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New Orleans in August (seeking advice)

Greetings hounds!

My wife and I will visit New Orleans during the first week in August, staying five nights at the Roosevelt Hotel (with no car). Our visit coincides with Satchmo SummerFest, and so we are planning to do the festival "club strut" on Frenchmen Street on Friday night, and catch at least one full day of the music over the weeeknd at the Mint (probably Sunday, but waiting to see the artist lineup on both days before a final decision). Meanwhile I am trying to plan the rest of our stay and I have appreciated all of the insight this board has provided.

My main question is about the heat and humidity. The two of us are average physical specimens in our mid-50's and we reside in the Pacific Northwest, where heat is very rare and humidity only comes in the form of cool rain and fog. We are going to have to pace ourselves.

Any thoughts about navigating the city in August heat? Can we expect air conditioning in most establishments? Will we be wise to favor cabs over long rides in a streetcar? Are the standards of dress in formal spots like Commander's Palace and Galatoire's relaxed at all in Summer? Any seafood that is to be avoided altogether in August (or, conversely, which is especially good in late Summer)?

Also, I am wondering how many establishments participate in the "COOLinary" promotion that happens in August?

All advice will be appreciated. Currently, here are the places I am hoping to work in:

A lunch at Commander's Palace
A dinner at Emeril's
Lunch or dinner at Herbsaint, Coquette, August, GW Fins, Mr. B's Bistro
Grilled oysters at Drago's (Hilton location, because we'll have no car)
Happy hour pizza, apps & wine at Domenica
Cocktails at Sazerac, Bar Tonique, French 75, Tujague's, Napoleon House, and the Carousel Bar
Breakfasts at Cafe du Monde and Camellia Grill (FQ location)
Muffaletta at central Grocery or Frank's
Po Boy at Parkway Bakery

I'm also interested in Green Goddess and, Cochon (and Cochon Butcher), but they may need to await a future trip. I'd like for us to dine at Galatoire's as well, but for me that's an "either/or" experience with Commander's Palace (on the same visit).

Thank you for any thoughts about our plans and about survival strategies in the August heat.

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  1. Well, it's almost always very hot and humid in August. We escape to the Pacific Northwest in the summer - lol. San Juan Island where the weather is always so fabulous. Most everywhere I know of has a/c. Can't remember being anywhere without it except maybe in Canada and your area a few times. But the walk can wilt you, it still does me after 60 years in this climate. I can't think of a cure for it except dress light - no long sleeves, long pants or socks and shoes (wear sandals). You can save longer walks for after dark but it's not a whole lot better.

    We drive and I've only been on the streetcar a couple of times in the last decade (just for fun) and I don't remember if they have a/c or not. Standards of dress remain the same year-round as far as I know. We usually go to the more dressy places on our pre-Christmas trip and more casual places on our summer trip. But arriving in an a/c car and getting into a restaurant is good. Some places you have to park a few blocks away especially on weekends so a cab would be perfect if you are dressed up.

    Check out Cafe Atchafalaya. We really liked it last visit. Have fun and don't forget to report back.

    15 Replies
    1. re: texasredtop

      Thanks a million. I'll definitely consider Cafe Atchafalaya.

      I don't think the streetcar has AC, so if we are dressed for Commander's, that's unfortunately probably not our best method of transportation from the CBD to the Garden District in the summer heat.

      Enjoy your summer visit to the beautiful San Juans. I will definitely post our impressions after the NO trip.

      1. re: Gizmo56

        Your restaurant selections are pretty good, As far as the humidity and heat I am a Houston native 90 percent humidity etc... but New Orleans is heat and humidity on steroids. I would love to see yalls faces when you get off the plane and experience it that would be amusing. as far as the streetcar st. charles no ac dont let that stop you its bearable the canal street line to parkway bakery is air conditioned. you picked a good time to visit believe it or not august is my favorite time of year for new orleans less crowded.

        1. re: joedontexan

          lol - you must live on the west side of H - over here near Galveston Bay it rarely gets under 99% humidity :-)

          The Friday night before Katrina, we took the streetcar from Harrah's to the Crowne Plaza because my mother was moaning and groaning about walking the few blocks again and I thought I remembered it having a/c but that was a long time ago and I wasn't sure.

          1. re: joedontexan

            Thanks joedontexan. I've experienced southern summer heat and humidity many times, but it will be a new experience for my spouse. I'm glad to hear that the Canal St. line does have AC, thanks for the tip.

          2. re: Gizmo56

            We've done a few streetcar-to-Commander's trips in June and made out just fine. Just bring a fan and a sunbrella for the lady and make liberal stops for refreshing "beverages" and you'll do alright!

            1. re: kukubura

              That's my kind of strategy...many thanks.

              1. re: Gizmo56

                An offbeat bit of advice: Carry a laminated map — impervious to humidity and jungle downpours. I like the Streetwise map. Your neighborhood Barnes and Noble should carry it, or order it from Amazon:


                1. re: BrooksNYC

                  Great minds think alike. I have used the Streetwise maps for years, since buying my first one for a trip to Manhattan eons ago. I ordered one for NO last week from Amazon. Thanks again, BrooksNYC!

