Top 10 Reasons to Stay at French Market Inn in the New Orleans French Quarter

The French Quarter is the crown jewel of New Orleans, steeped in history and bursting with attractions that draw hordes of visitors year-round. Finding the perfect place to stay is the first step of your journey, and the French Market Inn has everything you need to make your vacation truly memorable.

1. An Affordable Oasis in the Bustling Heart of the Quarter

French Market Inn offers a unique New Orleans feel that is both beautiful and authentic. Originally an 18th-century French Creole bakery, French Market Inn has a timeless ambiance that provides a lovely oasis from all the round-the-clock attractions just outside your door.

We’re also one of the Quarter’s best bargains. With special offers, weekday rates, and seasonal savings, you can always snag one of our lovely guest rooms for a great price.

Beautifully-appointed balcony rooms with street views overlooking the French Quarter are perfect for romantic getaways, while more petite guest rooms are just right for brief business trips. We also offer terrific group rates for large parties that occupy 10 or more guest rooms.

Planning a New Orleans destination wedding? French Market Inn rolls out the red carpet for guests who want to host their wedding party in a unique French Quarter hotel with a charming swimming pool in our central courtyard. We also offer valet parking, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a 24-hour concierge service that ensures you won’t miss a thing when you’re staying at French Market Inn!

2. Location, Location, Location

When you visit New Orleans, you don’t want to make a long trek to all the fabulous places you’ve read about. At French Market Inn, located on the historic waterfront strip of Decatur Street, most of the Quarter’s top attractions are just minutes away by foot.

In nearby Jackson Square, a bustling hub of New Orleans street artists and colorfully-garbed fortune-tellers ply their trades in front of the stately St. Louis Cathedral. Woldenberg Park, the site of many free festivals, is just across the way on the banks of the Mississippi. And you can easily stroll down Decatur to the famous Cafe du Monde and dip sugar-dusted beignets into chicory-laced coffee before browsing the colorful wares at the French Market.

Also close at hand: the adult playgrounds of Bourbon Street and Harrah’s Casino New Orleans, along with family-friendly attractions like the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.

If walking around the Quarter isn’t quite your speed, you can opt for a pedicab, which is a fun way to navigate through the streets, or take a romantic mule-driven carriage ride. In a hurry? Taxis abound, and an Uber or Lyft is as close as the app on your phone.

3. You’re Surrounded by Live Music

New Orleans dances to the beat of live music all over town. But here in the Quarter, the music practically oozes out of the streets, from the crowd-pleasing cover bands on Bourbon Street to the solo sax player crooning on the corner.

Just steps from French Market Inn, you’ll find something for every musical taste and mood, whether you’re looking to rock out hard, dial it down for a romantic evening, or soak up New Orleans’ storied Dixieland musical past.

House of Blues presents great rock and blues acts touring acts and lets the good times roll New Orleans style, while The Bombay Club showcases some of the best jazz in town if not the country. And you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy hoisting a Guinness while enjoying the folksy live music at Kerry Irish Pub.

Looking for some razzle-dazzle? One Eyed Jack’s hosts everything from top touring bands to flashy burlesque shows, while the Fillmore New Orleans, inside Harrah’s Casino, presents national headliners.

For traditional New Orleans jazz, stroll down to Palm Court Jazz Cafe on the other end of Decatur, where some of the city’s greatest musical legends take the stage several nights a week. Then cross Esplanade to the live-music mecca of Frenchmen Street, which is lined with clubs and restaurants where the music starts early and continues through the wee hours.

4. Front Row Seat for French Quarter Fest

While you’ll find great music in the Quarter on any given day, you’ll be at the epicenter of the city’s live music universe in mid-April, when the French Quarter Festival rolls around, if you’re staying at French Market Inn.

The largest free musical event in the South, French Quarter Fest takes over the entire Quarter with over 20 stages of live music and has become the city’s biggest magnet for out-of-town visitors. A four-day celebration of music, culture and food, it features hundreds of musical acts in genres including traditional and contemporary jazz, rhythm and blues, Cajun and zydeco, New Orleans funk, classical, swing, rock, and international sounds from all over the globe.

Many of the Fest’s biggest acts play right across from French Market Inn at Woldenberg Park, and other smaller stages are a just stone’s throw away. Dozens of different food stalls help Fest-goers eat their way from one end of the Quarter to the other, feasting on spicy Creole and Cajun dishes before they burn up all those calories dancing to hot local bands.

The best part? When you need a break from all that action, you can pop over for a swim at French Market Inn, emerge refreshed, and hit the streets once again to let the good times roll!

5. Brimming With Festivals All Year Round

Spring is peak festival season in New Orleans. Right on the heels of Quarter Fest comes the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the city’s other marquee music event, followed by Bayou Boogaloo, held along the picturesque banks of Bayou St. John.

But festivals are going on all year round, many of which are within walking distance or a just short cab or bike ride away from French Market Inn.

