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Old 03-14-2008, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Grandview Heights, OH
127 posts, read 886,262 times
Reputation: 105

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Hi there,
My wife and I are coming down to visit your unique part of the world here in about a week or so. I'm really interested in searching the French Quarter and the Garden district; they sound great. I also really want to drive to and/or visit the southern swamplands and bayous. It's something i've been interested in since growing up in outback Australia. We live in Ohio and will be driving down.
My questions to you are:
Can you suggest an inexpensive but somewhat nice location to stay close to where it all happens?
Are there any specific attractions that I should experience while in New Orleans? I love cajun culture and especially cajun food so it shouldn't be too hard to enjoy myself, I imagine.
Are there any smaller towns south of New Orleans that have a strong cajun feel worth visiting?
And lastly, is there any reason to be concerned about safety in the aftermath of the tragedy that was Katrina? I understand that some of the neighbourhoods are still in poor shape, should I keep away from these areas?
Any info you could give me would be helpful and much appreciated...thanks!
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Old 03-15-2008, 07:05 PM
 
Location: The South
264 posts, read 1,061,452 times
Reputation: 80
Everytime I go to NO I stay at the Homewood Suites on Poydra Street. Not too expensive, but not cheap either- but its worth every penny. The French Quarter and The Garden District would be your best attractions- and it is pretty safe around those areas. Overall its very safe in the touristy areas and built back up. The areas that you want to see (important areas: Downtown,CBD, French Q, Garden Dist.) in NO are back. I took the Honey Island swamp tour in Slidell, on Lake Ponchartrain's North Shore, It was really great and is the second largest swamp in LA next to the Atchafalaya farther west...Not very cajun around there, more creole- at least thats what they say, and you need to go to the Acadiana region farther west to experience true cajun culture...

Last edited by TN-rox; 03-15-2008 at 07:06 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Da Parish
1,127 posts, read 4,660,980 times
Reputation: 999
I can't give you any hotel advice; I live here and well, don't need to stay in hotels I can recommend that you go to nola.com, go to the Mardi Gras Forum and ask for help. A lot of those people are from out of town, but come here frequently and can help you with the hotel thing.

If you are looking for Cajun and kind of close to NOLA, try Thibodaux, City of Thibodaux, Louisiana - Grants - Economic Development - Discover Thibodaux (http://www.ci.thibodaux.la.us/ecodev/discover.asp - broken link). Lafayette is considered the "Cajun Capital," if you are okay with a bit of a drive.

Speaking of Cajun, George Rodrigue, has an exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Before his Blue Dog, he painted Cajuns. I love to go to the aquarium and watch the penguins, the zoo is always nice too. You could also hit the National D-Day Museum, and the myrad of museums in the Quarter. I'm not sure if they are still running the disaster tours, but that may be something you're interested in doing. Oh, and definately head over to Frenchman St. for the music; it's where the locals go. Oh, there's also Rock-n-Bowl,rocknbowlcalendar (http://www.rockandbowl.com/CalandarPAGE/calendar2.html - broken link), Tipitina's, Tipitina's - New Orleans, Louisiana (http://www.tipitinas.com/default.asp - broken link), and the House of Blues, House of Blues New Orleans : HOB.com.

As far as your safety, stick with the Quarter, City Park and Garden District if you are going to walk about. I know there are other safe places, but it's too long and drawn out to explain here. You are better off taking the disaster tour if you want to visit the more damaged areas; flat tires are still a hazard in these places with all the demo and construction going on.

Ok, I've been long winded enough. I hope you have a wonderful time when you get here and thank you for coming
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:35 PM
 
20 posts, read 77,392 times
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If you want to stay in a hotel in the French Quarter, I suggest the Monteleone. It is beautiful! If you want to see swamps, tour companies offer swamp tours.
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:25 AM
 
Location: Grandview Heights, OH
127 posts, read 886,262 times
Reputation: 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drouzin View Post

Ok, I've been long winded enough I hope you have a wonderful time when you get here and thank you for coming
No, no please I need all the help I can get. Long winded means details and details are good!
Pardon me if I sound ignorant but what is difference between the Creole and Cajun cultures? I thought that they were almost the same thing, but I guess I was wrong. I will definetly take a day trip to Thibodaux though, I also want to go to Houma. Is it neat down there as well? Anything specific that I should see?
It sounds great down there though, I'm excited to get down there and look around a bit. It's a place I have always wanted to go and after Katrina I was shattered as for a moment it looked like it might almost fall off the map, so to speak. From what I've heard it is one of the unique cities of the world, and it's just sad what happened to many of the residents. I'm just stoked I get a chance to come and enjoy some of the Jazz music and brilliant culture! I'm leaving Friday so i'll see y'all soon
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:32 AM
 
Location: Da Parish
1,127 posts, read 4,660,980 times
Reputation: 999
The Cajuns are a group of families who were forced to leave Acadia due to political upheaval from the French and Indian War.

Creole, in general is used to describe New Orleans natives. There are some who will say that the Creoles are of black and white decent, and others will say they are of Spanish and French decent. From what I have read in my college LA history book, the term was used to distinguish New Orleanians from those who were new to the area in colonial times, so I tend to go with that one because it encompasses all groups.

Basically, Cajuns are considered country folk and Creoles are considered city folk.

