New Orleans Summer Festivals

 

Photo courtesy of Satchmo SummerFest on Facebook

Despite the soaring temps, New Orleans’ summer party schedule is packed with excellent festivals and other fun events. So, if you plan to visit anytime this summer, here’s a slew of festivals to choose from. Officially summer 2024 is defined as June 20 – September 22, 2024, but we included some events that fall outside these dates, just because we think you should know about them!

Kick off the summer fest season with the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE), held on Wednesday through Sunday, June 5-9, 2024. In its 32nd year in 2024, NOWFE is a smorgasbord of food and wine tastingstoursmaster classes, and the annual champagne-soaked burlesque brunch. Each year, hundreds of wineries and restaurants participate, offering menus featuring local flavors and innovative new creations inspired by diverse cuisines.

Top chefs from around the city create unique culinary experiences, so much so that the event regularly makes a few national “best of” festival lists. The organization behind this popular event is a nonprofit that donates 100% of its proceeds to beneficiaries ranging from food banks to culinary schools. You can see all the events and get tickets online.

Launched in 2011, New Orleans Pride (Friday-Sunday, June 7-9, 2024) is a celebration taking place in the French Quarter to celebrate and honor LGBTQI+ communities and their allies in New Orleans and surrounding areas. It is the only official Pride Festival in New Orleans, the largest in Louisiana, and one of the fastest-growing Pride celebrations in the nation.

Special events include the Pride Gala, the PrideFest block party at the Phoenix bar, and the annual parade. The parade is held on Saturday, June 8, 2024, starting at 6 p.m. in the Marigny and rolling through the French Quarter.

Up next, is the French Market Creole Tomato Festival which honors the arrival of the beloved Creole tomato. Celebrating its 38th anniversary in 2024, the free festival will again feature live music stages, cooking demos, kid’s activities, farm stands, food vendors, and more. The 2024 dates are Saturday-Sunday, June 8-9.

Restaurant Week New Orleans, held on Monday through Sunday, June 17-23, 2024, features multi-course, special menus and dining deals in numerous participating restaurants, from upscale Creole eateries to neighborhood bistros. Keep up with this year’s list of participating restaurants and their menus, and don’t miss a chance to try a new spot or revisit your favorite.

The last of June festivals, the New Orleans Juneteenth Festival is happening on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Come to Congo Square in Armstrong Park to commemorate this remarkable date with this free festival, held from noon to 7 p.m.

The annual Independence Day weekend is shaping up to be spectacular as usual, filled with special events, fireworks, and — this being New Orleans — great food and music. Kick off the festivities with Go 4th on the River celebration, a free Dueling Barges fireworks show over the Mississippi River at the Riverfront.

Gear up for the best in R&B, hip-hop, jazz, and blues with the ESSENCE Festival of Culture (Thursday-Sunday, July 4-7, 2024), held at the Caesars Superdome and the Convention Center. Beyond the concerts held each night of the fest at the Superdome, the free daytime activities at the Convention Center include motivational seminars, beauty and style presentations, celebrity interviews, cooking demos, and lots more.

Running of the Bulls brings Encierro to New Orleans on Friday-Sunday, July 12-14, 2024, except the bulls are the Big Easy RollergirlsSan Fermin in Nueva Orleans pays annual homage to the world-famous Encierro of Pamplona, Spain, running through the streets of New Orleans starting at Gallier Hall on Saturday, July 13. The annual opening and closing parties happening that weekend are also great fun (check out the schedule on the event’s website).

A city renowned for its world-famous partying, New Orleans knows how to have a good time, and wants you to grab some friends and join in. After all, some of the world’s most famous cocktails were invented in this city, and New Orleans loves to celebrate its drinking culture.

If you and your friends are interested in cocktails and drink-mixing, you may want to check out Tales of the Cocktail (Sunday-Friday, July 21-26, 2024), a six-day festival packed with tastings, seminars, and special events that are all centered around exchanging ideas and techniques in the cocktail world. This lively festival is perfect for passionate mixologists, professionals and enthusiasts alike. The festival’s signature annual blowout is the “best of” Spirited Awards, followed by the always-popular after-party.

