6556 A new addition to the list, its basic and very reasonable, even during Mardi Gras. The rooms are funky, but clean, and all the windows in this old house are trapezoidal, and you need to be aware of the slope in the floor, but that all seems part of the charm. No phone or TV in the room (but they do have WiFi), but the bed is comfortable and its a well kept house with books everywhere. The staff will help you get settled and is a good resource if you need anything. Be warned, that since Katrina they do not accept credit cards, so its cash or personal checks. They even have a pool (unheated). Update: My friends Bill and Sue recently stayed here and they complained that roaches in the room, be warned! When you call, ask for Dennis. Here's their WWW site (Stan, Pike)
St. Vincent's Guest House: 1507 Magazine St., (at Race) 504 302 9606. A great old building that dates to the civil war, was most recently a home of unwed mothers. This is a big old guest house best suited for the college student crowd. All kinds of inexpensive rooms, clean, but simple and a cut above a hostle. If its cold outside, be sure to request a space heater for your room. A great breakfast here however and they do take credit cards and have off street parking.
Columns Hotel: 3811 St. Charles, not a big place, but lots of Southern charm and interesting furnishings, off season, the rates are not too bad, the Pretty Baby Suite is only $230.00 a night and is a trip into the past. (See Bars section for more info) Call 504 899 9308 for reservations or look up their WWW site: Columns Hotel Current prices run from $128-$230 per night.(updated 8/08)
Hotel Villa Convento: 616 Ursulines St. in the Quarter, 504 522 1793. This funky old hotel, which used to be an apartment for Ursuline nuns, is not for everyone as its getting a little shopworn, but is popular with the young European set. A quiet neighborhood in the quarter near the Convent. Prices at 79.00-215.00 includes continental breakfast (which we passed on) they also have garaged, off street parking for $6.00 a day, although its 5 blocks away. check out their WWW site as the rate vary a great deal with the rooms. (updated 8/08)
The Hotel Royal : 1006 Rue Royal, 1-800-776-3901, Built in 1830 as a private residence, this elegant inn is only two blocks from Jackson Square and has bargain rates considering the location. Rates range from 95.00 for the courtyard to $165.00-200.00 for junior suites to master suites at $225.00 if you want a room facing the street its $300-350.00 for a balcony on Royal Street.
The Richelieu Hotel :, in the French Quarter, 1234 Chartres St. 504 524 8179 or toll free 800 535 9653, Our new favorite for a hotel if your looking for a nicer venure in the city. They like to say at the Richelieu that everyone who worked there is a concierge. Its in a quiet part of the French Quarter and has guarded off street parking.
Bywater B&B: 1026 Clouet St. in the Bywater. 504 944 8438 A delightful place, neat as a pin and decorated in all manner of local funk and interesting art. The owneer is charming in a local off beat way, but runs a tigh ship here. Better than average free breakfast and a very nice outdoor sitting area. A small place, only 4 or 5 rooms but it's priced right. Check out their WWW site: http://www.bywaterbnb.com/index/
(note on hotel prices, all prices are for non-Mardi Gras times, prices increase dramatically during Carnival and most places book a year in advance for Mardi Gras)
MISCELLANEOUS (Places, interesting stuff, more information)
"Well, we've eaten and its too early to start drinking, what do you want to do?"
Radio Station: WWOZ 90.7 FM, Old jazz and odd stuff, good in morning and late at night. A good source for finding out who is playing in town. A lot like KDHX in St. Louis in terms of crazy programming.
