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Mom in NO with 2 little ones

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My husband and I will be in NO in mid May with our 2 year old and 3 month old. He will be busy most days with meetings, so I will be exploring on foot with the 2 girls – using a stroller and an infant carrier. (fun, fun, fun!) We will be staying in the FQ.

I’ve been searching the board and have a guidebook so I know a few restaurants that sound doable. To have some more options, I'm interested in hearing about some lesser known laid back, low key places with the following in mind -

*breakfast, lunch and "snack" joints.

*<$10 for me would be a plus.

*where we can sit and relax for awhile and wouldn’t be rushed if we needed time to unwind, yet where the service is decent enough we won’t wait forever if the kids, or I, have a meltdown!

*where we could eat outside.

*where we could get something quickly to go and take it to a nearby bench to enjoy.

*not looking for any cuisine in particular – just all around good eats.

*not interested in taking the streetcar while it’s just me and the girls, so safe, walkable places only.

Thanks in advance for any ideas!

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  1. where are you staying so we can get an idea of where to start with recommendations?

    1. oops. sorry, just reread you are staying the quarter. :-).

      1. Jackson Square has a lot of benches and some shade around the Square. You could get something from Johnny's Po Boy's or one of the many neat restaurants along Decatur Street and sit in JS. Woldenberg Park runs along the river bank near there and there are benches there. You can find benches in the shade along Decatur at the French Market buildings. Napoleon House on St. Louis has big open doors so you can see outside as well as a courtyard to dine. You can sit and relax at NH. Service is great there.

        Napoleon House Bar & Cafe @ 500 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 524 - 9752.

        http://www.napoleonhouse.com/

        Old Coffe Pot has inexpensive breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can sit outside there too.

        Old Coffee Pot @ 714 Saint Peter Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 524 - 3500.

        http://www.theoldcoffeepot.com/

        Croissant D Or has a small courtyard and you can get a light breakfast or lunch. El Gato Negro has good Mexican food for lunch or dinner and you can dine on the sidewalk at the FM. They serve breakfast on weekends.

        Croissant D'Or @ 617 Ursulines Ave., New Orleans, LA 504 - 524 - 4663.

        El Gato Negro @ 81 French Market Place, New Orleans, LA 504 - 525 - 9752.
        http://elgatonegronola.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: Littleman

          These all sound like just what I'm looking for. Thank you kindly!

        2. As the mom of a teen who grew up in the Marigny & FQtr here's my suggestions:
          think about getting the Audubon Institute multi-pass: Zoo, Aquarium & Insectarium. You'll save a bundle doing this. The Aquarium is great and they have a new bird exhibit where they can feed birds and it's noisy but lovely and kids are just fascinated by it. Aquarium is 2 levels on the 2nd floor far east end is a sort of play zone (actually big sculptures) where you can sit and they can run and stay in sight. Food at Aquarium is usual dreck (pizza, burger king) but you can get an ice cream and go to the outside terrace at the "Food Court" and have a great view of the River.

          Also strolling along Woldenberg Park - runs between the rail road line and the river - is perfect for a stroller and kid in tow and lots of benches. Safe breezy too. You can cross into Woldenberg from Jackson Square, over the RR, to the Park. Early morning is just magical with a light fog coming off the River onto land. There will be cart vendors with drinks, hot dogs, sometimes a Snowball vendor.

          Insectarium is fun and can get done in a 1- 2 hr or so. In the back will be the "kritter kitchen" where they can do hands-on like eat "worms/gummies" or make a dirt cake. Insectarium is 1 level and ends with a butterfly room - huge with benches so you can sit a bit and let them land on you. No real food here.

          Zoo is fabulous - take a cab and go early. You can easily spend the day there. There are 2 playcenters too - one designed for the smaller ones. There is a carousel too (extra charge). When you're tired, take the train ride. There is a "buried in the sand" area by the big cats.
          Food is actually varied here - alot depends on what is open. Go on-line to see what shows "sea lions, etc." are set for the day and plan around that. May does bring those end of the school year field trips to all of these so keep a sense of humor on all that. Easy to get a cab back to FQ from here - ask the driver to go back via the "Butterfly" which is acreage behind the zoo where the soccer fields are, you can see the River from here-just lovely. No food in Butterfly.

          For things like baby food, Ziplocks, formula, diapers there is a just spanking new CVS in Jax Brewery and also a Walgreen's in the FQ. If you are still having to eat lots of little meals during the day, get a muffaletta at Central Grocery on Dumaine in the lower FQ. You can take a 1/4 with you for the day as it doesn't spoil and is a perfect snack. Around the corner from Central is MeltDown Popsicles on Dumaine. If you have teens to bring a gift back for there is Humidity Skate Board store on Dumaine who have great T shirts for tween and teen set.

