First trip ever to New Orleans - 5 days in early/mid-May
We will be in NO in May, staying in the FQ. From NYC-area & used to good food and lots of variety. We are active young 50's & adventurous eaters, quality over quantity, mostly casual dining but a couple nice nights out. We love good music and good bars.
Where do we start?
You start with the classics! New Orleans, as you know, is a city with a very rich food culture and history. In my opinion the best New Orleans dining experience is a long, leisurely lunch at Commander's Palace, preferably in the Garden Room, but really anywhere. I suggest you get all dressed up, ride the St Charles streetcar out to Washington ave, and stroll down to CP, stopping for a turn around the Lafayette Cemetery across the street. Make sure you take your time there since just being there is half the fun. We like to start with drinks at the bar, partly to prolong the experience and partly because you get to walk through the gleaming kitchen on the way to the bar (and of course partly because the bartenders rock)
You're going to get a lot of great advice so enjoy your trip!
Start by reading the sticky and browsing through the first couple pages of this board, especially trip reports and music/ bar questions. Begin a list of places that sound interesting to you. Have a map open in another tab in your browser, and locate the places that sound cool on the map. Get a feel for the layout of the city. Put together a draft itinerary. Post your draft itinerary and ask more specific questions, and people will comment. As it stands, your question is too broad (and is asked several times a week).
If you are there on a tuesday night do not under any circumstances miss seeing the rebirth brass band at the maple leaf. :p
As far as a culinary trip, what do you want?
That is not a snide question, as NOLA has so very much to offer, that one must first ask.
One could recommend "classic NOLA restaurants," or might concentrate on, say "local seafood."
Now, in either of those categories, things will likely be more "relaxed," than in NYC. Still, that does not mean that one cannot have a wonderful meal, but it will likely be a different experience, than say Per Se, La Bernadine or Restaurant Daniel. In NOLA, great, but different.
Good luck and enjoy,