Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Orleans - Once Again

Walking through the French Quarter
A few posts ago I wrote of This Ain't No Mouse Music and our Louisiana addiction that was displaced by long distance hiking. We've been restless this year, grounded from hiking, no walks through Spain or France. When we spotted a cheap flight to New Orleans, that old obsession beckoned. Five days. Arrive Weds midnight and return Monday afternoon. Our plan was a musical pilgrimage with days to be determined. A 3 day Jazzy Pass for $9 gave us unlimited trips on buses and streetcars (provided they came).

Thurs 8:30pm Rock & bowl Chubby Carrier - did this
 Fri 6pm dba Tuba Skinny
      8pm Snug Harbor Maria Muldaur 8 and 10pm - did the 8pm
Sat 6pm Three Muses Hot Club of New Orleans - did this
    10pm Tipitinas Art Neville and Treme Brass Band - did Mulates instead
Sun 5:30 Rock & bowl Bruce Daigrepont fais do do. - did this
This all coincided with a few days of sun and an arctic blast of wind and cold. Indoor anything got priority. We learned some things. Our stamina is not what it was twenty years ago. Music really gets going about 10:30 at night and goes to 2 or 3 am. We were fading by 11pm. **update** decided to add how to info - links for music, etc. at the end after images.

New Orleans seems whiter that it was before Katrina. Maybe a false impression. A lot of gentrification going on, and the new faces are white. On to images.
World War II Museum

Battle of the Bulge - a critical last offensive by the retreating Nazis in 1944. Have a friend who was there, as an eighteen year old medic. His orders to me: "Go to the World War II Museum". It is a sobering and well worth visit for those of us who remember some of those times, or remember our parent's history back then. For kids of today, only if they like airplanes. It's well done, movie clips, photos, a tremendous oral history collection, with stations where you choose which personal recollection to hear. The sight of an old white haired guy in a wheelchair, listening to personal accounts of Omaha Beach is hard to see, no matter how blase I try to be.
German individual bomb shelter

Maria Muldaur venue

Louisiana in general and New Orleans in particular, takes its drinking and partying seriously, and music is a close runner-up. Sunday was pro football at the Superdome - Saints vs Bengals, and as we walked through that area around 9:30 am, assaulting the eye were tailgate parties, full pint sized cups of beer, sidewalk stands selling zombies, grenades, etc. high alcohol high volume beverages  and indescribable apparitions in the two teams colors.

I digress. What I want you to remember is that Bourbon St. focuses on the partying and drinking, though the music is also there. More visitors than locals partake. For venues where music comes first, venture out of the French Quarter.

To orient you, the French Quarter is on the North bank of the Mississippi. Just west of it is Canal St. and downtown. Our hotel, as well as many others are there, just a couple of blocks from the Quarter. On the east side of the Quarter is Esplanade Ave. Near the base of Esplanade, running northeast is Frenchman St., a 25 minute walk across the Quarter from our hotel, or a $10 taxi ride. Frenchman St. is where we saw Maria Muldaur, and those same few blocks have maybe a dozen other music venues, loud and local. Tipatina's, RocknBowl and Maple Leaf Bar are other places to hear local music, but too far to walk. $15 to $20 by taxi. This was first time we used taxis instead of rental car. Costs add up fast, and we did one venue a night when with a car we might have done several. Mulates is west on Julia St. about 6 blocks from our hotel, and a good place for Cajun food, music and dancing between 7 and 10pm.
Mural at Central City Festival site

lots of construction going on
Anytime we were in the hotel room, on went the Weather Channel. Again we learned new things. A massive cold front had swept down from Canada and across the Great Lakes for "lake effect snow", one of the new terms. Arctic air hits warm mosture laden air rising from the lakes. Result: A wide band of snow starting just south of the Great Lakes and running their entire length. If you saw pictures of snow in Buffalo, New York recently, that was lake effect snow.

The other term "thundersnow". Just what it seems. Thunder and lightning strikes, accompanied not by torrential rains, but blizzard blasts of snow.
Brown Cow Dairy

music nightly, Zydeco on Thursdays, Cajun on Sundays

There are three free street magazines for finding out food and music options. I can only remember the name of two, but they are the best. Offbeat Magazine is the best source, and their online site looks excellent - didn't find the site till we got home.

The other magazine is Gambit, and they also have a website:

The streetcar bus Jazzy Pass is a good deal, but they are a little flaky as to schedule. Also on St. Charles line, frequently so full they do not stop. Check schedules before depending on them. Buses look more reliable, but didn't make much use of them.


  1. Good info! We love New Orleans also (I have a section on my site with lots of photos), have been there several times, often with good friends who have had a timeshare in the French Quarter for 25–30 years. I’ll send them a link to your article.


    1. Thanks for the comment, Lee. For the curious, Lee's site is

  2. My exposure to New Orleans is through a Barbara Hambly's mystery series starting in the 1830’s. The first book is A Free Man of Color. Fascinating and horrifying history - it would have an extra dimension if you actually knew the city.

  3. James Lee Burke has a whole series of horrifying mysteries set in and around New Orleans and Louisiana. Very good, but dark and gritty.