The Quarter rolls into summer with the French Market’s two-day Creole Tomato Festival, and the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival, all free and within easy walking distance. Ditto the spectacular dueling-barges fireworks display over the Mississippi River that marks Independence Day in New Orleans with Go 4th on the River and ESSENCE Fest.

July also brings Tales of the Cocktail, a lively six-day festival packed with tastings, seminars, and special events that includes spirited pub crawls; and the Running of the Bulls, where the Big Easy Rollergirls don horns and chase their human quarry through the Quarter while wielding plastic bats. (For more summertime fun, see “Great Place for a Summer Getaway,” reason #6).

Other Quarter-based festivals throughout the year include the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, where March goes out like a lion with the raucous Stella & Stanley Shouting Contest. Krewe of Boo marks Halloween in the Quarter with a spooky kid-friendly float parade. And come Christmas, the Quarter decks itself for the holidays with caroling in Jackson SquareReveillon dinners, and the famous fleur-de-lis drop near Jax Brewery on New Year’s Eve.

Then, boom, it’s Carnival time! Mardi Gras season kicks off every year on January 6 with three Twelfth Night parades, including a lovely Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc procession on horseback and foot that winds its way through the Quarter.

And that’s just for openers. Whatever time of year you visit, there’s always something happening right outside the doors of the French Market Inn.

6. Great Place for a Summer Getaway

Summer used to be the sleepy season in New Orleans. Not anymore. The Quarter becomes a lively hive of activity in the dog days of summer when the temperatures go up and the rates go down at French Market Inn. And the best month of all to score great deals is August.

August kicks off its first weekend with two simultaneous festivals. Music lovers make a beeline for Satchmo SummerFest, held at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, which celebrates the music and legend of Louis Armstrong, while see-and-be-scene art mavens don their best summer whites and throng to the Julia Street galleries on White Linen Night.

On the second Saturday of August, guys and gals alike hit the streets in their prettiest ruby frocks for the Red Dress Run, where they act silly and get giddy for good causes. Then they regroup for free libations at the Royal Street galleries during Dirty Linen Night, White Linen’s cheeky cousin.

Throughout August, foodies can graze on gourmet cuisine at the city’s top restaurants during COOLinary New Orleans. The prix fixe multiple-course dinner, brunch and lunch menus are very reasonable.

Come Labor Day weekend, it’s all hands on deck for the 24/7 Southern Decadence when anything and everything goes. This massive four-day festival celebrates LGBTQIA+ culture and attracts participants from all over the world. Most activities are centered in and around the Quarter and include two parades with fabulous costumes, many of them quite scanty.

7. Dreamy Romantic Getaway for Couples

New Orleans is one of the most romantic cities in the world. And you’ve got a head start on a dreamy vacation if you’re staying at French Market Inn, where brocade curtains frame the windows of charming rooms decorated in classic Quarter style.

While it may be tempting to ensconce yourselves amid the cushions on your comfy bed, a whole world of romance beckons from the streets just outside your door. The best part? You still have that lovely room to come back to when you’re ready to call it a night.

You know what they say about oysters, right? Jumpstart your romantic evening with a dozen or two freshly shucked oysters at the Bourbon House, just a short walk from the hotel, then stroll over to a candlelit dinner at Antoine’s or Arnaud’s. Both old-school Creole restaurants are housed in historic buildings in the heart of the Quarter and serve classic French dishes like Chateaubriand. More in the mood for nouveau cuisine? Head for Bayona, chef Susan Spicer’s flagship restaurant, which serves beautifully plated dishes in a lovely atmospheric setting.

After dinner, keep the magic going with a carriage ride through the Quarter. Book a ride in one of the many mule-drawn carriages parked in front of Jackson Square; they’re steered by savvy local drivers who can help you find the perfect romantic backdrop if you’re looking to pop the question or renew your vows.

Cap off your fairy tale date in one of the swanky curtained private booths at The Bombay Club, where you can sip Bombay’s signature martinis or other classic cocktails while listening to the cool jazz stylings of some of the city’s top artists. Then end your night on a high note in your lovely French Market Inn room, and pop that champagne you have chilling on ice.

8. Plenty of Family-Friendly Fun

New Orleans has its share of adult attractions, but it’s also one of the kid-friendliest cities in the country. You’ll find a wealth of G-rated fun in and around the Quarter near the French Market Inn.

Get to know the neighborhood with a teacher-led French Quarter Kids Tour. Younger kids can go ghost-hunting on the popular Spooky Tour, where mischievous spirits come out to play, while their bolder older siblings can take a chilling Twilight Tour or learn about old New Orleans on the Creole Kids Living History Tour. Families can also book customized private tours.

For a crash course in New Orleans jazz, take the whole family to one of the early shows at Preservation Hall, where master New Orleans musicians raise the roof for an all-ages audience. Come early to grab a good seat on the benches (though many kids prefer the floor). And be sure to feed your brood first; there’s no food or beverage service.

