New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Lineup & What’s New

Jazz Fest Entrance

 

It’s almost that time of year again — time to sip the iced tea, snack on crawfish Monica, and sway to the music of local and international musicians under the hot New Orleans sun. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, or Jazz Fest, is one of the most celebrated festivals in New Orleans and takes place every year during the last weekend of April and the first weekend in May. Jazz Fest has been around since 1970 and gets bigger and better every year.

During these two weekends, locals and out-of-towners get together to enjoy the culture of New Orleans with the various food, crafts, and performances that Jazz Fest has to offer. Contrary to the name, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is more than just jazz music.

Various musical genres like hip-hop, zydeco, blues, tribal, and electronic music can all be heard live from Jazz Fest’s multiple stages. This year the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will take place at its usual spot on the Fair Grounds Race Course starting on Friday, April 28, and ending on Sunday, May 7, 2023.

Some of the top headliners for the festival include Lizzo, Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons, Dead & Company, The Lumineers, Jon Batiste, H.E.R., and more. The music schedule is broken down by day in cubes with times for all the acts, which you can view here.

Of course, one of the best parts of Jazz Fest is the food. Some staples for food include Crawfish Monica, mango freezes, Ya-Ka-Mein, snoballs, poboys, and much more.

What’s new in 2023

Jazz Fest is going cashless this year! Ticket, food, beverage, craft, and merchandise booths will no longer accept cash payments. If you come to the event with only cash, the Festival will offer cash exchange booths near key vending locations so you can get a prepaid card for your cash.

Another change is that one of the longest-running Jazz Fest food vendors won’t be there, and neither will his famous and beloved crawfish bread. John Ed Laborde, who created this bread, has been selling it at the fest since 1987.

To view the complete 2023 Jazz Fest music and food lineup and purchase tickets visit the event’s website.

If you’re planning a stay in New Orleans, be sure to check out our resource for French Quarter Hotels.

Best Live Music Venues Near French Market Inn

Image courtesy of Preservation Hall on Facebook

New Orleans is a music city, and if you’re staying in the French Quarter you are in luck as you can walk to many venues that dish out excellent, world-class live music nightly, often for a low cover. Sometimes it’s even free — all you need to do is walk around and catch a band on a street corner.

Also, there’s no better place for live music than the Marigny Triangle. Situated between Esplanade Avenue and Elysian Fields, this wedge-shaped neighborhood is bisected by Frenchmen Street, a pedestrian-friendly strip of music clubs, bars, restaurants, and an art market, some of which don’t get going until after 10 p.m. The vibe is a giant block party, and you can easily walk there from the hotel.

So, here’s just a sliver of where to check out the city’s robust live music culture near the French Market Inn.

In the French Quarter

21st Amendment Bar at La Louisiane

725 Iberville Street

Prohibition-era 21st Amendment Bar is located just a half-block off Bourbon Street. The bar takes its name from the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which repealed the 18th Amendment creating Prohibition (the ban on alcohol production and sales) in 1920. The space was originally a hotel and restaurant called La Louisiane when it was established in 1933; the same year, Prohibition ended. Black-and-white images of mobsters adorn the walls, and inventive craft cocktails abound.

Fritzel’s European Jazz Club

733 Bourbon Street

Fritzel’s is a great spot for live jazz, and it regularly dishes out plenty of old-school Dixieland. It’s calm and laid back in almost inverse proportion to much of the rest of Bourbon Street — a perfect stop if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the crowds, or if you just want to listen to some good music.

New Orleans Street Music

Royal Street, Jackson Square, Bourbon Street)

You don’t have to buy a cocktail or pay a cover to hear great jazz. Playing on the street is a New Orleans tradition, and many successful music careers have started that way. You might catch a band on the corners throughout the Quarter nightly, especially on Bourbon and Royal, plus on Jackson Square. Frenchmen Street in the Marigny also hosts impromptu performances nightly. Drop a tip in a jar, and enjoy.

Preservation Hall

726 St. Peter Street

There’s no food or drink for sale or public restrooms at this no-frills, all-ages venue (you can bring your own drinks). What you will find, though, is a bastion of traditional New Orleans jazz that has branched out in recent years to embrace performances by artists ranging from Mos Def to Foo Fighters. Grab a go-cup and get ready to sweat it out — a concert at Pres Hall is truly a New Orleans bucket list item.

The Bombay Club

830 Conti Street

When former owner Richard Fiske took the wheel at Bombay Club in the early 2000s, jazz was scarce in the Quarter (except for Preservation Hall). Fiske aimed to make The Bombay Club a live jazz destination on par with nightclubs of the 1940s. He succeeded at his task, and although he has since passed on, his legacy continues in the nightly lineup of jazz luminaries. There’s no better place to savor music alongside new Louisiana cuisine and cocktails, all in a comfortably luxurious atmosphere.

On Frenchmen Street

The Maison

508 Frenchmen Street

A music club that triples as a restaurant and bar. It’s three-level, with multiple stages where you can find drag, burlesque, and live music of many genres. The menu is primarily New Orleans classics, a house burger, and sandwich platters.

Bamboula’s

514 Frenchmen Street

Here, you’ll find casual New Orleans fare like po-boys and jambalaya. The no-cover eclectic live music seven days a week is another draw.

Blue Nile

532 Frenchmen Street

One of the longest-standing clubs on Frenchmen Street is a must for live jazz and local brass. On any given night, you can catch a performance by the city’s top musicians like Kermit Ruffins and Big Sam’s Funky Nation. It’s also a great spot to see the Mardi Gras Indians do a show.

