Monthly Archives: May 2012

New Orleans Museum's

Jackson Barracks, a Delight for History Buffs.

Jackson Barracks



Memorial Day has just passed, it’s fitting to take a look at one of the oldest facilities in the United States for housing soldiers-Jackson Barracks, in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans on St. Claude Avenue.    It’s been through a lot since 1833-hell and high water, literally.  The old building could tell us some stories about all the military heroes, known and unknown, who served their country there, including some latter-day heroes who helped get New Orleanians out of harm’s way during Hurricane Katrina.    You can visit the Jackson Barracks Military Museum and see military artifacts dating back 200 years.   That trip is easily combined with a visit to the Chalmette Battlefield, part of the Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve, where you can see the site of the legendary Battle of New Orleans, fought January 8, 1815.

Jackson Barracks, originally known as New Orleans Barracks, was built after the War of 1812.    The first militia, consisting of four infantry companies, were housed there in 1837.  Built on the river, the original facility had a storehouse, four three-story guard towers, and a prison.   It had its own levee, road, railroad, and trolley car tracks.  Ulysses S. Grant, George B. McClellan, Robert E. Lee,  P. G. T. Beauregard and J.E.B. Stuart, were all in these Barracks before the Civil War, although not all at once.    After the Mexican-American War, it became the earliest Public Service Hospital for soldiers in the nation in 1849.

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New Orleans Attractions

Southern Food and Beverage Museum , New Orleans

You’ve probably never been to a museum dedicated to food and beverages before.   In fact, it’s almost certain you haven’t, unless you’ve been to Southern Food and Beverage Museum at Riverwalk Marketplace in New Orleans.  The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is the only museum dedicated to the history of food and beverages in the country.   The many ethnicities that have settled in New Orleans since its founding, as well as its physical location as a port on the Mississippi River, all came together to create an indigenous local culture, and of course, cuisine .  Located in New Orleans, intersecting at the crossroads of centuries of colonial rule followed by British-American dominance, SoFAB has a story to tell about how we have always lived life through what we eat.   In New Orleans, we love stories about food!   In many ways, it defines who we are. Eating is, after all, a universal activity. We are all about food  at Southern Comfort Bed and Breakfastlocated in the gorgeous Garden District of New Orleans.

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New Orleans Community

Explore the Bywater Neighborhood

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Edwards

The 3200 block of Burgundy St. in the Bywater is looking more and more like Magazine Street uptown.    Now that’s not necessarily a good thing if you’re an artist who moved to the Bywater in the first place because it was affordable, but if you’re in town looking for an unusual and emerging area, it’s a good thing.   First, check out Christopher Porche-West’s photography gallery on the corner, A Studio on Desire, at 3201 Burgundy.  Christopher is best known for his early portraits of New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians, but his gallery is another thing altogether.   His constructions and assemblages incorporate his photographs celebrating New Orleans life (as well as that found in Africa and Haiti), with architectural found objects.   Shrines, really, some of them are, and extremely moving works.   Porche-West observes cultures and people, and portrays them honestly.   He’s the real deal-he’s been there on that corner from way back when.  Here’s  a piece on NPR describing his work about the Indians.    But today you can walk across the street from his gallery and enter one of the coolest new restaurants in town, Maurepas Foods.   At 3200 Burgundy St., Maurepas Foods has been getting lots of press-The New Orleans Times-Picayune food critic recently gave it a glowing three-bean review.   It’s “New American” food, with vegetables getting the center of attention, but besides a wonderful plate of roasted beets, you can get goat tacos, or grilled shrimp with herbs, all in a former corner store with a hipster vibe.   It’s loud, with all those ancient walls, and it’s buzzing, and it’s very Bywater.   Probably won’t find it uptown on Magazine St., but the food is worthy of anywhere.

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New Orleans Events

Bicycle Second Line May 2012

We are a particularly bike-friendly town here in New Orleans in many ways.   The streets are level—no hills!  And the city itself is small and compact enough to get around in easily.  According to the 2009 United States Census, New Orleans is ranked sixth of cities with populations over 250,000, having the largest percentage of workers using a bicycle to commute to their job. Bicyclists account for 2.47 percent of all the city’s commuters.

In the last couple of years, the city has increased bike lanes and promoted bicycling as an environmentally-friendly and economical way to get around.  It’s part of a national trend—and has anyone been to the gas station lately?  Wow, gas prices are high. Before Hurricane Katrina, there existed seven miles of shared lanes, bike lanes, and bike paths throughout the city.  Now there’s much more—see for a map of New Orleans bike facilities, highlighting potholes, traffic projects, and everything that might make a difference to somebody on two wheels. Also, the long-awaited Lafitte Corridor project is under way between the French Quarter and Lakeview, transforming a 3.1-mile strip into a stunning public park.

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