                  1. re: BrooksNYC

                    I havn't bought a map in years since I had a smartphone :)

                2. re: kukubura

                  Maybe the heat has worn me down by late July/August, but June just doesnt seem to be as intense. I always tell folks to visit March or October.

                  1. re: JazzyB

                    Yes, I'd love to come in those months. My wife is an elementary school teacher, so it is hard to plan vacations outside the narrow window of Summer. But once she's retired, look out for us!

                    1. re: Gizmo56

                      December (around Christmas) can be a good time to visit too! We really enjoyed our visit and got a really cheap hotel price because of the time of year. I understand about the limited choices in when to visit, being a teacher myself!

                    2. re: JazzyB


                      We feel somewhat the same in AZ. June is usually our "first blast," but by early Sept, we have just flat had enough!

                      Now, if our monsoon sets up, the humidity rises, NOLA-style, unlike many other months of the year.

                      Still, NOLA in August can be rather hot and humid - just the time for some tall, cool drinks in the shade of a beautiful courtyard.

                      I am thinking a chilled melon soup, maybe a shrimp cocktail over ice, and then crab claws (chilled), with a slightly chilled Rosé, or Brut Rosé Champagne.


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Phoenix...June 26 1990. 122° . I dont really complain much about the heat here now :)

                        1. re: Mytah

                          Yes. Though I did not live in PHX yet, I shot a job in Las Vegas that week, and the temp reached 128 F. We got a respite in San Diego, where it was only 100F, but then had to shoot in Tucson, at 119F, and then Phoenix at 122F.

                          Heck, after that week, when we got to Knobnoster, MO, and the temp was 95F and 98% humidity, it almost seemed cool.

                          Though I grew up in NOLA and its environs, I got by, and the restaurants are cool and somewhat dark, plus the food is world-class!


              2. Commanders and Galatoire have the same dress code, that's why linen and seersucker are so popular in the summertime!

                Yeah, it's hot, but just move slow and stay in the shade. Drink water and expect to sweat. Most places are air conditioned, so you should be OK.

                6 Replies
                1. re: noradeirdre

                  Thanks for taking the time to reply, noradeirdre. Your advice works for me. We don't see a lot of linen and seersucker on the racks out here, but I'd love to own a seersucker suit if I can find a decent source....

                  1. re: Gizmo56

                    It's all about expectations- if you go in with accurate ones, you can probably work with the situation!

                    1. re: Gizmo56

                      While dining on or near Magazine Street (Coquette, Mayas, Commander's Palace, La Petit Grocery, Atchafalaya) stop by Perlis @ 6055 Magazine and pick out a seersucker or linen suit.

                        1. re: Gizmo56

                          Or if you wear 42 regular, and have time to alter...I'll sell you mine! white linen.

                          Ordered....aggressively...and the damn thing delivered too small!

                          It had NOTHING to do with too many trips to NOLA and an expanding waistline.

                          1. re: Monch

                            Thank you for the kind offer. Sadly, I'm a 44R. So if it won't alter to fit you, it certainly won't alter to fit me.

                  2. As others have said, it's a good time to hit the restaurants. Many good deals.

                    Shift your clock a little. Fit your outside time to 6 AM-11 AM and 7 PM on. My favorite time in New Orleans is just before sunrise during the summer.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: collardman

                      Thank you for this. I was already thinking that we should do most of our walking early and late, and retreat to the hotel for a splash in the pool in the afternoons.

                      1. re: collardman

                        Great sentiment - just before dawn is an interesting time, and one that I used to explore with a bunch of Nikons - then off to The Original Coffee Pot (then Maxie's), when the opened. Also, a great time to hit Cafe Du Monde, before the "tourists" wake up from their Pat O'Brien's hangover. The market area in what we once called The Frenchmarket, is just coming to life, and is not to be missed.


                      2. As others have said, everywhere is air-conditioned now, even the Napoleon House which caved in thirty years ago to the dismay of many old timers (not including me). There is an art to navigating, particularly in the Central Busines District, and grabbing little bits of a/c en route (and the Roosevelt is a classic..it gets you a whole block of comfort). Seersucker/poplin/linen are essential to survival as is ice. It'll be hot on the St Charles line but the windows will be open and there will be a breeze. The few block hike to Commander's will wilt you some. But that heat will help the crabmeat which is always better, redfish should be running well. Avoid the oysters..it is just not fair to them (although rockefeller might be OK since the sauce is the star).

                        My gang takes a sort of Britain-in-India approach to the summer: it's miserable but you don't show it. One friend takes a malicious pleasure in the discomfiture of tourists (in shorts) when they see him perfectly turned out in seersucker and, unlike me, perfectly pressed (for awhile., anyway).

                        20 Replies
                        1. re: hazelhurst

                          Thanks a million, hazelhurst. Your description of what to expect on the St. Charles streetcar is helpful and encouraging.

                          Your tips about seafood are likewise much appreciated. We get many nice local oysters at home so they are not our top priority. I may now cross Drago's off our list (despite my curiosity about the char-grill treatment). I'll look forward to classic Gulf redfish and excellent crab.

                          Thanks again-

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            I like your description, HH.