Three Muses

536 Frenchmen Street

Grab a seat at the bar or a tall bistro table, order Chef Daniel Esses’ tapas and one of the on-point house cocktails, and settle in for an intimate night of music. Curated by musician and Frenchmen Street fixture Sophie Lee, the nightly lineup includes Shotgun Jazz Band, Gal Holiday, Tom McDermott, and many others.

d.b.a.

618 Frenchmen Street

Since this live music venue opened its doors in 2000, d.b.a. has hosted hundreds of live acts. The bar features a broad selection of beer and spirits, and the music plays nightly. Tin Men and John Boutte perform there regularly.

Marigny Brasserie

640 Frenchmen Street

The casual, live music venue at the end of Frenchmen offers an elevated Cajun/Creole menu, hand-crafted cocktails, a good wine list, and local draft beer plus live big-band music.

Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro

626 Frenchmen Street

Snug Harbor is a sit-down ticketed music venue that is home to local and touring heavyweights of traditional and modern jazz (such as a weekly show by Ellis Marsalis). For over 30 years, Snug Harbor has provided the best in live jazz and great regional cuisine. Snug Harbor is located in three rooms of a renovated 1800s storefront a dining room, a bar, and a music room.

The Spotted Cat

623 Frenchmen Street

It’s raucous, it’s loud, it’s standing room only, and it’s one of the best places to throw down in New Orleans. This casual, petite Frenchmen Street venue doles out traditional jazz, modern jazz, blues, and funk. If things get too hot and crowded, just step outside with your drink for a breather — chances are, you’ll find a brass band playing on the street.

Remember, you can walk to all these venues from your hotel! Take advantage of the French Market Inn specials, group rates, and best-rate guarantee for greater savings to spend on New Orleans famous French Quarter cuisine and enjoying everything this magnificent city has to offer. Reserve your room today!

 

 

French Quarter on a Budget

The streetcar is a reliable transportation option and only costs $1.25

The French Quarter can easily part you with your hard-earned cash in one evening if you are splurging on the swanky and the high-end (a dinner at Galatoire’s and drinks at French 75, for example), but, just as easily, you can have a great time on a limited budget. There’s a wealth of free attractions, reasonably priced food, low covers for live music, and happy hours with craft cocktails under $10. Here are some suggestions on how to do the French Quarter on a budget.

Have Breakfast at Cafe du Monde

If you hit Cafe du Monde (800 Decatur st.) in the morning, you’ll probably have to wait in line. But it’s worth the wait for a breakfast treat New Orleanians have been savoring since 1862. Order a plate of three fresh-from-the-fryer beignets dusted with powdered sugar, and dip them into a steaming hot cup of cafe au lait. Though light as air, beignets are surprisingly filling, and taste even better when you’re listening to live jazz while breezes waft off the nearby Mississippi.

Cost: about $6, plus tip.

Walk Along the Mississippi River, and Take a Trip on the Algiers Ferry

Strolling the banks of the Mississippi River is both delightful and free. And you don’t have to spring for a pricey ticket on a paddlewheel boat to cruise the river. It costs just $2 to board the Algiers ferry to the West Bank, which leaves from the foot of Canal Street, near the Aquarium of the Americas. You’ll enjoy sweeping views of the city’s skyline, and the towering spires of St. Louis Cathedral.

About five minutes later, you’ll dock at Algiers Point, a historic neighborhood with expansive views of the Crescent City along the Mississippi River levee. Reboard the ferry for another $2 when you’re ready to leave, and get back off where you started.

Cost: $4 round trip.

Grab a Sandwich to Go for Lunch

Central Grocery (923 Decatur St.) invented the muffuletta. It rivals the po-boy as the city’s most iconic sandwich. Layered with sliced Italian deli meats, rich provolone cheese, and hot and spicy olive salad, muffulettas are served on locally baked seeded buns and are big enough to feed two people. If it’s just you, opt for the half-sandwich.

Another great option, Verti Marte (1201 Royal St.) has dozens of sandwiches on its extensive menu, including the specialty gems like a vegetarian Green Giant and the meat-and-shrimp laden All That Jazz. Pro tip: Bring your lunch to the Moonwalk for a riverside picnic that will more than fill you up for the day.

Cost: $15.25 for a half of muffuletta; Verti Marte prices vary.

Walk Around and Window Shop

One of the best streets for window shopping is Royal Street, its pedestrian-only part in particular. There you’ll find dozens of antique, jewelry and vintage shops touting their stunning wares in their windows.

We’re especially impressed with a trove of priceless antiques worth a fortune at M.S. Rau Antiques (630 Royal St.), but it doesn’t cost a dime to drool over exquisite Victorian music boxes, dazzling diamond-encrusted brooches and elaborate player pianos. And Rau is just one of the many shops brimming with oddities and treasures on Royal Street.

The architecture isn’t shabby either, so enjoy all the wrought iron. Cap off an afternoon of aspirational window shopping by trying on one of the phantasmagorical wigs at Fifi Mahony’s (934 Royal St.).

Another fun street to walk is Chartres Street, which is studded with boutiques and interesting local stores. If you walk from Canal Street toward Esplanade Avenue, Chartres Street will lead you right to Jackson Square, where there’s usually a lot going on: street performances, brass bands, art displayed for sale, fortune telling, and just lots of local color and joie de vivre. Soak it up!

Cost: Free.

Hit a Happy Hour

New Orleans is a drinking town and boasts some of the best happy hours in the country. Lagniappe: many offer budget-priced small bites that can easily serve as an early dinner. These are just three to pick from, but really, the options are expansive.

Kingfish (337 Chartres St.)

