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

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.

Last-Minute Essentials Near French Market Inn

Image courtesy of Matassa’s Market on Facebook

The French Quarter may be a tourist attraction, but it’s also home to thousands of residents, with an infrastructure to support them. This means that you won’t have to walk far from your hotel to find places to buy snacks for your room, a toothbrush you might have forgotten to pack, or to do your laundry. Here are our picks for buying last-minute essentials near French Market Inn.

CVS

620 Decatur St.

CVS, just like its competitor across the street, Walgreens, stocks all the essentials you might find at a CVS in your hometown. Plus, you can score some deals on wine and spirits.

Mary’s Ace Hardware Store

732 N. Rampart St.

Chances are you won’t need a saw or a hammer. But Mary’s stocks lots of handy stuff for visitors, from bike-repair kits to umbrellas, and perks include free coffee and off-street parking. Venture “a step above” to the second-floor kitchen and bath emporium, where you’ll find shelves laden with local gourmet foods.

Matassa’s Market

1001 Dauphine St.

For over 90 years, French Quarter residents have stocked up on staples like milk and TP at Matassa’s. But the real draw is their famous fried chicken and other hot-plate specials. The best part? This full-service grocery, deli and liquor store delivers to your door. Matassa’s underwent a renovation in 2021, and is better than ever, with an expanded deli menu.

Rouses Market

701 Royal St.

This family-owned supermarket chain puts a distinctly local spin on grocery store staples, from grab-and-go boiled crawfish (in season) to dozens of fiery hot sauces. Rouse’s also boasts an excellent selection of wine, beer and spirits, which you can pick up on the fly until 10 p.m.

Suds Dem Duds

1101 Bourbon St.

Got a load of laundry to do? Fire up your laptop with free Wi-Fi while your clothes cycle through the coin-up machines. Or get the VIP service, and text 504-345-2828 for a pickup. Suds Dem Duds returns your clean, folded laundry the same day.

Walgreens

619 Decatur St.

It’s got everything you’d expect at your own local Walgreens, including sunscreen, rain gear, and other essentials for tropical weather. But the Decatur Street branch also boasts a trove of New Orleans souvenirs like pralines and Cafe du Monde coffee, some priced lower than in Quarter tourist shops. A bonus: The building that houses this Walgreens is art deco, complete with neon arches.

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.

Decatur Street: A Block-by-Block Guide

Cafe du Monde on Decatur Street, French Quarter

What’s on Decatur Street? Let’s find out! But first, a little history.

Decatur Street runs parallel to the Mississippi River, starting on Canal Street and ending at St. Ferdinand Street in the Marigny. Decatur was previously known as Rue de la Levee (“Levee Street”) but was renamed in 1870 after Stephen Decatur, the American naval war hero and Commodore.

Basically a waterfront strip, the French Quarter part of Decatur Street has catered to sailors and hosted the kinds of businesses a big port would have. By the 80s it still retained its port feel, especially in the Lower Decatur near Canal Street, but the part closer to Esplanade and Frenchmen Street became a bohemian haven with a vibrant goth and punk scene.

All that changed drastically in modern times, though some places remained, like Cafe du Monde, Central Grocery and Tujague’s. These days, Decatur Street is as vibrant as ever, even though the punk clubs and dive bars had been replaced by restaurants that cater to tourists, and bars and clubs that have more traditional jazz bands. There seems to be a candy store and a visitor center on every other block, and the number of places that sell po-boys, daiquiris and Mardi Gras masks is staggering.

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Decatur Street features a diverse selection of restaurants, a few funky bars, lots of shopping (from national chains like Sephora to unique local artist co-ops and vintage stores), and plenty of live music. In just 14 short blocks, Decatur packs a few legendary, centuries-old institutions, historic landmarks, an amazing bookstore, and so many zydeco-blasting souvenir shops that all your hot sauce and mask needs could be addressed within one block.

Let’s start walking from Esplanade Avenue to Canal Street, noting the highlights. Two places stand out when you are on Esplanade and Decatur — the live-music bar Checkpoint Charlie and the firehouse, at the beginning of Frenchmen Street. This is where the French Quarter ends and Faubourg Marigny begins.

On the corner of Esplanade and Decatur (1331 Decatur St.) is the Balcony Music Club (BMC), a live-music bar with music spilling onto the street at all hours, from brass bands to rock to traditional jazz.