Steamboat Gothic Houses: St. Claude East across bridge to Egiana St., turn right go to the end, take a look. Best seen in daylight. (Pike & Stan)
K & B Plaza: St. Charles Ave. at Lee Circle; Sydney J. Bestoff the III (the B in K & B Pharmacies) collection. The sculpture plaza outside is free and open 24 hours. Inside on the 7 th floor is the indoor work and contemporary painting, everyone is friendly and doesn't seem to mind you wandering through. Closed during Mardi Gras. (Pike)
Fats Domino's House: See the home of a legend. Corner of Caffin and Marais. Look for the TV cameras and big Caddies and Buicks parked in front. (note, this is not an official tour, so don't ask to be let in) (flooded badly during Katrina and has been re-built, but not sure if Fat's is living there these days) (Stan & Pike)
A Gallery for Fine Photography: One of the best photo gallery's in the South, three floors of great contemporary photography. Always something interesting on the walls. 241 Chartres St. in the Quarter. Open Mon.-Sat. 10 am-6 pm and Sunday 11 am-5 pm. (Note, as of January 2003, they moved the gallery to Charters St.from their old digs on Royal) Call 504 568 1313 for information (Stan)
Audubon Zoo: On every map and a good zoo if you are into that sort of thing. Entry fee for adults $7.00. Claim to fame is the white alligator. If you are a member of the St. Louis Zoo, show your membership card and get in free. (Pike)
New Orleans Art Museum: Small but good selection, often interesting visiting shows pass through. Stan even has work in the permanent collection. In the City Park at the junction of Esplanade and Carrollton Ave. Entry fee $6.00; open Lundi Gras, Closed Mon. (Stan & Pike)
Le Mieux Gallery: 332 Julia Street, 504 522 5988. I am represented by the gallery, they do have a portfolio of my work on hand, so ask to see it if your in the area. They mostly represent a range of media from Louisiana and Gulf coast artists. Open Monday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm. (Stan)
Confederate Memorial Museum: 929 Camp Street, Uniforms, weapons, and personal effects of your civil war favorites. For history buffs only. $3.00 admission (Pike & Stan)
National D Day museum (now called the WW II Museum) 945 Magazine Street, (entrance on Andrew Higgins Drive) open 7 days a week 9:00am-5:00pm. From an overview of World War II's economic and political routes to the build-up and military mobilization of Allied Forces in the 17 D-Days around the world, the 70,500-square-foot museum presents a collection of personal stories, preserves important materials for research and scholarship. If you're into WWII history, this is a very well designed museum and a must see, recently expanded. Avoid the American Sector cafe, the food there is terrible and over priced (Stan, Pike)
Meyer the Hatter: 120 St. Charles, since 1894 the South's largest and only complete hatter, that about says it all. Buying a hat here is a very civilized experience, one you won't forget. (Stan & Pike)
Historic New Orleans Collection: In the French Quarter, on 533 Royal, down the block from the Gallery of Fine Photography. If you're into local history, this is the place. Often there are some good photo shows here that connect with local events. Stan has work in the collection from his Mardi Gras series. Open Tues-Sat. 10 am to 4:30 pm (Stan)
Aquarium of the Americas: A must see if you like fish. On the Riverfront, you can also take a riverboat to the zoo in conjunction. $7.00 to get in. (Kevin)
Algiers Ferry: Great way to see the city. Take the passenger ferry from New Orleans to the Algiers side of the river. Ferry is at the end of Canal St., near the Aquarium. The Staten Island Ferry of New Orleans.
Julia Street Galleries: Julia Street from Commerce to Camp; Get with the latest art scene in New Orleans, beginning at the new and truly ugly Radisson, this revitalized warehouse area is now home to some very interesting galleries. A good visit on a rainy afternoon. (Pike & Stan)
Gambino's Bakery: 200 Broadway; 861 0011, one of the really great bakeries to be found. Even by my East Coast snob standards a great canoli can be gotten here. The place for a traditional king cake. (Pike and Stan)
Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo: 739 Bourbon Street; 581 3751; Yeah, I know that it's a little like a junky tourist trap, but everyone still wants to know where it is. Just don't take it too seriously. As an aside, a recent poll showed that 15% of New Orleans residents believe in Voodoo. (Stan)
New Orleans Cemeteries: St. Louis #1 best, but can be very dangerous, don't go alone!! A good time is when "Haunted New Orleans" runs a tour group by, so there are lots of people around. Watch out for gangs of pre-teens checking out your hardware. St. Louis #2 is considered too dangerous to visit even in groups without an armed guard, I know one local photographer who only visits this one with an armed rent a cop!. I don't want to sound too paranoid, but this is a very bad part of town. I am also a big fan of St. Roch's, Lafayette #1 (where the vampire Lestat is buried), Metairie, Odd Fellows and Holt (the paupers cemetery), all of these are safe enough in even small groups. The Archdiocese is still a little sensitive about making commercial photos in their cemeteries after the Acid Trip scene in Easy Rider, (no fooling, they still mention it to me), so be sure to say that you are not a professional and there is no commercial value in your work and you are but a simple tourist. (Stan)
Here are a few addresses.
Cemetery tour: If prowling around the local cemeteries seems like too much, you can go on a tour, this is the only one I can recommend. Haunted History tour is well run and informative, but costs $20.00. If you go, ask for the tour run by Mr. Jones if you can. Call 504 861 2727 for info. They also run ghost, vampire, and voodoo tours, but I can only recommend the St. Louis cemetery tour. Go to their WWW site to get discount coupons.
French Quarter: Also known as Vieux Carre, it is the oldest part of the city, a wonderful mix of French and Spanish influences. Also a notorious tourist trap full of shops selling all manner of crap and misguided adventures. I can only recommend a few places to eat here, and less to purchase anything, outside a whopping hangover. Although Pike and I are getting a little tired of it all, it's still worth an afternoon walk. During Mardi Gras, however, this is the place where most of the truly crazy behavior happens, especially on Fat Tuesday. Watch yourself on the dark, un traveled streets at night around the fringes of the Quarter. Parking is difficult, especially during Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest . I have had best luck parking near the river to the East of the Quarter. Of note, the places to see in the Quarter are Jackson Square Park, the St. Louis Cathedral, U.S. Mint Building with the Jazz and Carnival Museum and for those interested in drug history, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. (Stan)
French Marketplace: They actually sell food here, but most people go for the junky souvenirs and knock off designer stuff, and they are usually cheaper here than elsewhere in the Quarter. One of the few public toilets in the city. Don't bother to buy hot sauce, Zaps Chips or local New Orleans coffee, go to the supermarket, its much, much cheaper, recently rennovated and its a nice place to visit, particularly if its raining and you need something to do.
