NEW ORLEANS: THINGS TO KNOW
It was our first time in New Orleans. We selected Easter weekend for two reasons.
- We were free from our other work commitments.
- The weather in New Orleans is, well, horrendous most of the time. Winter can be dreary; summer is hellish. We barely broke a sweat over Easter weekend: daytime highs ranged 75-80, with one day of heavy rain, and on the other days we strolled easily in weather drier than usual for the deep South (about 40-50% humidity instead of 80-90% humidity).
Above: The skyline overlooking the French Quarter, the Mississippi River, St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, and the marshlands outside town.
Winter is not the best time to plan a trip to Nola, in our opinion. This year New Orleans suffered a three-day monster freeze that made the roads slicker than turkey snot. It's not Minneapolis—they don't own equipment for ice and snow. So, the city shut down. Although such an event is exceedingly rare, it well illustrates how bad winter can be in the South.
By late April the humidity and the temperatures are ramping up. The locals will tell you it's not bad until July. For those of us from the North or the West, that's like saying it only feels like being inside a mouth. Then the REAL hell shows up. No thanks.
WHERE TO GO
Bourbon Street itself, especially on the west side of the Quarter, was not really our thing. Think loud karaoke and guys trying to entice you to go see their sexy (female) dancers, and souvenir T-shirts.
If you want to see the gay bars you need to be on the east side of the Quarter, near the corner of St. Ann and Bourbon. Everyone over there was super friendly.
Frenchmen Street, which is just east of the Quarter, is walkable, but late at night you'll want a cab.
The best shopping, the galleries, and the river all lie in the south part of the Quarter, all walkable from Bourbon Street.
The best restaurants are scattered around the main part of the Quarter.
Everything in the French Quarter is close and walkable, in our opinion. From Rampart south to the River it only takes 20 minutes at the most, probably less. From Canal east to St. Philip Street is a similar distance.
Audubon Park and the Garden Distict lie far to the west, too far to walk. There are cablecar lines but be prepared to take awhile taking in the sights. We paid for a driver.
To and from the airport is a snap and the fee is fixed (in 2018 at just over $30 for two).