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Kids on their own in NOLA for first time: Suggestions?

Hi. My daughter and her boyfriend are driving down from Chicago next week to spend a few days on a very tight (college student) budget. They're trying to find a cheap room in the Quarter or they will stay outside of town and drive in each day. They basically just want to wander around and take in the place (my daughter has been once, on a school trip).

Can anyone suggest some cheap eats in the Quarter and/or Garden District? I have been to NOLA many times but the last was just before Katrina and I'm sure many of the places I found (often by looking for cop cars...they know cheap and good) are no longer in business.

Also, where can they park cheaply and securely, assuming they don't find a cheap hotel?

Just to narrow it down, my daughter mainly eats fish and shellfish and loves Cajun food. They are not going to have much money and will probably stick to poboys and the like, maybe a dinner at Mother's. Any suggestions for good food they can afford?

Also, any festivals next weekend? I remember the French Quarter festival is in the summer, got to see Allen Toussaint twice in one weekend one year, but I think it's in August, IIRC.)

(Just to add: I sort of encouraged them to go to NOLA. They just want a road trip to somewhere fun, and they both want to support NOLA with what little they have. My daughter's school used several of my suggestions when they brought 100 kids down there to work on housing and other volunteer stuff. Thanks for any help. Pete)

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  1. HI folks, just a reminder:

    Chowhound has a very narrow mission--where to find deliciousness. General travel planning questions, like where to stay or park what else to do while visiting a town, are off topic for our boards. Please keep your replies focused on helping the poster find great chow, as off topic replies will be removed.

    Thanks for helping us keep this board focused on chow!

    1. for more affordable food, try J'Anita's, Stein's Deli, Parasol's, Domilise's, Franky & Johnny's, Ignatius Eatery, Joey K's, Parkway Bakery, GB's Patio B&G, Cafe Rani, Mat & Naddie's (lunch buffet), Li'l Dizzy's (Poydras St. Sunday brunch buffet), Jacques Imo's, Ye Olde College Inn, Central Grocery, Big Al's Seafood, Le Citron Bistro, Acme Oyster and Felix's Oyster; and check out the Summer Menus thread, as many restaurants are offering 3 course dinners for $25.00. This is a great way to try some nice places.

      2 Replies
      1. re: edible complex

        Unfortunately, many summer specials are suspended July 4th-6th.(Essence Fest.). If going to Jacques, stick to entress only otherwise the tab rises quickly. Entrees come with corn muffins, salad and 2 sides. Plenty of food. Lola's, Liuzza's BTT, El Gato Negro, Mandinas, POC, Willie Mae's, Maspero's. Riomar for tapas, Bozos.

        1. re: JazzyB

          Thanks very much. That sounds like a perfect thing for them. Many thanks.

      2. another thought is the Mandeville Seafood Fest (across the Lake). $10 admission w/great bands and food.

        btw, Fr.Qtr.Fest is in April. Essense Music Fest is 4th of July weekend.

        1. Tell the kids to pick up a Gambit Weekly as soon as they get into town. There are a lot of great restaurants in town doing summer specials and they all have ads in the Gambit.

          I recommend EAT in the FQ for a cheap meal. It is BYOB and there is a little corner store down the street where they can pick up a six pack or bottle of wine for the meal. Just ask the waiter and he'll show them where to go.

          At the risk of getting deleted, stay at Hotel Le Cirque. My brother just got a room for 72 a night and it was perfect for him and his friends. Right on the streetcar line so they can get to the many many restaurants that are street car accessible. Tell them to take it uptown for a late night meal at Cammellia Grill or brunch at Refuel. Take it down to Canal for a long walk to EAT or a short walk to all the places on Decatur and S. Peters. Actually, scratch that. Don't eat on Decatur or S. Peters. Those are all gross tourist traps.

          Tell them to have fun enjoying this wonderful city and all the delicious food it has to offer.

          1. Of course its touristy, but beignets and coffee at Cafe Du Monde are a must, and not expensive at all.. either go early, as the quarter is still quiet and not that hot, or late at night as an evening finisher..

            1. Mmm, college budgets..i would advise that they share a bbq shrimp poboy at Liuzza's By the Track (the one on North Lopez in Mid-City) and a bowl of gumbo. (though it might be a little challenging for out of towners to find) In the quarter and surrounding areas, I always reccomend Bennachin, though it's an african restaurant, it does great unique food (good fish) and is BYOB, very reasonably priced. They can try Coop's on Decatur, a longstanding bar in the quarter with an extensive "cajuny" menu and cold abita on tap (i put cajuny in quotes for fear of being called to task) and Praline Connection (more traditional, soul food) on Frenchman (in the Marigny); both will be easily found just by asking any downtown local, are in walking distance of the Quarter and are among the least expensive options around. Tell them also to hunt for small and funky looking "corner stores"--groceries that have a po'boy counter, as these are some of the cheapest and i daresay most authentic places to grab eats. And thank them, and yourself, for all your support. We here really do appreciate it. Hope they have a great time!

              1 Reply
              1. re: swampsue

                Bennachin sounds great. And I noticed Coop's gets a lot of love here.

                Thank you all...from me and from my daughter.

              2. Your daughter has great info as to places to eat from this site. One thing I didn't see mentioned was that as soon as they are close to I-12 or I-10 driving to N.O. they should tune their radio to 90.7 fm and keep it there for the whole visit and listen to WWOZ. Even before WWOZ.ORG internet to get the current scoop on whats going on in the area. Also, get the Friday Times-Picayune for the Langiappe section on the happenings. The Cirque hotel at Lee Circle may be the most convienent for streetcar transportation. Walk across the circle to the Circle Bar after 9pm for good music. Tipatinas, Maple Leaf, for music. Rivershack Tavern free music. Bon ton Roule on Magazine St is great too. The Mandeville Seafood Fest at Fountainbleau State Park will be great for the music. Jefferson Starship and two other great ole groups whose names I forget are playing. Wish I was home to be there myself.
                Thank your daughter and friends for their volunteer efforts. People not government are what is rebuilding the city.