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Combination solo/business/couple trip

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I will be taking my first trip to New Orleans in early February. I will spend the first 4 days wandering around by myself before my work conference starts. My husband will fly to New Orleans mid-way through the conference, and we will have 3 nights/2 days together before flying home. Here is what I have lined up:
Friday night arrival (solo)-check in to Hyatt Regency. Staying there in order to use a suite upgrade that will expire on 2/28.
Saturday-10 AM Free by Foot tour of Garden District-Lunch at Coquette-then I figured I would walk around on Magazine street for a bit and grab a sandwich at Cochon Butcher to take back to the hotel for dinner. Then music and Chocolate buffet at the Hyatt.
Sunday-New Orleans Cooking School demo class, wander through French Market, Happy Hour at Domenica and then maybe a drink at the Sazerac bar
Monday-wander around French quarter before heading to Emeril's for lunch-maybe Mardi Gras World and then Borgne for dinner.
Tuesday-French Quarter again-Cafe Du Monde for sure and then Carousel bar for a drink and Bayona for dinner. Switch to Sheraton for conference.
Wednesday-Conference 8-7, then dinner at K-Paul's.
Thursday-Conference 8-7, then dinner at Herbsaint-My husband arrives later that night.
Friday-Conference for me in AM-Husband will do Free By Foot French Market tour and then we will head to Commander's Palace for a 1:30 lunch reservation. Later in the day, visit W.I.N.O and then a snack before we head out to hear music.
Saturday- World War II museum and then dinner at Mr. B's.-more music.

I would love some input on my choices of restaurants/things to do. I would love to get out to hear some music both before and after my husband arrives, but I am not sure if there are any places to go that might be OK for a woman alone safety-wise. I love live music, and I really want to get out to hear some in one of the world's great music cities.
When my husband arrives, I think we will concentrate on the Marigny area for music-I have Snug Harbor, the Spotted Cat, DBA, Blue Nile and Three Muses as possibilities. Someone else suggested Irving Mayfield's and the Davenport Lounge as other places to go. I am in my 50's and my husband is in his 60's-so super late nights are probably not in the cards for us :)

Advice/suggestions appreciated!

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  1. For someone who has never been to New Orleans, you have quite an itinerary. Someone must already be helping you because it is very adventurous and packed full of fun. I wouldn’t chagne a thing. You will definitely be okay at any of the clubs you mentioned. Just don’t walk off the beaten path at night and you will be fine. Also say no to those annoying gutter punks when they ask you for stuff.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I put this itinerary together through reading the great posts on Chowhound, a Fodor's guidebook and a few threads in the Tripadvisor and Frommer's forums. For me, part of the fun of travel is doing the research beforehand.
      So I guess I am ok with going to listen to music by myself? I am not worried about eating in a restaurant by myself or going out for a drink-but I have never gone to a music venue on my own. Would it look weird if I walked in alone?
      I'm really looking forward to this trip. We were supposed to go about 15 years ago-my husband wound up having a heart attack and bypass surgery at a young age, so we did not get to go then.
      Probably one of the best chowhound tips that I have gotten is to check out some of the New Orleans restaurants at lunch instead of dinner-lots of great choices?
      Any ideas for a casual, less expensive place to grab a quick bite to eat?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bxian

        Ditto, shanefink re:adventure/fun. Good work!

        Your itinerary is awesome and I wish I could be your "new best friend" for your first weekend.

        Robin Barnes (google her) is a wonderful NOLA songbird w/her original songs as well jazz standards. RB is generally at Carousel early in the evening 5-8 Fridays -- and then later at the Polo Room at the Windsor Court hotel which is a beautiful room. If you are on your own, cabs both ways, of course.

        Also, the cocktails at Polo Lounge are delightful, and they give you a nice little plate of almonds/crackers if you sit at the bar. Although I did both of these with companions, they could happily be done alone. Great people watching in both spots.

        I like both of the above better than Davenport, which I find a little claustrophobic, although it is much closer to the Hyatt. The Irv Mayfield playhouse at the Royal Sonesta is lovely, and cocktails are good, but I would wait and do that w/hubby cuz Bourbon is so weird.

        Just a couple of things I did (based on Lonely Planet reviews) my first visit: Cafe Beignet on Royal, in addition to, or instead, of Du Monde. That is just me, mostly because the vibe is so much better.

        And, IMO, you need to track down and enjoy a traditional Po Boy. My first time I did Johnny's on St. Louis. You could fit it in as your 2nd Friday snack, perhaps Killer Po-Boys, Johnny's or Felix's on your way to music? See this board for many many discussions on Po Boys. Very personal --but I it is so much part of the first visit.