Jackson Square, just a hop, skip and a jump from French Market Inn, offers a passing parade of only-in-New-Orleans colorful characters. Directly across from the square, steps leading up to the Mississippi Riverwalk serve as an ad hoc stage for clowns, jugglers, acrobats, and other crowd-pleasing artists, whose free antics are sure to delight the kids for hours.

For a more structured family outing, visit the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, where kids can bug out with creepy crawlies, walk through a flutter of iridescent wings in the enchanting butterfly garden, get to know the locals at Boudreaux’s bait shop, and crunch down on some tasty bugs in the cafeteria.

That’s a full afternoon’s entertainment, so save the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas for another day. There, kids can watch penguins and sea otters at play, get up close and personal with magical jellyfish, and even reach out and touch a stingray (yikes!).

Between the free street performers and the fabulous ticketed entertainment, neither you nor the kids will ever be bored during your French Market Inn stay.

9. Near Iconic and Trendy Bars & Restaurants

The French Quarter is home to some of the best restaurants in the country, if not the world, beginning with the Creole grand dames: Arnaud’sAntoine’s, and Galatoire’s. You’ll also find casual eateries like the no-frills Coop’s Place, just down the street on Decatur, which offers excellent versions of local favorites like seafood gumbo and shrimp remoulade at affordable prices.

Like the city itself, Quarter restaurants continue to evolve, and Susan Spicer’s Bayona was just the first in a series of hotspots experimenting with the less classical fare. Some standouts include the aptly-named Jewel of the South.

Many of the world’s classic cocktails were invented in New Orleans. Napoleon House, just up the block from French Market Inn, first whipped up the Pimm’s Cup, a gin-based aperitif, in the 1940s. Like most iconic New Orleans drinks, it’s also widely available at other Quarter bars, and the best time to sample local spirits is at happy hour.

Home of the award-winning French 75, Arnaud’s French 75 serves discounted signature cocktails on Friday afternoon, paired with light bar fare like shrimp egg rolls. And Kingfish keeps it classic during daily happy hours when it offers iconic cocktails like the Sazerac, Vieux Carre, and Mint Julep with heartier bar food like gumbo.

Throughout your stay, you can eat and drink your way around the Quarter if you take judicious breaks at PJ’s Coffee, French Market Inn’s on-site caffeine purveyor. Grab a go-cup of joe and relax poolside to refresh yourself for the next round of indulgence.

10. Near Shopping Meccas Big & Small

When it comes to nearby shopping options, French Market Inn guests hit the jackpot. There are three major malls a stone’s throw away, and you don’t have to venture far to explore cool boutiques and souvenir shops full of New Orleans mementos.

The renovated Jax Brewery, a multi-story historic landmark packed with stores and restaurants, is only a block from French Market Inn. Across the street, you’ll find H&M, Urban Outfitters, Vans, and Sephora, all right next to one another. Hunting for discounts on major brands? Hit the Riverwalk outlet mall, which boasts the Mississippi River as its front yard.

Looking to live large? Walk down Canal toward the river to the Shops at Canal Place. The city’s premier retail emporium is home to luxury labels like Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, and Lulu Lemon as well as famed local jeweler Mignon Faget and exquisite artisanal handcrafts from the Louisiana Craft Guild.

Pick up unique, affordably priced local art and souvenirs at the French Market, or SecondLine Arts & Antiques on the Esplanade end of Decatur. For glam vintage-inspired clothing, shoes and accessories, hit Trashy Diva and Dollz & Dames.

Whatever your taste or price range, you’ll find something you covet near French Market Inn. Ready, set, shop!

Best Rate Guarantee

The French Market Inn, a historic New Orleans hotel, invites you to take advantage of super-discounted weekday rates. Receive even deeper discounts when you prepay in advance. If you find lower rates on your French Market Inn Hotel room(s) at the time of booking, we will match the rate.

We also invite you to take advantage of exclusive seasonal savings on our rooms. Check your available dates and book a true New Orleans experience online, or speak with one of our friendly reservation agents at (888) 626-2725. We’d love to have you, and we hope you have a great visit!

Best Edible Souvenirs Near French Market Inn

Image courtesy of Aunt Sally’s Pralines on Facebook

If you’re like most New Orleans visitors, you’ll spend a great deal of your time feasting on the bounty of local foods that originated here, a spicy blend of Creole, Cajun, French, Caribbean, and West African cuisines. The best part? You can take many of these distinctive flavors home with you. Before you leave town, go shopping for edible souvenirs near the French Market Inn and stock up on your favorites.

French Market Hot Sauces

Authentic Louisiana hot sauces top most visitors’ must-buy lists. You’ll find hundreds of variations in the shops that line the six-block French Market District, ranging from mildly spicy brews to nuclear-level mouth bombs. The 200-year-old market’s open-air bazaar also offers a wealth of unique non-edible mementos.

