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NOLA recommendations March 2021

Taking a short excursion to NOLA to visit Tulane with high schooler. Looking for Covid-era recommendations for dining (patios, porches, courtyards), local businesses to support and fun informative tours. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
2711 posts

We were in New Orleans recently, but pre pandemic and it was winter so I can’t comment on outdoor dining spots. We did notice that there were a lot of small van and walking tours in the city center and outlying areas. We took 2 small van tours (we didn’t have a car) and one evening river cruise. All were great. On one of the small van tours we spent a small amount of time in City Park and wished we’d known about it sooner. It looked like a great place to walk or rent bikes for a fun day. On another day we took a well ventilated, not crowded, historic tram and went west of downtown to Audubon Park for a walk. The zoo is in this park but we didn’t go so I don’t have any recommendations there. We also took a tram to the Anne Rice house area and walked to Magazine Street—heading East, an area full of cafes and boutiques. This was recommended by a young relative who lived in NO for several years. Have fun with your high schooler!

Posted by
8 posts

This is really helpful information. Thanks for sharing. The tram sounds fun and Magazine street too.

Posted by
11966 posts

It has been a few years ago now but we did a walking history tour with this company and thought they did a terrific job. They're highly endorsed and I'm pleased to see they're still around! I'd skip "Haunted" tours and go with history as NOLA has a unique and fascinating heritage!

https://www.tourneworleans.com

A tour is also the only way to visit St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, although there are a couple others you can do on your own. I did Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District by myself, and I see that it's temporarily closed for repairs and their website is getting an overhaul but may be open again when you go:

https://www.neworleans.com/listing/lafayette-cemetery-no-1/32160/

For more interesting history, I'll recommend the Cabildo and Presbytère (20% discount if you buy tickets to both). Both are Louisiana State Museums, and both are in the Vieux Carre (French Quarter).

https://louisianastatemuseum.org/museum/cabildo
https://louisianastatemuseum.org/museum/presbytere

Didn't eat here but reviews on the food are good, and I caught some great jazz/blues one afternoon over some equally great Pina Colada daiquiris. They can probably make 'em sans alcohol for your high schooler. It's also in the Quarter. As their hours may be sketchy post COVID, I'd call ahead to make sure they're open. Or just stop by if cruising the French Market 'cause it's pretty close.

https://gazebocafenola.com
https://www.dropbox.com/s/stwmzevmj4ugq40/Gazebo-Cafe-Menu.pdf?dl=0

Posted by
2226 posts

The National World War II Museum is amazing for those who like history.

New Orleans Creole Cookery on Toulouse Street has good food and a very nice courtyard for dining.

Ruby Slipper has locations scattered around the area and offers a very good breakfast, including sidewalk dining at at least some locations (like 200 Magazine St).

Posted by
1600 posts

hey hey glennon_family
tourneworleans.com check under tours
getyourguide.com/new orleans few tours to check out, garden district, treme neighborhood for history of jazz, creole culture and civil rights
bayouswamptours.com
twochickswalkingtours.com
neworleans.com up to date of things to do in march
graylineneworleans.com

will you have a car? few years back we did a van tour that took us over the river to algiers. we stopped at a couple voodoo shops, bought dolls and an interesting conversation with owner.
the mardi gras museum/world was there back then, it's now in the french quarter. stop by arnaud's restaurant to see the germaine cazenave wells mardi gras museum, maybe have a dessert or an appetizer. take the tour of mardi gras world, we enjoyed it, also dressed up and had picture taken of us.
cafe du monde for beignets, pralines, covered pecans, po boys, centralgrocery.com "home of the original muffulettas, so much food, restaurants, shops to choose from. ride a street car, sit at jackson square, louis armstrong park to relax people watch.
we also did a cocktail tour to about 5 bars, learning so much about the cocktails and the haunts that began there, southern comfort first concocted here, learned about yellow fever and other medicinal traits here, hotel monteleone has a carousel bar moving around a circle while your bartendar mixes your cocktails, worth seeing. maybe just have a peek inside, unless can sit at a booth with your kid for a small bite. walk down bourbon street and hear some music.
don't know how many days, short excursion.
hope this gives you lots of ideas to help you decide, also have your child look at things he/she wants to see or what interests her/him. have fun and enjoy. we did
aloha

Posted by
44 posts

We are heading to NOLA the first week of May for 4 days so I can pig out on the WWII Museum. My wife and I are going to want to spend time doing other things, so thank you to everyone for some great suggestions. A open air van tour sounds perfect.