          I would avoid crossing Rampart into Armstrong Park.

          The closest playground is the one at Washington Sq. Park in the Marigny triangle at Frenchmen
          Huge oak trees. New playground equipment too. During the day it's totally OK - once schools out Park does get the teen and early 20's skateboarders who take over. There are restaurants along Frenchmen. If you are staying in the lower FQ, like @ The Provincial, it is totally walkable distance into the Marigny.

          If you need a cab "Don't get excited, call United" 522-9771.
          Thanks for visiting our city and spending money.

          1. Frenchmen has: Marigny Brasserie, Sukho Thai; the Praline Connection; Mona's (middle eastern);
            Wasabi, a pizza place at Frenchmen at Dauphine (the old Santa Fe) plus a number of bars.
            Marigny is quirky but safe.

            -----
            Praline Connection
            542 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116

            Marigny Brasserie
            640 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116

            1 Reply
            1. re: savory south

              Thank you very much for all of the info! I had plans to get the pass and hit the aquarium and insectarium by myself with the girls and save the zoo for when my hubby will be with us. I'm a teacher, so I'm used to the noisy kids on field trips! Knowing me, I'll still find it slightly irritating being on the "other side" during this visit! :) I was wondering about places to get diapers and any necessities since we are driving and it would save a lot of room in the car not having to lug some of that. I'm going to look into the restaurants you mentioned; they sound good! I love middle eastern food and can't get it where we live! Thanks again.

            2. i think once you are out and about walking through the french quarter, you will see all sorts of casual spots. many have a beautiful courtyards full of plants and flowers to sit and have a bite at. around the french market area there are alot of outside stands with food and beverages, with alot of benches to sit on, and live music to listen to. most the the quarter is suitable for family walking, just not the first few blocks of bourbon street from canal street. i like the faubourg marigny. you'll see lots of restaurants and coffee shops in that area. you can also get a cab up to magazine street. magazine from about jackson to louisiana is in the garden district. louisiana to napoleon has lots of shops, restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops. then napoleon to jefferson it's still full of things to see but a little sparser with homes in between. after jefferson, more of the same, cute shops, yummy bakeries, a chocolate shop, whole foods market, etc. all in all a very pleasant walking experience on a nice day.

              5 Replies
              1. re: califkatie

                I like exploring, and I know I'll end up just stopping into places that look interesting to me, but I also wanted to have an idea about where some decent places where. I don't have the best sense of direction, and I've never been to NO, so I wanted to have a few places/ streets in my brain while strolling around with kids. The last thing I want is to get turned around somewhere and have one of them start to lose it! I'm looking forward to checking out magazine street and the faubourg marigny. My husband has mentioned both areas as his faves in the city, and lots of people on this board seem to have a similar sentiment ! Thank you for the info!

                1. re: califkatie

                  Also try the LA Children's museum on Julia in the warehouse district. They have a "grocery store" on the 2nd floor where the kids can "shop" with minicarts. Most of the restaurants in/around Julia are Emeril's, and other upscale restaurants. The only place I can think of that would be casual and OK for toddlers to be kids would be The American Sector at the WWII museum. It's a John Besh restaurant and great - if they have anything root beer that day, get it. It will be made with Zatarain's Root Beer extract - used for cupcakes, floats, etc.
                  See if your DH can meet you there towards the end of his convention day or for lunch, he can walk there easily.

                  IMHO Magazine St I've found is tough for a stroller as the majority of the shops have stairs you have to go up to get in and not all the streets have cut curbs. Plus with all the Magazine St. construction going on and changing weekly, would be tough for a toddler, a stroller and a mom with a baby bjorn style carrier. The FQ & Marigny are much easier terrain.

                  -----
                  Emeril's Restaurant
                  800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

                  1. re: savory south

                    Yeah, I'm mostly worried about just how we are going to physically get around. The baby is only 6 weeks right now, and I haven't taken both of them, with stroller and bjorn, out by myself yet and NO will probably be the first time that I do, so the Magazine Street info is a big heads up, thanks! I've heard of the Childrens Museum and I'm sure it's fantastic, but honestly, I'm going to try to avoid it; All I think about are the bazillions of germs in places like that!!!

                    1. re: metova

                      Since you mentioned middle eastern - Mona's on Frenchmen will be perfect to/from the
                      Washington Sq Park - they have a bakery division so all the pita bread, etc is baked daily. Your toddler will be happy with pita bread and labna.

                      For grocery, there is Rouses on Royal @ St Peter & also Matassa's Grocery & Deli on Dauphine @ St. Peter. Matassa's has full liquor and will deliver, too.

                      1. re: savory south

                        Thanks again!