Cafe Du Monde Beignet Mix & Coffee (800 Decatur)

Many tourist shops sell this two-for-one souvenir package, but the best place to buy it is at the source. Stop by Cafe Du Monde for a final plate of sugar-dusted beignets, dipped in a cup of chicory-laced cafe au lait, and pick up a gift pack on your way out.

Aunt Sally’s Pralines (810 Decatur)

Proceed directly from Cafe Du Monde to Aunt Sally’s, where you can load up on the city’s most iconic sweet treat. Aunt Sally’s also boasts a host of other culinary souvenirs, from Cajun seasonings to muffuletta olive mix to Steen’s Cane Syrup.

Zapp’s Potato Chips

Bet you can’t eat just one — flavor, that is! Widely available at every corner grocery and drugstore, Zapp’s chips come in multiple variations, each of which has diehard fans. Hotter ‘N Hot Jalapenos, Spicy Cajun Crawtators, and Voodoo deliver the heat, Mesquite Bar-B-Que chips are deliciously smoky, while Cajun Dills are tanged with vinegar. And don’t overlook Regular Flavor — the thin, salty crunch that started it all.

All the places where you can get your edible souvenirs are located just a few short blocks from French Market Inn. Book a stay at our historic French Quarter boutique hotel, right in the epicenter of all of the action!

Kid-Friendly Fun In and Around the Quarter

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

New Orleans has its share of X-rated attractions, most of them clustered on Bourbon St. But it’s also one of the kid-friendliest cities in the country. You’ll find a wealth of G-rated fun for the whole family in and around the Quarter during your stay at the French Market Inn. Here’s a guide to some of the best.

French Quarter Kids Tour (Book online in advance)

Get to know the neighborhood with teacher-led tours for kids. Younger kids can go ghost-hunting on the popular Spooky Tour, where mischievous spirits come out to play, while their bolder older siblings can take a chilling Twilight Tour or learn about old New Orleans on the Creole Kids Living History Tour. Group tours ($24 per person) include two designed for teens and run for 1.5 hours. Families can also book a customized private tour ($250 for up to 12 people).

Preservation Hall (726 St. Peters St.)

Dedicated to preserving traditional New Orleans jazz, Preservation Hall is no museum. It’s a lively all-ages venue where master New Orleans musicians make a joyful noise and raise the roof at several nightly shows, which start at 5 p.m. (There are earlier, afternoon shows on some days.) Come early to grab a good seat on the benches (though many kids prefer the floor). And be sure to feed your brood first; there’s no food or beverage service. ($25 general admission).

Jackson Square (Decatur St. in front of St. Louis Cathedral)

Sidewalk artists. Street performers. A passing parade of colorful characters. Jackson Square, in the heart of the Quarter, is a hub of only-in-New-Orleans sights and sounds. Directly across Decatur St., steps leading up to the Mississippi Riverwalk serve as an ad hoc stage for clowns, jugglers, acrobats, and other crowd-pleasing artists, whose antics are sure to delight the kids.

Paddlewheeler Creole Queen (Departs from Poydras Dock at Spanish Plaza)

All aboard! No trip to New Orleans is complete without a cruise on the Mississippi River, and it doesn’t get more authentic than the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen. Two daily Historic River Cruises in the morning and afternoon revisit New Orleans history with a stop at the Chalmette Battlefield, where the pirate Jean Lafitte helped defeat the British. Fare ($39/adults, $15/kids 6-12) includes a narrated cruise and land tour. Full Creole buffet available on board ($59/adults, $24/kids 6-12, $10 kids 0-5).

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

Kids love to bug out at the Insectarium, the largest museum in the country devoted to nature’s vast kingdom of insects. Walk through a flutter of iridescent wings in the enchanting butterfly garden, get to know the locals at Boudreaux’s bait shop, and crunch down on some tasty bugs in the cafeteria. Highlights include Awards Night, a hi-def film starring superstar bugs voiced by Jay Leno, Joan Rivers, and other celebs.

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (1 Canal St.)

Reach out and touch a sting ray (yikes!). Watch penguins and sea otters at play. Get up close and personal with magical jellyfish. These are just a few of the wonders that enthrall kids and grownups alike at the Audubon Aquarium, which boasts a massive 400,000-gallon Gulf of Mexico exhibit. Families can also try to Escape Extinction by predatory sharks in an interactive experience presented by Escape My Room.

(Please note that the Insectarium and the Aquarium are currently closed while the Insectarium is moving to the Aquarium site. Both are slated to reopen in the summer of 2023. We’ll update the admission prices then.)

Book a stay at our historic French Quarter boutique hotel, right in the epicenter of all of the action!





Romantic Things to Do in the French Quarter

The Bombay Club, French Quarter, New Orleans

New Orleans is one of the most romantic cities in the world. And you’ve got a head start on a dreamy vacation if you’re staying in the French Market Inn, where brocade curtains frame the windows of charming rooms decorated in classic Quarter style.

