Travel Tales Podcast

Subscribe with iTunes Listen on Stitcher Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn

January 10, 2015 Insider’s Guide to New Orleans Guest Article by Rosie Tran

Considering a trip to the Big Easy? Comedian and New Orleans native Rosie Tran wants you to get off the beaten path and experience the city beyond the French Quarter.

Here are some of her picks and recommendations:

Best locals restaurant (inexpensive):

So many good local places. Tons of great ethnic food, too!

  • Pho Tau Bay– Vietnamese casual (Westbank)
  • 9 Roses– Vietnamese (Westbank)
  • Dookie Chase– New Orleans homestyle (Treme)
  • Brother’s Gas Station (not a joke) for FRIED CHICKEN
  • Cafe Degas for French Casual (Mid-City) White wine clams are to die for
  • Reginelli’s has great pizza! (Various)
  • Upperline (Uptown)
  • Mona’s for Middle Eastern (mid-city)

Best locals restaurant (fancy):

  • Bayona (Quarter)
  • Delmonico’s– Pricey but SOO worth it and atmosphere is to die for romantic. (uptown)
  • Ralph’s on the Park (mid city)
  • Antoine’s (Quarter)-very very expensive
  • Commander’s (Uptown)

Best dive bar:

Too many to list, literally the whole city,  but… :

  • Olde Pointe bar in Algiers is great local hangout with live music and total dive bar feel. Have to take the ferry over the river though.
  • Port of Call has the BEST burgers and amazing dive feeling. (French Quarter)
  • Cat’s Meow is a fun karaoke or girl’s night out for bachelorette parties, but it’s on Bourbon.

Best nightclub:

  • Ampersand‘s for electronic music.
  • Anywhere on Frenchman for live jazz.
  • Bourbon St. is a must see if you’ve never been, but then avoid avoid avoid.

Best live music venue:

Go to Rue De La Course coffee shop or any local coffee shop and grab an “Offbeat” or “Where Y’at” newspaper. Literally music EVERY NIGHT in dozens of bars. Cafe Brazil is fun for dancing!

Best neighborhood to spend the day:

Get out of the French Quarter! Take a streetcar to City Park or Uptown to the Garden District and take a walking tour or just buy a Rick Steve’s book and walk yourself! Mid-City, Bywater, and Marigny have that fun hipster vibe.

Best neighborhood for nightlife:

You’re in New Orleans! Everywhere but Metairie and far out on the Westbank (too suburban). The whole city is alive always.

Best festivals besides Mardi Gras:

Mardi Gras is the best, but MAJOR TIP: If you go, DO NOT GO THE WEEK OF MARDI GRAS. Carnivale lasts about a month and a half. The week of is CRAZY. Go the week before for cheaper flights. You still get the parades, craziness, and fun minus giant crowds. Still crowded but walkable and not crazy. Also avoid the French Quarter. Grab a good camping chair and camp out uptown along the parade routes for a more low key but still super fun experience. Second best is Jazz Fest, but New Orleans has Seafood Fest, PoBoy Fest, Southern Decadence, St Paddy’s Day Weekend Parades, the list goes on and on. There is festival every weekend–literally!

If you must be in the French Quarter, go to these places:

  • Grab a good book on architecture and just stroll.
  • Pat O’Brien’s has a nice courtyard to just chill.

Worst thing to ask a local:

Do NOT ever say the word “N’awlin’s.” I have never ever ever ever heard the name of the city pronounced that way by ANYONE but a tourist. I don’t even know where that came from. Also don’t call it “the” Mardi Gras. It’s Mardi Gras. Also, don’t ask people if they were “affected by the storm.” The answer is always yes and no one wants to talk about drama/disaster. People in New Orleans are trying to move on from it, please do so too. Thanks!

Don’t leave New Orleans without eating or drinking these things:

  • Cheesecake stuffed king cake
  • Crawfish Etouffe
  • Lump Meat Crabcakes
  • Crawfish Monica
  • Crawfish bread
  • Anything with seafood, but I would avoid raw oysters. Some of the places in the Quarter that sell them aren’t that clean and I’ve heard too many food poisoning stories.

Places/areas to avoid:

New Orleans is a mix of high/low end. LITERALLY. One block is million dollar mansions, the next is the projects. You can NOT avoid the hood. So, just don’t wear Mardi Gras beads outside of the Quarter unless it’s Mardi Gras and you’ll be fine.

Biggest tourist traps:

Ghost and haunted tours are fun, but avoid any plantation tour companies or other city tours. You can just buy a book and go walk around yourself. I think that’s more fun. I don’t like paying those guides. You can also just book tours online and then go yourself.

Back to the Top