                            My dear wife refers to these treks as "Bataan Death Marches".

                            But on the upside we found a nice little taquiria, on Magazine, while walking from Audubon Park BACK towards the CBD.

                            Mind you I did NOT say we made it all the way to the CBD. Our second oasis was Creole Creamery and we marched straight to the streetcar stop, from there.

                            WICKED HOT!

                            1. re: Monch

                              I have considered trying to combine our lunch at CP with a dinner at Coquette, trying to use the shops and bars on Magazine as an escape from the heat in between, but I question whether we can comfortably kill enough time that way. For now, I am thinking we may cab from the Roosevelt to CP, enjoy lunch, take a quick stroll through the cemetery afterwards, then ride back to the hotel on the St. Charles street car.

                              1. re: Gizmo56

                                If you're not a native..and especially given your normal part of the country...New Orleans in August can wear you down. A light hat is a godsend (Meyer the Hatter can help you there..first block of St Charles). I think you are right to plan it this way but, again, the street car will be hot. You won't be in the cemetery long, either.

                                1. re: hazelhurst

                                  Thank you for the tip about Meyer! Yes, I was thinking we'll need to make our visit to the cemetery brief, or else it might become our own final resting place. ;)

                                  Our room at the hotel (or a dip in the pool) will likely be the best mid-to-late afternoon sanctuary on all days, although I am determined to take in a full day of jazz at the Satchmo festival on the grounds of the US Mint, probably on the Sunday (when they'll have a second line from a church in Treme).

                                  Out of curiosity, does anyone happen to know how often the St. Charles line comes along (i.e., what would be the longest possible wait at a stop)?

                                  1. re: Gizmo56

                                    Spot on, about Meyer.

                                    A wonderful straw Stetson Panama was one of my take-aways, last trip!

                                    1. re: Monch

                                      After getting that tip from hazelhurst about Meyer's I checked them out on the web and was pleased to see that the store also has a website and mail order operation. I may order a hat ahead of time and arrive fully equipped.

                                      1. re: Gizmo56

                                        Good idea, but I'll warn you.

                                        MORE than half the fun of Meyer is the experience!

                                        Stay cool!

                                        1. re: Monch

                                          Ah. In that case, I will either defer the purchase until we arrive, or else I may both order ahead and also drop in to the "bricks and mortar" store during our stay for some further hat shopping.

                                          Thanks, Monch!

                                    2. re: Gizmo56

                                      Streetcars during the day are about 10 minutes apart but two weeks ago I saw three stacked up back to back to back.

                                      Treme to the Mint (if that's the route) is a hike, esp. in the heat. I think you'll need to find some a/c places around there just to "spell yourself."

                                      1. re: hazelhurst

                                        Yes, that is the route. It begins at a church in Treme and then makes it's way to the festival on the grounds of the Mint. I wasn't planning that we'd walk the whole route, more likely just find someplace near the Mint to watch it pass as it arrives, then go to see the music onstage.

                                        The frequency of the streetcars is encouraging, although I understand there are bound to be some irregularities in how they are spaced.

                                      2. re: Gizmo56

                                        There was something in the paper about the transit authority phasing in an app that would show you the whereabouts of busses/streetcars, but I don't think that's very active yet.

                                        Here is the link for the St. Charles line outbound. Norta.com will give you other bits of information, including a cheaper pass if you plan on more streetcar/bus riding. Even in the summer it is a decent way to get to many restaurants that are withing a few blocks of a transportation line.


                                        1. re: collardman

                                          Thanks for the link, and I will keep an eye out for the app. You folks have all been so helpful.

                                          1. re: Gizmo56

                                            Things don't always happen on time in New Orleans. In fact, time is infinitely elastic in "the northernmost outpost of the Caribbean." Will your bus or streetcar arrive on time? ¡Qien sabe! Pack a sense of humor, and surrender to The Fates.

                                            The way to snag a seat on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar is to catch it at Gravier and Carondolet. The streetcar will be headed downtown when you get on, and packed. But most of the passengers will get off at Canal Street, and you'll grab a seat. The car will then swing around the block and head uptown again.

                                            GW Fins is not unlike a good seafood restaurant in NY, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, etc. Which is not to discourage you from going. It's wonderful. Am just letting you know that it's not particularly New Orleans-y.

                                            With an eye to the future, December is a gorgeous time to visit NOLA. The weather is sublime — cool and sunny — and perfect for long walks.

                                            1. re: BrooksNYC

                                              My last planned trip was set for the week following Christmas. Alas, we had to cancel at the last moment, because of a family emergency. I still plan to visit in December as soon as we can.

                                              I am prepared for (and looking foward to) a city that doesn't operate on a strict timetable, mainly I was just wondering what the worse case scenario might be while waiting for a streetcar on a hot and muggy August afternoon. Your tip about hopping on board just before the turn-around is absolutely priceless. Many thanks.

                                              1. re: Gizmo56

                                                Good to hear you are planning a December visit!

                                                1. re: Gizmo56

                                                  We visit every year in early December. It is a great time in the city, everyone seems to be in an exceptionally good mood, the weather is usually great (just a bit of nip in the air) and I find it very romantic.