While it may be tempting to ensconce yourselves amid the cushions on your comfy bed, a whole world of romance beckons from the streets just outside your door. The best part? You still have that lovely room to come back to when you’re ready to hit the hay.

Slurp Oysters at the Bourbon House Bar  (144 Bourbon St.)

You know what they say about oysters, right? Jumpstart your romantic evening with a dozen or two freshly shucked oysters. You’ll find them all over the Quarter, but the Bourbon House deserves a special mention for serving the mollusks with local caviar, and for its couples-friendly bar, which mixes classic cocktails like the Bourbon Sidecar.

Take a Jazz Cruise on the Creole Queen

Cruising the Mississippi at night is about as romantic as it gets, and the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen takes you back to the glamorous riverboat days, when high-rolling gamblers courted saloon girls. Take a spin on the parquet dance floor to hot live jazz, then stroll the decks and enjoy the skyline view under the stars. Choose the dinner option if you want to feast on a bounteous Creole buffet in the softly-lit dining room.

(Departs from Poydras Dock at Spanish Plaza; book in advance online)

Take a Carriage Ride Through the Quarter

Many a marriage proposal has been made, and accepted, on a leisurely ride through the streets of the Quarter in a mule-drawn carriage. Royal Carriages offers several different tours in carriages steered by savvy tour guides. But if you’re looking to pop the question, book a private tour with your very own personal guide. Your driver can even help you find the perfect Quarter backdrop for your proposal.

(700 Decatur St.; book in advance online)

Have a Candlelit Dinner in a Romantic Restaurant

For old-school Creole elegance, book a table for two at Antoine’s (713 St. Louis St.) or Arnaud’s (813 Bienville). Both restaurants are housed in historic buildings in the heart of the Quarter, and serve classic French dishes like Chateaubriand and Frog Legs Provencal. More in the mood for nouveau cuisine? Head for Bayona (430 Dauphine St.), chef Susan Spicer’s flagship restaurant, which serves beautifully plated dishes like Fennel Pepper-Crusted Lamb Loin in a lovely atmospheric setting.

Catch Live Jazz at The Bombay Club (830 Conti St.)

It doesn’t get more romantic than the swanky curtained private booths at The Bombay Club, where you can sip Bombay’s signature martinis or other classic cocktails while listening to the cool jazz stylings of some of the city’s top artists. Even the bar food here is elegant.

Get Your Fortunes Read in Jackson Square

Is this really the one? Will your love last forever? Tempt fate and get some answers from one of the colorfully-garbed soothsayers who ply their trade in Jackson Square. Crystal ball gazers, palmists, tarot card readers, and other diviners all set up shop here and will look into your future if you cross their palms with silver.

(Decatur St. in front of St. Louis Cathedral)

Book a stay at our historic French Quarter boutique hotel, right in the epicenter of all of the action!


The Rules of Mardi Gras

We are approaching peak Carnival time! There’s a whole slate of parades to watch in the days leading up to Fat Tuesday, and things to keep in mind while gearing up for the revelry.

Here we list both informal guidelines here as well as a few actual rules — i.e. ordinances related to Mardi Gras. The laws are meant to keep everyone safe and give everyone a fair chance of catching some good throws. Knowing them will also help you avoid getting arrested or fined, having to move your setup during the parade, and being (rightfully) judged by fellow revelers.

Personal Effects Must Be 6 Feet From the Curb

It’s totally OK to bring a backpack or cooler to a parade, but remember to store them a little off the curb. Those first few feet of grass or sidewalk are meant for everyone trying to enjoy the parade and catch beads. Also, occasionally, the parade floats have been known to jump the curb; your personal effects could be damaged in the event this happened. This rule also applies to ladders.

No “Saving” Spots

Some parade-goers stake out “their spot” along the parade route with chairs, trash cans, sofas, rope, yellow tape, spray paint — whatever comes in handy (have you heard of Krewe of Chad?). Not only this is very uncool and frowned upon but there’s an actual ban on roping off territory if you are in the public right of way.

The curb and the neutral ground are fair game to all who attend the parades. If you want to have a good spot, you’ll have to come early and wait in the spot to keep it. Seasoned revelers usually show up at least two hours before the parade rolls (and much earlier for the most popular parades like the Muses, Endymion and Bacchus).

Don’t Move Other People’s Stuff

Please do not move unoccupied chairs and ladders, as well as unattended coolers and personal belongings along the parade route to carve your own spot. We can guarantee that someone is watching this space and will be right back. Plus, families tend to use the same spots year after year. And they might also have little kids or seniors or disabled persons in their group and need the space to accommodate everyone comfortably.

Don’t Interfere With the Parade

Running along with the moving float for a short while, begging for a Muses shoe or a Zulu coconut, is socially acceptable, but don’t run into the street between the floats to pick up a covetable throw. Floats are massive and can’t just stop quickly. You can get seriously hurt.

Also, getting in a band’s way, hanging on a float, joining the parade by marching along, acting aggressively toward anyone in the parade, or jumping over the barricade are all surefire ways to get yourself arrested.

