Spring break has brought winter weather and families to New Orleans. On a stroll through the CBD this morning, it was quite apparent the Crescent City is attracting families for spring break. Hence, following is an itinerary for family fun in New Orleans to get the best of your Big Easy break.
WEDNESDAY: Enjoy the miracle six miles of Magazine Street. Begin in the 3100 block with a late breakfast at Gott Gourmet – homemade, fresh, unique. That should satisfy the whole family. Shop the eclectic shops in this block and pick up a New Orleans t-shirt like the locals where at Storyville Kids and across the street at Feurty Girl. Both offer shirts that scream New Orleans. One of my favorites is the “...they all asked for Drew”.
Well, since we just alluded to the Audubon Zoo, (If you don’t get it, ask a local. ) Continue on uptown TO the Audubon Zoo. Take your time getting to the Cajun Swamp exhibit so you arrive hungry for lunch at the Cajun Shack. Ideally it will be feeding time for the alligators as well. It’s a sight to see those gators jump six feet in the air.
Dinner depends on where you are staying, for our purposes, let’s assume downtown. So take the family to the Young Leadership Council’s Wednesdsays at the Square, in Lafayette Square.
Night time activities for the grown up will be listed at the end.
THURSDAY: Make it a French Quarter day with breakfast at the The Old Coffee Pot restaurant on St. Peter Street. Peak in through the bars Preservation Hall to whet your appetite for a visit there this evening. Take this opportunity to get in your two block walk on Bourbon Street (you want need any more than that), to St. Louis Street. Hang a right to the historic Hermann-Grima House. On Thursdays, their tours end in the 1850’s kitchen in the courtyard where they have cooking demonstrations. Good thing it’s cool out, because that kitchen can heat up with all those fires burning in the hearth, potage, and brick oven.
Afterwards stroll Royal Street and peruse the art galleries and antique shops. Young boys seem to enjoy the Gun and Coin shop in the 400 block with their antique rifles, cane swords, pirate booty and more. Grab a cold drink at the old A&P (now Rouse’s) at the corner of St. Peter Street. Then hang out outside to listen to Doreen’s Jazz Band. She regularly performs at this corner, keeping alive the traditional jazz sound of New Orleans.
Then make your way through Jackson Square, stroll the Moonwalk on the banks of the Mississippi River, heading upriver. Take a potty break at the Wyndahm Riverfront Hotel at Iberville Street and the River.
Their 11th floor lobby sports a spectacular view of the mighty Mississippi River through the magnificent glass windows. Exit the hotel through the Shops at Canal Place onto Canal Street.
Head to the river again for a ride on the Canal Street Ferry to old Algiers. Be sure to go downstairs to take the ride outside on the car deck. The best view of St. Louis Cathedral is from the ferry. You must disembark on the other side and board again. If you may choose to amble about in Algiers, check out the jazz walk of fame along the levee, enjoy a glass of wine at the little shop across the street, whose name escapes me, but you can see as soon as you exit the ferry.
Take the kids out tonight for the funkiest bowling they will ever do at Rock-n-Bowl’s Zydeco Night. This week features a Zydeco powerhouse. Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Cha’s.
FRIDAY: Take the Canal Streetcar to Mid-City to Orleans Avenue. Walk to the bayou for lunch at Parkway Tavern. The roast beef Po-boy has quite a buzz about it. I tend to prefer fried seafood po-boys. Afterwards enjoy a little nature walk along Bayou St. John, an old Native American trading route, to City Park. Rent a boat on the big lake, smell the flowers in the Botanical Gardens, admire the outdoor art both in the park and the Bestholff Sculpture Garden.
On the backside of the sculpture garden is Morning Call Coffee. A New Orleans institution for coffee and beignets! Stick around the park for the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Where Y’Art . This regular Friday evening event always includes an artist perspective talk, live music, art activities, and this week there are films too.
On your way back downtown, a dessert stop at Angelo Brocato’s is a must. This Italian storefront serves outstanding homemade everything…gelato, cappucinos, almond-fig biscotti, made to order cannoli’s, cheese cake, and on and on and on with the Italian delicacies!
SATURDAY: Today is “one-stop shopping” at the Fair Grounds Race Course for the inaugural Louisiana Derby Infield Festival. Food, music, horses. The LA Derby continues to grow in prestige. This year it boasts $1 million in prize money AND chance to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby!
SUNDAY: Every brunch spot in the city will be packed today with Easter celebrations. So take yourself out of the city to the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Although it’s still too chilly for the alligators to be out in force, you will likely see a few of the reptiles. Hopefully, however, you will see a bounty of Louisiana wild iris, which bloom annually around first of April.
The National Park Visitor Center in the Barataria has a decent interpretive center plus from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. they host children’s activities and a Wetlands Walk free of charge. Lunch at Voleo’s (a bit out of the way but worth the trip for fresh seafood) or Des Familles – right on the way to the park, lovely picture windows overlooking the bayou and real family atmosphere – huh! des Familles?!?
If time and budget allows, you could choose a swamp boat ride at one of the area tour company’s or rent a canoe for your self-guided tour.
MONDAY: Keep it simple today, Mardi Gras World then to Kermit’s Speakeasy on Basin Street where Kermit personally serves up Red Beans and Hot Jazz – a la Louis Armstrong.
NIGHTLIFE FOR THE GROWN UPS:
Wednesday: Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro
Thursday: Chickie Wah Wahs for Creole String Band
Friday: Tipitina’s for George Porter Jr. (of the Meters aka the measure of funk)
Saturday: One Eyed Jacks for the Austin expat Dax Riggs
Sunday: Maple Leaf for Joe Krown trio featuring Walter Wolfman Washington and Russell Baptiste – plus their sunday night seafood boil served up about 9 or 10
Monday: dba for Glen David Andrews
Happy Spring Break – out and about in New Orleans
Every Thing Lovely,
Out and About is a weekly blog by Leslie Compton of Every Thing Lovely, a special event and creative consulting team, and is sponsored by Key to NOLA Properties, a full service real estate brokerage firm specializing in furnished rental properties in New Orleans. Key to NOLA Properties and Every Thing Lovely have joined forces to provide a full array of services for travelers’ (and locals’) personal and professional needs while in the Crescent City