I got this email from our assistant director in the library system where I work. His name is Greg Bodin and he used to live in New Orleans and really knows all about where to eat drink and what to see in New Orleans. This list was really good so I thought I would share it with more than just our staff.
These are just a few recommendations. Having been to many conferences, one never really has time to see lots of things but I suggest these as worth your time while visiting New Orleans. Of course, please contact me if you have questions or would like other recommendations.
Things to see
The conference takes place at the Convention Center, which is in the Warehouse District. The Warehouse District is adjacent to the French Quarter, the Garden District, the Central Business District and Uptown. Lots of things are walking distance or an easy cab ride. I indicate if things are a bit farther afield. Below are things I enjoy.
Contemporary Arts Center
This is New Orleans’ main museum for contemporary art – also a really cool space.
World War II Museum
A really great museum – even if you aren’t a history buff.
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
This is one of my favorites – it is a collection of traditional and contemporary art from throughout the South.
This is the center of the City. While New Orleans is a very French city, it’s design and architecture reflects it’s time as a Spanish colonial city. Jackson Square is reminiscent of the plazas and zocolos in Latin American counties. Central to the square is St. Louis Cathedral. The Cathedral is flanked by the Prebytere (originally a residence for the Bishop) and the Cabildo (originally the main government building). On either side of the square are the Pontalba Apartments. All of these are worth a visit.
Directly in front of Jackson Square, the Moonwalk is an elevated walkway along the
You get a great view of the Mississippi and a pleasant walk that can take you from Jackson Square back to the Convention Center.
The Algiers Ferry connects downtown New Orleans to the Algiers neighborhood across the Mississippi River. The Ferry is free for pedestrians and is a great way to experience the River.
A stroll on Royal Street is a lovely way to see beautiful architecture and do a bit of window shopping. Royal Street is the traditional shopping street in the French Quarter and is filled with art galleries and antique stores. Check out the beautiful Supreme Court Building on the walk.
Bourbon Street is best experienced in the evening. Even if you are a teetotaler it is worth checking out the spectacle. If you aren’t a teetotaler there are plenty of places to quench your thirst. Be warned that Bourbon Street gets touristy. If you want to go where the locals go, head to Pat O’Brien’s.
Historic New Orleans Collection
A wonderful little gem of a museum, archive and library. This is one of the principle repositories for historic New Orleans documents, ephemera, books, etc. I highly recommend it.
St. Charles Streetcar
The oldest continually operating streetcar in the county. Both locals and tourists use and love the streetcar. I highly recommend getting on Downtown and heading Uptown for a ride. Warning: it isn’t air conditioned.
This is the main shopping street for Uptown New Orleans. It is really long and filled with lots of cool stores and restaurants, ranging from funky to high-end.
One of the most beautiful parks and zoos in the country. You can also take a boat from the French Quarter to the Zoo and get a ride on the Mississippi River.
New Orleans Public Library: Latter Branch
Sadly, the New Orleans Public Library is a poorly funded institution that has suffered from years of neglect. Visiting New Orleans Public libraries will make you realize how lucky we are at the San Mateo County Library. However, a visit to the Latter Branch is always a treat. The branch is located in a beautiful old mansion in Uptown New Orleans.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
A great bar for ambiance. The building is one of the oldest in New Orleans.
Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone
A fun bar in a beautiful old New Orleans hotel.
This is one of my favorites in the French Quarter. You can’t beat the ambiance. Order a Pimm’s Cup.
This is where the locals hang out (as opposed to Bourbon Street). Lots of clubs and bars and lots of good live local music. Frenchman Street is located just outside of the French Quarter.
There are two parts of Decatur Street – the upper part near Canal Street which is touristy and filled with tacky t-shirt shops. The lower part near Esplanade has numerous bars that are lots of fun and definitely funky. Molly’s on the Market and Coop’s are my favorites.
The Columns Hotel
A beautiful, old hotel on St. Charles Avenue. Have a drink on the front porch.
Really good New Orleans cooking that is walking distance from the Convention Center.
This was Emeril Lagasse’s first restaurant in New Orleans and it is still a great place to visit.
My favorite Cajun restaurant in New Orleans.
Café du Monde
An absolute must-see. The place to get coffee and beignets (French doughnuts). Great any time of the day or night. Filled with tourists but worth the experience.
A take-out sandwich place. They invented the muffaletta sandwich.
Emeril’s French Quarter restaurant.
Really good food – kinda pricey but worth it.
Really good food – Stella’s cheaper sister restaurant.
A beautiful restaurant on Jackson Square in the French Quarter.
Kind of a dump but really good food. One of my faves.
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