Satchmo SummerFest (Saturday and Sunday, August 3-4, 2024) started as a tribute to Louis Armstrong over a decade ago, on his 100th birthday. The two-day festival is held at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint at the foot of Esplanade Avenue., and will have music all weekend on its outdoor, tented stages. Other events will include a Sunday morning Jazz Mass at the historic St. Augustine Church in Tremé, seminars and film screenings, kid’s activities, and a second-line parade.

The White Linen Night (Saturday, August 3, 2024) is a free block party and an open house for galleries on the 300-600 blocks of Julia Street in the Warehouse District, with several stages for live music and dozens of food and drink stands. Participants are invited to wear white (hence the name). About 20 galleries on and around Julia St. will be open to the public.

White Linen’s “cousin,” the Dirty Linen Night (Saturday, August 10, 2024), is similar in format, though looser in structure and spanning more territory. It actually wasn’t created to compete with the Warehouse District event but to promote the many galleries and shops of Royal Street. The multi-block party takes over the 300-1100 blocks of Royal Street and some cross streets and adjoining areas in the French Quarter, including Jackson Square and Dutch Alley.

You and your friends may also have to buy a silly (or glamorous) red dress for this next New Orleans summer festival. The Red Dress Run (Saturday, August 10, 2024) also doubles as a fundraiser, donating to a number of local charities. Both women and men are required to wear red dresses while partaking in a pub crawl-like run. The run traditionally starts at Crescent Park, though the route will not be publicized until the day of the run.

The always fabulous Southern Decadence festival (Thursday-Monday, August 29 – September 2, 2024) is traditionally held on Labor Day weekend. This massive four-day festival celebrates LGBTQI+ culture and attracts participants from all over the world. Just like every year, most activities will be centered in and around the French Quarter, with lots of block parties and dance parties at bars and clubs on Bourbon Street, plus two parades.

There’s no better time to try out an award-winning restaurant or revisit the old favorite than August, thanks to the annual COOLinary program. COOLinary was conceived as a promotion to lure diners to local restaurants in the slower summer months, during which restaurants all over the city offer discounted dining deals.

The deals follow the same format every year: Two-course lunch menus for $25 or less; two- or three-course dinner and brunch menus for $50 or less. Over a hundred restaurants typically participate. Please note that this year, COOLinary extends beyond August, until September 15, 2024.

Coming to New Orleans this summer?

We’d love for you to stay with us! And if you do, consider booking a guided tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to experience the hauntingly beautiful past of New Orleans.

For easy, informative sightseeing, we recommend the City Sightseeing New Orleans city tour on the open-top, double-decker bus. It runs every 30 minutes through the Garden District, French Quarter, and CBD. You can hop on and off anytime, and your kids won’t have to do all this walking.

Take advantage of The Brakeman Hotel specials, group rates, and best-rate guarantee for greater savings to spend on New Orleans’ famous cuisine and enjoy everything this magnificent city has to offer. Reserve your room today!

Happy summer!

Jazz Fest 2024: What You Need to Know

Image courtesy of New Orleans Jazz Fest 2024 on Facebook

There are many jazz festivals the whole world over, yet there is only one of the genre in the city that birthed it: the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which has been around for over five decades and still takes over the city during the last weekend in April, the first weekend in May, and pretty much all days in between (Thursday, April 25 – Sunday, May 5, 2024).

It is fair to say Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest are the two keystone entries of the New Orleans events calendar. Where Mardi Gras is a celebration with deep Catholic and pagan roots that is indelibly branded by the city of New Orleans, Jazz Fest is rather a celebration of New Orleans itself.

That’s the backstory on the “& Heritage” part of the description in the official Jazz Fest title: The event has become less about showcasing jazz per se, and more about showing off the city that gave us jazz.

Because New Orleans is so central to pop music, almost any act and genre you can imagine has strutted across the Jazz Fest’s on 14 stages — and yes, there are that many stages popping off at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots (1751 Gentilly Blvd.) during the 2024 Jazz Fest. As a result of this sheer scope and size, in many ways, Jazz Fest feels like too overwhelming of an event to properly tackle, especially for those who are attending for the first time.