Live like a king (on a budget) Monday through Friday from 2 to 5 p.m., when you can drink draft beer ($4), wine ($6), or specialty cocktails ($7) while noshing on $9 small plates like duck and andouille gumbo and Louisiana crawfish bread.

Saint John (1117 Decatur St.)

You can’t go wrong with upscale Creole cuisine when the bar bites are $7 and the libations are $5. This French Quarter newcomer is garnering accolades left and right, and this is your chance to find out why.

The Bombay Club (830 Conti St.)

If you’re staying at the Prince Conti Hotel, one of the best and most leisurely happy hours in the Quarter is right downstairs at The Bombay Club, where it runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Wash down shareables and bites like Natchitoches meat pies and Ploughman’s Board with a couple of beers ($3), glasses of wine ($4), or specialty cocktails ($5). Cost: Depends on how heartily you imbibe, but about $20 plus tip for two drinks and two apps buys a nice buzz and something in your belly to offset it.

Want to be close to al these places and attractions? Book your stay at our beautiful French Market Inn! Our historic hotel is located in the heart of the New Orleans French Quarter, close to a multitude of popular New Orleans bars, restaurants and landmarks.

10 Iconic New Orleans Brunch Dishes You Must Try in the French Quarter

Image courtesy of The Original Pierre Maspero’s on Facebook

Brunch is usually meant to be a lingering, boozy affair, but New Orleans takes it to a new level with a slew of jazz brunches, classic cocktails, and decadent Creole fare. Many local restaurants offer special weekend brunch menus, often accompanied by live music, and seat as late as 3 p.m. Bottomless mimosas and build-your-own-Bloody-Mary bars are a thing, and your eggs and waffles will arrive at the table covered with decadent sauces, Gulf seafood, and other deliciousness.

From the iconic Creole grand dames to contemporary wonders helmed by award-winning chefs, you can easily find tasty renditions of New Orleans and southern staples on many local brunch menus. Here are our suggestions for the French Quarter and nearby.

1. Biscuits and Gravy

We don’t need to explain this Southern classic, which you can spot on many menus of the French Quarter restaurants, from downhome diners to the white-tablecloth veterans alike.

Where to try it: A locally owned mini-chain with one location in the French Quarter, Ruby Slipper‘s buttermilk biscuits and gravy also come with eggs, bacon, and fried green tomato. You can also add chicken to your order. This Southern staple is also on the menu of the CBD-based Willa Jean (near the French Quarter, and a must if you’re a biscuit enthusiast). Willa Jean also doubles as a bakery, and the biscuit is served four different ways (look for “The Biscuit Situation” section in the menu).

2. Breakfast Po-Boy

The egg-and-cheese version of this local staple, a breakfast po-boy also comes with smoked sausage, ham, and veggies. It’s served on French bread, of course.

Where to try it: The version served at Stanley is eggs Benedict and bacon, and it’s served all day. To-go or delivery-only Verti Marte has whopping nine choices of the eggs-cheese-bacon-ham-sausage combos, all served on French bread.

3. Chicken and Waffles

Before avocado toast and bottomless mimosas began showing up on the brunch menus everywhere, there were chicken and waffles. Simple, satisfying, and as Southern as they come, this dish can be found all over the French Quarter.

Where to try it: The standouts include The Original Pierre Maspero’s (Maspero’s version features a honey Tabasco glaze) and the fluffy buttermilk waffles at Creole House.

4. Crabmeat Cheesecake

Don’t let the name confuse you — this is not a dessert but rather a savory dish — a blend of fresh crabmeat, pecan crust, mushroom sauté, and Creole meuniere.

Where to try it: At the Palace Cafe, which is part of the Brennan’s group of restaurants and has one of the few sidewalk dining options in the Quarter. Crabmeat Cheesecake is Palace Cafe’s signature dish, and you can find it on the restaurant’s brunch menu along with other New Orleans lunch and brunch mainstays like shrimp remoulade.

5. Eggs Sardou

Eggs Sardou isn’t as ubiquitous as, say, eggs Benedict, but this Creole dish is nevertheless a New Orleans brunch staple. Like eggs Benedict, eggs Sardou are poached, and served over steamed artichoke bottoms and topped with hollandaise sauce.

Where to try: At Antoine‘s popular jazz brunch, along with its famous oysters Rockefeller and shrimp remoulade. Feeling adventurous? Try eggs Rossini, also on the menu: the poached egg comes with foie gras mousse crostini, a small beef filet, and Madeira hollandaise.

6. French Toast/Pain Perdu

Pain Perdu means “lost bread,” referring to the dish’s ability to resurrect stale and otherwise lost to most purposes bread. For this version of French toast French bread is soaked in eggs and milk and then fried (sometimes deep-fried) or grilled, which results in a crisp and buttery exterior and a soft and custardy inside.

Where to try it: Chef Scott Boswell created a very popular Bananas Foster French toast for Stanley’s breakfast and brunch menus (again, served all day). The battered French bread is topped with sliced bananas, toasted walnuts and Foster sauce, and served with vanilla ice cream. This is of course a nod to the classic Bananas Foster dessert, which originated at New Orleans’ own Brennan’s Restaurant and is still its most-ordered item.

The Ruby Slipper hits all the right notes when it comes to brunch mainstays but with distinctly Louisiana twists. This brunch queen has a version of Bananas Foster pain perdu that fits right in with eggs cochon and the acclaimed house specialty, BBQ shrimp and grits. It’s made with French bread, of course, and is served with rum-flambéed bananas and applewood-smoked bacon.

7. Gumbo

One of Louisiana’s most famous dishes, excellent gumbo is easy to find in the French Quarter — it just depends on whether you like your gumbo with darker or lighter roux, and with meat or seafood (or laden with both). Most restaurants include at least two versions on the menu, the meat and the seafood, and tend not to stray too far from the classic Cajun and Creole recipes.

