If you’re planning on attending Authors After Dark this year in New Orleans, we hope you enjoy Mina and Chloe’s guide to the French Quarter!
Bourbon Street: Gayle Donnelly & Robyn Mackenzie
After Dark on Bourbon Street
The “I Don’t Want to Look Like a Tourist” Tour Guide to the French Quarter Mina Roarke and Chole Walker ~ Infinite Betrayal
There is so much more to the French Quarter than……
The culture of the people, the sounds, tastes, and smells and the history of the city can be some of the most dramatic in your lifetime. At least that’s how we feel about it! Every year, we both try to visit our favorite town during the French Quarter Festival. The food, music and entertainment during this time of year are so worth the wait. The crowds are not suffocating like they are during Mardi Gras and there is actually a family aspect to it too. Street performers cater to the kids during the day and the restaurants and bars are open all night to cater to the adults.
If you’re not familiar with the city, try some of our suggestions below. A few words of wisdom for those of you that have never been to New Orleans…
- Don’t walk at night alone. You just askin for trouble!
- The beignets are hot all day and night so if you want a traditional, quick breakfast, go to Café Du Monde across from Jackson Square. If you’re like us and worship your Starbucks…there’s only one in the Quarter…ONE! You’ll have to walk up to Canal and go to the Sheraton lobby.
- No need for a rental car ladies! Just spend the $20.00 on a cab ride to the Quarter. Everything you need is there!
- If by chance you need aspirin, tampons, toothpaste, or breath mints, there’s a Wal-Greens on the corner of Decatur and Iberville. Saved our lives one night! There’s also a ATM inside.
- Cabs in the Quarter will rob you blind and take the longest way they can. Walk.
- Check the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce website before you get there to see which movies are filming. Last year, we saw Brad Pitt!
- You gotta ride the trolley car at least once! Spend the $5.00, catch the trolley behind Jax Brewery and ride thru the Garden District. So beautiful!
- And last but not least…don’t buy beads. EVER! You gotta earn em’ ladies! The NOLA way!
The Dungeon, also known as Ye Olde Original Dungeon, opens for business at midnight and your visiting great-aunt from Iowa would probably not feel that comfortable on the premises. But, in case your great-aunt is a lush, she’d probably enjoy the Dungeon’s Friday morning (1 a.m. until 4 a.m.) three-for-the-price-of-one mixed drinks. And be aware of the bathroom behind the bookcase. After a few strong ones, you’ll be wise to ask the waiter to take you cause you’ll never find the damn thing!!
Coming to be in 1933, Pat O’Brien’s is one of the most famous bars in New Orleans. Whether you’re there for a great burger, their famous white chocolate bread pudding, or the infamous hurricane, you can always have a fantastic time at Pat O’s. Located on St Peter and another entrance on Bourbon, if you want to stay away from the ultra-sweet hurricane, try the Pat O’s lemonade. It’s to die for! Oh, and if you want to actually do something touristy….pay the house photographer for a shot of you and your friends. The pic comes in a Pat O’s folder and is actually good quality. But if you want a great shot, wait until the evening when the Fire and Water Fountain is glowing in the middle of the courtyard. Just gorgeous!
Now, in our opinion, one of the best places to be on a Thursday night in the Quarter is by far, The Cat’s Meow. Located on St Peter and Bourbon, this is the BEST Karaoke bar there! The two story bar has an open atrium in the middle and you can go out on the balcony and look over the crowd on Bourbon St. The last time we were there, Chloe enticed the bartender into giving us a couple cases of beads. We then proceeded to throw them off the balcony for the next hour. And let me tell ya, a lot of guys dropped their pants for our beads!! Before 10:00, beer is buy one, get one but don’t try to bring your drink in from the street, you will be immediately stopped. They have excellent service and the bathrooms and sitting area upstairs is great. The drunken karaoke isn’t half bad either!
Founded in 1791, New Orleans’ French Market is the oldest public market in the country and has played a historic role in the development of the city’s economy. From the Native Americans who brought herbs and spices to African-Americans who brought coffee and pralines, the market has always been a popular trading post. Spanish, French, Italian, German and Caribbean immigrants have all mixed and mingled here to give birth to New Orleans’ unique culture. Here is where you can get your little trinkets for the family like beads, masks, and for the artist in you, there are some fantastic local artists set up here to sell you their wonderful paintings, jewelry, and photographs. The Market is located at the end of Decatur behind Margaritaville.
