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Taking a trip to the Big Easy. Recommendations for interesting diversions?
Posted by: davester
Date: April 09, 2010 12:12AM
I'm heading for New Orleans French Quarter next week. It'll be me, my wife (attending a convention), my teenage son, and a sister and brother in law meeting up with us there. I love music (jazz, blues, whatever), good food, interesting cultural experiences, the outdoors, historical stuff, etc.. I went there once before and had a great time...loved the music in the streets, Preservation Hall Jazz Band etc (didn't like the tawdry Bourbon Street mess too much though). Does anybody have some advice on things to check out and do other than what I can see wandering around the quarter?

I'd also like to maintain my fitness by renting a bike and doing some lengthy (30+ mile) rides, but looking at the terrain it doesn't look to hopeful. Suggestions would be nice though.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2010 12:14AM by davester.
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Re: Taking a trip to the Big Easy. Recommendations for interesting diversions?
Posted by: Bo
Date: April 09, 2010 12:26AM
I used to go down a lot for business and on one of my trips I did one of the swamp tours. I was pretty blown away by how cool it was. We were a little early in the season for alligators (I think it was about this time of year actually) but there were lots of snakes and other critters. There are several companies that run them and I'm not sure which I used, but they come pick you up at your hotel in the morning and drop you back in the afternoon. It was a lot of fun!

-Bo

Edit: I think this is who I went through and they were great! www.honeyislandswamp.com



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/09/2010 12:38AM by Bo.
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Re: Taking a trip to the Big Easy. Recommendations for interesting diversions?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: April 09, 2010 01:00AM
send Peter B a PM. He lives there. And breeds mutant hampsters who are destined to take over the world.......

So, just bow down to your hamster overlords, and get in to the inner circle.
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Re: Taking a trip to the Big Easy. Recommendations for interesting diversions?
Posted by: M>B>
Date: April 09, 2010 01:03AM
Go for the CZ music ( Cajun Zydeco ) !

Geno Delafose...

[genodelafose.net]

Savoy Family Band...

[www.savoymusiccenter.com]

&

[web.lsue.edu]

You might have to rent a car or take a tour to get out the NO stich of the local music and go for the gold of the NW Parishes.

Any time while driving around rural area and you see a hand painted sign that says crab/shrimp feed or music, take the turnout!

PS. Youtube these groups or what ever your are interested in!
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Re: Taking a trip to the Big Easy. Recommendations for interesting diversions?
Posted by: PeterB
Date: April 09, 2010 01:26AM
Actually I've barely seen any of this city, thanks to work

(And no, the mutant hamsters are not taking over the world. I did just have three litters though, they're very cute and I got some very interesting colors this time around.)




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Taking a trip to the Big Easy. Recommendations for interesting diversions?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: April 09, 2010 01:45AM
Bring beads.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Taking a trip to the Big Easy. Recommendations for interesting diversions?
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: April 09, 2010 06:20AM
Well, Zoidberg is the actual expert (having lived there), but I've spent so much time in NOLA over the years, for a while there I was worried about getting a property tax bill. So here goes:

For music, I HIGHLY reccommend checking the lineup at Snug Harbor (http://www.snugjazz.com/site/). If you're very lucky, your trip will coincide with one of Ellis Marsalis's performances. One word: GO. Buying tickets beforehand and showing up early strongly suggested.

For food, I'm sorry to say that I suggest avoiding most of the Brennan's restaurants. They just ain't what they used to be; the younger generation of Brennans haven't kept the quality up. You should also avoid the Quarter tourist traps like Acme Oyster House. Dominiques's in the Maison Dupuay (sp?) was one of my favorites in the Quarter, but I haven' t been back in several years.

I personally prefer to get out of the Quarter and go Uptown, along St. Charles in the Garden and university (Tulane/Loyola) areas (also a good starting leg for your bike ride, but watch the areas you ride into past Carrolton Ave.). Some dining suggestions:

Clancy's ($$$-$$$$, reservations, but not a snooty place)
Upperline ($$$, reservations, very laid-back, GREAT food)
Pascale's Manale ($, but just for the oyster bar, restaurant not that great)
Dick & Jenny's ($$$, small, no reservations, be prepared to wait)
Camelia Grill ($, best diner in the world, go for breakfast)
Cooter Brown's ($, sandwiches, gobsmacking beer selection)

Have fun. You're going before the place becomes entirely too stinking hot, so good call there.
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Re: Taking a trip to the Big Easy. Recommendations for interesting diversions?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: April 09, 2010 08:02AM
I enjoyed the fringes of the Quarter, like Frenchmen St. and the area surrounding.

there is a great little music club in a house (or there was some years ago) closer to the Garden district. Sadly, I don't remember the name but I'll do some searching.

If you like Cajun or Zydeco, try to catch some or get out of town to the Bayou and go hear it in situ.
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Re: Taking a trip to the Big Easy. Recommendations for interesting diversions?
Posted by: flareslow
Date: April 09, 2010 08:42AM
This might give some ideas:
Gambit

Crawfish are coming into season, so don't miss out. If you want to bicycle, start on the Trace (old rail line, now paved for bikes) in Slidell, ride to Abita Springs for lunch (with plenty of Abita Beer) and work it off on the ride back. New Orleans isn't very bike friendly right now with all the levee construction underway. (Levees do more than hold back the river/lake. They make great bike/jogging paths.)

Mike
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Re: Taking a trip to the Big Easy. Recommendations for interesting diversions?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: April 09, 2010 09:16AM
If you like museums the National WWII museum is outstanding. I spent a day there but could have easily spent 1 or 2 more:
[www.nationalww2museum.org]



JoeM
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Re: Taking a trip to the Big Easy. Recommendations for interesting diversions?
Posted by: davester
Date: April 09, 2010 09:34AM
OK, keep those ideas coming. I like the swamp tour idea and need to find some good zydeco music. So, where "on the bayou" would be a good place to hear some good zydeco and eat some good cajun food?



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Taking a trip to the Big Easy. Recommendations for interesting diversions?
Posted by: Todd's keyboard
Date: April 09, 2010 09:34AM
Second vote for the Camellia Grill.

[www.camelliagrill.net]#


In town: a visit to Monkey Hill (an artificial hill in Audobon Park, some say it's the highest point in New Orleans)


A bit out of town: Laura Plantation (a Creole plantation)

[www.lauraplantation.com]

Todd's keyboard
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Re: Taking a trip to the Big Easy. Recommendations for interesting diversions?
Posted by: Rain
Date: April 10, 2010 12:59PM
Yes, Ralph would be a good one to ask.. Seems those of us who have lived there (or lived nearby) rarely get out and do things "visitors" do, so we aren't always the best ones to ask.. Tons of info on the web though!

My company is currently installing an audio and lighting system in a venue on Bourbon Street so Im there a few days a week checking on the crew, the progress, or putting gear in myself.

The Aquarium and the Insectarium:
[www.auduboninstitute.org]
[www.auduboninstitute.org]

Our kids love walking down Decatur, Royal, and the Riverwalk. Jackson Square too. Susan always has to have the garlic pizza at the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen which is on the far end of the French Market.

Although I see families on Bourbon Street all the time, I don't find it a suitable place to visit with kids. The area hotels are tied in with local ghost tours, swamp tours, cemetery tours, vampire tours, etc. Check with them as well. And I'd imagine coupons galore are available online as well.



[www.reverbnation.com]

Thanks for everyone's help and support after Hurricane Katrina!
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