City Tours & Neighborhoods, New Orleans
The New Orleans Warehouse district is a historic area known for its mid 19th and early 20th Century industrial buildings and warehouses. In the second half of the 1900s, the area fell into disrepair, but the 1984 World's Fair brought new attention to the area. Following the fair, the area saw new construction in shopping centers, the convention center, and apartments and hotels. More recently, the area has seen a rise in art galleries and art festivals to compliment the shops and restaurants. A number of the original warehouses remain, many converted to hotels, restaurants, and art galleries.
During a recent visit, I ate at Mulate's Restaurant and Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar.
Mulate's opened in 1990 in a warehouse built around 1885, which stands today right across from the New Orleans Convention Center. They claim to serve over 250,000 customers each year in the huge facility. The have some great Cajun food along with live zydeco music.
Lucy's is a great, laid-back bar in New Orleans Warehouse District. The food is mostly Southern California inspired, the atmosphere matches delightfully. The interior is brightly lit with large windows and natural sunlight. The right side of the establishment contains the popular bar, while the left side is a small dining room.
This is an area that used to be (pre-Katrina) full of knowledgeable tourists who got off the streetcar instead of continuing 7 more stops to the end of the line. At this point St. Charles Ave terminates because it approaches the levee. The trolley turns right here and procedes on Carrollton Ave. As you can see the street is still there (someday the streetcar will return and we will celebrate it). There is a little "parklet" (called Fisher Pl. on a brass plaque), not on any map (1,2) with a small monument to nobody and another to somebody I cannot identify. Another sign proclaims that this is Carrollton neighborhood(4; see the levee beyond me). Just beyond the monument (1) to the right out of the picture is a famous oyster bar called Cooter Brown's.(there are other VT Tips on it). Just beyond the ongoing street to the left is the Camellia Grill (another Restaurant Tip, opened again yesterday). Across to the right is the 1850's Carrollton Courthouse (pictured in my streetcar Tip of yore) and a chain (brown roofed building) with quiches (La Madelaine). Beyond to the left is a strip-mall with Chinese food, and adjacent Japanese and other eateries and ice-cream vendors (3). At the end of the mall is GB's Grill (one of our Tips). There are other places to eat that I have not covered,so the good times may again be rolling if the trolley rolls.
Fondest memory: Obviously oysters and other foods.
Favorite thing: Neighborhoods in New Orleans, like many large cities that continually expand, retain their names beyond their original usefulness. Uptown originally referred to the entire area on the north edge of New Orleans (where the nouveau riche lived up to the "lowerline", the southern border of Carrollton some 5 miles from Canal Street (early 1830's). These were the termini of the local railroad (soon to become streetcar). Along the route were several plantations. As the city grew, these became real estate developments and the more attractive name Garden District was applied (better than Uptown which kept moving North). Unofficially the Garden District ends at Nashville Avenue. In the meantime Tulane and Loyola Universities sprang up in this area and so the prestgious University Area was applied to the area around Audubon Park, up to Lowerline which continued to mark the now merged in Carrollton (town-area). Living just above Lowerline, I can appropriate without guilt Uptown, Carrollton or University Area as an answer to the question "where do you live?" or even "just above the Garden District. (In Paris the same thing happens with the Latin Quarter which seems to now include all of the 5&6 Arr.).
I took a post Katrina disaster tour to see for myself what the hurricane did to the city. Some people may think the tour groups are profiting from the tragedy. I don't feel this way. I have used what I have learned and what I saw to go back to everyone I know and show my family and friends. Everyone is shocked over what they saw. The news cannot fully show what is going on in this region.
The tour takes you to a lot of different areas in New Orleans. You are in a van that picks you up at your hotel. You will not see the Lower 9th Ward due to a local ordinance prohibiting tour groups from going into that area. The tour is $49 per person and is several hours long. Our tour guide - John - is a local and gave us a lot of history of New Orleans and a detailed timeline of the storm. He also went into details on how the storm impacted his family and even showed us his brother and nephews house in St. Bernard's Parish.
Everyone who was with my group (there was a total of ten of us) were shocked over what we saw. You come away from it wanting to do something - which is not a bad thing. See my main New Orleans page for a link to my journal of my post Katrina tour.
The website for Tours by Isabelle is: http://www.toursbyisabelle.com/ .
There are six parts to the Jean Lafitte National Park. Five of the parts are outside New Orleans, but the sixth part is right in the French Quarter. They have exhibits there including a video tape and offer
9:30 a.m. French Quarter Tour: 25 person limit, first-come, first-served. Passes, limited to one per person, must be picked up in person on day of the tour. 90 minutes in length. One mile of walking. 11:30 a.m. History of New Orleans Stroll: This 45-minute ranger led lesson in local history visits the Mississippi River and Jackson Square. Beginning at 9:00 a.m., 25 free tickets available on a first-come, first served basis; each person wanting a ticket must be present.