Where to try it: The Gumbo Shop serves seafood and okra gumbo that is thick with shrimp and crabmeat; a smoky chicken and andouille sausage gumbo; and even gumbo z’herbes, a rarely-seen vegetarian gumbo made with greens. Cup-sized portions are available for easy sampling. Gumbo Ya-Ya, a house specialty at Mr. B’s Bistro, is a Cajun country-style gumbo made with a dark roux, lots of Creole spices, chicken, and Andouille sausage. (Pair it with Mr. B’s legendary BBQ shrimp, which comes with French bread for dipping, and a bib).

8. Jambalaya

This flavorful one-pot, rice-based dish is right up there with gumbo when it comes to well-deserved international fame, and can be found in many French Quarter restaurants. This staple traditionally incorporates stock, meat, seafood, long-grain rice, and vegetables (like the “holy trinity” also used in gumbo — bell pepper, onion and celery). The main distinction is that the Creole version has tomatoes and the Cajun recipe does not.

Where to try it: One of the best versions you can find in the French Quarter is served at a local watering hole on a busy block of Decatur St., Coop’s Place. Coop’s Cajun-style rabbit and sausage jambalaya can be upgraded to “supreme” by adding shrimp and tasso, a spicy Cajun ham smoked on premises. No reservations are accepted at this casual joint, and no one under 18 is allowed inside because of the video poker machines.

To sample jambalaya in a more upscale setting, try the version cooked up at Napoleon House, which is laden with seafood in a dark roux. Consider pairing it with the restaurant’s famous muffuletta and washing it down with its signature drink, Pimm’s Cup. And the New Orleans Creole Cookery has a vegetarian version, not something many restaurants offer.

9. Shrimp and Grits

This iconic Louisiana dish is served on many lunch and brunch menus in the French Quarter, with local chefs often adding their own twist.

Where to try it: Mr.B’s Bistro wraps its shrimp in bacon, and Tujaque’s offers the classic version with New Orleans-style BBQ sauce and stone-ground grits.

10. Turtle Soup

This Louisiana classic is considered a delicacy in many cultures across the globe. The silky Creole version, served with a touch of sherry (and sometimes with grated or chopped egg, and more sherry tableside), can be found in many classic New Orleans restaurants that serve Creole dishes, including, famously, Commander’s Palace and Brennan’s.

Where to try it: You can enjoy the old-world Creole decadence, along with its legendary turtle soup, at Arnaud’s Sunday jazz brunch, which features Dixieland and a prix fixe menu. The Court of Two Sisters also offers turtle soup on its everyday jazz brunch menu, along with a sumptuous spread that includes Louisiana classics like grits and grillades, a seafood buffet, and a carving station. Want a view of Jackson Square with your turtle soup? Muriel’s got you covered with its elegant weekend brunch, accompanied by the sounds of live jazz music and a Ramos gin fizz or a Sazerac.

Are you visiting New Orleans soon? Book your stay at our beautiful French Market Inn! Our historic hotel is located in the heart of the New Orleans French Quarter, close to a multitude of popular New Orleans bars, restaurants and landmarks.

Girl Trip: A Day in the French Quarter

If you’re in town traveling with the women you love, the French Quarter makes for a great setting. It’s packed with interesting boutiques and great bars and restaurants, and easy to explore on foot. Many establishments that are open late are within walking distance from the hotel, and most other areas of the city are only a short car or streetcar ride away. Here are some of our French Quarter picks you can hit on your girl trip to New Orleans.

Morning

Start the day at PJ’s Coffee, conveniently located inside the hotel on Decatur St. You can sip on the hotel’s balcony, enjoying the view of the street and the Mississippi River, or grab a hot, iced, or frozen coffee beverage and a treat before heading out. The coffeeshop opens at 6 a.m. and has free wifi.

Want to cross beignets off your food bucket list? The always-open Cafe Du Monde (800 Decatur St.) is nearby, at the historic French Market (1100 N. Peters St.), where it’s been since 1862. Pair your sugar-dusted slices of heaven with a cup of cafe au lait, and call it breakfast. Want to linger over your croissant? Another classic gem, the French-style patisserie Croissant D’Or (617 Ursulines Ave), is a short walk away.

Next, why not explore the French Market and the Riverfront? The market has been around for over three centuries and now packs a massive flea market and food court, both good places to shop for souvenirs and gifts to take home. And the Riverfront offers a great view of the Mississippi River and a leisurely stroll among public art and to the lively soundtrack of the boats going by.

Next, stroll to Jackson Square to explore St. Louis Cathedral, catch a brass band, and have your fortune told. The fortune tellers set up shop right outside the cathedral, at any time of day or night, and can divine your future with tarot cards, bones, and runes.

Afternoon

Ready for lunch? There are many options, of course, but we won’t steer you wrong with the prix fixe lunch specials with bottomless mimosas at Antoine’s Restaurant (713 St. Louis St.).

Do you have any foodies in your group? Chef Susan Spicer’s flagship Bayona Restaurant (430 Dauphine St.), housed in a 200-year-old Creole cottage with a lovely courtyard, is always cooking up something impressive with seasonal ingredients.

Many French Quarter-centered girl trips make a pitstop at Spa Atlantis (536 Bienville St.). Whether you indulge yourselves with a full-glam package or a quick massage, it’s a great way to relax and recharge before you resume exploring the Quarter.