                                            2. re: collardman

                                              Yes, norta.com has a beta release of the app to tell when busses/streetcars are about to arrive. Most of the time it's accurate but we found some buggy behavior around the 11 Magazine line. Mostly helpful, especially if you're about to stand out in the heat for 25 minutes.

                                            3. re: Gizmo56

                                              There is nothing wrong with a dip in a cool pool, prior to dinner. Good move, and one that we often employ in Phoenix (drier, but hotter).

                                              Enjoy, and the local restauranteurs will appreciate you being there.


                                      3. re: hazelhurst

                                        Yes, we have been known to "duck in" to get a bit of AC. I pretend to admire the architecture, while my lovely, young wife, admires the art. Then, we move on.

                                        White linen, or seersucker, and a Panama, is the word(s) of the day.


                                      4. Hi Gizmo,

                                        Good choices for restaunts to start, and I would suggest spending more times in cabs and less in street cars if you aren't used to the heat.

                                        My two cents:

                                        Emeril's does a very good lunch special pre-fix for an affordable price

                                        I wouldn't miss Cochon's...(I've made the Butcher my last stop on the way to the airport so my carry-on ends up being a cooler bag ;) )

                                        If you find yourself hungry later in the evening after listening to Music on Frenchman, hit up Mimi's in the Marigny for some very good small plate dishes and usually some excellent music as well.

                                        If you stay Tuesday night, it might be worth a trip to Jacqeus-imos for dinner if Rebirth is playing at the Mapleleaf that night...that's a great night.

                                        Laslty, if you feel like venturing out a bit, for some very casual eats, there is always Willie Mae's fried chicken...it's special.

                                        Hope that helps.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: TedyB

                                          Hi TedyB,

                                          I know the WM's Scotch House has a fair number of detractors on this board, but I'd love to try it and form my own opinion.

                                          Sadly we come in on a Wednesday afternoon and fly out on Monday evening, so Tuesday is the one day of the week that we won't have. I'd love to see a set at the Mapleleaf.

                                          Thank your the Mimi's tip, it looks like Three Muses on Frenchmen also has some nice small plates. I was planning on a dinner at Emeril's but I will ponder trying it at lunch and working in a visit to Cochon's, if possible.

                                          All of this advice is invaluable, Thanks so much!

                                          1. re: Gizmo56

                                            While Emeril's pre fixe lunch is a bargain, dinner is a much better experience.

                                            1. re: JazzyB

                                              Thanks, Jazzy. We are having dinner at Emeril's the night we arrive.

                                              1. re: Gizmo56

                                                The andouille crusted redfish( sometimes drum) and the tamarind glazed pork chop with poblano mole are standouts. Angel hair with smoked mushroom app and banana. ream pie are good choices. Portions are generous. You'll probably need to share the pie. Request the main dining room.

                                                1. re: JazzyB

                                                  Thanks. My wife loves pork, me not so much, but I'd like at least bites of the legendary pork chop, so I suspect she'll order that and I'll go a different direction, and we'll share. The redfish/drum rings my bell. Also had the banana cream pie in my sights, splitting makes sense. I'll be sure to request a table in the main room.

                                                  This trip coincides with our 33rd anniversary, and I mentioned that in my reservation request, so I am hopeful they will give us some modest consideration in the table location.

                                                  1. re: Gizmo56

                                                    The tuna app is very good and large enough to share.

                                        2. I am still planning this trip and have a fresh set of questions ("Arise, thread, arise!")

                                          After weeks of following this board, and most especially the comments of Bill Hunt and hazelhurst, I have decided that we must include a visit to Galatoire's. And we happen to have our Friday afternoon open, so we can experience the prime people watching afternoon.

                                          With that in mind, at what time would you NOLA hounds suggest we arrive for the first seating, (bearing in mind that the visit will be in the heat and humidity of the first Friday in August)?

                                          I'll be in seersucker or a linen suit...but we'd welcome suggestions for appropriate lady's attire.

                                          Lastly, we of course won't have a regular waiter, and I wonder if you all might have any names to suggest.

                                          Thank you...I have been so impressed with the warmth and hospitality of the persons posting here...quite different from the atmosphere on the board for my hometown.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: Gizmo56

                                            What with the Satchmo festival I imagine Friday might be rather busy. I'd go at about 2:30...it will still be busy. As to waiters, well, you can spend hours with regualrs getting recommendations...Imre is a fine waiter, a Hungarian through-and-through, who gives crisp service. His is a great American success story. Billy is also awfully good, more relaxed to outward appearances. Homer is an old favorite but I don't recommend him to outsiders.He is casual and this is sometimes mistaken for something else.

                                            I advise you not to order all at once. Have a drink, think about an appetizer..order that..relax and figure out what is next. You might want to let the waiter know your intentions becuae sometimes he might be getting off at, say, 4:00 to run errands and he'll need to pass you over to someone else.

                                            1. re: Gizmo56

                                              Sundress for the lady...everywhere. That being said, I carry a shrug to restaurants as the a/c can be a bit much. Pick up some folding chairs at Walgreens for the Satchmo Fest. You'll also need sunscree and either, hats or umbrellas. A small squirt bottle for misting will come in handy if you plan to stay all day.

