My 19 year old son and I are staying at the JW on Canal Street next week as a little getaway before he leaves for college. Any suggestions for food and other fun things to do? We will be there 7 nights and I'm a Platinum Elite. I haven't been to NOLA since before Katrina so Im looking forward to a few relaxing days poking around the Big Easy.
ninabrackeen Welcome to Insiders, it's great having you on board, we look forward to a Platinum's insights.
Here's a good thread to get you started with some ideas
I mention in there my enjoyment at the I Lounge - I'm not certain it's still at the JW, which would be too bad, but for the most part all other suggestions hold true.
There's also some more good reading over there in the right column in Orange in the More Like This column.
A lot of fun activities (cruises/tours/bike rides etc) are available for discounts with TravelZoo.com, be sure to look into them (along with Groupon and LivingSocial), I'm able to snag one or two each trip (I'm heading down again in November and saved on a City Tour). It can save you money for some of the numerous terrific meals you'll enjoy.
Have fun and welcome to Insiders.
I stayed with some friends at another Marriott property nearby last summer (had been there previously a year before Katrina). The French Quarter was largely unscathed, and most of the major restaurants, etc., were still there. We enjoyed food and/or beverages at Emeril's "NOLA," Acme Oyster & Seafood House, Arnaud's, Cafe du Monde, Pat O'Brien's, and K Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, among others. Because some in the party had not been to NOLA before, we did some typical touristy things such as taking the St. Charles streetcar, taking a river boat dinner cruise, walking down Bourbon Street, etc. We also took a swamp tour out in cajun country--the bus picked us up at the hotel--and it was really interesting. The cedar swamps with the spanish moss hanging from the tree branches, and the alligators swimming by, are unlike anything else. One a-typical tour that I did on this trip was a Gray Line bus tour that focused on Katrina before and after, including the rebuilding efforts--it was fascinating.
Here is a link: http://www.graylineneworleans.com/hurricane-katrina-tour.html
The World War II Museum was also interesting. Hope you enjoy NOLA and "laissez les bons temps rouler" !
One of my favorite meals in the world is the Fruits de Mer at Brennan's Bourbon House. You can sit by the windows or at the oyster bar and, either way, have an awesome show while you eat.
The last time I was there, we had breakfast at Red Gravy. It couldn't have been any more excellent.
Do a Segway tour of the city. You get to see everything relatively quickly, riding the Segways is its own experience and the tour guides are excellent. Doing this early in your trip gives you an idea where everything is and what you want to go back and see in more detail.
Finally, this time of year, do not go near Bourbon Street early in the day. The heat, humidity and leftover smells from the night before combine to make an unpleasant experience. For some reason, as the day progresses either the smell diminishes or I get used to it.
Have a great time in a true gem of a city. You really can't go wrong on food choices, just explore and stumble into as many places as you can to get a true taste of the local flavor. Of course, coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde followed by a walk through the French Market which has been in operation since 1791 are must dos. The city has lost a bit of its soul since Katrina but it is definitely on the rebound and again a top place in the world to visit.
New Orleans is back and booming -- there are many restaurants and things to do. Some of my personal favorites are NOLA and Emeril's by Emeril Lagasse. For good seafood, there is Acme Oyster House and Drago's. For good fried seafood, there is Deanie's. For good gumbo, go to the Gumbo house. and finally for po-boys, drive over to parkway for some great po-boys.
If you have time, rent a car and venture outside the city for some great adventures -- either down south towards the river and outlying parishes or down by the river plantations.
I hosted an evening party at Mardi gras world a couple years ago. Their float warehouse is pretty interesting. If you like live music, visit Frenchmen street for the clubs there. Skip bourbon street unless you want to show your son what happens when college doesn't pan out. If you're into the architecture, take a narrated walking tour of the garden district.