Ready for some power shopping? Quirky and affordable boutiques like Hemline (609 Chartres St.) dot Chartres Street between Canal Street and Jackson Square. Shop the original vintage-inspired designs that flatter every body size and shape at Trashy Diva (537 Royal St.). Another must-stop is Fifi Mahony’s (934 Royal St.), where you can try wigs in every style and color and glitz up with makeup and accessories.

New Orleans takes happy hour to a new level, so, from the Old World landmarks to watering holes, you have tons of options. To sip in style, try Hermes Bar at Antoine’s (725 St. Louis St.). Mardi Gras memorabilia is displayed in glass cases, and the house’s original Oysters Rockefeller is a must. If you go to French 75 (813 Bienville), order the namesake drink, of course. The go-to for Pimm’s Cup is the historic Napoleon House (500 Chartres St.), which has featured this signature drink for decades.

We also recommend The Bombay Club (830 Conti St.), tucked away in a carriage house at the Prince Conti Hotel. It has the most extensive martini menu in town, live music, and an interesting bar menu.

Are you celebrating something on your trip to New Orleans? This calls for champagne! Effervescence (1036 N. Rampart St.) is the go-to then as the only champagne bar in the French Quarter, and The Roost Bar at Brennan’s Restaurant (417 Royal St.) has one of the best champagne happy hours around.

Evening

There is not enough room to even start discussing all of the numerous dining options that await around every corner in the French Quarter. Depending on your budget and culinary preferences, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a perfect spot for your group. Ask our concierge for recommendations, too. And, of course, if it’s a popular and/or high-end restaurant, we advise making a reservation in advance.

We know, it can be tacky and loud, but Bourbon Street can be a lot of rambunctious fun with its giant drinks, karaoke pitstops, people-watching, and non-stop action. So, give it a try at least for a few blocks.

For live music, head across Esplanade Avenue to the music corridor of Frenchmen Street in Faubourg Marigny. There will be music pouring out of every bar and on street corners, and the fun goes on well into the night. Our favorites include the Blue Nile (532 Frenchmen St.), The Spotted Cat Music Club (623 Frenchmen St.), and d.b.a. (618 Frenchmen St.).

Not ready to call it a night? Hit the dance floor at Santos (1135 Decatur St.), which is open till 5 a.m.

There you have it, and this is just a starting point. Happy exploring!

Are you in town for a bachelorette party? Book your stay at our beautiful French Market Inn! Our historic hotel is located in the heart of the New Orleans French Quarter, close to a multitude of popular New Orleans bars, restaurants and landmarks.

 

 

Shopping Near the French Market Inn

The Shops at JAX Brewery, French Quarter, New Orleans. Image courtesy of The Shops at JAX Brewery on Facebook

You’re in luck when it comes to shopping options near French Market Inn, as there are three malls nearby, and the area is packed with boutiques (try Chartres Street) and souvenir shops (head down Decatur Street toward Esplanade Avenue when you leave the hotel).

The renovated JAX Brewery, a multi-story historic landmark packed with stores and restaurants, is only a block away. And you will definitely want to check out the upscale Shops at Canal Place, also just blocks away from the French Market Inn. You may also want to spend some time at the sprawling outlet shopping mall the Riverwalk.

Across the street from French Market Inn, you’ll find H&MUrban OutfittersVans, and Sephora, all next to one another. If you walk toward Canal Street, you’ll find one of the best bookstores in the city, Beckham’s Bookshop (228 Decatur Street).

For unique, well-priced local art and souvenirs, try the French Market. The French Market’s Shops at the Colonnade is a strip of shops also worth a visit if you’re shopping for souvenirs (including the edible kind, like pralines or a beignet mix) or local specialties.

Nearby, the eclectic David’s Found Objects (1319 Decatur Street) has quite a collection of costume jewelry and vintage glass Mardi Gras beads. To stock up on New Orleans-themed ornaments and every possible take on a fleur-de-lis, check out the Christmas-themed Santa’s Quarters.

For vintage-inspired clothing, shoes and accessories try Trashy Diva and Dollz & Dames.

If you are visiting New Orleans and want to stay in the French Quarter, book your stay at our beautiful hotel, the French Market Inn! This historic hotel is close to a multitude of popular New Orleans shopping destinations, bars, restaurants, and landmarks.

Uniquely New Orleans Cocktails in the French Quarter

Café Brûlot at Arnaud’s. Image courtesy of Arnaud’s & the French 75 Bar on Facebook

From the eye-openers like milk punch to the decadent absinthe frappe, many of the cocktails you came to know and love (or can’t wait to taste while visiting) were either invented or perfected here. The rich and distinctive cocktail culture of New Orleans is full of history, lore and speculation, perfectly complementing the delicious melting pot of our cuisine. Here’s to the unique concoctions you can find in New Orleans, and the best places in the French Quarter to try them.

Absinthe Frappe

What’s in it: Absinthe, sugar, mint, and soda over crushed ice.

Where to try it: The Old Absinthe House, which invented this drink in 1874.

This deceivingly refreshing mint-green concoction packs a punch, and there’s no better place to chase the green fairy than at its historic birthplace, the Old Absinthe House, which has seen the likes of Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde among its patrons.

Cafe Brûlot

What’s in it: Brandy, Curaçao, Grand Marnier or Cointreau, hot, strong black coffee, sugar cubes, orange peel, lemon peel, cinnamon (sticks), cloves.

Where to try it: Antoine’s (where it was supposedly invented), Arnaud’s, Galatoire’s.

This signature after-dinner drink is way more than just coffee — a lot goes into the presentation, which includes setting brandy and Curaçao on fire and ladling the flaming liquid over a spiral of orange peel. In a nutshell, Café Brûlot involves “burnt brandy,” and it is said to have been invented at Antoine’s in the 1880s and originally made tableside in an ornate copper bowl.

