Post 65: French Quarter, New Orleans

French Quarter, New Orleans

Oct. 25th- Nov. 2nd, 2017

one of the most photographed corners on Bourbon street

We arrived in New Orleans very excited to explore the French Quarter. The last time we were in New Orleans was a year ago at this time. Halloween week has to be the best time of the year to be here, besides Mardi Gras lol.

Since we had traveled for several hours Oct. 25th to arrive here, we decided to wait until the next day to explore the French Quarter. Like little kids, we couldn’t wait to get down there.

We had done a great deal of research before we arrived in New Orleans, as to what we wanted to see, where to park, where to eat, and how to get to places.

Parking we found out was VERY EXPENSIVE. A parking lot on the out skirts of the French Quarter, we thought  would be less expensive. It did not take long to find out that parking was outrageous no matter where you parked.

3 Parking options;

1. Pay the horrible prices in a parking lot ($30 for 3 hours)!

2. Park on a street with a meter that we had to keep coming back to every two hours or risk getting a ticket or

3. Or as someone suggested to us,  we go to the casino Hurrahs and gamble for 30 mins. The perk is parking in their secure underground parking lot for 24 hours for free.

(Please check out an update to parking at the end of this post).

Now if you don’t mind the walk, or spending 30 mins on say, the Penny machines in the casino, then this is the best answer for you. :). We had not tried this option as of yet.

Bourbon Street Oct 2017

Our first glimpse of Bourbon Street this trip was hugely disappointing. We started at the end of Bourbon by Canal Street, after walking there from our parking lot at Canal and N Peter St.

From this entrance to Bourbon Street, there was all kinds of construction. The roads were all torn up. Pedestrians could walk on the side walks on either side only. We could not walk on the road as we were  used to doing in the past.

You may think this is odd that we wanted to walk on the road. We were used to Bourbon street being closed to vehicle traffic at night. The issue is, with all the construction in the middle, you cannot look across the street to  see stores and the excitement that may be going on, on the other side. You are losing the effect of Bourbon Street right from the start and it is very crowded on the sidewalks.

Life is good again!

Getting over the initial disappointment, we kept on walking and just looking in the stores on our side of the road. Eventually, we came to an area where there was no more construction and Bourbon street was back to normal. YAY!!

One of the many restaurant's on Bourbon street
Antoine’s Restaurant

Back to walking on the street. Back to avoiding cars, back to people watching as we weaved in and out of people, cars, horse drawn carriages and the life in general of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. :). Life was good again.

This was our 3rd visit to New Orleans, the 4th for Bill. We always manage to discover something new each time we come. We also try not to repeat everything that we do, making a point to open ourselves up to new experiences.

On this trip, Joy had made a copy of the map on her phone, with points of interest marked for us to visit. We covered a lot of ground like that and got to see so many new things.

The French Market

The French Market was a new find for us on this trip. Located on N Peter Street and Saint Phillips St.. Of course this was at the TOTAL opposite end of the French Quarter from where we parked lol.

The French Market was really interesting though. If you catch it at the right time, there are many stores  and stalls to peruse and a great restaurant that we stopped in for lunch. We stopped at the Market Cafe, for lunch. Joy had a roast beef Poo Boy and Bill had a garden salad with blackened chicken, great food!

Interesting club
Great food and music!

A few days later we went back to the French Market and had dinner at BB Kings BBQ. Live Blues band playing and great food!

A few more places we explored

Great inexpensive self guided tour
Tools of the trade on display

We wandered up and down N Peter Street, up and down many of the side roads. We picked out special things we wanted to see such as the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. This was such an interesting place to visit. Admission was $5.00 each. You need time to read all the place cards to really appreciate it.

 Bill had been on a private tour when he first saw the Pharmacy. He thinks, that is the best way to see and understand everything that is there.
The other place Joy wanted to see specifically was Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo . This was more because Marie Laveau was a very powerful person in New Orleans and her name comes up often. Joy got to see this on our second trip to Bourbon street on Halloween night and purchased a book on Marie Laveau.

 Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar

The oldest bar in the USA?
The ghost of Jean Lafitte is said to wonder the bar.

Another place of interest was Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar. ” Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop — built between 1722 and 1732 by Nicolas Touze, is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States”. We saw this on our visit to Bourbon street on Halloween night. We were going to stop for a drink, but it was packed!

 Excerpt from web page;
“Jean Lafitte — privateer, entrepreneur, sailor, diplomat, spy, hero of the Battle Of New Orleans.  Lafitte led a colorful and mysterious life in the New World.  It is unclear where and when Lafitte was born, but his presence in New Orleans and Bartaria dates about 1770.  He was the man to see for whatever one wanted.  In 1814, as the British lay at the mouth of the river, Lafitte rushed powder, flint, and troops to General Jackson at Chalmette.  Rather than a poorly supplied, out-manned force, the British stepped into a screaming hell of pirates, woodsmen, Indians and free people of color, under cover of a dense fog and an even more dense anti-British attitude.  The British were routed.  His good deed done, the “hero” headed to sea and more familiar deeds. “

Please note this warning!

Aside from these specified places, the French Quarter is fun to visit. The only issues we had were the price of parking (see our update on parking at the end of this post) and the stores have now gone a little over board in their prices of just a year ago.

We would also like to mention for anyone coming after us, BEWARE, BEWARE of a placed called Visitor Information Center on  Decantur St and Saint Ann St. .
They try to present themselves as a REAL welcome center to New Orleans. BUT if you are interested in tours, they will gladly set you up with one. ONLY PROBLEM IS, they STRONGLY persuade you to the specific one they are plugging which is LEGENDARY TOURS. Legendary Tours does it all and they are more expensive than anyone else.
We let them sway us from the one we originally were going to take. Joy managed to talk the fellow down from 27$ to 21$ as she pointed out to him, we could take this other tour for 18$.

Watch out for Legendary Tours!

 We have to say, we truly regret taking their tour. We were not sure what we were expecting, but we were very disappointed in what we got. The fellow was nice enough, but he spoke so softly that unless you were in the front you couldn’t hear him, and he made no effort in trying to speak up.
Additionally, Steve S simply gave us facts of each stop with the odd embellishment or attempt at dramatics. The comment did come out at one point during a break, of “How did he get into this business?” He replied it was a job and he needed a job. Well, as far as we were concerned, this attitude showed in his workmanship. We felt we should not have had to work to listen to what he had to say.
Maybe this is why we didn’t enjoy the tour. We could have grabbed a book and walked ourselves around the streets for less than 42$. Probably enjoyed it a lot more. Sorry Tour Guide Steve S. THAT is why we did not give you a thumbs up after the tour.
We would NOT recommend you Steve or this company Legendary or THAT Visitors Information Center to ANYONE!

Parking Update!

 As mentioned in another post, we are staying at the Bayou Segnette State park. In the information package they gave us, it mentions a Ferry from Algiers Point to New Orleans. After reading the info, we decided to take the Ferry on Halloween night. What a great way to get to the French Quarter! Also inexpensive compared to parking in/near the French Quarter! It is a twenty minute drive from the campground, you pay $5 or $10 dollars (depending on special events) to park and the ferry costs $2 per person. It lets you off near the Casino on Canel Street. The only possible downside is the last Ferry from Canel street to Algiers Point is 9:45 pm Monday through Friday and earlier on the weekends (check the website for exact times).
Pictures of our trip to French Quarter are below.

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