Authentic New Orleans Small Reception - Help
My husband and I were married in Hawaii on October 15th. We eloped, alone, no family knew we were even out of town. I grew up in New Orleans, he in Minneapolis. We now live in Minneapolis. We want to celebrate with our friends and family in Spring 2010 - two parties, one in New Orleans and one in Minneapolis. It's a little late, but it's too darn cold here to have the kind of party we want.
Because it's so much after our elopement, it won't be like a Wedding Reception. We've already decided that the one here will be in his father's backyard, tents, table/chairs, simple catering, with a titch of Luau feel. For the one in New Orleans, we don't have the option of someone's backyard, so we need a Location. This is where you come in.
Location. Location. Location.
Here's what I need: holds 100, authentic New Orleans homecookin', simple, cash bar option, close enough to Uptown/Quarter that my out-of-town guests don't need a car, buffet-style option, no need to hire outside catering or rent any decor items, a house band would be awesome - but at least the option to bring in, Friday night or Sunday morning, AND less than $30 a head.
Right now in the running: Crescent City Brewhouse, The Columns Hotel, maybe Mother's?
I've searched and received tons of information from the typical wedding reception places. But, I'm thinking we don't need all that hoopla.
More importantly, I want authentic New Orleans, not the boxed version for the tourists.
Have you had or attended a wedding and were just impressed by the reception?
Do you have a favorite location that you know has space for receptions?
Because I'm out of town, when I get into town, I won't have too much time to jolt around sampling and scouting. So, be my eyes, ears, and tastebuds. Most important to me is giving my guests real homecookin' New Orleans food from real New Orleanians without the "jazzy-ness", cajun-ness or any other Ness's that makes it feel like a theme.
3811 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115
Crescent City Brewhouse
527 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130
One of the nicest receptions (on the casual side) I've ever been to was at Rosy's Jazz Hall, which is located uptown on Tchoupitoulas St. The food was good, but it was definitely an open bar situation. I'm not sure if they do cash bars there. I've been to other events there (birthday parties, etc.) that have been open bar too, but never a cash bar.
Another option might be upstairs at Napoleon House. I once (about two years ago) attended a nice reception there with passed appetizers and a buffet and the food was nice. But again, it was an open bar. I don't remember exactly how much it cost but I remember being surprised at how low price the price was when the host told me afterwards.
The Columns Hotel is lovely for atmosphere, but the food has not been particularly good the few times I've eaten there.
Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130
I am a violinist and have played two beautiful weddings at Rosy's. I was there to perform for the ceremonies, which were both held in the garden, but the hall is beautiful and very "New Orleans"; both wedding parties held their receptions there. I didn't try any of the food on my way out, but the guests seemed to love it.
I have always had a good time at the City Park pavillion..must have been to a half dozen wedding receptions there. City Park chould have the information. the food has always been good...I think they do their own catering but honestly am not sure if you could get someone else in there. I've never been on the business end of it. If you have nice weather, it is a lovely little spot.
Ok, now that we have the number sttraight, thought I was going crazy for a second, the Pavilion at City Park is a little big and would feel cold and empty, maybe if you kept it in the botanical garden area, they do their own catering so that would be all in one. Better I think would be the Audubon Tea Room, perfect size for 100, in the Park, nice outdoor are under the Oaks. Food is quite good also. No idea weather you could do that for $30 a head though. If that is out of your price range then I would go for the Columns or Rosey's which is a very neet place, former Jazz Club, I don't think they do their own catering. The Country Club, New Orleans is another option, don't be put off by their website, they do straight parties also, neet space. Very New Orleans. Napolean House is probably big enough, but Muriels would be much nicer, proabbly same prcie, they have a balcony overlooking the square, Napolean Hous does not, plus Muriels has goos food and, NH does not. Oh and if you want the Audubon Tea Room call within the next five minutes because New Orleans is hugely popular for events in the spring and so is the ATR.
634 Louisa Street, New Orleans, LA 70117
re: edible complex
Ohhhh... a fancy crawfish boil? That's an idea.
Thanks for all the suggestions, keep them coming! I have looked into many of the suggestions already. Rosy's so an amazing space, does their own catering, but their prices are about $40+ a head. Crazy to me. Audubon Tea Room is even more and a little more fancy than I'm imagining.
Any ideas of something more like a large in-restuarant buffet?
I've looked into House of Blues, but decided chain restuarants need to be out.
Acme Oyster House is one I plan to visit as well.
Pat O'Briens wanted $40 a head... must be all in the name. Can't imagine it's for the food.
Muriel's would be amazing, but the pricing is more than I care to spend as well, even though the locale and rep make it more worth it.
I may rethink the amount of people I invite. If it ends up being less than 100 people, I would love to up the cost. Calcasieu would be really great for all my foodie friends.
Keep 'em coming!
Acme Oyster House
1202 N Highway 190, Covington, LA 70433
House of Blues
225 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130
If you're really set for $ 30 max you are just so limited in being able to cut a deal in the Spring. Think about what you really want the event to be about.
The cash bar is going to be a problem and a deal killer if you really need to keep it to
$ 30 a head. Whomever you use for catering will need to have extra personnell in order to do just the cash bar and that ends up being a dedicated staffer for that alone and if yours is NOT a true drinking crowd a profit loss and you will get charged for all opened bottles and corkage (so make sure you take them with you...)
The Audubon Tea, NOMA, Katz Sculpture garden, LaTrobe's, Board of Trade (probably the least expensive of this group) are all going to be beyond $ 30 head in order to do anything decent - also most spring 2010 weekend dates for places are already booked for Fri & Sat. Think about if Sunday is an option, would a brunch be an option? Spring is Jazz Fest and Fr Qtr Festival and NOW&FE so all those weekends will be likely taken.
The crawfish idea is great - Micheaul's on St. Charles does this and has a house band also (they only do private parties); also there's Mulates's that does the same too. Out of towners seem to just love what they do.
If you wanted to do this yourself, you could rent the Valencia Club and cater through
Mr Mudbugs, book the band directly. Or rent the Pavillion at City Park and do the same.
I love the ideal of the Country Club - fun!.
Pat O' s @ the Jax brewery also is great for a private party - view is terrific and there's room for a band. Also have been to one @ the rooftop bar @ Royal Orleans - another great view. Cafe Amelie also does lots of weddings.
$ 30 will limit your menu options - $ 50 @ person is really the low end for receptions.
re: savory south
Friends of mine had a crawfish boil rehearsal dinner at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum on Chartres late last spring. I think the courtyard would be about right for the size of your party, and don't see why you couldn't cater in something else if you didn't want mudbugs. (Though crawfish would help keep the tab down.)
I have never in my life heard of a cash bar at a reception. Maybe I'm not with the times??? No alcohol IMO is better than a cash bar. Receptions are kind of pricey no matter the angle. Maybe a smaller guest list of close friends and family would give you a greater selection and be more comfortable for everyone involved (including you) especially those that may have traveled a distance already, and are paying for there own trip expenses etc....Good Luck.