Many of you may have noticed that I end most posts with “Laissaz les bon temps rouler!” Many of you may have not…
It’s a Cajun French expression that translated literally as “Let the good times roll!” I first heard it in New Orleans, Louisiana during one of my trips there. Since Tuesday is “Fat Tuesday,” the traditional end of the festival season or Mardi Gras and the beginning of Lent for many, I thought this might be a good time to talk about it.
There’s no question that Mardi Gras is a great huge party; it’s also expensive and difficult to navigate if you aren’t familiar with the particulars. There’s plenty of fun to be had in New Orleans the rest of the year with out the pressing crowds and jacked up prices. Bourbon Street is a must-see if you go, but be sure to check out some of the other attractions in the city. The cemetery tours are very informational and can be combined with historical tours as well. Here’s a cemetery website with a detailed list of cemeteries.
St. Louis Cemetery Number 2 New Orleans.
One of the more interesting things about going there is that no matter what folks may think about your habits where you come from, no one has a drinking problem in the Big Easy. It’s a land of drive-thru hurricane shops and no open- container laws, at least in parts of the city. They have made a booming business out of being a “go to” location for a good time.
There’s a museum devoted to the floats that are built for the parades during the festival. It’s actually a storage facility and shop for building, re-building and repairing the floats. It’s also a must-see if you not there for the “live” activities.
Mardi Gras floats at Mardi Gras World
Strange things can happen there, too. At one point we saw Batman get his car towed…
New Orlean’s tough on the Batman.
And of course New Orleans also has good beer. Abita’s brewery is just across Lake Pontchartrain from the city, and there are a couple of local brew pubs there as well. In an alcohol-soaked city you can be sure there are several multi-tap bars in all areas of the city. The trolleys are a good way to look for some of them. Like the tours, it will take you through some of the old neighborhoods. You will have to provide your own snappy banter, depending on who is on the trolley with you.
Beautiful traditional New Orleans architecture.
My fascination with the culture of the people of New Orleans and the way they embrace the concept of letting the good times roll leads me to close my posts with that as a toast to their enjoyment of life and ability to withstand adversity in the process.
Laissaz les bon temps rouler!
Here are some more pictures from our trip last year.
We spent some time in NOLA and checked out the bars on Bourbon Street. There are quite a few options there, many of them famous or infamous. We stayed at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, where there is a small intimate bar right on the street. It’s a great place to people watch on Bourbon Street. The beer selection is limited, but they did have Abita Ale, which you can find everywhere in NOLA. It became my go-to beer when in doubt.
Fin family on Bourbon Street, in front of Fritzel's Jazz Cafe.
There are two bars that have craft beer – Beer Fest and Beer Fest II. They each have about 40 taps, slightly different at each location. Bad new: $10.50 and up for each beer. In fairness, they are 22-oz. and some really good beers. Not enough hoppy ones, but I went there a couple of times on my stay.
Another place that’s a must see is Laffite’s Blacksmith Shop Bar down at the far end of Bourbon Street. They say it’s the oldest bar in the US. It supposedly has no electricity, but they had an HDTV and some lights on this visit. It has a full bar and a piano bar with live entertainment most nights. Takes a few minutes for your eyes to get used to the dark, but is a very cool place to hang out, at least until the haunted French Quarter tour group unloads into it at 10:30.
On our way back up the street we stopped at Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub, where they had some good European beer and some great Dixieland jazz. Check it out.
We stopped at a couple of other bars on the way up the street, and Whit’s friend Chelsea rode the bull for us at one stop. Heard a little Skinnard at one place. We ended up back up at the hotel in a great little old school blues bar that had good service and bathroom attendants…never have figured out what that’s all about. I’m pretty good at turning on my own water and getting a towel…not sure eating a mint is the first thing on my mind after using the bathroom. More on NOLA bathrooms in a future post.
There was a R & B band playing whose leader played with some big guy in the past. Not really the blues but good entertainment for sure.
This is my first review of the beer scene on Bourbon Street, but since my daughter is living there now, stay tuned for more!