No Nudity

You’ve probably seen or heard about the way some people come by beads. Police officers might be somewhat lenient about that sort of behavior on Bourbon Street, but it isn’t tolerated along the parade routes. Keep all your clothes on!

Contrary to popular belief outside of New Orleans, Carnival is overwhelmingly a family-friendly holiday. Many New Orleanians take their kids to parades, and a good rule to apply here is, if you wouldn’t do something in front of kids in your hometown, you shouldn’t do it here (exceptions to this rule include screaming, dancing and waving your arms to score beads).

Plus, in this day and age, you will probably end up on the internet, and not in a good way. We can’t stress this enough: Do NOT flash for beads.

No Glass Containers

As the night (or day) progresses, trash from the parades tends to pile up on the streets and curbs around the route. Glass bottles and even cans are potentially dangerous when discarded on the ground, although the official ban only applies to glass. You can always pour your drink into a plastic cup, or order one to go from one of the many bars you will find along the parade route.

Plan Wisely for Transportation and Parking

During Mardi Gras, and during the parades especially, parking violations are vigorously enforced. Parking on Napoleon and St. Charles is prohibited on both sides of the neutral ground, not just the parade side, starting two hours before the parade. This rule is strictly enforced, and you will be towed. Also, do not double-park or park in driveways, in front of water hydrants, within 15 feet of curb corners, or too far from the curb.

The French Quarter is closed to vehicular traffic during Mardi Gras weekend (the weekend leading up to Fat Tuesday, which falls on February 21, 2023) except for residents and hotel guests with special parking passes. You won’t get past the police barricades.

Please also remember that parking lots fill up fast during parades and tend to charge more than usual. Bus and streetcar routes and schedules also often change during Carnival season. And cabs might be delayed due to the demand and traffic congestion, so plan ahead or consider walking or biking, if it’s feasible.

Respect the Authority

The local police are consummate pros at handling all kinds of behavior during the Carnival and had seen it all. They are also amazing at controlling the crowds and tolerating all that goes on as long as it doesn’t involve breaking the law.

So, as you enjoy the festivities please do remember that the rules like no glass, no public urination, and the drinking age will be enforced. You will get arrested if you act obnoxiously, threaten anyone, act overly intoxicated, or break the law in any other way. The police presence is very robust at the parades, and in the French Quarter during the Mardi Gras weekend.

Finally, if you’re out and about enjoying the parades and the parties on Mardi Gras Day, don’t be surprised when midnight strikes and you’re asked to clear off the street. Mardi Gras is officially over and the street cleanup begins, though you are of course free to continue partying indoors.

“Ain’t No Place…”

One of the most famous Mardi Gras songs is the Benny Grunch classic, “Ain’t No Place to Pee on Mardi Gras Day.” As the saying goes, it’s funny because it’s true — or at least it can feel that way. There are some public restrooms along the parade routes — the most prominent ones are around Lafayette Square near St. Charles Ave. and Poydras St. You might think that you can sneak into a hotel or a restaurant, but those places usually strictly reserve their restrooms for guests or paying customers.

If you don’t want to wait in long lines, some restaurants, bars, churches, or other businesses offer single-use or day-long bathroom passesDoing your business in public is a definite no-no, as you will get in trouble if the police catch you (also, it’s gross). And, this is an official rule: There can be no private portable toilets on neutral ground or other public property.

Parade Etiquette

The cops won’t come for you if you break these unofficial “rules,” but if you want to keep the peace with fellow parade-goers, it’s a good idea to maintain good Mardi Gras etiquette.

Bead Rule No. 1

This is one of the unspoken “rules” — don’t pick up beads that have fallen on the street or ground. There are a couple of safety issues involved with this rule. Picking up a bead or throw from the street puts you in direct line of the tires of the tractors or the floats. Also, the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras can get… Well, let’s just say “unsanitary.” Do yourself a favor and wait until you catch something in the air. There’s plenty to go around.

Bead Rule No. 2

For the “good throws” — most often signature beads, but also stuffed animals, sparkly Muses shoes, anything that lights up from Bacchus, etc. — you should never get in the way of someone else’s catch. If the rider wants to throw you something from the float, they’ll make eye contact with you, usually make an exaggerated “I’m looking at you” sign, and throw in your direction. The good part is, if someone else catches a throw destined for you, unless they’re clueless, they will respectfully give it up and hand it to you.

The Optional Bead Rule

This one is more good-natured than the first two bead rules. As the parade progresses, you should wear all of the beads that you catch. You’ll look silly at the end of the night, but it will also be a mark of pride. The people with the most beads must’ve worked really hard to get all of them, right?

The Family Rule

As we keep saying, Mardi Gras is a family event. Many people make it a day with their whole family, kids included. There are some places that are unofficially yet almost exclusively “Family Zones,” usually located near the beginning of parade routes and in residential zones, but children are welcome everywhere. So, try your best to remain on something like good behavior — there might be kids nearby. Also, never reach over a kid to catch a throw — that’s just mean.