French 75

What’s in it: Champagne, lemon juice, gin, simple syrup.

Where to try it: Arnaud’s French 75.

Invented during World War I by a New York bartender, this cocktail has become a mainstay across New Orleans barrooms. The version at its namesake bar, attached to the iconic Creole grand dame of restaurants, Arnaud’s, is made with Courvoisier VS, sugar, lemon juice, and Moët & Chandon.

Frozen Irish Coffee

What’s in it: Strong black coffee, cooled; sweetened cream, Irish Whiskey, chocolate.

Where to try it: Molly’s at the Market, Erin Rose.

Frozen Irish coffee was not invented in New Orleans, but it’s on many menus of the French Quarter bars. Molly’s at the Market and Erin Rose both have become known for their Irish coffee.

Grasshopper

What’s in it: Crème de menthe, crème de cacao, heavy cream.

Where to try it: Tujague’s.

The Grasshopper Cocktail is a sweet, mint-flavored after-dinner drink that derives its name from the green color lent by crème de menthe. It was created by Philibert Guichet, the former proprietor of Tujague’s Restaurant in the French Quarter. He created the cocktail for a drink competition in New York City in 1919, and it took the second prize. Ever since, the cocktail has been served at Tujague’s and other fine establishments across New Orleans and the country.

Hand Grenade

What’s in it: Gin, vodka, rum, melon liquor.

Where to try it: Any of the five French Quarter outposts of the “New Orleans’ Most Powerful Drink” inventor, the Tropical Isle.

The Hand Grenade is truly a Bourbon Street original, and it’s sold frozen or on the rocks exclusively through the Tropical Isle. You’ll see the memorable neon-colored, hand grenade-shaped containers clutched by many a passerby in the Quarter. You might also spot the drink’s own mascot, dressed in an inflatable grenade costume, bouncing along Bourbon Street.

The drink first debuted at New Orleans World Fair in 1984. You can take home the Tropical Isle’s Hand Grenade mix, which is a melon-flavored blend of liqueurs and “secret ingredients.”

Hurricane

What’s in it: Rum (both dark and light), lemon juice, passion fruit syrup, or juice. Might include simple syrup, grenadine and orange juice, and (in fancier establishments) such garnishes as pineapple leaves and slices, maraschino cherries, or slices of orange. Served in a tall, signature “hurricane” glass.

Where to try it: The bar that gets the credit for inventing this fruity, bright-red concoction, Pat O’Brien’s.

Pat O’Brien ran a speakeasy in the 600 block of St. Peter street in the French Quarter until the repeal of Prohibition. Then he opened a bar in 1933 at the 718 St. Peter street location. During the war, domestic liquor was scarce but rum was freely flowing from the Caribbean islands via the Mississippi River. The long story of finding the right mix of juices and rum short, passion fruit has won as a mixer of choice, and the new (and very potent) drink was served in a glass shaped like a hurricane lamp. These days you can take home of a bottle of Pat O’Brien’s signature hurricane mix and a souvenir hurricane glass.

Milk Punch

What’s in it: Brandy or bourbon, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, with nutmeg sprinkled on top. Served cold.

Where to try it: Brennan’s or Galatoire’s, but you can find it all over the city, and several places have their own take on this eye-opener.

Milk Punch is a Sunday brunch and winter holidays staple in New Orleans. It’s enjoyed a revival since 1901, when it appeared in The Original Picayune Creole Cook Book’s first edition. It might remind you of eggnog, minus the eggs. And don’t be fooled by its creamy and sweet nature — this boozy milkshake packs a punch.

Pimm’s Cup

What’s in it: Pimm’s #1, lemonade, topped up with 7up and garnished with cucumber.

Where to try it: Napoleon House.

Pimm’s Cup was introduced to New Orleans at the famous Napoleon House in the 1940s. When Emperor Napoleon was captured by the British in 1815 and exiled to the Island of St. Helena, the Mayor of New Orleans famously offered Napoleon sanctuary. This was not to be, but Napoleon House persisted, first being in the Impasto family for 101 years and then being purchased by the Brennan family in 2015. Pimm’s Cup, at only 50 proof, was introduced to New Orleans in the 1940s, with a slightly different recipe than its U.K. counterpart. This gin-based, refreshing aperitif has become a summertime favorite in the American South for obvious reasons.

Ramos Gin Fizz

What’s in it: Gin, heavy cream or milk, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, powdered sugar, orange flower water, egg white, and club soda (to top).

Where to try it: The birthplace of the cocktail, the Carousel Bar & Lounge.

This frothy floral cocktail was named after the bartender Henry Ramos who is said to have invented it in 1888. It was also reportedly the favored drink of Huey Long, Louisiana’s most infamous governor. The Ramos Gin Fizz gets its fizzy part from the combination of orange flower water and egg white, requiring prolonged and vigorous shaking to reach the right texture. Legend also has it that during Carnival 1915, Ramos’s bar employed over 30 bartenders to mix this famous drink, to meet the demand.

Sazerac

What’s in it: Rye whiskey or cognac, bitters, sugar, lemon peel, and an absinthe substitute (such as Pernod or Herbsaint).

Where to try it: The Bombay Club, The Sazerac Bar, but, really, many restaurants serve this elegant cocktail.

The origins of Sazerac are somewhat unclear, but New Orleans claims it has invented this very first cocktail ever. Reportedly it was developed in 1838 by New Orleans apothecary Antoine Amedie Peychaud using his special bitters and the Sazerac de Forge et Fils brand of cognac brandy (hence the name). By 1850 Sazerac was the country’s first branded cocktail, and its popularity hasn’t dimmed since.