Regarding the festival’s musical acts, there are plenty of commentators who think festival organizers have unfairly stretched the definition of what music falls under the jazz and heritage rubric. We’re not here to debate that topic, but rather point out that there is undoubtedly a wide variety of genre presence at Jazz Fest, which only adds to the looming sense of choice overload.

With all of that in mind, there are some sound tactics for making Jazz Fest more manageable. Here are some of our time-tested strategies.

Ride a Bike

While this choice isn’t going to work for everyone — some visitors simply don’t have urban cycling experience or are scared of the prospect — we can’t stress just how much biking can improve the Jazz Fest experience. Even the most diehard Jazz Fest boosters will admit parking can be a nightmare during the festival. Parking enforcement officers are on high alert — we’ve never seen the impound lot on Claiborne Avenue get quite so busy as it does during Jazz Fest.

Of course, you can pay for parking. Folks who live near the Fairgrounds will turn even the smallest plot of the backyard into an impromptu parking lot (rates vary, but around $30 per day seemed to be the going rate in the past).

There are other ways of outflanking the parking issue, including the official Jazz Fest shuttle, taxis (both cars and bicycle rickshaws), rideshare, and the streetcar. Note that if you take the streetcar, you’ll still have to walk about a half mile to the festival entrance. (Take the number 48 line that runs on Canal Street and get off at the final stop at City Park/Art Museum.)

But we really love getting to Jazz Fest on two non-motorized wheels. Bike lane infrastructure can now bring riders to the gates of Jazz Fest. If you’re staying in the French Quarter, the bike ride to the Fairgrounds covers a 10-15 minute straight shot up Esplanade Avenue.

Plus, there is extensive bicycle “parking” (overlooked by security staff) on site. While we can’t guarantee what the weather will be like during Jazz Fest weekends, in general, late April and early May form a lovely climate window in New Orleans.

In addition, being on a bicycle gives visitors a better sense of the city. You can see New Orleans at the street level without the loss of time walking might engender. There’s an intimacy to biking in the city that’s tough to replicate from a car.

Shaping Your Cube

The Jazz Fest lineup is famously scheduled into “cubes” for attendees. Devising a schedule for seeing all of your favorite acts can be a fun logistical challenge, but don’t forget that the stages of Jazz Fest are spread out over a decently large area. If you’re in the middle of the crowd at one of the main stages, it can take about 10 or 15 minutes just to extricate yourself from the center of mass.

Note that Sundays and Thursdays always feel a little bit less crowded at the racetrack, although that “little bit less” is admittedly a relative number — there are no real “light” days at Jazz Fest.

The way you assemble your cube is up to you, but here are some pointers we’ve picked up on over the years:

  • Stick to your cube, but don’t do so religiously. Part of the fun of Jazz Fest is simply letting the music take you wherever it wants to go.
  • Don’t ignore smaller stages. We found one of our great unexpected Jazz Fest shows at the Kids Tent. We also always find the Fais Do-Do stage to be a consistently good break in our routine — basically, you can never go wrong dancing to Cajun or zydeco music.
  • Visit the Gospel Tent at least once. We’ve consistently found that even those who know next to nothing about gospel music have their spirits lifted and their musical boundaries expanded in this venue.

Cool Off

It can get hot in Jazz Fest. A few good means of beating the heat include:

  • Enjoying the air conditioning in the Grandstands
  • Hitting the mist tents by the Gentilly Stage and #2 food vendor area
  • Sitting down and relaxing in the vicinity of the Louisiana Folklife Village
  • Getting strawberry lemonade and Mango Freeze! (And of course, hydrating with water)
  • Staying out of the scrum for bigger headliners

Priorities, Priorities

While the price of Jazz Fest tickets continues to climb, the fact of the matter is you can still see some grade-A headliners for a bargain rate compared to similar (or even smaller) festivals. Many locals treat Jazz Fest as a chance to see big acts on the relative cheap. On the flip side, if you live in or near the city, you can see the New Orleans musicians throughout the year at local venues, which means there’s less pressure to see them on the Fairgrounds.

If you’re coming in from out of town, you may have the opposite scenario prioritized — you can see big-name acts anywhere, but this is your best chance of seeing Louisiana music on its native soil. In addition, smaller local acts often occupy stages that are less crowded, and everyone enjoys a break from the seething masses.