And, the Number 1 Rule of Mardi Gras, above any official and unofficial rules, is to have fun! Costumes are encouraged throughout the season of Mardi Gras. Put on your fanciest wig and glitteriest outfit, and go out there!

Book a stay at our historic French Quarter boutique hotel, right in the epicenter of all of the action!

The Neighborhoods Next to the French Quarter

Lafayette Square in CBD, New Orleans

By some counts, there are as many as 73 neighborhoods in New Orleans. They are divided by the lakes, bayous, and the Mississippi River; by the railroad and streetcar tracks; and, sometimes, by arbitrary geographical boundaries. In modern times, the unofficial geography of “By the Lake” and “Little Palermo” of the 19th century got more defined, and towns like Lafayette and Carrollton got incorporated into the city of New Orleans.

The city is a culturally rich tapestry of its neighborhoods, with some of the oldest ones clustered around the French Quarter. They make up the core part of what makes the city unique and draw visitors to its architecture, history, food, and magic. New Orleans remains on the list of the most visited cities in the U.S., receiving millions of visitors annually, who spend billions of dollars here.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the three neighborhoods adjacent to the French Quarter, and what to see, do, and eat there.

CBD/Warehouse District


The City Planning Commission defined the CBD as a 1.18 sq. mi. area bound by Iberville, Decatur and Canal Streets to the north; the Mississippi River to the east; the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Julia and Magazine Streets, and the Pontchartrain Expressway to the south; and South Claiborne Avenue, Cleveland Street, and South and North Derbigny Streets to the west.


The Central Business District (CBD) was once the plantation of Jean Baptiste LeMoyne de Bienville, founder of New Orleans. The land changed hands until Bertrand Gravier subdivided the plantation after the fire of 1788, and named the subdivision Faubourg St. Marie after his deceased wife. After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the area experienced an influx of Americans, who built brick townhouses and Protestant churches.

What it’s like today

The modern CBD is a long departure from its 18th-century, largely residential ancestor. It’s now home to many office high-rises, restaurants, boutique hotels, retail stores, and lots of historic commercial and residential buildings.

What to see and do

The area contains the South Market District, an upscale shopping destination, and Orpheum, Joy, and Saenger theaters. The area around Canal Street, which borders the French Quarter, is home to numerous retail stores and restaurants, as well as the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Insectarium, and the Harrah’s casino.

Clusters of art galleries on Julia Street known as the Warehouse/Arts District, host openings on the first Saturday of the month and special annual events like White Linen Night. There’s also much to see at the Contemporary Arts Center, the World War II Museum, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The Superdome, the Ernest Morial Convention Center, and the Outlet Collection at the Riverwalk are all located in the CBD.

Get a taste of how Mardi Gras is done by touring Mardi Gras World, find a statue of the Confederacy of Dunces hero Ignatius J. Reilly at the site of the now-closed D.H. Holmes department store on the 800 block of Canal St., or simply walk the trendy Warehouse District, restored to its former industrial glory — to get the feel of what was the “American Sector” of the city.

CBD is remarkably easy to access from other areas of the city too: Cross Canal Street, and you’re in the French Quarter. Several streetcar lines can take you to Mid-City, Marigny, and Uptown. If you walk to the river, you can take a ferry to Algiers on the West Bank.

Where to eat, drink and hear music

The culinary destination hits keep coming, especially in the Warehouse District, so there’s no shortage of innovative restaurants to choose from. Donald Link’s Cajun-Southern Cochon on Tchoupitoulas Street has some of the best pork ribs in the city.

The curried goat by chef Nina Compton at Compere Lapin is divine and draws from the Caribbean culinary influences of the chef’s native St. Lucia. Herbsaint is always a good choice for the upscale-French dining experience, and Domenica has some of the best pizza in the country.

The nightlife in the CBD is best represented by Republic NOLA, a music venue and nightclub in a former warehouse space. The Howlin’ Wolf, located on S. Peters Street in the old New Orleans Music Hall, is also a must-stop.



The 442-acre Treme is defined by Esplanade Avenue to the east, North Rampart Street to the south, St. Louis Street to the west, and North Broad Street to the north.


It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, settled in the late 18th century and heavily populated by Creoles and free people of color. The area was named after Claude Treme, a French hatmaker and real estate developer who migrated from Burgundy in 1783.

What it’s like today

Treme is known for its music clubs and soul food spots (some double as both), Creole architecture, and cultural centers celebrating the neighborhood’s African-American and Creole heritage. It’s a vibrant, diverse neighborhood, home of many a second-line parade and the star of popular HBO’s namesake series.

What to see and do

The beautiful St. Augustine Church is the most famous African American Catholic church in the city (though not the oldest). It was founded by free people of color in 1842. Don’t miss the Tomb of the Unknown Slave, a tribute to the victims of the African diaspora, located on the church grounds at 1210 Governor Nicholls Street. Two blocks away, on the same street, is the New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture and History.