Vieux Carré

What’s in it: Rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, Angostura bitters, Peychaud’s bitters.

Where to try it: The Carousel Bar & Lounge, though you can find it at pretty much any craft cocktail bar in New Orleans.

Hotel Monteleone bartender Walter Bergeron invented this cocktail in 1938, named after the French Quarter. Bergeron was actually the head bartender of the hotel’s cocktail lounge that predated the current Carousel Bar, which opened in 1949. Basically, this is the New Orleans’ take on Manhattan.

Voodoo Daiquiri

What’s in it: Bourbon, Everclear (190 proof, grain alcohol) or vodka, grape juice; served frozen.

Where to try it: Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.

The Voodoo Daiquiri is often also called “Purple Drank.” This sweet, grape-flavored frozen daiquiri is the signature cocktail at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, which has been operating since 1722, making it not only one of the oldest structures in New Orleans but also one of the oldest buildings that serve as a bar in the nation. It is said to have hosted the infamous privateer Jean Lafitte and his posse. Beware: The drink is super potent. Just look at the ingredients!

Happy imbibing!

If you are visiting New Orleans, book your stay at a beautiful New Orleans hotel close to the sounds of the city, the French Market Inn! This historic hotel is located in the heart of the New Orleans French Quarter, close to a multitude of popular New Orleans bars and restaurants.

This quaint hotel also gives you old New Orleans charm, without sacrificing any of the modern-day amenities that you want when staying at a hotel. When you stay at the French Market Inn, you can walk through meandering gardens and a beautiful stone-paved courtyard that allows you to enjoy a little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Thanksgiving in the French Quarter

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

When Thanksgiving is upon us, summer weather is truly over, and the fall schedule is packed with fun activities you can only find in New Orleans. Plus, quite a few notable restaurants offer the prix fixe, a la carte, and buffet feasts of Southern classics on Thanksgiving Day. There’s turkey, of course, but also lots of traditional holiday favorites with a few contemporary twists. Here’s what you can do, see and eat if you find yourself in New Orleans for Thanksgiving.

Get to the Races

The opening day at the Fair Grounds Race Course (Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2023) kicks off the holiday season for New Orleans, and you’ll see half the city donning spectacular hats and turning up at the racetrack to happily mingle, cocktails in hand, and to gorge on oysters and bet on horses. The races start at 11 a.m.

The racetrack also offers a Thanksgiving sit-down dinner in the Clubhouse and the Black Gold Room (reservations only). Prices range per seat for adults and children ages 12 and under. There’s also a first-come, first-served buffet in the Pan Zareta Room. Please note that the Clubhouse has a dress code, but you’d probably want to dress up anyway — and don’t forget the hat.

Bayou Classic

Each November the Bayou Classic draws the fans and alumni of Southern University and Grambling State University to New Orleans to partake in one of the country’s greatest college sports rivalries. The event stretches for four days and includes a fan fest, a parade, the Battle of the Bands, and, of course, the big game at the Superdome.

Thanksgiving Day Dining in the French Quarter or Nearby

Some of the city’s best restaurants will be offering multi-course Thanksgiving dinners in three formats — prix fixe, a la carte, and buffet. New Orleans celebrates food on any given day, but these holiday menus take it to another level, at the same time paying homage to the Southern culinary traditions.

The Louisiana spin on the traditional holiday bird is typically done three ways: deep-fried; smoked; and crawfish-style boiled with onions, garlic, potatoes, and crawfish boil spice. Then there’s the turducken, a New Orleans jazzed-up invention of a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey. Some traditional Louisiana recipes that make it into the chefs’ kitchens on Thanksgiving also include cornbread, oyster and Cajun dirty rice dressings, and pecan pie.

As it gets closer to Thanksgiving, check out what’s on the menu in some local restaurants on Thanksgiving Day. Restaurants participating in the past included such notables as Arnaud’s, Brennan’s, Muriel’s Jackson Square, and others. The restaurants typically post their special menus on their websites. This could be your best home away from home experience. Plus, someone else will be doing all the cooking!

Coming to New Orleans for Thanksgiving? Take advantage of the French Market Inn specials, group rates, and best-rate guarantee for greater savings to spend on New Orleans famous French Quarter cuisine and enjoying everything this magnificent city has to offer. Reserve your room today!

“Throw Me Something, Monsta!”: Krewe of Boo

Image courtesy of Krewe of Boo on Facebook

Krewe of Boo kicks off the holiday and parade season on Saturday, October 21, 2023, with its annual Halloween parade. This lively affair has become the “official Halloween Parade” in New Orleans in 2007, and has been going strong since, only growing in popularity. Krewe of Boo is brought to you by Kern Studios and the late “Mr. Mardi Gras” himself.

With Krewe of Boo, expect the usual 3-D fiberglass and papier-mache extravaganza with all of your favorite spooky characters. This popular parade draws both locals and visitors but is not so crowded that you won’t be able to get close at any point on its route. The parade-goers had been known to don their favorite, family-friendly Halloween gear as well, and you’re encouraged to do the same.

Krewe of Boo is very child-friendly, we can’t stress that enough. Everyone is welcome to join the spooky festivities, which makes this parade one of the best and most family-friendly ways to celebrate Halloween in one of the most haunted cities in America. You’ll see werewolves, ghosts, vampires, and other Halloween-themed monsters, but all the monsters on the floats are PG-13 and not too scary even for the youngest parade-goers.

There are plenty of plush toy throws for the little ones too. In an ongoing effort to minimize waste, Krewe of Boo has been instead handing out eco-friendly cups and food items made by local companies that are sponsoring the event.