There is a separate VT page for the visitor's center - check out the URL for
Fondest memory: One of the things that the Visitor's Center has is a place to sit down and watch a film on New Orleans history. It is a place to rest your feet out of the weather - in our case, the weather was cold, but it would work if the weather was hot also.
Favorite thing: This is perhaps my favorite part of the city, the neighborhood is intimate, the architecture is classic New Orleans and the music is top notch…As with many places in nola, you never know what you’re going to see on any given night out in the Marigny…Frenchman Street comes alive at night as music (and drinks) pours out into the street from the likes of dba, spotted cat and the apple barrel. As the night gives in to the desires of day, the red sun rises over muddy waters and you have wonder why anyone would want to their anywhere else in the city…
This is where it's happening now....it seems like everyone has already moved to Uptown and that's the place to be in Nola (give bywater a few more years)....the best thing about Uptown has to be all the restaurants, bars and shops on Magazine Street. From the Big Fisherman to St. Joe's or onto Jacque Imo's or the Maple Leaf deep into Uptown, this part of the city is the place to go to avoid the tourists as well as all the chug-n-puke crowds of the Quarter....
Fondest memory: Any night that I get to eat at Jacque Imo's and drink at the Maple Leaf....
The CBD contains all the buildings that make up New Orleans' skyline. Other than all the office buildings, there are several restaurants scattered about this district as well as shopping malls and other specialty shops.
The restaurants are primarily geared toward to the working/office lunch crowd...the more interesting restaurants are those that make you feel as though you have been instantly transported back in time to the 1950's or 60's as soon as you step foot through the door, the Hobnobber on Carondelet comes to mind.
But beside that and a few shops, there's really not a lot to do in the CBD except work, which is what I have to do when I am there (sore subject, but I guess we all couldn't be born with a silver spoon in our mouth as the world needs ditch diggers too)....
Like many cities, New Orleans' Warehouse District has been undergoing a change to residential space for the past several years. However, unlike many cities, the activities surrounding the warehouse district of old are still being performed here. Many buildings are still used as actual warehouses and there are several active milling and machine shops mixed in with residential living space.
So, don't be surprised to find 18 wheelers driving around the streets among all the BMWs that have recently invaded the neighborhood...
The Warehouse District also has a lot to offer visitors: art galleries, NOLA's Children's Musuem, the National D-Day Museum as well as lots of restaurants and bars. All this within minutes walking distance from the Central Business District (CBD) or the famed, over-touristed French Quarter.
Fondest memory: I recently move into the area and think it is a cool experience to be able to walk out of my building to see art galleries, restaurants, and big eighteen wheel flat-bed trucks with large machine shop equipment driving around. Walk around the streets and you will pass by the open doors of neighborhood bars as well as the open garage doors of milling shops fabricating steel products or open air warehouses storing other raw materials. Naturally, this type of urban setting makes for an interesting mix of people from steel workers and fabricators to restaurateurs and art brokers...
If I was taking someone to New Orleans for the first time, I would take them to Storyville. It was the first jazz club/restaurant I went to on Bourbon. ( on my first night in ) The atmostphere is comfortable and elegant. All of the tables are scattered around the large stage and the bar. I was treated to see a group of older gentlemen playing a blues/jazz mix for several hours while enjoying a large appetizer tray of incredible food. You almost expect to see a bunch of creole women standing up, clapping and yelling/singing along with the band. (Actually...I did see that, at the table next to me.) It was really a fun night. Just being there made you feel good.
Fondest memory: My personal fondest memory was touring the Garden District. My B&B hostess provided me with a book that gave me the tour without making me walk with 30 other people. The architecture was spectacular and some of the houses came with some very interesting ( and some funny ) stories.
Take a tour of the city. We took a 2 1/2 hour bus tour and learned some very interesting things about the area, like how they keep the city from flooding (since it is on average 6 feet below sea level).... they have built pumping stations that pump the water north into Lake Ponchartrain, where it eventually flows back into the Gulf of Mexico. I'll share some of the information in my travelogues, so be sure to check them out.
Fondest memory: The variety of architecture....on one street you can see all sorts of different styles, and in the French Quarter, the houses are very interesting...with shutters on all windows.
Favorite thing: We were told that the water from Katrina reached the second floor. The inside if the house has been stripped.
Favorite thing: We returned to New Orleans in September 2006, one year after hurricane Katrina destroyed parts of the city. Oakbrook apartments has been torn down, removed, and getting reay to rebuild.