                                              1. re: JazzyB

                                                Invaluable advice. My understanding is that they put a tent-top over the grounds last year to mitigate the sun, but I can't tell if they plan to do the same for 2012. For this year's line-up, I expect we'll be there roughly 2:30 to 8 pm on both days.

                                                Here's the food line-up...anything jump out at you as particularly promising?


                                                1. re: Gizmo56

                                                  While I rarely miss a day of JF or Voodooo, Satchmo offers neither the food nor music to get me to spend the day outside in iAugust's scorching heat. (seriously hot when my waterproof mascara melts). You would do better to grab something to eat from El Gato Negro, just a few doors down on S. Peter across from the Fr. Market. Thieir top shelf orange margaritas go down (too) easy. POC has what are arguably NOLA's best burgers served w a large baked potato about. It's 4 or so blocks up Esplanade on the L. Not only will the food be comsiderably better, you'll get some a/c.

                                                  Hard to imagine they tent the entire viewing area. Have fun!

                                                2. re: JazzyB

                                                  As you point out, the AC can be rather cool, an my wife almost always has some sort of a wrap handy.

                                                  As I usually have my blazer, I enjoy the AC... [Grin]


                                              2. Gizmo,

                                                In general, I see only one, potentially "off" choice, but then maybe you will have much better luck, than we did - Drago's Hilton. I posted a very detailed review of that location, and it should be on this board, if you wish to read. I would not go back, on a bet, but that is just me. CH MOD's do not like me to mention that post, as they feel that Drago's Hilton is above reproach, but I stand behind my post, and offer that everything in it, was what we encountered.

                                                I did several searches, and only found links to something called "You Offend Me - You offend my family," so can only guess that my review is history. Here it is:

                                                Drago’s, Hilton New Orleans Riverside, http://www.dragosrestaurant.com/ (Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Two Poydras St., NOLA, 504-561-0500.

                                                I had never dined at either Drago’s location, and did not even recall this one, when we last stayed at the Hilton. I do not know the chronological history of Drago’s. It occupies much of the lower-front area of the lobby. I’m not sure if the bar in the lobby is part of the restaurant, but do not think so, as there is a bar area within the restaurant. The space is very large and well-lit. There are banquette tables along most of the walls, with many 4-tops (some grouped into pairs) throughout the restaurant. I would imagine that it can seat 200 people easily, but could be off on that guess. It has a nice casual vibe. Sorta’ like an upscale seafood restaurant in New Orleans. What a surprise – it is. The weeknight hours are: 11:00AM until 10:00PM. We arrived at approximately 9:00PM. The restaurant only had a half-dozen tables occupied – not a good sign to my CH senses, but it was a weeknight in early Autumn, though there was a football game the next night and a Saint’s game on Sunday. The hotel seemed busy with a convention, but the restaurant was almost empty. The space may have fooled me, but we felt all by ourselves, in the middle of the main dining area.

                                                The first thing that I noticed was that there were maybe two-dozen members of the waitstaff on the floor, plus two bartenders. I also picked up that three of the waitstaff had headsets and were dressed a bit differently, than the others. I would hazard a guess that these were group leaders, or Secret Service operatives. Our waiter arrived, introduced himself and presented our party of four with menus. He took our water order and offered cocktails. Well, MIL does not drink anything but ice tea and Barq’s rootbeer, and wife and I are avowed winos, so I asked of the wine list. It was on the menu. MIL’s nurse drinks wine (good thing for THIS trip), so I ordered two Markham Chards for her, and my wife, and a glass of the Markham Sauvignon Blanc for myself. In a flash, our server was back with bad news. The Markham SB was gone, and he offered the Kim Crawford SB as a replacement. Now, I enjoy New Zealand SB’s, especially from Marlborough, but really like a domestic SB with seafood. I find that the NZ versions are great by themselves, but their heavy grapefruit and “hay” aspects do not go that well with food. I prefer something with more “lemon” and some fruit forward. I opted for another glass of the Markham Chardonnay.

                                                Our server suggested the signature, Charbroiled Oysters. I ordered a small plate of these, as I had read so many great reviews of various “charbroiled oysters” on this board. Our party pondered the rest of the menu, and the wines, an ice tea and wine and Charbroiled Oysters arrived.

                                                We had six oysters served on the half-shell. Or, should I say “oyster parts?” The preparation was breading, oyster parts and some garnish placed on heated half-shells. I could not find one whole oyster in the batch. There were tiny strips of oysters in the breading base. What was there was tasty with nice garlic hints, but mostly the breading bed, with tiny slivers of oyster parts. I thought that this was some sort of a bad joke, but was assured that this was how Drago’s did their “famous” Charbroiled Oysters. OK, for about US$1.75 each, it wasn’t a big deal, just a touch of a letdown. I should have picked up on the hints of things to come.

                                                Orders were placed, as we picked around the oysters. Since my wife cannot do bi-valves of any sort, there were more than enough for the three of us. Still, one was left, as no one really wanted any more of this dish.

