New Orleans   April 2009

On our quest to single handedly simulate the economy by tourism we traveled down to New Orleans to see the famous Bourbon Street Bars and see the city.  While we didn't get out of the French Quarter to see the city much, we did see some Bars, and some bars, and some bars.  It's a bar, there is music and dancing.  What more do you need to know?  Louise and I are really not into the bar hopping scene, but when in Rome.  Glad we went.  We do like music, drinking, dancing and people watching, and Bourbon Street definitely has all of those.  If the only music you like is top 40 and the only drink you like is beer or wine, this is not the place for you.  You can find both for much cheaper and closer to your house.  If on the other hand you like lots of different types of music and a range of different drinks, this might be the place your looking for.

Weather wise, April is a great time of year to visit.  Don't bother with a rental car, driving in the French Quarter would be horrible and some hotels will charge you and arm and a leg to park.  Can you say $30 a night?  We split the days with shopping on Royal Street with some sightseeing in Jackson square followed by bar hoping on Bourbon Street at night. 

The experience that sums up the trip would be this.  I'm walking back to the hotel at 3am after our last night on Bourbon street and a person in a full bunny rabbit suit walks out of the hotel door, runs over to give me a big hug and then hops away.  I'm thinking that in no other city in the world would this happen AFTER I had sobered up. (Really.  It's to hard to make this stuff up).

Not a lot of pictures this trip, low light and bars make poor photos with a small digital camera but I included a couple that came out enough to get a feel for the place and stole a couple more from the owner web sites.


Hotel Monteleone
Very nice hotel, killer location, but expensive.  Unless they had another deal I would probably find another  place as we spent almost no time in our room on this trip. 

Carousel Bar inside the hotel
The bar makes one complete turn every 15 minutes.  The only bar where your in trouble if the room STOPS spinning.  The bartender here introduced me to a new drink the Sazerc. Rye Whiskey and Absinthe.  An acquired taste, something like black liquorice and grain alcohol.  YMMV(Your Millage May Vary) but I liked it.

hotel_inside_t.jpg hotel_bar_t.jpg

Bourbon Street

I was warned ahead of time about the bars not being the cleanest places, but I was surprised that while a lot of soap and water could improve things they were really not as seedy as I expected.  It could be that we were in the prime tourist area so it's hard to say.  The average age was also much older that I expected at about 35-45 being the norm.  This also could just be the before midnight crowd.  What's great (at least to me) is that the nightlife starts early with the drinking at 6pm and bands staring at 8pm.  By 10pm they were in full swing even on a Thursday night.  After three nights of 6pm-2pm I felt like I had run a marathon. Lol.

Drinks are expensive at 7-10 each even for bottled beer.  The deals are the 2 for 1's and 3 for 1's till about 8pm. Side note: when they say 3 for 1, it might not be 3 drinks for 1, it might be 3 shots for the price of 1 shot. YMMV.

Some highlights from the 100 block to the 700 block

Rodeo Saloon or Bourbon Saloon
        Country Music, Karaoke bar
        People watching and karaoke just seem to go together

La Bayou
        Good food, excellent craw fish cakes and fried shrimp.  A view right onto Bourbon Street.

Blues Club
        Blues, Live Band
        It's what the nameimplies. The $6 lemon drop seemed like a good drink deal in comparison.

BourbonRocks ****TopPick
        80s and 90s, Sometimes a Live Band
        One of our two favorite places.  The club is indoor/outdoor so if really loud music is not you thing you can sit
        In the outdoor section and still watch the band. Just ask if they have a live band. We had one on Thursday
        night and it was great.  I don't know what happened Friday and Saturday and it was just a DJ.

Coco Club
        Blues, Live Band
        Saw the most non stereotypical Blues piano player you can imagine.  An Asian lady that was incredible.

Royal Sonesta, Desire
        Hotel and Restaurant
        Good good and the hotel looks top notch.  Be aware that most of the restaurants close at 12 so if you want some food late at night your choices will be limited after midnight.

Legends Park
        Traditional Jazz, Live Band
        Nice outdoor seating area,no cover.

        Walked in here by accident

        This was an accident also, really

        I thought it was a knife store. Your not believing this are you?

Famous Door ****TopPick
        Cover Bands 70's80's, Live Band
        Style depends on the Band
        Our favorite Club.  The band was incredible and If I ever wanted to know what Boston sounded like when they were playing small clubs, now I know. I guess its another YMMV depending on the band, but I'd go back.

Ragin Cajun
        Restaurant / Bar
        Had some alligator sausage and a ‘swap water', not bad

Court of Two Sisters
        Best meal of the trip. That being said, it aint cheap.

Pat Obrien's
        Bar and Piano Bar
        The Hurricane is the drink and place is clean.  We didn't stay long at the piano bar as that is the one thing that Raleigh actually has.

Fritzel's Jazz Club
        Traditional Jazz, Live Band
        When they say old school, they mean it.  I think the description "hole in the wall" was coined after a visit here.
        Don't miss it, but don't feel bad if you only stay for a song or two.

Royal Street

Bourbon Street is wall to wall bars for 8 blocks.  Royal Street is the counter part with Shops.  The majority are art and antique shops but with this many there is quite a lot of variation. Some of my favorites are below.

Gallery of Light
      Similar to a Thomas Kincade gallery but with multiple artists.  I loved the “open window” painting and the website just doesn't due them justice. Note: There is definitely something to be said about proper lighting of your artwork.

MS Rau Antiques
     The high end store. It is soooo much bigger than it looks on the outside. I don't think I've ever seen a $300,000 knife and fork set before.

Painted Alive
     You've seen them before trust me. Its where they paint the neked people up to look like part of the wall or such, or do the 'paint on bikinis'. Its an art gallery where they sell some of the pictureshe makes after the painting. Nifty.

Pen and Plume
     If you always wanted a wax seal kit with a stamp for your name or a really expensive fountain pen,this is the place.

galleryoflight msrau painted-alive


St Louis Cemetery Number One
     The graves are above ground due to a high water table or custom.  Either way its very interesting. Side Note: we walked over and just wandered around. We were told by the hotel it was not safe and to go without a guide but there were so many tourist over there and along the way we never noticed. YMMV.

Café Du Monde, Beignets
     Yep they are tasty, but the place is a mad house to get a table and service.  And after 50 years you think they would have found a way to keep the floor clean.

The Market Cafe and Live Music
     We were wandering around in the market shops and saw the band playing so we sat down for a drink and some music. This is what vacation is all about.

Jackson Square
     Local artists from wall to wall.A different style every 20'. The local artists come and sell their art on the sidewalks.  If you don't like one persons style just walk down a ways and there will be something you like

Carriage Ride
     Good prices for a quick tour at only $12 a person

Street Performers
    And on every corner there are street performers. Magicians, Musicians, and even a guy with a snake