Like Austin, New Orleans did not disappoint us. It’s a great mix of cultures with a lot of history, live music, drinking and good food. We spent most of our time in the French Quarter and Bywater, the area we were staying at. The French Quarter is very lively with music everywhere, everyday. Some bars are open 24/7. Bywater was a bit more neighborhoody, with some very nice places to eat and divey bars. We enjoyed both areas in different ways. We stayed for almost one full week so we’ll just go through our favourite places.
We found the architecture to be beautiful in NOLA (New Orleans Lousiana), despite the still visible damages from hurricane Katrina. That storm really left a mark on the city, especially on the poorer areas.
One awesome place to visit in the French Quarter is the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. It is an old pharmacy from mid to late 19th century, filled with old tools, bottles and medical supply. The second floor is a self guided exhibit with plenty to read. The first floor is guided by the owner. He talks for an hour about historical context and practice of medicine in those times. He was very funny and sarcastic while delivering a lot of interesting information.
A cool street for live music is Frenchmen street. Less crowded than Bourbon street, better bars and better music. We saw a brilliant Jazz gig at the Spotted Cat Music Club. The band was called Doro Wat. That same night, we had good food at Dat Dog around the corner, a Star Wars themed hot-dog joint. On our last day in NOLA, we returned and stopped by the Apple Barrel where we saw the Eh La Bas Trio, great music.
The Always Lounge just out of the French Quarter, is a cabaret type bar that offers free dancing lessons, a cabaret show and live music. We had a great Sunday night there, the place has a lot of character, drinks were inexpensive and people very friendly.
In Bywater, there is a zone called the “Bar-muda Triangle”. It’s a bunch of dive bars that are all a couple of blocks from each other. Our favourite was definitely Bar Redux. We attended a Loup Garou film festival one night, even though the film we saw was crap and completely unrelated to werewolves. Meh. Anyways, it’s a nice local bar with good drinks and good food. The Sneaky Pickle is a cheap restaurant that serves great vegetarian food in the same area. Another bar we liked was St Roch tavern, where we met with a friend from Vancouver that happened to be in NOLA at the same time. We learned how to play a dice game and gambled a few bucks.
We loved Cajun food and music, as well as New Orleans beautiful old architecture. It was mysterious, welcoming and we kinda fell in love with the city. We hope to see it again someday…