Every city has it’s good things and it’s not so good things. New Orleans is no different. If you visit the Crescent City be prepared, this is a place with a whole lot of great things. Because of that attracts people which ultimately can make some good things not so good.
Let’s get this going and let’s get the bad out of the way.
The 5 Things You Are Going To Hate
The Heat- Unless you go when it’s cold during the winter (and it can get cold) there is only a small window of great weather. Typically late March through April is the nice season in New Orleans. The rest of the time there are some elements of heat or weather you are dealing with. The great Blues guitarist Albert King even has an Album called “New Orleans Heat.”Just keep hydrated with water. Every serving of alcohol (a shot of spirits, a glass of wine, a beer, etc) causes you to lose, on average, 4 ounces of water along with half of all the replacement fluid you consume over the following 2 hours. A good rule of thumb to compensate for these losses is to alternate between alcoholic beverages and water.
Drunks- We’re not talking about the locals. Locals know how to pace themselves. Although, we may even be talking about you. So, spare everybody. Pace yourself and take our advice from the last point. Be mindful you are a guest in the city. If you want to avoid the drunks we have tips for that. The earlier you get to the French Quarter the better the chance you won’t run into drunk tourists. In fact we went as most shops were opening and tours were starting and we pretty much avoided drunks the whole week. Now, if it’s Mardi Gras or Jazzfest it probably won’t matter what time you arrive as there is a party to be had 24 hours a day. Just be mindful that there can be some annoying out of state drunks ruining your trip. Don’t let it. Try to avoid drunk areas and times if possible.
Parking in the Tourist Areas- Pro Tip, park at Place d’Armes Hotel. It’s going to cost you a bit but it was our best place for parking. There were times it was full though and finding a spot may be tough. If it’s not open just get near the Toulouse Station Parking off Decatur Street. WARNING, if you use the app make sure the payment goes through. We came back with a boot on our car because our phone timed out and we didn’t follow our own rule to confirm the payment went through. It’s something you’ll hate is the parking but it’s something you’ll need if you have a car. If you have a place you want to go that you can take by streetcar, do that. It’s less expensive and it’s more charming than being stuck in your vehicle.
Hustlers- Most people who are trying to get the cash out of your wallet aren’t criminals in New Orleans. In fact most put on a good show. Tip the musicians and enjoy the performers in New Orleans. That said, if someone comes up and starts asking you questions and wanting to bet you on something, avoid them like the plague or as one tour guide told us to say, “I’m a Local.” Usually they will back off. It’s very rare though to get people who are unfriendly coming up to you and most are very respectful.
People Not Respecting the Culture- There is a bunch of what we don’t like that comes from other tourists. Knowing something about where you are going is beneficial to everyone around you. We’ve seen grown adults dancing provocative in front of a group of kids (many band performers are kids themselves) to people acting like many of the performers are a character from a movie they’ve watched and play towards stereotypes. Don’t ask every person for their Katrina Story. They will share if they want to and there are many museum like opportunities to see and hear those stories. We suggest taking a tour first day in the morning when you get there to start learning the history if you hadn’t read up ahead of time. Also, stop requesting “When the Saints go marching in.”
The 5 Things You Are Going To Love About New Orleans
The People- The locals may sound like they are a transplant from New York but that accent is pure New Orleans. The real locals of New Orleans love their city more than anyone loves their city. They’ve been through a lot and they want to protect their traditions. They also want you to have a great time, enjoy their city and then come back with more friends. The people are what make New Orleans. So much talent, love and it’s a joy knowing these are our fellow brothers and sisters. Pro Tip: Strike up a casual conversation about the city. The locals are great at getting a real feel for the city.
The Food- Yesterday we posted six places we loved about New Orleans Food. From snoballs, beignets, po-boys, red beans and rice, crawfish and jambalaya you can find someone doing it right all over the city. For the record, Shrimp and Grits is more Low Country Carolina. Some serve it but this is not what they are known for in New Orleans. I say that and then follow up with who cares. They seem to be cooking food from all over the world better than most. Only rivaled in my mind with culinary cities like Los Angeles, Houston or Miami. Pro Tip: Ask a local their favorite spot. They will tell you a place most people are overlooking.
The Culture- Seriously, get a tour about the art, history and music of the region. Learn the history of the Spanish, French and Enslaved before the United States purchased it in 1803. Find out about the history of Storyville, Treme and the brothels that started Jass now Jazz. Stand in Congo Square. Congo Square is an area the enslaved culture would gather and helped influence the creators of Rock, R&B, Jazz and so much more. Also learn more on a tour about The Native American and Mardi Gras Indian culture and how it’s reflected today during Mardi Gras. On a tour we took we went to the birthplace of Rock. Cosimo Matassa’s J&M Recording Studios, operational from 1945 through spring 1956, is rightly recognized as a birthplace of rock ’n’ roll through several seminal titles, when the music was still known as rhythm and blues. These included “Good Rocking Tonight” by Roy Brown in 1947, “The Fat Man” by Fats Domino in 1949, and “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard in 1955. In addition, there were many other important hits from J&M, such as “Tipitina” by Professor Longhair in 1953 and “See You Later, Alligator” by Bobby Charles in 1955. Even modern history of New Orleans is influencing music with New Orleans Bounce and Sludge Metal.
Great American City- There is not another New Orleans. Nowhere in the world is anything like New Orleans for better or worse. This is a true look at what America is supposed to be. A Mix and mash of cultures working together. Sometimes slow to let go of traditions but a beautiful look at our future with an honest look at our past. Great places to visit from St. Louis Cathedral to abandoned Forts and repurposed buildings.
Entertainment- To say New Orleans is a music town is an understatement. To say it is a “Party Town” is also true. But, it’s also a sports city, a parade city, a museum city, an art city and so much more. You will run out of time before being able to see everything. The history in the city alone would take a decade to really see and understand. Like the food, moderation is best. That said, you won’t be moderating much. You will eat too much, you will consume to much and you’re going to have a great time in one of the South’s greatest cities, dare I say one of Earth’s greatest cities.