                                                We did one BBQ Drumfish, two Shrimp Platters and one Catfish Platter, with a few cups of Mama Ruth’s Seafood Gumbo. As I was ready for a second Chardonnay, I asked for another Markham. It came with the gumbos, and our server was gone in a flash. He had to be the quickest server on the planet – gone before the plates had come to rest.

                                                My second glass of Markham was horribly flawed. Now, I have encountered many flaws in wine, but this one was a rarity. When restaurants run their wine glasses through the dishwasher, liberal doses of sanitizer are used. These are designed to be washed away in the rinse cycles and usually are. Not in this case. I thought I was smelling Janitor In A Drum! I waited for our server to appear, but he did not. There were still about 20 other servers in the dining area, and I waited patiently. OK, he was gone, so I flagged down one of the other servers, who were occupied in conversation with all of the other servers. This was something that they seemed to enjoy doing, as there were few diners left. I quietly explained the problem and handed over the glass. This server flagged down one of the folk with the headsets, who came over for me to explain it all over again. I do not think that she understood, or maybe just did not believe me, but did disappear with the offending glass.

                                                Bam, our entrées hit, along with my replacement Chardonnay. The plates were still spinning, and our server had disappeared again. This replacement wine had the same problem. Either there was a problem with the sanitizer, or they tried to pawn off the same bad glass of wine on me.

                                                I waited, but our server was AOL. I flagged down one of the “headset folk,” and explained once more, what the problem was. She took it around the room and talked to maybe a dozen different servers. After making the rounds with my glass, she disappeared too. Finally, I walked to the bar and explained the problem to one of the bartenders. He brought over the other bartender, and I explained it all over again. The second bartender disappeared and did not return. I still did not have my second glass of wine and my entrée was getting cold. I went back to my chair and started in on my Shrimp Platter. During this time, I caught sight of my server, but he was in deep conversation with a patron, or at least someone, who had come in from the Poydras St. entrance. He was not in “hailing distance,” and I could not catch his attention. In a second, he was gone from sight again. About then, another “headset person” came by with yet another glass of wine. She asked what I had not liked about the first few glasses, and I explained the problem. She offered me this glass, but it was also badly tainted. Probably the same, original bad glass, that was just being passed around. I asked her to taste the wine, but she refused. I took this glass directly to the first bartender and asked him to taste the wine. He also declined. I told the story once more, and demanded in a rather loud voice that they get me a clean glass with the Markham Chardonnay. I instructed him to let me smell the glass, before he poured anything. He did, and all was finally OK.

                                                I won’t comment on my now cold Shrimp Platter, or the soggy fries, but will only offer comments from the other diners. The shrimp were tiny and horribly overcooked. The fries were apparently soggy, when served. They were then hot, but it was from a heat lamp. The fries were obviously frozen, pre-prepared generic fries, not unlike any fast-food outlet. The Catfish Platter suffered from some of the same problems – overcooked with soggy fries. The BBQ Drumfish was very fishy and the odor was obvious around the table. Even the garlic could not overcome this.

                                                Going back, the Gumbo was bland and even a healthy dose of Tabasco could not resurrect it. The roux seemed to be uncooked flour and lacked any character. I would also suspect that the shrimp in it were from India, because of their size and the distinct impression that they had been long frozen.

                                                Considering all of the times that we have dined across the Gulf South on little more than Seafood Gumbo and Fried Shrimp, I have to say that these examples were some of the worst – wine service not withstanding.

                                                Our server materialized at the end of this part of the meal and asked if we wanted desserts. We all declined. The bill with a less than normal tip was US$198.00 for four with four b-t-g Chardonnays. This was a very bad start to our trip and I cannot think of anything to recommend this Drago’s location. I have no idea how this experience might translate to either dining early, or at another location.

                                                I can comment that the stemware, disregarding the sanitizer issue, was even poor by any restaurant’s standards – small bowls, thick rims and little more than “jelly jars.” This is often a big problem with restaurants, especially in my beloved Deep South.


                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: Bill Hunt


                                                  Thank you for this. I had discovered your post about the Hilton Drago's already, and I have demoted Drago's to no more than a possible stop, for the chargrilled oysters only, and only if it would make for a convenient (already en route to somewhere else) snack. Early August is not going to be prime oyster time anyway, and there are many so other options and preps in NOLA.

                                                  As it stands now, here is the updated plan:

                                                  Arriving Wed 8/1, afternoon, dinner at Emeril's at 8, perhaps happy hour at Domenica before.

                                                  Thursday lunch at Commander's Palace, dinner open (thinking GW Finn's)

                                                  Friday, lunch at Galatoire's, clubbing along Frenchman Street in the evening, small plates in those venues

                                                  Saturday, Breakfast at Brennan's, Satchmo Summerfest at the US Mint the rest of the day, po' boys, etc, on site.

                                                  Sunday, Early breakfast at the hotel of maybe Stanley!, jazz mass at St. Elizabeth's in Treme, Second Line, More Satchmo at Summerfest, collapse afterwards

                                                  Monday, Cafe du Monde at sunrise, lunch at Arnauds, possible excursion to Cochon for take-home Muff's and charcuterie, reluctant ride to the airport, followed by planning of next trip ASAP.