Treme is also home to the excellent Recreation Community Center. You’ll find an incredible collection of Mardi Gras Indian costumes and other cultural memorabilia at the Backstreet Cultural Museum, founded (and manned for many years) by Sylvester Francis.

One of the city’s most famous “cities of the dead,” St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, is located at Basin and St. Louis Streets. (You may remember it from Easy Rider.) Civil rights activist Homer Plessy and voodoo queen Marie Laveau are buried in this cemetery, which was founded in 1789. Across N. Rampart Street from the French Quarter stretches the 32-acre Louis Armstrong Park, home to the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts, the iconic Congo Square, Armstrong’s statue, and several annual food and music festivals.

Where to eat, drink and hear music

Treme is said to have invented jazz, and it’s still a great place to hear live music. The Candlelight Lounge is an excellent option for Creole food and brass bands. Kermit’s Treme Mother in Law Lounge on N. Claiborne belonged to the late R&B and jazz legend Ernie K-Doe and his wife Antoinette. When both passed, Kermit Ruffins bought it and continues the tradition with live music and BBQ.

The family-owned (since the 1960s) Willie Mae’s Scotch House may look like a white-painted shack, but it serves some of the best friend chicken in New Orleans and other delicious soul food. Another legendary soul food restaurant is Dooky Chase’s. The late chef Leah Chase’s Creole staples include gumbo z’herbes, which is not easy to find on the restaurant menus in the city. It’s a meatless version of gumbo made with several types of greens.

Not far away on Orleans Avenue, Greg and Mary Sonnier reopened their famous restaurant, Gabrielle, which used to be in Mid-City on Esplanade Avenue but has been shuttered after Katrina. And, speaking of Esplanade, Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe is a popular choice for a casual soul-food breakfast.

The Marigny


The Marigny is defined by North Rampart Street and St. Claude Avenue to the north, Press Street to the east, the Mississippi River to the south, and Esplanade Avenue to the west.


The Marigny is named after Bernard de Marigny, a French aristocrat with well-documented joie de vivre, whose plantation and its subdivisions formed the area in the early 19th century. Just like Treme, the neighborhood was inhabited by a vibrant mix of Creoles and free people of color.

What it’s like today

Faubourg Marigny is one of the city’s most densely populated neighborhoods with an eclectic mix of residents. It’s peppered with excellent bars and restaurants, covetable historic houses, iconic music venues, and funky B&Bs. A viable alternative to the French Quarter for where to stay while visiting, it should also be lauded for the lack of retail chains, its walkability, and the fact that it’s one of the oldest gayborhoods in the South.

What to see and do

Just taking a walk down Royal or Chartres streets might be immensely rewarding because of all the Creole cottages, funky little stores, and bars and restaurants. Or take a stroll down Frenchmen Street any time of day. Most music shows start later at night, but you don’t even have to enter any clubs to hear an excellent brass band — it’s often spilling out on the street corners.

The Marigny is also home to a sprawling indie record store, Louisiana Music Factory. On Elysian Fields by Frenchmen is Washington Square, a lovely little park with swaths of green and a small playground. The Healing Center on St. Claude Avenue is a multi-story community center that contains restaurants, a bookstore, a botanica, a performance space, a co-op, and more.

Where to eat, drink and hear music

Frenchmen Street and St. Claude Avenue have the highest concentration of live music venues, including the legendary Spotted Cat and d.b.a. Though regularly packed, Frenchmen Street is still an unsurpassed destination for local music and nightlife. Many nightclubs double as excellent restaurants, like the upscale Marigny Brasserie (sidewalk dining!), the popular Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro with its big acts and Creole fare, or the Three Muses (small plates, great jazz shows).

Mona’s Cafe, an inexpensive Middle Eastern restaurant and international market combo at the foot of Frenchmen, is a must-stop for falafel, and the cozy and romantic Adolfo’s is not easy to spot (it’s upstairs from the live-music hangout dive Apple Barrel), and has some of the best seafood on its Creole/Italian menu.

Marigny Opera House on St. Ferdinand Street, a popular performance venue with great acoustics converted from the church that was built in 1853, hosts everything from puppet shows to Sunday musical meditations.

Marigny is home to a slew of neighborhood bars you wouldn’t want to leave, like the Friendly Bar, Buffa’s (with live music and bar food), the R Bar, and many more.

SukhoThai is a popular neighborhood restaurant with exposed brick and specialty Thai cocktails, or head to the Bao & Noodle on Chartres Street on the edge of the Marigny for Chinese tapas. The AllWays Lounge & Theatre, Siberia and the Hi-Ho Lounge on St. Claude are all great choices on any given night for indie bands, DJ nights, burlesque, and experimental music and theater shows.

Book a stay at our historic French Quarter boutique hotel, right in the epicenter of all of the action!