Things to See & Do
New Orleans is a city with a soul. It is the city of Jazz, of Creole culture, of deep-rooted traditions, decadent food and most of all it is a city of celebration. What will you choose to do during your vacation in our fun and exciting city? The answer is very simple. Just do what we New Orleanians do: indulge, savor and celebrate.
What follows are some of our favorite guest recommendations for activities and experiences. Most are very near your Uptown/Garden District bed and breakfast, but we do suggest that you experience the beauty and grandeur of the New Orleans Plantation Country. While you’re upriver, why not spend the afternoon deep in a cypress swamp; you’ll be amazed by its beauty.
Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse: My newest “favorite” is Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse. This is a very classy venue, inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel at 300 Bourbon. No cover charge. Best of all, the music starts at 8 p.m. Irvin plays on Wednesday evenings, the remainder of the nights he has chosen New Orleans’ finest Jazz musicians. Grammy–nominated trumpeter, Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown, Gremaine Bazzle, The James River, Movement, Drummer George French and his Original Tuxedo Jazz band, are only a few. This will be a true New Orleans experience.
When the locals go to the French Quarter, they go to Frenchmen Street. It is all about quality live music. Soak up a bit of the real New Orleans by visiting the small music clubs like d.b.a, Snug Harbor, Spotted Cat and the Blue Nile, all located within blocks of each other. You’ll hear anything from the Blues, to Jazz or even Latin music. Admission in some clubs is free and drink prices are reasonable.
The Canal street car will drop you off in front of Chickie Wah Wah’s. This is a cozy setting, funky décor, free parking and the best bar bathrooms ever! Features many genres of New Orleans music and usually starts at 8pm. Very reasonable cover charge and great beer selection and very creative food.
My favorite local musicians:
- Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers: Trumpeter and vocalist, Kermit IS New Orleans. He is a modern hipster with an old soul that emanates the warmth that is associated with New Orleans. He blows a serious trumpet on Armstrong favorites. He has been featured in the HBO series “Treme”.
- Jon Cleary: This Englishman has called New Orleans home since he was 17. He has toured the country with the likes of Taj Mahal and Bonnie Raitt. Jon writes funky anthems that have become favorites in the city. At the same time, I have seen him play a classical piece, which brought tears to my eyes. He is an amazing talent.
- Irvin Mayfield: Irvin has become the cultural ambassador for his city and for jazz music. Only 32 years old he has a list of accomplishments, a Grammy winner, bandleader, composer, arranger and recording artist. He created the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra NOJO, a performing arts institution dedicated to the preservation of Jazz.
WWII Museum: This unique and important Museum is an incomparable experience for all generations and not to be missed. For history buffs, plan to be there the entire day. The Museum offers an amazing collection of artifacts. The most touching part of it for me was the collection of interviews with people who served in the war as well as those who were left behind. Not to be missed is the movie “Beyond All Boundaries” produced and narrated by Tom Hanks.
New Orleans Museum of Art: Located in beautiful City Park and can be accessed by the Canal Street streetcar. The Museum grounds are a beautifully manicured site with meandering footpaths, Spanish moss-covered two hundred-year-old live oaks, and sculptures resting among gorgeous landscape. The Museum has an outstanding permanent exhibit of 40,000 pieces. The collection is noted for its extraordinary American and French art, glass photography, glass, Japanese and Africa works. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA is five acres of the most popular sculpture exhibit in the United States, boasting 50 sculptures sitting amongst old live oaks, towering pines, camellias, magnolias, and lazy lagoons with pedestrian bridges.
A Gallery of Fine Photography: It really is like a museum of photography, with just about every period and style represented and frequent shows of contemporary artists. The gallery emphasizes New Orleans and Southern history and contemporary culture. There is something in just about every price range as well as a terrific collection of photography books if that better fits your budget. Do ask for them to open the cabinets, where more art is cleverly hung inside.
City Park Botanical Gardens: This is a very relaxing outing. This garden was designed during the Great Depression as one of the WPA projects. This is a national treasure as it is one of the few remaining garden designs from the Art Deco Period. The gardens collection contains over 2,000 varieties of plants collected from all over the world. All this is showcased among grand live oaks.
Longue Vue House and Gardens: Edgar and Edith Stern built this Classical Revival Mansion in 1924. She was an heiress of the Sears Department store family. The house is very grand with an outstanding collection of antiques and artwork. There are 8 acres of gardens designed by the finest outdoor architects of the 20th century. In addition to the formal gardens graced by live oaks is the Louisiana native plant garden which produces a wonderful butterfly habitat. -back to top-
Magazine Street: One of my favorite places in all of New Orleans is Magazine Street. If you are looking for antiques, thinking about redecorating your home, or the latest in fashion, art, jewelry, Magazine Street has it all. When you’re finished shopping you can relax at one of the many spas, or grab a bite to eat. Joey K’s is a good choice to try a po’boy.
Louisiana Music Factory: Located in the French Quarter on world-famous Frenchmen street noted for it’s many music venues. Here you’ll find the largest selection of New Orleans and Louisiana music. Ask for Barry, he virtually knows all there is to know about our local music and just happens to live across the street from your New Orleans B&B, Southern Comfort Bed and Breakfast.