                                                  I have a long list of other places that we'll visit if possible, but for now the above is etched in stone.

                                                  Thank you for your posts. There are always beautifully worded, and have been so very helpful. Your thoughts on recent visits to Brennan's, for example.....

                                                  1. re: Gizmo56

                                                    I hear reports from many trusted sources that the Metairie location is really great. Unfortunately, I have not been able to fit them in. Due to the recs., and from the people, who made them, I really want to, and will try to clear my mind of our experience at the Hilton location - and be ready to enjoy. I also want to see "what the fuss is about."

                                                    Maybe, excluding our horrible experience, it is about one person liking the dish by Chef X, where another hates that, but loves Chef Y's version?

                                                    Most of all, enjoy!!!


                                                    1. re: Gizmo56

                                                      Do go to GW Fins. Their cold smoked grilled oysters are deliciously succulent. they are much better than the often overcooked chargrilled at Dragos. The "Scalibut" w lobster risotto is very good.

                                                      1. re: JazzyB

                                                        Yum! I think Drago's just became a complete scratch. THANK YOU!

                                                        1. re: Gizmo56

                                                          We have shared 5/6 apps and split the scalibut. A fun way to dine. Ask them to space them out otherwise all the apps will come at once. Our preference is a window table. BTW, Arnaud's French 75 is directly across the street.

                                                          1. re: JazzyB

                                                            Good point about the pacing. We have often done a series of apps., but explain what we want, so that they come in small waves, rather than all at once.

                                                            Most good restaurants can handle that, and should.



                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                              I certainly shall enjoy, Bill. Thanks for all the insight on this and so many other threads.

                                                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                      Your previously posted review is here, on a thread titled "Dragos in New Orleans" http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7967...

                                                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                        Thank you. Since the CH Board Searches changed, about 2 years ago, I have experienced difficulties locating them. Sometimes, Google with pull them up, but not always.

                                                        Appreciated, and I realize that Search issues are better left for other Boards here.


                                                    3. We will be at CP on 7/20 for lunch and the routine is always the same- trolley if you can but cab if you walk out and immediately think of Dante's Inferno. Nothing worse than getting to CP and not feeling fresh when you walk in. Rain is also a problem ( I can vouch for that) if you take the trolley as the stop is about a 3 block (absolutely lovely) walk. We try to trolley home as after a few .25 cent martinis, the trolley adds a great way to continue the afternoon.
                                                      Echo on avoiding Drago's. Guy Fieri owes us all a good meal for pushing it on one of his shows. If it's just oysters, grab a charbroiled dozen at Acme (which is our choice) or Felix's which other's speak highly of. Don't have to make a meal or day out of it. Just drop in, maybe a hour or two before dinner, have a drink and some oysters, and be on your way to another great spot.
                                                      Green Goddess is now closed I believe. It was a nice quirky place. Give Muriel's on Jackson Square a look for dinner. We have always enjoyed it.
                                                      Last visit we gave the muff at Cochon a try for the flight home instead of Central. I got there a bit before they were open but they let me in and while It was a bit different to say the least , it is a pretty good way to end a trip.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: Hockey19

                                                        Not the be argumentative, but all the information I have is that Green Goddess remains a going concern.

                                                        Chef Chris left to start another restaurant but Chef Paul remains.

                                                        There was a recent, Entergy-caused, fire on Exchange Alley but it appears that those effects are in the past.

                                                        I would hate to see such a gem miss even one cover.

                                                        When you travel to Commander's Palace, please enjoy your streetcar ride...if that's the mode you choose...the heat is an issue, but the scenery is outstanding.

                                                        See you in August, New Orleans!!

                                                        1. re: Monch

                                                          Monch is correct....Green Goddess is very much still open for business.

                                                          1. re: BayouTeche


                                                            I found this article form about 6 weeks ago- is it incorrect?

                                                              1. re: BayouTeche

                                                                The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
                                                                Mark Twain

                                                      2. Say what you wnat about NOLA in the summer but i cna't wait to get out of the heat and cool down.

                                                        Nola- Next 5 Days

                                                        Philadelphia Next 5 Days

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: Hockey19

                                                          It's not just the heat, it's the humidity. Humidity plays a big factor (even in the winter). My dad lives in Jersey and would laugh and tell me I've been in the south waaay too long when I would complain that it was "freezing" here with a temp of 60'. He sang a different tune once he experienced it for himself.

                                                          Oh, and 11pm, it' still in the 80s. August is killer. You breathe water. This is just a warm-up.

                                                          1. re: JazzyB

                                                            It ain't the heat- it's the humidity. Totally get that but the weather is so wacky now and I am telling you it's hot enough that no one cares about the humidity argument. Totally tongue in cheek about escaping to NOLA but the difference is not as big as one might think.

                                                            1. re: Hockey19

                                                              Hockey19, I am the original poster, and I most certainly do "care about the humidity argument." I have been through that sort of heat and humidity before, it is completely different from heat, and in planning my trip I have valued each and every suggestion on this thread I have received about what to expect and how best to deal with it.