One way you can tell the difference between Cajun cooking and Creole is by the use of a sauce, Creoles will put a sauce on everything. Cajuns tend to dump everything in a pot and cook it down, like jumbalya. Creole cooking tends to be fancier, while Cajun dishes tend to be simpler. It's sort of like Banna's Foster vs. Bread Pudding aka. Pain Perdu. Bread pudding can be fancied up and considered Creole, but basically it is a dish that was created so that stale bread was not wasted.

Poor-boy's, (po'-boys) are strictly a New Orleans invention. Way back in the day RTA had a strike and the strikers were given free sandwiches by some locals. Grams told me that they were for the, "poor boys on strike." Later on I read it in a book somewhere; it's pretty cool to have a grandmother who was born in 1891. You should get one while you are here. Local favs are hot sausage, oyster, shrimp, and roast beef; ask for it dressed.

Lots of people confuse Cajun music and Zydeco. Cajun music is, well, Cajun, and in general produced by white Cajuns. Zydeco music has lots more pep and is from general by black folks from Cajun country (they also speak French). I perfer Zydeco, but listen to Cajun as well. For some excellent Zydeco see if you can catch Rockin' Dupsie Jr.(awsome performer) or Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas while in town. If you are looking for Cajun, try Bruce Daigrepont on Sunday at Tipatina's and don't forget to rub Professor Longhair's head, (you'll know what I mean when you get there). Jazz is strictly New Orleans' invention and some of the best will be heard at the Preservation Hall or Frenchman St. if you want to stick with the Quarter.

Sorry, but I don't know much about Houma, other than it has a nice area where we went shopping with my BIL for building supplies. Probably not what you're after though.

Thanks for the sympathy; we appreciate it. Despite the Katrina thing, anyone who is rebuilding will tell you that there is no place like home. We're fish out of water without the place.
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Grandview Heights, OH
127 posts, read 886,262 times
Reputation: 105
Just booked into the Mariott in the French Quarter tonight! Looks like a pretty good spot, close to plenty of things to do. I'm really looking forward to coming down for a visit...if you could just please turn on some of this warm southern weather i'm always hearing about that would be great! I can't handle anymore of this miserable Ohio winter weather...it's horrible.

I might try and check out that Tipatina's restaurant on Sunday as we'll be in town and sure to be somewhere close by. Po Boys sound pretty cool, but what about Gumbo? Is there anywhere that is a preferred spot to pick up some quality Gumbo?

Thanks for all the help, it's been great and really cleared some things up for me so I don't make a complete idiot of myself once I arrive
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Da Parish
1,127 posts, read 4,660,980 times
Reputation: 999
Tipitina's isn't a restaurant so definately eat before you go Gumbo is kind of a personal thing and everyone has a different preference. I perfer mine with heavy on the oyster liquor (juice) along with the works, okra, sausage, shrimp, and no tomato. Try the Gumbo Shop, 630 St. Peter, I like the chicken andouille gumbo there. Keep an eye out for the Green Gumbo on menus it's a tradition for locals to have Green Gumbo on Good Friday or Holy Thursday.

Hon, no one is going to think you're silly for not knowing these things. It's not something that people are familar with and we understand that. Imagine our confusion when we evacuated and no one knew what the neutralground was . Some people learned for the first time that it is what ya'll call a median. Have a good time on your vacation!
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Old 03-21-2008, 08:19 AM
 
247 posts, read 1,029,085 times
Reputation: 120
I know you've already booked a hotel, but I have two favorites:

The Wyndham Bourbon Orleans- great location as it is in the middle of the French Quarter and directly behind the St. Louis Cathedral, reasonable.

The Provinciale, in French Quarter, just to East of Cathedral.

I spent my honeymoon at the Marriott and have stayed at the Fairmont; both are on Canal Street. I don't really like that location because the Quarter is pretty large; it's a walk to the center, where most things are. But if you plan to do other stuff, the Marriott is close to where you catch the street cars.
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:12 AM
 
247 posts, read 1,029,085 times
Reputation: 120
My favorite spot for po-boys, in particular fried oyster po-boys, is Cafe Maspero on Decatur Street, across from the Jax Brewery shopping center. It's very reasonable and I've been going for about 20 years. I like that the bread isn't hard as a rock, like on some poboys, and they butter it. My aunt who has lived in New Orleans all her life(French Quarter) likes Acme.

I grew up on the MS Gulf Coast and Mobile, AL coast areas, which were founded(MS area-1699 and Mobile-1702) by the French before New Orleans. So I grew up with po boys (we were told it started as a common sandwich for the poorer working class) and gumbo as well. I was interested in the reference to "green gumbo". I haven't heard it called that over here in Mobile, but are you talking about "gumbo z'herbes?" I really don't know why we use that term since today there really aren't that many of French heritage over here. Not like in N.O. or the MS Gulf Coast areas. The Americans took over easily here.

I prefer the flour roux thicker type of gumbo, which seems to be dying out. I want seafood in it, but I really don't like the chicken kind. My family on both sides makes the chicken type.

Mobilians go often to New Orleans. Everyone in Mobile says Court of Two Sisters is too touristy (they prefer Galatoires) ,but I have to say I love their gumbo, and we've always had good food there.

I think Antoines, one of the oldest restaurants in the US, is interesting due to the history, but didn't have a good experience with the food. I wasn't that impressed with Galatoires, either. But I'm going to these places to experience "best of the best" Creole food when, really, noone cooks as good as my great-grandmother and grandmothers!
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