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NOLA - proposed itinerary

I will be visiting with my husband, brother in law and sister in law from Oct 11-15 and would appreciate feedback on the itinerary I have planned so far. It is ambitious but tentative. Aside from things that we have to reserve in advance, if we are enjoying something or are too tired then I am going to go with the flow. I also want to leave room for shows that haven’t been announced yet and Halloween related things to do that might come up later.

I was there for the first time last year so have a decent sense of what’s where and how far apart places are from each other. The rest of the group are first timers.

Wed Oct 11: arrival day
- Plane lands at 4:30, cab to Hotel Provincial for ? 5:30 (planning to do carry on)
- Cocktail at Molly’s, Napolean House, Lafitte’s or Pat O’Brien’s
- Wander French Market, Jackson Square, St Louis
- dinner at Muriel’s at 2000
- show: jazz/burlesque or carriage ride

Thurs Oct 12:
- Brunch at Court of Two Sisters at 9:00
- Wander FQ, Royal Street
- Cab to Magazine and Canal to meet for Creole Orleans ebike tour with Buzz Nola at 1:45 – 4:45
- Late lunch at Killer Po Boys or Napolean’s or café Maspero
- Chill at hotel pool or visit French Market
- Dinner at Coops, Café Sbisa, Port of Call or Marigny Brasserie
- Possibly see the Van Ella Bordella at Allways at 8:00
- Frenchman street (Three Muses, Spotted Cat, Le Maison)

Fri Oct 13:
- Hubby to pick up rental car at Canal and Rampart and then meet group for quick breakfast at Croissant D’Or
- Drive to Whitney plantation for noon, tour until 2:00
- Lunch at B & C Seafood
- Drive to Slidell for 5:00 swamp tour
- Dinner at Port of Call or Dooky Chase
- Soul Rebels at Tipitina’s at 9:00 vs walking around the FQ/Frenchman seeing as it’s Friday the 13th a few weeks before Halloween

Sat Oct 14:
- Return rental car for 9:00
- Breakfast at Fleur de Lis
- St Charles streetcar to GD for self guided walk
- Ghost Manor, lunch at either Parasol’s, Turkey and the Wolf then shopping between Second and Felicity
- Magazine bus # 11 to Lafeyette square for blues fest (may have lunch here instead)
- Back to hotel to chill at pool
- Dinner at TBD
- Van Ella Bordella at 7:00 if not seen already vs haunted walk

Sun Oct 15:
I really wanted to visit the WW2 museum last time I was there but none of the others in our group are interested. Also, there is a second line starting at 1:00 that I would LOVE to see. Our flight leaves at 5 pm so thinking we should be in a cab to the airport by 2:30 at the latest.
If I do the WW2 museum, we would grab a quicker breakfast somewhere like French Toast and the others could go to the Sazerac House, Mardi Gras World, aquarium, Southern Food and Beverage Museum, or go shopping at Canal Place.
If I don’t do the museum, thinking we’d have brunch at Elizabeth’s, visit Dr Bob’s and/or Studio Be before the second line.

Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts on what is likely to work and what isn’t.

Posted by
4 posts

The WWII museum is awesome and highly recommend. However I will warn you that you could spend an entire day there.
The New Orleans Museum of Art is very nice and you can take a streetcar there and back.
A cemetery tour can be interesting if you like that sort of thing (I do), we did Lafayette Cemetery #1, New Orleans where Interview with a Vampire had a scene filmed.

Posted by
78 posts

The WWII Museum is amazing. You could literally spend 2 days there. I don't usually like museums about wars, etc but really it is an amazing museum and I highly recommend it. My family also enjoyed Mardi Gras World.

Posted by
345 posts

Thanks, Jeannie and sspencer. The WW2 muséum look like an incredibly well done and unique museum. I think the in laws would be missing out for sure. Just hesitant to try and squeeze it in instead of soaking it in. The upside to skipping it would be a reason to go back again. I love that city and would go every year if I could.

The museum of art was also nixed from my list by the in laws. I went to the sculpture garden last time and had really wanted to go inside and see it but my daughter wasn’t interested. I may just have to go back by myself next time :)

We live visiting old cemeteries too. Père Lachaise and Bonaventure are our favourites so far. We went to the one by City Park last time (? St.Louis #3 I think) and will visit one on the bike tour.

