10 Things Guys Should Know When Traveling to New Orleans
1. The Big Easy’s reputation clearly makers it an option for a trips with your bros, but let me rattle off some details for ya. You’ve got a fun drinking scene and that includes many a place outside of the over-hyped Bourbon Street. You’ve got some of the best food in the country with everything from comfort food to high end stuff. You’ve got a casino, which is never a bad idea. The music scene is focused on jazz, but opens itself up to other types for the occasional music festival. And oh yeah, there are those things called strip clubs too…
2. New Orleans is another city where the weather won’t affect your enjoyment of the city (outside of the obvious hurricane). The best time to enjoy it is probably in the spring. Everyone know about Mardi Gras there, but it’s almost too crowded during that week. It’s probably something you need to experience once in your life just to say you did it. It’s a party scene for young and old which lives up to the hype because you can drink at all times of the day. There are no restrictions against drinking on the street in New Orleans so you’ll be rolling around all day with your cocktail whether you’re paying attention to the parades or not. You’ll definitely be paying attention to the tits once you hit Bourbon Street. A secret of the pros is to bring your own beads down there so you don’t get ripped off buying them while there. Girls will do almost anything for a nice, higher-end set of beads.
3. While you miss out on seeing your share of naked tits if you pass on Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street becomes so much easier to manage. You won’t get swept up in a ridiculous wave near the opening (yes – an actual wave, you literally can’t cross the street without being moved a block or two down before getting to the other side) and getting into bars is a bit easier. Jazz Fest usually occurs in late April or early May, prime time to be in the city, and it’ll be busy enough without being insane. The good thing about Jazz Fest is that it’s not just about Jazz anymore. Dave Matthews and The Black Keys are two examples of how the festival has gone more mainstream in recent year.
4. There are obviously plenty of other little reasons to check out New Orleans. A national championship football game, a Final Four, or a Super Bowl is another good excuse to make the trip. You probably won’t find a better city to host that kind of event. Tails of the Cocktail is a burgeoning event that has really exploded in the last four or five years. Members of the liquor community ascend on the town for a week-long festival with seminars, awards, parties, and a whole host of other stuff. It’s open to the public. All you have to do is throw down for a ticket. The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience is an excuse for a food-focused individual to make the trip.
5. Since it’s a major city, you’re better off finding a hotel in New Orleans than looking into an apartment or house rental. You can stay in the French Quarter, but a block or two off Bourbon Street is best so that you can actually get some sleep when you need it. With every major chain like Westin, Crowne Plaza, JW Marriott, etc., you won’t lack for options. If you’re looking for something a little more specific to New Orleans, check out the Hotel Monteleone (the one with the Carousel bar) and you can never go wrong with The Roosevelt if you wanna throw down some serious cash.
6. The atmosphere inside the Superdome is unlike any other sporting event experience when the Saints are good. As you saw after Hurricane Katrina, the locals really rally behind their football team and are invested 100%. (Who dat?) It’s been helpful that the team has been good in recent years, but thankfully ticket prices even on the secondary market are still affordable because of the nature of the city. You can also catch a Pelicans game (remember the Hornets changed their name?) while you’re in town, but it’s not as memorable an experience to what you’ll get from the NFL.
7. The food is New Orleans is also top notch and you don’t need to break the bank to get it. Acme Oyster House and Felix’s in the French quarter are two places that should be on the itinerary if you’re looking to throw down with some oysters. (A piece of Pecan Pie at Felix’s is also one of the city’s more well-known desserts.) Central Grocery has the original muffuletta sandwich, but don’t order a whole one if you’re only eating by yourself. A quarter will do. Johnny’s Po-Boys will get you your po-box fix if you don’t mind waiting on a little bit of a line. Mahony’s Po Boys is worth the trip for a better po-boy if you’re ok with leaving the French Quarter to head to the Garden District. Coops Place is where you need to roll for jambalaya (they do a good po-boy too, even if it’s later in the evening after a few drinks. And you can’t forget the beignets at Café Du Monde. Slim Goodies diner will help you cure the hangover in the morning with a killer breakfast.
8. There are also plenty of places to go to if you’re willing to spend some money. Any Donald Link restaurant will leave you feeling very content and satisfied. Personally I prefer Cochon, where you can get anything pig-related and it will be fantastic. You will not be disappointed whether it’s pork ribs, smoked ham, fried boudin balls, or cochon itself. Jon Besh is also one of the better restaurateurs in town with Restaurant August being the preferred choice. They change the menu constantly, so there’s no staple that can be recommended, but you’ll enjoy whatever you eat. Obviously you have the original Emeril’s in New Orleans, where you might catch a celebrity sighting. (Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth eat there when they’re in town.) Royal House Oyster bar serves up some mighty fine char-broiled oysters and crab claws. Sucre in the Garden District is mint for a good dessert. (Get any of the Big Awesome cookies.)
9. You obviously won’t have much trouble finding bars on Bourbon Street. Whether it be doing hurricanes at Pat O’Briens or a 190 Octane Antifreeze while walking the streets, getting drunk is not a hard thing to accomplish. Tropical Isle is the home of the legendary hand grenade. Beach on Bourbon at the beginning of the strip has one of the biggest dance floors to pick up drunk chicks. Razoo Bar & Patio has the indoor/outdoor thing working with a crowded dance floor for pulling hands or the patio area to do shots with a friendly coed. Bourbon Heat is a couple block down with a better dance floor on the second level. They’ll even crank out some house tunes. You’ll enjoy the experience regardless of where you stumble into.
10. If you’re willing to leave Bourbon Street for a little while (and you should be), there are plenty of enjoyable bars to experience. Lafitte’s Blacksmith is all the way down on Bourbon Street, but is on this list because it’s a completely different experience. It’s supposedly the oldest bar in the country and is known for its hurricanes, as you’d expect in this town. Jackson Brewery provides a nice patio along the water to enjoy some drinks outside. The aforementioned Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone has a great Bloody Mary and Sazerac. Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel tells you what to order in the name, but the Gin Fizz is an option as well. Frenchman Street provides numerous bars with live music. Jump from one to the next to take in the experience, but make sure you stop in at DBA.