Agoraphobia and fear of flying be damned, my workplace is sending me to a conference in the fine city of New Orleans at the tail end of October (Halloween weekend, October 25 through the 29th or 30th). I'll be staying at the Astor Crown Plaza on the corner of Bourbon and Canal, smack dab in the French Quarter, and will have ample free time.
I've been to town exactly once, for just under 24 hours, about 3 months before Katrina (flew into Austin, then drove 9 MF'ing hours to see the Mountain Goats/Prayers & Tears play at House of Blues). We stayed at the Hyatt Regency, pretty much next door to the Superdome, and spent most of our time in town sucking down bourbon and dancing at Circle Bar until 5 in the morning. My caloric intake during that trip consisted exclusively
of alcohol, usually in the form of tallboys of Sparks being shotgunned with great aplomb in front of uniformed police officers because holy shiitake, you can just drink right in the street
. For better or worse, I am now seven months sober, and am thus unable to while away the off-hours chugging Jungle Juice slushies from the drive-through.
Since I know literally zero people who anywhere near New Orleans, can I get some advice from PPKers who have lived and traveled there more extensively regarding what to do, what to see, and what to eat?
Some things I love:
+ Meeting new people! Humans are awesome.
+ CEMETERIES, because I am 100% goth. Anything creepy or wildly unsettling, actually -- Philadelphia's Mütter Museum
is my favorite place on the planet, to give you an idea of the sorts of attractions that I love best.
+ Going to bed and waking up super-early to watch the sunrise. Any good sunrise watching spots?
+ Driiiiiiiiiiiiving. Anywhere. Any beautiful nature reserves nearby? I'd be so happy to roadtrip anywhere in a 3-hour drive radius, like maybe to Pensacola; I've never seen that part of the country.
+ Indie rock shows, independent book and record stores. I'm covered in tattoos and wear thick black plastic-framed glasses, you know the drill.
+ Obscenely hot and humid weather.
+ Meditation and yoga -- would be awesome to find a center in town that accepts drop-ins.
+ Smoking. Is smoking indoors still legal in N.O.?
+ Bars, unless the food is REALLY REALLY REALLY good.
+ Drunk people, loud parties, heavily-beaded college students vomiting tropical drinks onto thoroughfares. Yes, I know I'm staying on Bourbon Street; that's where the conference is!
+ The scary parts of I-10 where you are just driving over water/swamps for miles and terrifying miles.
I am exceedingly diminutive and will be alone; I always travel solo, but I'm not familiar enough with New Orleans to know where I should and shouldn't be. An old acquaintance of mine was murdered in the Lower Ninth Ward, so I know to steer clear from there, but is there anywhere else I should specifically avoid, even during the day? I will have a rental car, but always prefer to walk/bike.
Now, onto the important stuff: FOOD. Here's some info that I found on the previous threads
+ Carmo, a Tropical Cafe
, 527 Julia St. -- The Rico sandwich sounds AMAZING. Vegan smoked pork!?!? Yes, please.
+ 13 Monaghan
, 517 Frenchmen St. -- Can't go wrong with BBQ tofu. Plus a baked tofu & herb sandwich. And TOTS!
+ O! Vegasm at Grit's Bar
, 530 Lyons St. -- Delicious-looking 100% vegan brunch.. only open on Sundays? :weeps:
+ Wandering Buddha at Hi-Ho Lounge
, 2239 St. Claude Ave. -- Korean cuisine. Appetizers
look so tasty!
+ Fair Grinds
, 3133 Ponce De Leon St. -- Not much in the way of food, but lots of baked goods & coffee.
+ August Moon
, 3635 Prytania St. -- Chinese & Vietnamese cuisine, my favorite! Awesome-looking vegetarian menu
, 1418 Magazine St. -- Looks like they have a great breakfast menu.
+ Lola's - A Taste of Spain
, 3312 Esplanade Ave. -- Kittee sez the gazpacho, almond soup, garlic mushrooms, paella, and garlic aioli are vegan. Huzzah!
+ Kim Son
, 349 Whitney Ave., Gretna -- Chinese & Vietnamese cuisine. Three cheers for any restaurant with a huge vegetarian menu
! Also, CLAY POTS YESSSSSSSS
+ Phò Tàu Bay
, 113 Westbank Expy., Gretna -- Yes! More Vietnamese! A small vegetarian menu, but everything is amazingly cheap. No bun chay (:sniffle:) but they have vegan fresh rolls and
bahn mi chay for $3.50. Excellent reviews, too!
+ Yelp lists: Vegan Options in NOLA
and Vegetarian Restaurants in New Orleans
If any of these places have closed, or new places have opened recently, do tell!
Thank you, PPK.