Two Nights in New Orleans
For the best food at reasonable prices I recommend the following:
Cochon. This place will give you a sampling of real, Louisiana food at very reasonable prices.
La Crepe Nanou: You would have to take a cab uptown but the food is very good and the prices are remarkably reasonable given the quality. Part of the fun is the crowd. It is packed every night with all ages, mostly 25-35, no reservations so you wait outside with a bottle of wine and talk to everyone else. Get the muscles, the onion soup, and the quail.
One Restaurant and Lounge:
Very good food, lively atmosphere, and very reasonable prices. It is also uptown in the University/Carrollton section of the city so you would have to take a cab again.
Rock n' Saki:
One of the best Japanese/Sushi restaurants right downtown within walking distance to all the hotels.
This place is not cheap but the food is outstanding and it is not outrageously priced. Portions are big so share.
If you are serious meat eaters, you have to go to Port of Call. I have yet to find a better burger anywhere (though Peter Luger's in NY comes close). They're seriously tasty. Don't forget to order a Monsoon to drink too!
And I second the suggestion to go to Central Grocery and Jacque-Imo's. Mother's is also good, but that line can be intolerable.
I assume this is the same bachelor party weekend as below?
Non-bank-breaking heavy-on-the-meat: Muffaletta from Central Grocery, roast beef debris po'boy from Mother's, Coop's Place, Remoulade (I believe they also have raw oysters; Acme is sort of a nightmare).
For the big dinner, what's your price range? Emeril's can get pretty raucous, it's a big place, and big plates. For that matter, go to Galatoire's (jacket required).
Jacque-Imo's wouldn't be nearly as expensive, it's very loud and fun, and it's right next door to the Maple Leaf. But it's far from the quarter, so you'd have to cab it.
Hmmm. 1/2 a block from Emeril's is Tommy's, which serves Italian, but very New Orleans style Italian. Very clubby atmosphere, excellent food, and next door is Tommy's Wine Bar. Still somewhat expensive, but not in Emeril's league. I think you would like it. I do think Jacque-Imo's is what you're looking for, but it is far from downtown.