        Your itinerary is fabulous, and I think it is brilliant you are doing the cooking class.

        Please give us a trip report. Have a blast: I am jealous and my stomach is grumbling.

      2. Thanks Karendor! Your informative posts are one of the things that inspired me.
        If we head out to listen to music, can we just stop in for a drink/pay cover and wander in, or do we have to arrive at specific times? I am used to rock concerts with thousands in the audience.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bxian

          Frenchmen Street spots often have more than one band each evening, so I think it is a "just stop in for a drink/pay cover" thang -- unless you have a band you really want to see and they have a time listed. Same for the songbirds @ the fancy bars.

          For instance tonight at d.b.a you see a 7pm show with 0 cover, and a 10 pm show with $5 cover.

          http://www.dbaneworleans.com/shows/

          They are all so close you will likely want to club hop, but you will get a sense of which one works the best for you two.

          I am sure you know, Three Muses has great bar food, and great shows, but the seats are limited so you have to sort of stake out a spot to enjoy both, IMO.

          Spotted Cat is small and super friendly and the one often shown on Treme and/or CNN NYE shows frequently (?). I guess it is Anderson Cooper's favorite bar in NOLA?

          I see you are doing Borgne w/hubby on Monday, so you may just want a close to hotel evening, however I will suggest:

          On our Monday --post romantic Sylvain dinner -- Bob and I had a blast sipping Sazerac Rye at d.b.a. bar to kill some time pre-Glen David Andrews show. [He is at d.ba. on Mondays @ 10 every week.] Bob felt it was his best New Orleans music experience.

          Experiment: the music/bar scene is quite intimate and you will find your best fit.

          I hope this helps. I would also go with BayouTeche's advice, I have not done Little Gem Saloon but heard good things, and they definitely have early evening shows during the week.

        2. If you're staying at the Hyatt on Loyola, Little Gem Saloon is right around the corner. Live music daily. Early shows as well.

          http://www.littlegemsaloon.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: BayouTeche

            To Bayou Teche I second Little Gem for early music and add Bombay Club.

            Your list of restaurants and clubs is wonderful. As a lady you should have no problems with the music in the hotels (Polo Room/Davenport/Mayfield) and the Bombay Club is around the corner from the Ritz.

          2. This all sounds great-I had not heard about the Little Gem Saloon-will check it out. Thanks Bayou Teche. Now I have to narrow down where to get a po boy!
            I had not heard of or seen Treme, but I just reserved Season 1 at our library and took out a Treme CD to pop into the car for my long drive to and from work. Great stuff-and I see that Kermit Ruffin is at the Little Gem Saloon while I am in New Orleans.

            1. Thanks CollardMan-where is Bombay Club in relation to the Hyatt on Loyola?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bxian

                Bombay Club is in the Prince Conti Hotel on Conti in the Quarter. Walk into the parking garage and go straight back.

                1. re: Bxian

                  Bombay Club has some great musicians listed for Fris and Sats in February.

                  Makes me want to go for Don Vappie and Ingrid Lucia.

                2. Hi-are you going to the SMFM meeting? I will be there also... another single lady who loves to eat all things New Orleans.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Missy

                    No-attending the American Health Lawyers Association meeting first week in February.

                  2. karendor's comments on Frenchman street music are very good.
                    I'd add that you can perhaps start at Decatur and Esplanade, walk to Frenchman, then up Frenchman. You'll likely hear rock&roll, blues, NO jazz, and more as you pass various venues.
                    Just saunter in, many places just require buying a drink, and plenty of people just drift in and out.
                    I saw single women, but you may be more comfortable with a companion.

                    I'd suggest Preservation Hall as a nice venue for a solo patron
                    http://www.preservationhall.com/hall/...
                    They have 3 shows per evening, you gotta roll in for one and out when it finishes. There is a cover, but its an intimite experience.
                    I recommend to "splurge" for their "big shot" reserved seating ($30 or $40) for front row seats. Otherwise, you gotta sit on the floor or stand.
                    We visited twice on our last trip, enjoying it both times.

                    Note: they don't serve beverages, so get yourself a giant go-cup filled with your favorite beverage before heading in (no problems).
                    Also with the "big shot" tickets, you don't have to wait in the line wasting drinking time (you could be sitting at the bar across the street until everyone goes in then get your seat. The good folks at Boondock Saint will make you feel welcome!).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: porker

                      I was taking note (heh) the other night at Snug Harbor and noticed that singles -- men and women but more of the latter (this might have been related to it being Tom McDermott at the piano) -- were well represented. SH is a great place to see a show, not least because there's table service.