Thanks for your input.

Posted by
5168 posts

You might consider visiting the Backstreet Cultural Museum in Treme, which is simply amazing. After the owner died, it moved to a larger space, which is good as the area where it used to be was a little sketchy. The costumes exhibited there are breathtaking – it's hard to believe how many hours of work went into the making of these beautiful pieces. It's worth going just to see these alone.

And I would also give a shout out to Bayonna, which is one of the best restaurants I have ever been to. Susan Spicer is an amazing chef and her dishes just make you want to weep with joy. :)

Posted by
641 posts

What Mardee said. The Backstreet Cultural Museum is a must any time I am in New Orleans. Not sure what it's like since Mr. Francis died, but they used to be incredibly generous about sharing info about when and where for jazz funerals and second lines.

You can't go wrong with food in Nola. Some favorites:

  • Napoleon House
  • Gumbo Shop (yes, it's touristy, but they have a jambalaya, shrimp creole and étouffée combo so that I don't have to pick which one I want for my first meal upon arrival)
  • Central Grocery - best spot for muffalettas
  • Port of Call makes amazing hamburgers. Be forewarned: their drinks are lethal (but good).
  • Mandinas
  • Anything sold off the back of a pickup truck (especially in poorer neighborhoods -- "ghetto" burgers, pork chop sandwiches, cakes, desserts .... it's all good)

For higher end options (which I am too cheap to do most of the time)
* Bayona, as Mardee suggested
* Tujagues

I am not sure what Dookie Chase is like since Leah Chase died.

Music-wise, I would try to catch either Kermit Ruffins or Glen David Andrews. Preservation Hall is touristy, but the music is always solid.

Posted by
3713 posts

I spent 2 days at WWII Museum... save for a future trip!

Posted by
4376 posts

If you are interested in hearing authentic New Orleans music, check out Preservation Hall. No food or drinks, just real music played by those trying to save the musical heritage of the city. You'll have to get there early to get in line, and you'll probably have to sit on the floor, but it's the real deal. A fantastic band named Tuba Skinny might be busking while you are in town. They also play at The Spotted Cat and DBA on Frenchman St. on occasion. Google P. Hall and T. Skinny and see if they hold any interest for you. Don't think anyone has mentioned Cafe Du Mond. Not healthy, but oh so good!!

Posted by
5168 posts

For higher end options (which I am too cheap to do most of the time)
* Bayona, as Mardee suggested

Marie, the only reason I went the first time was because I was on an expense account. 🤣 Although it was so good that I'm sure I would go back there next time.

Posted by
404 posts

We went to New Orleans in early November 2018 for 3 1/2 days. Our son was working there for six months so had a car. We arrived on Friday late afternoon and spent the evening after hotel check-in at a leisurely dinner in a nice restaurant, followed by a neighborhood stroll. On Saturday, he drove us to Whitney Plantation, which we really enjoyed. It was much more interesting than the fancy ones that mostly show the riches and glamour of these homes. Lots of moving historical context. I am glad you will get to visit there.

That same day we did a swamp tour with Cajun Pride Tours, smallish boats and a leisurely excursion. Our son had picked up sandwiches and fruit for us to picnic before the swamp tour. They sold beverages there and had picnic tables where we ate before "embarking." (Regarding a 5:00 swamp tour time, I am wondering how dark it will get before your tour is over. Definitely do the tour, though!) After our tour, we went for a drink at the Sazerac Bar in the Grand Roosevelt Hotel.....beautiful setting and quite a show by the bartenders. It is very impressive! Across the street is Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Pop is lovely with some terrific stained glass.

Sunday we took a half-day outing, riding a paddle wheel boat to the site of the Battle of New Orleans in the 1812 war. On return we took a trolley to the French Quarter to get beignets at Cafe du Monde, followed by a walk to Lafayette Square where we sat and listened to the musicians.. We popped into the cathedral and wandered down to the Jazz Museum at the old US Mint.There are other museums in the area, but we opted out of them. The Jazz Museum is right next to Frenchman's Street. Frenchman Street is much nicer than Bourbon Street and has some great music venues, plus some street market opportunities and a nice stroll. We stopped at three of them as the music called to us.