Posted by
953 posts

For outdoor dining in uptown New Orleans, within a couple of miles or so of Tulane: Saba restaurant. Wonderful Israeli and middle eastern food led by award winning chef Alon Shaya. Reservations very recommended. Ask for table outdoors. For more laid back meal: Barracuda, on Tchoupitoulos Street, is wonderful fresh creative tacos with a large backyard courtyard. Everyone eats outside; some of area is covered. For a really upscale delicious meal: Atchafalaya, on Louisiana Ave. Reservations a must. Tell them you really need an outdoor table (there are more tables inside than outside). Or, get some of the world's best seafood (and meat) po boys take-out from Domilise's Po-Boys and take them to expansive nearby Audubon Park (across St. Charles Ave from Tulane). Be sure and get some bottles of Barq's root beer from Domilise's to take with you. You can enter a large parking lot for Audubon Park on Magazine Street, or go to the end of Prytania Street (coming from Domilise's) and park on the street and walk in.

Posted by
5502 posts

We didn't make it there, but Tipatina's is a famous restaurant/music venue, probably well-touristed. We enjoyed muffuletta sandwiches at the original store in the French Quarter, also beignets and chicory coffee at Cafe du Monde (sp?) and strolling the riverfront. In other words, mostly the touristy stuff.

Posted by
12103 posts

I was there in September. Had a wonderful time. Wish I could be more helpful, but just not my expertise. But happy to say I enjoyed it.

Posted by
953 posts

Another thought (from someone who lives in uptown NOLA): If you drive down Magazine Street, from say Louisiana Ave. heading downtown, you will pass multiple restaurants with outdoor seating on the sidewalk, like the Rum House, and Boil Seafood. It's quite a happening area. Pull onto a side street soon after Louisiana and park and walk down the street and get a feel for where you might feel comfortable eating. Lots of young people, tourists, and locals. Some of the tables at some of the venues are too closely spaced for my comfort; others more spaced out. FYI: Tipitinas has been closed for live shows for the past year (pandemic). Locally owned shops with local goods: Dirty Coast (multiple locations, including a block from Saba) has wonderful quirky NOLA themed T-shirts; Home Malone (two locations incl one on Magazine Street) has lots of artsy stuff all made by local people. Great for NOLA-themed gifts; Octavia Bookstore, also a few blocks from Saba, 3 blocks off Magazine, has a great selection of locally-themed books and books by local authors). I'm just giving you recommendations for restaurants and shops in areas closer to Tulane, and areas often frequented by Tulane students, in order to give you and your high schooler a sense of the places and culture they might experience if they come here. Also, find the website for BroadsideNola and see who might be playing when you all are here. It's a wonderful outdoor venue featuring local musicians and very carefully spaced out safe seating. You need to book ahead. It's in mid-city, on Broad street, but an area also frequented by young people.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks so much for the all the replies including where to look for parking and what places may be more likely to have socially distanced seating and music venues to consider. Because this group has been so helpful I'm going to pose another pretty specific question. My high schooler would prefer a bike tour (rather than walking) to see French Quarter and other areas. Any recommendations for that mode of tour? Again, thanks in advance.

Posted by
6971 posts

The French Quarter is only about 3/4 of a square mile. ( ~ 8 city blocks by 12)

Its been a few years, but when I was there cars on the streets made biking challenging in the day time and at night when the streets were closed to cars the pedestrian traffic made biking a challenge.

Have no idea what bike paths exist to go to other farther areas.

Posted by
953 posts

A bike tour would be a great way to see the city. As recently as last week I've seen groups of 6-8 bikers on rental bikes that appear to be a bike tour. I've seen the groups near my house Uptown, and in the Bayou St. John area. However, I do not know names of companies running the tours. If it were me, I'd aim for a bike tour in the Bayou St. John area, which is quite lovely and not quite as busy with traffic as Uptown/Magazine street area. Also, over the past few years NOLA has been converting quite a lot of four lane streets into two lane streets with bike lanes each direction. (You're likely aware that the city is FLAT (except for overpasses!!) so a single-speed bike works just fine. I just googled "biking New Orleans" and there is much good info there. FYI: there were a bunch of Blue Bike rental spots throughout the city that shut down last year (pandemic). The bikes are gone but the spots are still there and i recently read that they are going to start putting bikes for rent in those spots again. If it were me, though, whether on your own or with a tour, I'd stay off St. Charles Ave. and Magazine street with a bike. Too many drivers are just not paying attention to the bikers on those streets, I think. Edit: Don't know if the bike tours run in the French Quarter, though.... I haven't seen them there, but that doesn't mean they aren't there. However, with the tight streets and large number of pedestrians walking in the streets, I'm guessing that tours are very limited or non-existent in the Quarter.

Posted by
427 posts

A few years ago we took a bike tour with Free Wheelin Tours. They're located in the French Quarter so you see some of it then travel through several other neighborhoods. It also includes a stop for beignets, a cemetery visit and a voodoo area. Our guide was Teddy and he was very informative and entertaining.

I have also taken walking tours by Free Tours By Foot of the French Quarter and the Garden District. No charge except a tip for the guide. All were great. Be sure to ride a street car. Recommend the green line.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you for the bike tour information and referral. I will check out Free Wheelin’ and the Bayou St John area as well.