Across the street, the Old U.S. Mint takes up a chunk of space on the block. Built in 1835, the Old U.S. Mint uniquely served as both a U.S. and a Confederate Mint. The building is now home to a New Orleans Jazz Museum (free to the public). It also serves as a site for music festivals, like the French Quarter Festival and Satchmo SummerFest. The permanent collection showcases coins and stamping presses. Upstairs, you’ll find the “New Orleans Jazz” exhibit featuring priceless pieces like Louis Armstrong’s first cornet and Fats Domino’s Steinway grand piano, plus historic recordings and rare film footage.

One more place of note on the same block is the eclectic David’s Found Objects (1319 Decatur St.). Its quirky display of collectibles and antiques often spills onto the street, from costumes to kitchenware to paintings. David’s also has quite a collection of costume jewelry and vintage glass Mardi Gras beads.

The next block is home to the always-busy Envie Espresso Bar & Cafe (1241 Decatur St.), The Artist’s Market and Bead Shop (1228) and Palm Court Jazz Cafe (1204). Envie is an airy coffeehouse with comfortable sidewalk seating, popular with the locals. It has a full bar and a big breakfast menu, plus small plates like hummus, panini and burgers.

Palm Court Jazz Cafe is a must for jazz and Creole cuisine fans alike. The dining room is pure old New Orleans elegance, with high ceilings, a mahogany bar, mosaic-tiled floor, jazz photos all over its brick walls, and a Steinway grand piano. The place has hosted numerous jazz greats and their fans since 1989. Palm Court closes for a few weeks at the end of summer, but otherwise, the bands play every Wednesday through Sunday. The menu is classic Creole: shrimp remoulade, gumbo, oysters, chicken Clemenceau, and so on.

The 1100 block is a heavy hitter with a slew of legendary bars, longtime popular restaurants, and a relative newcomer that brings fresh elevated takes on the local cuisine and cocktail scene. Cane & Table (1113) is a sleek foodie haven with a menu of small plates and the ambiance of Old Havana. The cocktail menu showcases seriously crafted concoctions, many of which are rum-based, imaginative updates of the classics.

If you can settle for less than a craft cocktail, the 24-hour dive next door, The Abbey (1123), or Molly’s at the Market (1107) are two classic, laid-back, and welcoming bars of the French Quarter you should definitely check out. Molly’s is home to an excellent jukebox, a back bar courtyard, and frozen Irish coffee. The bar was (and, to an extent, still is) a favorite of local musicians, journalists, and service industry workers since late founder Jim Monaghan opened it in 1974.

One of the French Quarter’s bright stars and mainstays is the always-bustling Coop’s Place (1109 Decatur St.). Coop’s is a no-frills bar and restaurant with an extensive and excellent menu that goes way beyond bar-food grub. The hands-down standouts are the seafood gumbo and rabbit and sausage jambalaya (the “supreme” version also has shrimp and tasso). Cajun fried chicken won’t steer you wrong either. Popular with the locals and visitors, Coop’s can get busy and loud. Please also note that it’s 21 and older only, even the restaurant seating area, because of the video poker machines on the premises.

Moving on past the little park with a gazebo, the next, 1000th block, has the Christmas-themed Santa’s Quarters (1025 Decatur St.), which is open all year round and is positively magical, especially if you want to wow your kids with lavish decorations and elaborate holiday toys. It’s also a great spot to stock up on NOLA-centric ornaments in Mardi Gras colors and every possible take on a fleur de lis.

On the same side, you can’t miss the striped awning of the Original French Market Restaurant & Bar (1001). Open since 1803, the restaurant specializes in Cajun/Creole cuisine and seafood in particular. Across the street, two adjacent restaurants also serve Cajun/Creole fare, but the biggest draws of The Market Cafe (1000 Decatur St.) and the Gazebo Cafe (1016) are their patios and the constant stream of live music.

The Market Cafe has been around since the early 80s, occupying the building that dates back to 1823, and was part of the French Market (check out the original cypress ceiling and columns). Bloody Marys and baked muffuletta are the restaurant’s specialties. Gazebo Cafe‘s covered patio and courtyard are often packed, the bands mostly play jazz, and the ice cream daiquiris are delicious.

Check out the historic Dutch Alley nearby on N. Peters (home of the one and only radio station, WWOZ) and French Market’s Shops at the Colonnade. The strip of shops, some with Decatur and some with N. Peters address, is worth a visit if you’re shopping for souvenirs or local specialties like pralines. Another Christmas store, Merry Christmas & All That Jazz, has lots of cool ornaments with local flair.