We went the next day to the WWII Museum, which was outstanding. I hope you can fit it in, but you should plan on at least 4 hours there. If you are there through lunch, they have a cafe with a 1940's theme and simple food. I haven't talked about where we ate dinners....there are too many options. You seem to have that all under control.

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
404 posts

You should definitely see about restaurant reservations. Some popular places book up a week out.

Posted by
1193 posts

Some comments from a NOLA local:
What a great itinerary! You've clearly done your homework! Don't count on the Magazine street bus. It can easily be 30" between buses and there are no benches at the bus stops (mostly). Strongly suggest you get an Uber to get to Lafayette Square. Dooky Chase restaurant continues to be great; Ms. Leah trained her folks well! It is so full of local art and local history. Get a reservation! Reservations also strongly recommended for most other dinners, too. Breakfast places like Elizabeth's (yum!!!) and Croissant d'Or don't take reservations. I also love Napoleon House. Food is decent and ambience is incredible. If you can see a second line - I'm seeing on the Second Line schedule that Men of Class goes that day, uptown - please do! It's the real deal. You can probably find the route online; times of second lines are flexible! Finally: if the weather isn't too hot or wet, a cold one enjoyed in Pat O'Brien's courtyard is delightful, for tourists and locals alike. Edit: Be sure and give yourselves plenty of driving time between B&C Seafood near the plantations, to Slidell, especially if you go back through New Orleans and across the twin span bridges to Slidell. Friday afternoon traffic can be quite slow and heavy.

Posted by
3110 posts

If you have visited WW2 sites and museums in Europe, you may be disappointed in the New Orleans WW2 museum - that was my reaction.

I too love Frenchmen Street in general, and the Three Muses in particular, but there is a 90 minute limit on your time at a table. I don't know if this is actually enforced.

Posted by
15313 posts

We spent nearly a week in NOLA in January this year (2nd time there):

The WWII museum: it's definitely not one to be 'squeezed in.' I'd heard good things about it but it far exceeded our expectations, especially since I didn't have as deep a level of interest that some others may have. It's very well done but contains far too much to absorb in just a few hours. In hindsight, we should have bought the 2-day ticket.

Your arrival day: The French Market lists open hours as 10-6:00 so you're unlikely to get that one in with a 4:30 arrival time.

Frenchman. St.: we spent some weekend afternoons there when the some of the venues have no cover charges but you can hear some very decent stuff for the price of a drink. It's easy to wander into a few to check out what's playing and generally support some up-and-comers + the city's music heritage (please bring bills to feed the tip jars!!!).

Preservation Hall: yes.

The Cabildo: hasn't been mentioned yet but if you're interested in the city's rich history, this one is highly recommended.

Posted by
4376 posts

NOLA is the nickname for New Orleans Louisianna.

Posted by
345 posts

Thank you so much for the helpful and detailed replies.

Mardee, my husband and I would love to visit the Backstreet Cultural Museum, especially since learning a bit about the Mardi Gras Indians from watching " Treme". but I don't think it would be of interest to my brother and sister in law, Will add it ( along with WW2 and Free People of Colour museums) to our next trip. Thank you too for the reminder about Bayona.

Marie, thank you for all the restaurant recommendations. I keep hearing about Mandina’s and think we may want to break up the Cajun/Creole meals a bit with some Italian. Seeing Kermit would be awesome. Was thinking of checking him out at the Mother in law Lounge if he's playing there. Again, "Treme" has influenced a lot of what I want to see and do there this time.

TC, café du monde is such a given that I didn't even include it. Thinking pre breakfast, snacks, etc...

Judy: thank you for sharing your trip and tips from it.

jmauldinuu, thanks very much. I have been reading ("1 Dead in Attic", "City of Refuge", "Why new Orleans Matters", various guidebooks) and watching ("Treme", "When the Levees Broke", " Five Days at Memorial"), podcasting ("Beyond Bourbon Street") and following various FB groups. Think it's fair to say that I have become more than a little obsessed with your city. The history of it is fascinating and my experience there last time was magical.
Thanks for the tip about taking are: cab vs bus on Magazine Street. In Europe, we walk everywhere but I don't know how hot it will be mid Oct. I wasn’t aware that the Men of Class second line was an uptown event.I thought they were all done in the Treme. I am have bookmarked WWOZ for details. Do you think 1.5 hours to get from B&C to Slidell will be enough on a Fri? Is there a route that you think would be better than another at that time of day?

