Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What to Do in New Orleans This Weekend for the Cowboys Game

Jackson Square in New Orleans, New Orleans for Families
Jackson Square, March 2013
New Orleans is usually a good idea.

During the summer when it's 98 degrees with 100% humidity?  Not so much.

During football season?  Always.

Visiting New Orleans for a Saints game is a blast.  The city is always alive but the spirit is even livelier when the Saints are playing.  

When they play the Cowboys this weekend it will be electric.  Because of New Orleans' proximity to Dallas/Fort Worth, you will see Cowboys fans throughout the city.  

In fact, some Cowboys employees will fly commercially to New Orleans so the team charter can accommodate the sponsors who will be making the trip.


I will be there with my family and friends celebrating my husband's birthday.  A friend who works for the Cowboys asked me about taking my daughter, Jordan, to New Orleans.  He wondered how the city is for kids.

In a word: FABULOUS.

This will be Jordan's second trip to New Orleans.  We were there in March and had the best time.


Storyland New Orleans City Park
Storyland/Courtesy: NewOrleansCityPark.com
New Orleans for Families
What do you do with a kid in New Orleans?  The same things you do without a kid.  She didn't impact our trip one bit.  She enhanced it.  New Orleans is a great city for families.  Here are some ideas:
Granted, we're not out hanging from balconies in the French Quarter until 4am with a toddler.  We will still visit our favorite restaurants, watering holes and shops, though.  Here are suggestions I share with friends any time they visit the city. 

Hotels - if you don't have a room, you will find the availability sparse and the prices high this weekend:
  • Ritz Carlton Hotel - great location on the edge of the Quarter on Canal.  This is one of the most affordable in the Ritz chain.  My go-to.
  • Marriott on Canal - nice Marriott with a Starbucks in the lobby.  I stayed here during the NBA All-Star Game where I stalked Mark Cuban for an interview outside a men's restroom following the Jason Kidd trade. 
  • International House - great boutique hotel located in the Central Business District.  We stayed here during Mardi Gras.  Very chic.  
  • W Hotel - there is one in the Quarter & one near Harrah's Casino.  Both are "W-esque" but the Quarter location has more charm.  I have stayed at both but prefer the one in the Quarter. 
  • The Saint Hotel - a gorgeous, Marriott-owned boutique offering next to the Ritz.  
  • The Windsor Court - near the casino.  Many NBA teams stay here. 
Restaurants - if you have a bad meal in this city, it's your own fault:
  • Antoine's - claims to be the oldest restaurant in America.  Gorgeous building in the Quarter  that is full of history.  Go, if only to check out the building & see if you can get a tour of the wine cellar.
  • Pelican Club - serves delicious local cuisine, nestled in Exchange Place.
  • GW Fins - popular, local seafood spot in the Quarter which is consistently voted one of the best.
  • Bayona - a foodie fave that is worth the wait, price and more. Located in the Quarter.
  • Nola - in the Quarter near Jackson Square, one of Emeril's more casual spots.
  • Emeril's - popular but good.
  • Gautreau's - located in Uptown.  Great seafood.
  • Vizard's - in Uptown on Magazine, good local cuisine. 
  • Herbsaint - in the Central Business district, serves French-inspired cuisine.
  • Domenica - in the Roosevelt hotel, great pizza & roasted cauliflower.
A classic Pimm's Cup at the Napolean House/Courtesy GoNola.com
Watering Holes - I'm not a bar person anymore but I definitely have some NOLA faves:  
  • Napoleon House - for a Pimm's Cup or Dixie to go.  The bartender, Mario, is quite salty but nice once he knows you. 
  • Bombay Club  - a martini spot in the Quarter that is full of character.  It reminds me of a British smoking club. 
  • Pat O'Brien's - a legend with a legendary patio, piano bar and signature Hurricane cocktail.  Go. If anything just to say you went.  
  • Carousel Bar - in the hotel Monteleone.  The name speaks for itself.
  • Bulldog's - sports bar with an awesome, dog-friendly patio on Magazine.  Get a spicy bloody Mary to go and continue strolling the shops on Magazine. 
  • Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop - in the Quarter.  Is it haunted?  You tell me. 
  • Old Absinthe House - on Bourbon street, see if you can find my business card on the wall.
  • The Sazerac Bar - good cocktails in the Roosevelt Hotel.
  • Bar in the Ritz Carlton - more than anything it's a good scene. 
Pirate's Alley
Lagniappe - a little something extra: 
  • Shopping on Magazine - head Uptown and check out the fun shops along Magazine.  I like Hazelnut (great home stuff), Storyville (cute t-shirts),  Probst decorating (LOVE her fabrics) as well as the slew of antique shops.
  • Saturday Morning at the Frenchmen Art Market - just off the Quarter, fun Farmer's Market vibe. 
  • Antique shopping on Royal Street
  • Cemetery Tours or French Quarter Walking Tour- these are popular.  I have never done one. 
  • Pirate's Alley - the inspiration for 1,000's of street artists.  
These suggestions barely scratch the surface.  Writer Rudy Maxa created an enlightening New Orleans walking tour on iTunes.  It takes you past Jackson Square, Truman Capote's old home and more.  Definitely worth a download. 

If you will be there this weekend, get lost in the French Quarter, have fun, stay safe and don't drive! Taxis are your friend. 

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