Real New Orleans- high budget, low budget, and Katrina
I will be coming to New Orleans for the first time with someone who has been countless times already. I want to make the trip special for us both. I'm looking for places that fit into the following categories:
off the beaten path
local gems that locals love
I have only three days and really want full-out sensory experiences. I love high budget experiences as well as dives.
Also, I have a burning need to see the damage that Katrina levelled. I would love to support local restaurants in more ravaged areas as well. I want to get a real sense of New Orleans. If that means straying off the tourist path, so be it....
If you can also recommend a good local source of information, ie, is there a good publication/local website from which I can glean info about what to do that weekend, what to see, what to eat, etc., that would be great.
Thanks so much!
Romantic: Brigsten's or Upperline
Funky: Jacque-Imo's, Cochon
Off-the-beaten-path: Willie Mae's Scotch House (best fried chicken ever, restaurant was flooded and rebuilt by volunteer foodies), Casamentos (oysters, shrimp loafs, gumbo, oyster stew), Mandina's on Canal (inexpensive local favorites)
Local gems: Dick and Jenny's'
None of the above are really on the tourist path. Any tourists you find in the above places are well-educated on local cuisine.
If your companion is a veteran at New Orleans, he/she will already have a list -- and likely it's the same places most folks here would suggest. I'm often surprised at the lack of adventurousness exhibited by many locals (of which I am one). This isn't a criticism -- it's just a statement of fact. So many would rather go to the same place(s) and argue about where they should have gone rather than head out for someplace new and, possibly, unique and very, very good.
Romantic -- sandwiches from La Boulangerie (get a bottle of wine someplace) and head for the riverbank off Audubon Park (the Fly) or Woldenberg Park (the French Quarter).
Funky -- Anyplace on Frenchmen St.
Off The Beaten Path -- Anyplace on Magazine below Jackson. There are a half-dozen places, all needing and wanting your business and several of them are pretty damn good.
Local gems -- too many to mention. Depends on where you live. One person's fave is another's hellhole. Food opinions in this city are like noses -- everyone has one.
Local sources -- see above. www.neworleans.com is but one of many.