Lastly, we are staying at Hotel Provincial in the FQ ( I would have preferred a B&B in the GD). Anyone know if it's likely to be crazy noisy (not people partying noise, but ridiculous, souped up, tricked out cars with stereos suitable for a concert noise)?

Thanks again. for everyone's input.

Posted by
3713 posts

If you have visited WW2 sites and museums in Europe, you may be
disappointed in the New Orleans WW2 museum - that was my reaction.

Among the major WWII museums, I've visited the Gdansk museum and the Caen museum, along with a number of smaller museums. I was not at all disappointed in the WWII museum in New Orleans. It is, not surprisingly, very US-centric, but I thought it was well done. My favorite part? The US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center (weird name) with all its airplanes. The Liberation Pavilion opens Nov 3; it explores the end of the war, the post-war years, and the continuing impact of the war. Can't wait to get back! Especially after spending last weekend hitting the Truman Presidential Library/Museum, the Eisenhower Presidential Library/Museum, and the National WWI Museum (which was a little old-school in its exhibit) in and around Kansas City.

Posted by
4376 posts

Forgot to mention a wonderful light breakfast and or snack spot. It's Croissant D'Or Patisserie at 617 Ursulines Ave.

Posted by
1193 posts

bxrlover: Following up to some of your later questions: Don't take a cab from Magazine Street to the Quarter. Take an Uber or Lyft. If you don't have the app for either (you mentioned that you are in Europe?) be sure to download one once you get to the States. You won't find cabs roaming the streets uptown at all. Next: 1.5 hours MIGHT be enough time to get from your river road restaurant to Slidell, especially if you head toward Slidell no later than 3:30 pm. 3:00 pm would be safer. You can do a google map search once you get here, making the search on an earlier day at approximately the time you would be going to Slidell on Friday in order to see what the traffic looks like. I don't think another route would necessarily be faster. Also, it will be imperative to do a google map search on Friday afternoon before heading for Slidell because sometimes there are breakdowns on the interstate, etc.. Give yourselves a good extra half an hour, just in case. Next: many of the second line marching parades take place in various neighborhoods, like uptown, the Irish Channel, mid-city, etc. The marchers are often families who have lived in those neighborhoods for many years. WWOZ is a great resource, and I think you can get the routes from that website. Finally: I don't know Hotel Provencial, but I don't think cars with loud stereos are much of a problem in the Quarter, just loud drunk partiers walking down the street, but the good hotels have double and triple-paned windows so unless you are near a loud bar (like on Bourbon Street!) you shouldn't have a sound problem. You might want to read reviews of Hotel Provencial on (only reviews by people who have stayed in the hotels is allowed on the website) in order to see if other people have had a sound problem. Oh, and also: what a fabulous reading and video list you created!! I hope that you have a wonderful time here!

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1193 posts

Just looked at Hotel Provencial online. It's in a great location, in a quieter part of the French Quarter, but easy walking to so much. You will be barely two blocks from one of the beautiful historic homes in the Quarter, the Gallier House. They offer tours of the home throughout most days which would give you a sense of what life was like for the various people who lived in the house and neighborhood in the 1800s. I actually like the tour of the Hermann-Grima House a bit better, but it is more like 8 blocks from your hotel. The website that describes both homes, with times and reservations is: Here's the description re. the H-G House: "This restored French Quarter home built in 1831, includes a Federalist architectural façade, original operating open-hearth kitchen, urban slave quarters, and expansive courtyard. The Urban Enslavement Tour at Hermann-Grima House, looks at the experiences of those who were enslaved in an urban setting, how that differed from those enslaved in rural settings, and how the contributions of people of African descent have shaped New Orleans. Condé Nast Traveler voted it one of the best tours in New Orleans and the only tour listed from a museum. We believe that nothing tells a story like a home." And here's the description of the Gallier House: "Built in 1860, by local architect James Gallier, Jr. as his private family residence, this Victorian French Quarter townhouse exemplifies architectural features that are not only unique to New Orleans, but also innovative and advanced for the period. Marked by an iconic Paris Green gate, the Royal street home includes an ornate interior décor, running hot and cold water, experimental skylight, intact attached slave quarters, and classic courtyard." (Just in case your list of other wonderful things to do in New Orleans isn't long enough!!!)