Look out for Aunt Sally’s pralinettes and Chee Wees from Elmer’s Fine Foods. The little coffee packs from PJ’s Coffee are also a mainstay. Also look out for other collectibles and consumables like candy, light-up medallion beads and doubloons.

Once again, the pre-parade fun starts early in the morning and lasts all day. First up is the New Orleans Zombie Run. This two-mile race starts at 9 a.m. and ends at noon, both at Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant (701 Tchoupitoulas St.) in the Warehouse District. Participants are encouraged to come dressed as zombies and monsters. Registration for the race begins at 7:30 a.m. You can also pre-register online.

The parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Decatur St. and Elysian Fields Ave. in the Marigny, rolling through the French Quarter. It will first go down Elysian Fields to N. Peters St., then to Decatur, passing by Jackson Square. Then the parade will go down Canal, up to Burgundy St., making a U-turn and eventually reaching Tchoupitoulas St.

You can watch the parade at the official viewing party on the balcony of Crescent City Brewhouse (527 Decatur St.) in the French Quarter, but you might want to get your tickets soon as they will most likely sell out (tickets include an open bar and balcony access).

The parade ends at Generations Hall (311 Andrew Higgins Dr.) in the Warehouse District for the Monster Mash party. This ticketed costume party starts at 8 p.m. (until).; ages 18 and up to enter. The Monster Mash features live music, a costume contest, drink specials, and a big dance party. You can buy tickets online or at the door.

The day before the parade, on Friday, October 20, 2023, there’s a slew of scheduled events to kick off the fun, including a luncheon, a second line to Pat O’Brien’s (718 St. Peter St.) in the French Quarter, and a happy hour there.

For more information and updates please visit the Krewe of Boo websiteFacebook page, or find them on Twitter and Instagram.

Need somewhere to stay while you enjoy all the fall fun New Orleans has to offer, including the always-fabulous Halloween celebrations? Book a stay at a historic French Quarter boutique hotel today!

What to Do on the Fourth of July Weekend in the French Quarter and Nearby

Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash

The upcoming Independence Day weekend is shaping up to be spectacular, filled with special events, fireworks, and — this being New Orleans — great food and music. If you’re planning to spend yours in the French Quarter, here are some things we suggest for you, your friends and your family to do.

Kick off the festivities with Go 4th on the River celebration: a free Dueling Barges fireworks show over the Mississippi River at the Riverfront. Pick up a muffuletta from Central Grocery on Decatur Street, or an “All That Jazz” po-boy from Verti Marte on Royal (we also heartily recommend the Cuban sandwich), and set up a picnic by the river at the Woldenberg Park while you wait for the fireworks.

There’s plenty of grass and benches, as well as street performances along the Moonwalk, which is a walkway named for former New Orleans mayor Maurice “Moon” Landrieu. Watch the boats go by and take in the public art that liberally dots the space.

Another option is to book a steamboat cruise on the Mississippi River and watch the show from the deck while you party. Creole Queen’s Fourth of July Celebration Cruise boards starting at 7 p.m. and includes an open bar, a buffet, and lots of music (DJ, piano, and jazz band in three different rooms). The buffet’s menu is posted on the company website. Billed as “American favorites,” it includes BBQ chicken, pulled pork, corn on the cob, and apple pie.

Don’t want to commit to a cruise? Take a ferry across the river to Algiers Point for $2. A great view of the fireworks is guaranteed — en route and from the other bank.

While you are at the Riverfront, you can’t miss the French Market across the street. The best way to experience it is to walk through its open-air mall, starting with the food stands and ending at Esplanade. As the oldest continually operating public market in the country since 1791, the French Market has a structure of a traditional European market. It covers roughly five blocks, from Cafe du Monde on Decatur St. across from Jackson Square to the daily flea market at the end of Esplanade Avenue.

The flea market has local artists and vendors from all over the world. You’ll find souvenirs, handmade art and jewelry, t-shirts, music, and more. Sample local food and cocktails from the food stands or the nearby restaurants sprawling in every direction, or pick up pralines and a beignet mix to take home from any of the surrounding retail shops.

In the mood for more shopping and maybe a movie? The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk is an indoor outlet mall hosting more than 75 retailers and restaurants, including Nordstrom Rack and Mike Anderson’s Seafood. It is a short walk/streetcar ride along the riverfront from the French Market.

The Shops at Canal Place are a short walk away from the Riverwalk, featuring dozens of upscale retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Brooks Brothers, plus a small food court and a movie theater. The sleek Prytania Theatres at Canal Place is located inside the mall if you want to catch a movie.

For yet more shopping, check out the shops along N. Peters Street, including H&M and Sephora.

Need a respite from the heat but don’t feel like hanging in the mall? The sprawling Harrah’s New Orleans casino is within walking distance from the riverfront as well, on Canal Street. The complex features everything a large casino could offer. Foodwise, you can get a taste of local food at the Grand Isle Seafood Restaurant and The Steakhouse New Orleans.

If you don’t mind venturing a bit further away from the French Quarter toward the Convention Center, the Mardi Gras World museum will give you a taste of Mardi Gras with a grand tour of all things Carnival and a free slice of King Cake.

ESSENCE Fest is also held that weekend at the Superdome, wrapping up on Monday, July 3, 2023. The music lineup is always stellar, and the areas in and around the Superdome will host temporary arts-and-crafts markets.

Happy eating, shopping and sightseeing, and have a wonderful time in New Orleans this Independence Day weekend!

If you are visiting the Big Easy this summer, be sure to book your stay at The French Market Inn, a charming historic hotel in the New Orleans French Quarter located close to all of the festivals and excitement.