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Can We Find a Crawfish Boil in late Feb/early Mar?

We can't wait to return to New Orleans at the end of the month to celebrate our 3rd wedding annivesary following elopement there in early 2005 -- we are excited about dinners at August and Emeril's, cooking class at New Orleans Cooking Experience, and brunch at Commander's Palace.

Any opinions based on recent experience at these spots welcome as well as other recommendations ( we LOVED Brigsten's, Upperline, and Herbsaint on our wedding weekend if that helps future define our preferences more completely). Our alternate list currently includes Stella, Cuvee, Galatoire's downstairs (with coat and tie...), and Bayona.

To balance the rich meals planned, we want a casual, low key dinner one night and are hoping it's the right time for a crawfish boil -- are they in season? If so, where should we go? We are staying in the Garden District (Magnolia Mansion) but willing to be pretty mobile throughout the city (taxi, streetcar, walking).

Finally, for one night out for music, should we be headed to Preservation Hall, Donna's, Maple Leaf, Snug Harbor, or elsewhere for traditional New Orleans music?

Thanks for thoughts, recommendations, and insights! Happy to help out when you're visiting Boston!

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  1. Crawfish will be in season, but if you are looking to go to an actual crawfish boil, you'll need to make friends with a local and hope that they know someone who is a having a boil. I'm sure there will be restaurants serving crawfish, Deanie's etc; and maybe you will get lucky and some bar/restaurant will have an all you can eat crawfish special going on, but that will just be ordering the crawfish and not the whole experience of a crawfish boil, which in most cases is an all day affair on a weekend day. When I boil crawfish, if I tell people the crawfish will come out at 5, people will start showing up at 2 to have a good time, drink beer and hang out. I think the one thing I miss most about not living in NO anymore is boiling crawfish and having people over.

    1. Check out Big Al's. They're in the 1300 block of annunciation. They're some coonasses out of Houma, LA. Never been to the one here, but I've heard good things so far. The ones in Houma are definitely good.

      As for music, it just depends on who's playing where that weekend. Check out bestofneworleans.com.

      1 Reply
      1. re: N.O.Food

        Thanks for the reply - any personal favorites (bands, groups, singers, etc.) we can look for in terms of music. Are all of the options interchangeable in terms of the venue in your opinion? We would like the option to sit down at some and at least be able to purchase a beer or two (but not be committed to staying seated and having a dedicated server) - I think this may rule out Preservation Hall and Snug Harbor at those ends of the spectrum, but we're not hard and fast about that either if it's great music and a fun time.

      2. You could get a few pounds of crawfish at Big Fisherman on Magazine at Toledano. People say that you can eat them on the patio at the Bulldog bar across the street, but I've never seen or done this. It would be a nice walk from Magnolia Mansion, and there are several other enjoyable bars and shops in that part of Magazine St.

        2 Replies
        1. re: uptownlibrarian

          Big Fisherman is good, but you're right, there's nowhere to sit.

          1. re: uptownlibrarian

            I've done it - they even let us eat crawfish inside of the Bulldog, as long as we threw our trash away outside.

          2. Big Al's as recommended below is fairly close to you and you would be able to sit and eat. If you get from one of the seafood shops, you could get your stuff to go (don't forget the beer and a big towel/blanket) and take everything out to the 'Fly' - some park land behind the zoo at the end of Magazine and have crawfish along the river...

            1 Reply
            1. re: nolawinelover

              You could go to Big Fisherman Seafood on Magazine St. The Bulldog across the street encourages you to bring over crawfish, and their patio is pretty fun on a nice day. Good for people watching.

            2. I see your from Boston as well, you'll be right in time for Crawfish. We've been holding out for bigger ones before we order (they say March is better then Feb.) and have them shipped to us in New England for our annual mardi Gras party (we lived in New Orleans for 7 years as a family and miss the food so we go all out and do a party once a year). If you really miss crawfish like I do, we now go to NJ in May/June for a fantastic Crawfish Festival for 3 days (we get our fill of crawfish and New Orleans music). Check it out: http://www.crawfishfest.com/

              It's an unbelievable great time.

              Have a blast in New Orleans - Deannie's is very low key (it's who we order our crawfish from).
              http://secure.deanies.com/dinner.html

              4 Replies
              1. re: lexpatti

                I will see you at the crawfish fest. Hopefully the crawfish will be better than they were last year, I was not very impressed. I'm having a boil in Hoboken later this season if you guys are interested in coming up.

                1. re: roro1831

                  Very kewl!!! I would love to do my own boil, when we order from Deanie's - they are cooked. We all do accompany New Orleans dishes, maybe I'll do a shrimp boil. Yes, the festival crawfish were hard but since I only eat them once a year since we lost our timeshare in La. from Katrina, I was still in heaven.

                  1. re: lexpatti

                    I'm good friends with the family that owns Deanie's, played softball for years with all the boys.
                    I actually have another friend who can ship me live crawfish cheap I just have to pick them up at the airport. My pot is arriving in a couple of weeks when my sister drives it up for me...I can't wait.

                    1. re: roro1831

                      I'm jealous - hot crawfish are the best, right out the pot dripping in awesome liquid.