- Clara Bosonetto For the AJC
Weekend in New Orleans one of three ways: on a budget, spending a bit more, or when the getaway calls for a splurge.
Trip tips: Catch free jazz and street performances at Musical Legends Park at 311 Bourbon St. Another spot to catch live performances is in front of the St. Louis Cathedral overlooking Jackson Square. Frenchmen Street is lined with top spots for jazz: The Spotted Cat (623 Frenchmen St.); D.B.A. (618 Frenchmen St.) and Three Muses (536 Frenchmen St.). Enjoy dinner and live jazz at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe (1204 Decatur St.). For more, visit the Live Music Calendar, www.wwoz.org/calendar/livewire-music.
While exploring the city, include a stop at the Central Grocery, circa 1906. Its founder, Salvatore Lupo, a Sicilian immigrant, is famed for his invention of the muffuletta sandwich (round sesame bread filled with cured meats, marinated olives, and pickled vegetables). Pick one up for a picnic ($10 for a half) along with other imported Italian goodies, 923 Decatur St., http://centralgrocery.com.
Getting there: Round-trip rates from $136 ($68 one-way) based on 30-day advance; nonstop Delta. One-way rates on Mega Bus from $10 (journey time is over eight hours), https://us.megabus.com.
Stay: Built in the 1800s, the French Market Inn offers European-style rooms with some having exposed brick walls, beamed ceilings, balconies and chandeliers (least expensive rooms are windowless). On-site are a lovely courtyard with seating and a fountain, a small outdoor pool and a coffee shop. The hotel is about a six-minute walk to top attractions and Harrah’s Casino. 509 Decatur St., New Orleans. 1-888-626-2725, www.frenchmarketinn.com.
Eat: Jump off the streetcar at the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Napoleon Street (stop No. 24) and enjoy 50-cent Gulf oysters daily 4-6:30 p.m.; half-off house bottles of wine; and $3 drafts at Superior Seafood. Try the chargrilled oysters with garlic, herbs, butter and Parmesan and Romano cheeses; $13 half-dozen, $21 dozen. 4338 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans. 504-293-0596, www.superiorseafoodnola.com.
Experience: One of the best city tours ($1.25) is aboard the St. Charles streetcar. It runs just outside the French Quarter on Canal Street, where it turns and travels down St. Charles Avenue and passes through Lee Circle, where you can get off to visit the World War II Museum and the Civil War Museum. As it passes through Lee Circle, the streetcar leaves Downtown and enters Uptown. The car passes through the Garden District past historical mansions, Tulane and Loyola universities, and Audubon Park and Audubon Zoo. The entire 13-mile route takes 90 minutes round trip, http://norta.com/Getting-Around/Our-Streetcars. Another top tour option is at the Historic New Orleans Collection, a museum and research center. Docents lead an architectural tour through restored significant structures on Royal Street, $5. Also on-site is a small state history museum. 533 Royal St., New Orleans. 504-523-4662, www.hnoc.org.
Stay: The modern Hyatt Centric, with a restored 1913 facade, is adjacent to the French Quarter and steps from restaurants, shops and live entertainment. Modern rooms have 12-foot ceilings, stylish furnishings, mini fridges and coffeemakers. Upgraded rooms have shared balconies and/or separate living areas. On-site are an outdoor pool, a fitness center and a bar. The Red Fish Grill, an acclaimed seafood restaurant, is lobby level, and a large outdoor patio is on the second level. From $180. 800 Iberville St., New Orleans. 504-586-0800, https://frenchquarter.centric.hyatt.com.
Eat: Stop in for a Pimm’s Cup (gin, lemonade, splash of lemon-lime soda and cucumber garnish, $7) at the Napoleon House, a charming and casual 200-year-old landmark. It’s one of the nation’s most famous bars and once a haunt for artists and writers throughout most of the 20th century. Appetizers, po’boys, sandwiches, $7-$12. 500 Chartres St., New Orleans. 504-524-9752, www.napoleonhouse.com.
Experience: The National WWII Museum is TripAdvisor’s No. 2 museum in the world and No. 2 in the U.S. The impressive five-building campus holds exhibits from the 1930s prelude to war, to the Normandy invasion, the battles of the Pacific Islands, and America’s role in the war on the home front. $27; $17.50 K-12 and college students and active military with ID. The 4-D “Beyond All Boundaries” film and “Final Mission,” an interactive USS Tang Submarine Experience, are each $5 extra with general admission; second-day passes $6 extra with general admission. 945 Magazine St., New Orleans. 504-528-1944, www.nationalww2museum.org.
Stay: Traditional guest rooms at Omni Royal Orleans have Creole and French touches, and some have balconies, while suites have a separate living area. Some have dining areas, balconies and four-poster beds. On-site are a classic American restaurant, three bars, a fitness center, a covered rooftop bar and a heated rooftop pool with city views. From $219. 621 St Louis St., New Orleans. 504-529-5333, www.omnihotels.com/hotels/new-orleans-royal-orleans.
Eat: The swanky Restaurant R’evolution has a 10,000-bottle wine cellar, and the menu showcases a contemporary take on classic Cajun and Creole cuisine. Soups and gumbos from $14 to $18 (Death by Gumbo: roasted quail, andouille, oysters, filé rice); appetizers, $15-$24; and mains, $26-$41. 777 Bienville St., New Orleans. 504-553-2277, www.revolutionnola.com.
Experience: “Preservation Hall. Now that’s where you’ll find all of the greats.” — Louis Armstrong. Reserve a Big Shot front-row bench seat, $35-$45, or $15 standing room. Established in 1961 to preserve, perpetuate and protect traditional New Orleans Jazz, the venue offers five evening performances of New Orleans’ finest performers. 726 St. Peter St., New Orleans. 504-522-2841, http://preservationhall.com.
Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.
IN OTHER TRAVEL NEWS: