New Orleans Journals

New Orleans without Bourbon

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A June 2005 trip to New Orleans by eviet

Queen and Crescent Hotel Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana More Photos
Quote: When a 22-year-old ventures to New Orleans, Bourbon Street is usually more appealing than, say, an art museum, but determined to explore the past imbedded in its crumbling brick buildings and French-style streets, I dutifully turn my head, mostly, from the screaming college crowd to Orleans’ historical Southern charm.

New Orleans without Bourbon

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Overview

Grand New Orleans Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
The New Orleans so often nailed into a hole of spring breakers, Mardi Gras, and gluttonous eating isn’t the only one in existence. The one that treasures and goes to great extents, hardly existent in this world of turnovers, to preserve tradition, historical riches, and a sometimes tumultuous past proves to be the more authentic version for the modern traveler interested in discovering overbearingly greasy, and therefore delicious, po’boys at a hole-in-the-wall like Domilise’s, bartended by a man who has worked there for 35 years, or the poignant and also humorous works within The Ogden Museum of Southern Art. And while well-known New Orleans tourist activities like cemetery tou...Read More

Queen and Crescent Hotel

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Hotel | "Queen & Crescent"

Queen and Crescent Hotel Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
To complete my transformation from modern New York diva (well, sort of) to simple Southern belle (again, sort of) over the course of 3 days, the appropriate accommodation to put up my creaking 22-year-old bones after a 21-hour day was essential. And the Queen & Crescent, almost smack on a corner of New Orleans’ version of Wall Street and blocks away from the French Quarter, provided the much-needed Southern respite away from the often-homogenous crowds of Hiltons and Holiday Inns. The ultra-polite receptionist, who would be seen as exuding an obvious fakeness in New York, appears genuine in the muggy New Orleans warmth as she strikes up a peppy conversation about the threatening rain outside...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 16, 2005

Queen and Crescent Hotel
344 CAMP STREET
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
504-587-9700

Rio Mar

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Restaurant

Rio Mar Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
My first stop in New Orleans, after throwing my bags into the Queen & Crescent hotel room and taking a breather to gap at the monster of a bathroom, was Rio Mar. It was here that I was introduced to the interconnectedness of everyone in New Orleans, as Laura proceeded to be greeted by friends at two tables out of the maybe four occupied in the restaurant, and I’m sure, if we had dug deep enough, she could have found some obscure relation to at least one person at the others. It was also here where I learned that, whereas you would be labeled a functioning alcoholic almost anywhere else in the U.S., it is practically expected you have at least one drink, usually wine, during a weekday lunch, i...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 16, 2005

Rio Mar
800 S. Peters St.
New Orleans, Louisiana
504/525-3474

The Besh Steakhouse at Harrah's

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Restaurant

The Besh Steakhouse at Harrah's Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
When I hear "casino," I think Las Vegas; college students descending en masse upon Indian reservations; women contently clanging at the slot machines from 2pm to 2am; Paris Hilton; achingly bright, headache-inducing lights... in other words, a grim hell not even the Marquis de Sade could bear for eternity. The Besh Steakhouse, though, fit snugly into a rear corner of the sprawling and decidedly not tacky--with bright, swirling colors adorning the floor and walls--Harrah’s in New Orleans, which refuses, like New Orleans with its Bourbon Street reputation, to adhere to my bleak outlook of the casino genre. Politely greeted at Besh after finding our way through the dizzying array of gambling tables...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 17, 2005

The Besh Steakhouse at Harrah's
Canal at the River
New Orleans, Louisiana
504/533-6111

The National World War II Museum

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Attraction | "D-Day Museum"

The National World War II Museum Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
When perusing guidebooks on New Orleans, some expected words fill your eyes: Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, po’boys, gumbo, cemetery tours, The National D-Day Museum... wait, The National what Museum? Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t a museum dedicated to the day that "will live in infamy" be in, say, Washington, D.C., or how about Normandy? While The National D-Day Museum and the militaristic building that contains it seems a little harsh for the laid-back attitude of a city that prides itself on its food, drink, and nightlife, the museum gracefully accomplishes its bold undertaking –- a sort of historical memorial for those who died that day and a place of reflection for those still alive who s...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 15, 2005

The National World War II Museum
945 Magazine Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
(504) 528-1944

Save our Cemeteries Tours

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Attraction | "Save Our Cemeteries Tour"

Save our Cemeteries Tours Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
Raised in the sticky warmth of Miami, the below-90°F morning heat outside the Lafayette Cemetery rolls off my shoulders as easily as the insults of an impatient Brooklynite truck driver when in my newfound home of New York City. But baring the heat there proves simple after waiting only 2 minutes for the appearance of our Save Our Cemeteries tour guide Gayl, who will help, inside the serene cemetery surroundings, transport me to my high school days of Ann Rice devotion and Gothic industrial music enthusiasm. Warning us to layer ourselves with sunscreen and ensuring we’d feel the icy touch of a frozen bottle of water if we dared feign even the least bit of heat wooziness, Gayl leads us beyond the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 15, 2005

Save our Cemeteries Tours
305 Baronne St
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
(504) 525-3377

Ogden Museum of Southern Art

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Attraction | "The Ogden Museum of Southern Art"

Ogden Museum of Southern Art Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
I know of modern art (not a fan), Surrealism (ehh, it’s okay at times), and people like Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh (all more than a bit strange, if extraordinarily talented), but Southern art? What was this, debutantes at their inaugural ball and close-ups of grits? Obviously my Yankee mind was too naive to decide what to make of such a category, but The Ogden succeeded in showing my know-it-all New Yorker eyes how much depth Southern art can contain and what emotion it can portray. Knowing quite well my own naivete when it comes to art of any kind, much less the Southern variety, I try to nestle comfortably into a plastic chair within a small theater on the third floor, preparing to learn the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 15, 2005

Ogden Museum of Southern Art
925 Camp St
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
+1 504 539 9600

Gray Line tours

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Attraction | "Southern Comfort Cocktail Tour"

Gray Line tours Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
When a tour guide in New Orleans passes out Mardi Gras beads, it’s a definite sign that unbearable cheesiness is ahead, except, that is, when your guide is Sandra on the Southern Comfort Cocktail Tour. When Sandra began the tour by emphasizing that this was not a pub crawl, I thought she’d be whispering to the bartenders to water down our drinks with just a bit more ice. But Sandra, once she opened up to our whoppingly large group of three young women, proved to be the most informative, amusing, and friendly tour guide I’ve had in my travels to four continents, but just so you aren’t disappointed when you aren’t seeing two Bourbon Streets at the end of it all, this is definitely not ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 16, 2005

Gray Line tours
2 Canal St
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
+1 504 587 0861; +1

R Bar & Inn

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Attraction | "R Bar"

R Bar & Inn Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
In order to gain membership to the Dive Bars of America Club, there are certain requirements that cannot be compromised: cheap drinks, bathrooms you crinkle you nose at, if not fully gag at, when you enter; and a crowd of everyone-knows-your-name regulars, including, but not limited to, at least one sneering tattooed chick. R Bar, what seems to be the rock’n’roll bastard child of the Frenchmen Street clubs, meets such stringent requirements with flair with their $4 to $6 glasses of wine and $3.50 draft pints, slightly scarred lady’s room, and slouching, lounging locals scattered on bar stools and circling a lone pool table, going above and beyond the call of duty with an offer most dives could ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 16, 2005

R Bar & Inn
1431 Royal St
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
+1 504 948 7499

New Orleans Museum of Art

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Attraction | "Sculpture Garden"

New Orleans Museum of Art Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
The bright Southern sun beaming down full force as we wait (and wait... and wait... this was low-season, after all) for a Canal Streetcar displaying "City Park" in its front window, not "Cemeteries," my enthusiasm for spending at least a half-hour in the brewing heat, wandering the Sculpture Garden of the New Orleans Museum of Art, was waning – quickly. Yet after the oh-so-wonderful air-conditioning within the Canal Streetcar gave me a brief respite from the cloudless skies and I discovered the garden almost totally ensconced by patches of shade, my confidence that it would be the highlight of my activities over the past 3 days was renewed. Quite understandably, the garden was practically empty, ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 18, 2005

New Orleans Museum of Art
1 Collins Diboll Circle
New Orleans, Louisiana 70124
+1 504 488 2631

Commander's Palace

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Story/Tip

Summer Dusk Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
New York, Miami, Berlin, Darjeeling, Sydney, Kathmandu, Florence, and Vienna are just a smattering of cities where I’ve torn through appetizers, entrées, desserts, and cheese plates, but no meal has been so delicately prepared as to end my search for foodie perfection – until Commander’s Palace. From the warm Southern greeting of the valet boys and maitre’d to our attentive but discreet waiter Scott to the refined, complex flavors of the actual food, Commander’s, as it is known by locals, shows how fully satisfying and worth the price tag a high-end meal can be. Scott, who I’m fully confident could explain the preparation method of every option on the menu and choose the perfect wine pairing for e...Read More