                                                              1. re: Gizmo56

                                                                My only thought (in what I hoped was in a humorous way) was that when it's 95-100 degrees outside it's tough to say, it's not the heat but it's the humidity. After totally melting this weekend in New Hope, PA, dealing with NOLA will just be par for the course.

                                                        2. Hello,

                                                          My wife and I are from CA and are thinking of visiting New Orleans in mid-August for our anniversary. Neither of us have been there before. How was your August trip last year? I am an experienced traveler and understand it is expected to be 90/90 weather, but how was it for you in it for the couple days? How were the restaurants, sites to see and which would you recommend? We plan to go for a weekend. Thank you for your input. It's our 20th wedding anniversary.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: griffwi

                                                            Hi griffwi:

                                                            We had a wonderful trip. Yes, you can expect 90/90 weather, but we did not find it unbearable and we did lots of walking. Light clothing (linen is ideal) and a good hat are invaluable.

                                                            Our full trip report is on this thread:


                                                            1. re: Gizmo56

                                                              Awesome! Thanks for the quick reply. I think we're going for sure. My wife is working the nice hotels and flight deals as we speak.

                                                              1. re: griffwi

                                                                One of the best things about visiting in August is the low pricing and lighter crowds. After you book your hotel, you might talk to the hotel directly about the possibility of a complimentary room upgrade. The Roosevelt upgraded us two levels, and we had a bargain rate on our original accommodations, which were part of an air/hotel package.

                                                                Also watch the "Coolinary" deals in restaurants here:


                                                                Most of the menus for 2013 will start to show up on the site by July.

                                                                And keep reading the threads here, the locals are incredibly friendly, and the discussions here will provide a wealth of information.

                                                                New Orleans is a spectacular destination. Have a great trip.

                                                                1. re: Gizmo56

                                                                  Terrific! Thanks for all of the info. It sets up for an adventure we will definitely be looking forward to.

                                                            2. re: griffwi

                                                              It might be 90% in the morning, but the humidity drops in the afternoon. 90/90 and the atmosphere would empty out. True 90/90 just isn't possible.

                                                            3. Most places to eat do offer air conditioning, but many places are too small to seat all of their customers or simply have outside seating (like cafe du monde)
                                                              The humidity and heat are no joke so street car rides and petti cabs may not be your preferred mode of transportation.

                                                              1. .....Breakfasts at Cafe du Monde and Camellia Grill (FQ location)
                                                                Muffaletta at central Grocery Po Boy at Parkway Bakery.....

                                                                As for clothing, I recommend 2 sets of clothes per day. We visited in June one year and upon returning to the hotel after morning/afternoon eating and sightseeing, we always had to change clothes, and usually showered again too.

                                                                Definitely Cafe du Monde - barely a meal : ) - and Camellia Grill, though the FQ location didn't exist when we were there and we'll be going to Carrollton this December.

                                                                Also big fans of Central Grocery Muffaletta and Parkway. Though a bit of a walk from the St Charles streetcar, Domilise's was also excellent on our past trips. If you do go to Parkway, be sure to hit Angelo Brocatto for truly excellent gelato, cannoli and Italian cookies/pastries. It's not super far from Parkway.

                                                                We will also be going back to Galatoire's this December, and wouldn't think of eating anywhere but the no-reservations downstairs. If you need a reservation, you'll have to eat upstairs. After we ordered the soft-shell crab entree last trip, our waiter Shelley told us we could have just ordered one ala carte. We'll take his advice come this December.

                                                                Enjoy your trip!

                                                                1. Hi! As far as navigating in the heat, during the day, walk on whatever side of the street has the shade. It sounds like a silly suggestion, but I am amazed at the people who walk in the glaring sunlight when shade is an option. I run errands for work, in the Warehouse/CBD, and zigzag across streets or walk with an umbrella, even when it's not raining! You seem well versed in the restaurant scene, but one that's not on your list is Bon Ton at Magazine and Poydras. They aren't open on Saturday & Sunday, so try to plan a lunch or weeknight visit. Please tell Wayne & Debbie that Mary Beth sent you. Another place that is steeped in NOLA history is Tujaque's on Decatur St. Ask for the Chicken Bon Femme (bon fom) which is seasoned, not coated, crispy fried chicken and fresh sliced, crispy potatoes covered in chopped garlic & parsley. It's not on the menu (verbal), so ask for it. They are going through renovations, but don't let that stop you from going. You will be right there for the fest. I know that it might sound cliche-ish but Emeril's on Tchoupitoulas is also wonderful for lunch. Have fun but dress cool because Satchmo Fest is usually a very hot weekend!

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: marybeth52

                                                                    Thanks, marybeth52. This thread is from 2012. We had an excellent stay in New Orleans last August.

                                                                    1. re: Gizmo56

                                                                      sorry, I am new to this site & should have looked at the dates! ;-)

                                                                  2. We love to go in August. Yes the days are hot (drink water, use talcum powder, if you don't feel well go back to the hotel and take a cold shower and a nap). The nights are glorious. The air is like an embrace. The sounds and smells are magnified and you feel as though you could walk forever. Everything is lush and dark and sexy and a bit dangerous. Stay up late, sleep in, and enjoy.