Martin Wine Cellar: 3827 Baronne St. 899-7411 (between Gen. Taylor and Peniston, 2 blocks off Lakeside of St. Charles) This is the place to find a good bottle of Sauvignon Blanc on sale for $2.99 or $188.00 Bordeaux. A tremendous selection of wines, beers and liquors. They also have a good deli. (Pike & Kevin)
Chief Menteur Highway: Take this road for an interesting afternoon drive toward the Gulf. This must be the place where old Peterbuilt trucks go to die. (Stan)
Fort Pike: 10 miles East of the City on the Chef Menteur Highway, early 19 th century fort with wonderful brickwork and catacombs, heavily damaged by Katrina and I'm not sure how much of it is open ot the public. (Pike)
Avery Island: Home of the famous Tabasco hot sauce. About a 2 hour drive from New Orleans. Closed on Sunday. (Pike)
Lafayette: Although a ways away from New Orleans, you can do this in a day if you get an early start. Lots to see here in Cajun Country. For one of the best swamp tours, call Marcus de la Houssaye who is located outside Lafayette and do tours of Lake Martin. He specializes in photo and ecotours, call 337 298 2630 for information and reservations (which are recommended), They even have a WWW site: www.delahoussayes.com
River Plantation Tour: It is said that before the Civil War, half of Americas millionaires lived on plantations along the lower Mississippi River. The St. Francisville area, located below Natchez and above Baton Rouge, was one of the South's wealthiest areas, and many of their homes remain intact.
Here are a few:
Crime and Punishment:
Let me start by saying that I love New Orleans, its a wonderful place and I have met some really great people here. One of the negative aspects of the city is the high crime rate however. New Orleans is every bit as dangerous as Detroit (or more so) in terms of street crime, but without the Big City paranoia. There is a very laid back attitude toward it that often catches outsiders with their guard down. Car break-in's are very popular so leave nothing, not even small change in sight. Be very careful in the cemeteries in particular and in the areas surrounding the French Quarter and Armstrong Park. There is also a concealed gun law here and it seems like way too many people carry guns.It is also one of the most dangerous cities in the USA. In 2011, they set a record for a city of its size, 209 murders, which ranked NOLA most murders per capita in the USA. (the NOPD say not to worry, most of the victims were drug related, and 80% had previous felony convictions). In 2013 the rate dropped 20% to 155, but its still a crazy place. In addition to the usual street crime watch out for the following scams. A person, often a teenager or pre teen will approach you and say "I'll bet you $20.00 I know where you got them shoes". You think how could this kid know where I bought these shoes, and he says "on your feet on Boubon Street". If you don't pay off there is an ugly scene. Another is someone who offers to take you "where the action is", this ends up being an alley where you get mugged. Pick pockets and bag snatching is also a popular enterprise. Watch you bag when in an outdoor cafe or bar. If you look a like a drunken victim, you'll end up being one. Be aware of your surroundings. My favorite admonition given by locals is: "Park in front, or take a cab"
Watch out for the flashing lights that mark the school zones in the morning and afternoon. It's really 20 mph here and the cops take it very seriously. A new addition are red light and speed cameras, you never know until you get the $100 ticket in the mail. The cops are usually not much help. In some cases, they are worse than the crooks. I always seem to get crossed up with the motorcycle cops, and they are not very user friendly. The former District Attorney here, Eddie Jordan, said the corruption runs deep and wide through the department- "pervasive, rampant, systemic", and having said that quote, he was run out of office in 2007-for good reason. There is some hope, a new police superintendent was hired and he has vowed to clean up the force. Never the less, when a cop tells you to move along, the only answer is "Yes Sir". The cops are generally overworked and underpaid and as a result you need to give them a certain degree of "respect" even if you think they don't deserve it. Unfortunately, Rodney King happens on a regular basis here.
List compiled by Stan Strembicki, Professor of Photography and Professor Jeff Pike of the School of Art at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. Special appreciation to The Green Bay Party Girls who helped me discover the backwaters and byways of the Crescent City, no one could ask for better co-pilots. Grateful thanks to our local tour guides Kevin Barre, Arthur and Caroline Nead for their insiders information and of course "The Annex". Also thanks to Jimmy & Marie (my home away from home), Jennifer F (for her e mail advice) and new friends made along the trail. Last but not least, thanks to Eric Liu, who came to NOLA with me for my first Mardi Gras. Not responsible for prices, muggings, directions, knuckleheaded opinions, bad spelling or anything not found to be completely accurate. If your Mama is a lawyer, this is not an offical site of Washington University or the School of Art at the SamFox School.