Moving past the gold statue of Joan of Arc, we come to yet another New Orleans landmark —  and home of the muffuletta — Central Grocery & Deli (923 Decatur St.). This sprawling old-fashioned Italian grocery store is still run by the family of its founder, a Sicilian immigrant named Salvatore Lupo. He was credited for creating the famous sandwich, which now ships worldwide, along with Central Grocery’s famous olive salad by the jar. You can eat your made-to-order muffuletta at one of the few tables in the back or take it to go.

Pop City, at 940 Decatur St., which sells collectibles, toys, and clothes, is a good destination for a novelty souvenir.

As we approach the Dumaine Street intersection, you’ll go by the Magnolia Praline Co. Next, we come to two city institutions, Cafe du Monde (800 Decatur St.) and Tujague’s (823). The grand dame of cafe au lait and beignets needs no introduction ever since it opened in 1862, so let’s just say no visit to New Orleans would be complete without getting powdered sugar all over yourself. Hectic yet charming, Cafe du Monde is open round the clock and is busy at all hours.

Tujague’s also hardly needs an introduction. The second oldest restaurant in the city, it was founded in 1856 and has since been offering traditional, fixed-price Creole menus to many a president and celebrity. Its iconic bar takes credit for inventing the Grasshopper cocktail, and the restaurant may or may not take credit for creating brunch.

Now you’ve reached Jackson Square! Here, you can have a beer and a po-boy at Monty’s on the Square, whose French doors offer a view of the square (casual southern with modern twists, and local craft beer). This is where you’ll also come to grab a mule-drawn carriage tour, by the park’s gate on the Decatur side.

Then, past the Shops at Jax Brewery (a multi-story historic landmark that holds retail stores, cafes, restaurants, and a small museum dedicated to the brewery), Big Easy DaiquirisThe Fudgery, and Walgreens, you’ll come to the corner of Toulouse Street, the home of Cafe Maspero (601 Decatur St.). The always-open enormous windows provide a great view of the busy corner, and you might like its heaping seafood platters. Also on this block is the Pepper Palace (609 Decatur), a chain that sells salsa, seasonings, rubs, hot sauce, and so on.

The next two blocks are light on restaurants, represented by the Crescent City Brewhouse (527 Decatur St.). The Brewhouse is a two-story, 17-barrel microbrewery with balcony and courtyard seating, an oyster bar, and lots of live jazz. Get the boudin balls and the jambalaya, and enjoy the bistro ambiance.

Across the street, you’ll find the sprawling H&MUrban OutfittersVans, and the most recent addition, Sephora, next to one another. Past the souvenir shops blasting zydeco, French Market Inn, and PJ’s coffee shop, you’ll come to a historic landmark — the monument to the city’s founder, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.

Past Conti Street, Decatur Street becomes quieter, with the exception of the House of Blues which takes up most of the 200th block with its concert venue and the restaurant/bar. The block livens up on most afternoons, with the trucks unloading band gear and people lining up to see the shows. The dimly lit, laid-back Kerry Irish Pub (331 Decatur St.), also features live music, but on a much smaller scale.

Across the street from the House of Blues between Bienville and Iberville, you’ll find one of the best bookstores in the city, the bi-level Beckham’s Bookshop (228 Decatur St.). It specializes in used, antiquarian, and rare books, as well as vinyl. A gem of a place, Beckham’s has been around since 1979 at this location. It’s crammed floor to ceiling, and is beer- and dog-friendly.

On the same block, at number 216, is a funky retro-inspired boutique not unlike Trashy Diva, called Dollz & Dames. It has a sister store in Seattle and sells vintage-inspired clothing, shoes and accessories. You can’t miss its eye candy of a storefront on an otherwise sleepy side of the block.

Two restaurants close the journey up to Canal Street. Coterie Restaurant & Oyster Bar at 135 Decatur St. has all the New Orleans classics, from seafood platters to gumbo. Creole House Restaurant & Oyster Bar, located in a historic building on the corner at 509 Canal St., rounds up the tour of Decatur Street with its “casual Creole” menu.

There you have it — lots to see, eat, drink, and buy on the historic yet young-at-heart Decatur Street!

If you want to stay in the French Quarter during your visit, book a room at the French Market Inn, located right on Decatur Street. This quaint hotel 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.