By Max Curry
- Remember, you can carry an open drink anywhere in NOLA, but it has to be in a plastic or paper container – no glass containers on the streets outside of the bars or restaurants.
- Catch the St. Charles street car and ride down into the Garden District to see all the beautiful homes, oak trees, and architecture.
- If you have your family and/or children with you, head out to City Park and Audubon Zoo for the afternoon. There are several ancient live oaks in the park that are amazingly beautiful and a great site for pictures.
- Enjoy the Riverwalk and Crescent Park at Jackson Square and watch the mighty Mississippi River rush by, along with the paddle wheel riverboats. It is a great escape back into the beauty of nature, all just a few steps from the hustle-bustle of the Quarter.
- Enjoy coffee and some beignets while relaxing in Jackson Square in front of the Cathedral. There is some amazing people-watching right there, as well as being beautiful and relaxing in its own right.
- While in Jackson Square, be sure to walk around the periphery of the Square and enjoy all the amazing artists, performers, and shops, and have your fortune told in front of St. Louis Cathedral.
- Be sure to walk into the Cathedral and take a peek. St. Louis Cathedral was completed in 1720 and is the oldest cathedral still in active use in the U.S. If you have a chance to attend Mass, even if you’re not Catholic, it is a worthwhile experience. Life is all about the experiences, right?
- If you are standing in front of the church, the alley to your left is called Pirate’s Alley. It is a must for all visitors. You can find the stories about this alley on the Internet and/or any of the walking tours you go on in the city. A few good restaurants and bars are here, all hidden away in the shadows of the Cathedral.
- The Old Absinthe Bar (not House on Bourbon) is in Pirate’s Alley as well, and it’s fun to watch their mixology in action. Sit at one of the outside tables to people-watch and quench your thirst in the late afternoon/early evening hours. (As a side note, I’m here now writing this article, so it is one of my favorite hangouts too.)
- Also, if you are looking for a mask for the Saturday night masquerade NCRA is hosting to celebrate our members, there is a shop in Pirate’s Alley I always go to to either buy or compare to all the other mask shops. I bought my mask for the masquerade here. They hand make all the added details, feathers, and sequins, and at a very surprisingly affordable price. Lots of mask shops all over the Quarter, though, but this one is my go-to.
- Leave Jackson Square at this point and head across the street to the French Market. Food and drink opportunities, as well as shopping, all in a crossroads of Louisiana culture, await you in the French Market.
- At the end of the French Market, stroll onto Esplanade and enjoy this beautiful avenue of ancient oaks and French Quarter architecture. It is one of my favorite streets in NOLA.
- While in this area, if you love plants, botanicals, fountains, yard accessories, etc., you have got to stop by the American Aquatic Gardens over on Elysian Fields Avenue. I never go without bringing a new plant or piece of yard art home with me. James calls it my “NOLA Mothership.”
Max Curry, RPR, CRI, is a freelancer, official, and agency owner in Franklin, Tenn. He is also on NCRA’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at email@example.com.