If you love sterling silver and jewelry, you need to stop in Sterling Silvia’s. New Orleans-inspired jewelry is designed by the founding family. They have an amazing selection, great quality, and exceptional customer service. Usually, you can walk in and they have at least half of the store 30% off. After you are done shopping at The Market, make your way back to Decatur and you will see Sterling Silvia’s on your left. And be sure to check out both sides of the store. One is jewelry and the other has wonderful housewares.
Another great gift shop is Toulouse Royale. It is literally on the corner of Toulouse and Royale in the French Quarter. They have high quality T-shirts, frames, Christmas ornaments, and spices from NOLA. You can also get a couple of packages of Pat O’Brien’s famous Hurricane mix to bring home.
BEST FOOD FOR THE MONEY
Some places off the beaten path that have the best food in New Orleans can be found pretty easily and for an excellent price; you can have a fantastic meal. Café Maspero located on Decatur St. across from the Hard Rock Café is one of the best for a quick and easy lunch. Their shrimp Po-Boy is one of the best. Fully dressed and stuffed with fried, gulf shrimp, you can have a great sandwich, fries and a signature strawberry daiquiri for under $10.00. They are also one of the only restaurants that have a public bathroom but be aware, they only take cash. Get there before Noon or you’ll be waiting for a table!
A well-known fact in the Big Easy is if you want the best burger in town, head over to Treme and order at Port of Call. A hole in the wall place located on West Esplanade, Port of Call was voted Best Burger in New Orleans. For $10.00, you get a half pound of juicy burger with a great atmosphere and history you can read on the walls! Be prepared to fight the crowd in the evenings. This is a very popular place among the locals and due to its location outside the Quarter, you may need to take a cab or be prepared to walk.
Now we don’t normally go to Bourbon House for lunch but if you’re hungry, try the local redfish on the half shell and add the lump crab meat. Oh, and they also have a gluten free menu! You won’t leave there for under $50.00 but it is oh so worth it! The Bourbon House is located on Bourbon and Canal.
THE SPIRITUAL SIDE OF NEW ORLEANS
The cemeteries here are known world-wide. Both aesthetically mind-blowing as well as touchingly beautiful, the cemeteries are popular tourist attractions. One word of advice….go during the week if you plan on taking photographs…less people visiting. We have been to both Lafayette and Metairie Cemeteries and both are equally fantastic. Metairie is extremely large and has some very famous statuary there. As pictured above, “The Sister” is the most photographed and if you look closely, you can find Anne Rice’s new tomb she recently built.
Lafayette is the older of the two and located near Magazine Street toward the Garden District. There are regular tours there but call ahead. Some guides are there to take your money and are not employees of the city. To this day, services still take place within the old cemeteries and the old family plots are still open and ready to house the deceased.
Now if you want a treat within the Quarter, head over to Muriel’s next to Jackson Square. Take the stairs to the Red Room or Séance area for a drink but watch your step, rumor has it as you walk up the steps some of the former residents of the building will bump into you as you make your way up. One such ghost is Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan, the resident spirit of Muriel’s. Sit outside on the balcony, enjoy a drink, order some bread pudding and look out over Jackson Square at night. It’s a beautiful sight.
And one more thing for you Authors After Dark Goddesses…enjoy yourselves ladies! Like the two authors below…drink up and have a great time in the Big Easy! ______________________
Meet Gayle Donnelly & Robyn Mackenzie!
Gayle Donnelly and Robyn Mackenzie both hail from the Midwest. Writing partners as well as friends (perhaps even sisters in another life), both are married and each has two wonderful children. The similarities don’t stop there. Both earned degrees in English education, both have a profound weakness for Starbucks coffee, and both are completely captivated by the ethereal beauty found in the Pacific Northwest. Their individual passions for writing and storytelling, led them to create Infinite Betrayal, the first book in their Infinity Series. The second installment in the Infinity Series; Infinite Surrender is weeks away from completion and should be out soon!
Want to purchase Gayle & Robyn’s novels? Infinite Betrayal at Amazon _____________________________________________
Thank you Gayle and Robyn for taking the time to stop by Literary Escapism for our Authors After Dark on Bourbon Street event!
Larissa and I are giving away two $25 ARe gift certificates and to enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: What would you like to discover among the streets of New Orleans? While we’re at the AAD Conference, where should we hit up?Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered
Even though we won’t be giving any additional entries, you can still help support the authors by sharing this event and their articles on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of these fabulous authors will ensure we get more fabulous stories.
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.