With all of that said, don’t forget that during the “off days” in between the two festival weekends, many smaller and mid-sized acts will be playing gigs around town. If you miss them at the Fest, you may well catch them on Frenchmen Street.

With that said, there’s something about seeing local acts at Jazz Fest. The big-name headliners are used to huge audiences. A local Louisiana act would be playing to wow the world, and some of those sets end up being nothing short of legendary.

What to Know About the 2024 Jazz Fest

  • Jazz Fest expanded to eight days this year, adding the opening day of Thursday, April 25, to the schedule.
  • Jazz Fest went cashless last year, and remains so. Ticket, food, beverage, craft, and merchandise booths no longer accept cash payments. If you come to the event with only cash, the Festival will offer two cash exchange booths near key vending locations so you can get a prepaid card for your cash.
  • This year, Jazz Fest features over 5,000 musicians across 14 stages.
  • The festival will be the largest one in its 53-year history. Eight is the most number of days for the event, and this year there will be the most food vendors and food items ever. And there also will be 260 art and craft vendors, the highest number ever.
  • Single-day tickets are $95 through April 24 and $105 at the gate. Tickets for children ages 2-10 are $5 at the gate.
  • “Locals Thursday” will be April 25 this year, with tickets at $50 for Louisiana residents.
  • This year Jazz Fest is introducing a 4-day GA+ weekend pass with access to an exclusive GA+ lounge with private restrooms, a full-service bar, and a shaded area to relax.
  • Tickets for Thursday, May 2, the day topped by The Rolling Stones, are sold out, including multiple-day passes.
  • The Rolling Stones headline Thursday, May 2, at 5 p.m. That day of the festival will operate normally until about 3:30 p.m. Then, when the Stones go on at 5 p.m., they’ll be the only band playing on the Fair Grounds.
  • Besides The Rolling Stones, the lineup includes Foo Fighters, Queen Latifah, Heart, The Beach Boys, Jon Batiste, Neil Young Crazy Horse, The Killers, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Bonnie Raitt, Earth, Wind & Fire, and hundreds more.
  • This year, Jazz Fest will celebrate Colombia’s musical and cultural diversity at the Expedia Cultural Exchange Pavilion. During the festival, 17 bands and a wide variety of artisans from throughout Colombia will present their sounds and traditions.
  • The Jazz & Heritage Gala kicks off Jazz Fest with the celebration of Louisiana music and cuisine on April 24 at Generations Hall (310 Andrew Higgins Blvd.).

Coming to Jazz Fest This Year?

We’d love for you to stay with us! And if you do, consider booking a guided tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to experience the hauntingly beautiful past of New Orleans.

For easy, informative sightseeing, we recommend the City Sightseeing New Orleans city tour on the open-top, double-decker bus. It runs every 30 minutes through the Garden District, French Quarter, and CBD. You can hop on and off anytime, and your kids won’t have to do all this walking.

Take advantage of The Brakeman Hotel specials, group rates, and best-rate guarantee for greater savings to spend on New Orleans’ famous cuisine and enjoy everything this magnificent city has to offer. Reserve your room today!

What You Need to Know About the French Quarter Fest

Photo by Zack Smith Photography. Courtesy of French Quarter Festivals, Inc.

French Quarter Fest is back, and it’s its 41st anniversary, no less, with a focus on celebrating  Louisiana’s Living Legends. For four days (Thursday, April 11 through Sunday, April 14, 2024), a big chunk of the French Quarter — also known as the Vieux Carré, French for the “old square” (or “old quarter”) — will be transformed into a series of festival stages, each showcasing a different brand of music either rooted in or heavily influenced by, the sounds of Louisiana. Here’s a quick look at what you need to know about French Quarter Fest 2024.

The Stages

Since 2023 welcomed more than 875,000 fans over four days, this year the festival organizers are providing more space with the addition of programming in Spanish Plaza. There are also two new stages this year, the DJ Stage and the Culinary Stage, bringing the total of stages to 22 with over 300 performances scheduled this year.

Woldenberg Riverfront Park

Most of the FQ Fest’s main stages are concentrated along the waterfront of the Mississippi River in the French Quarter. In 2019, the festival also added a stage, the Pan-American Life Insurance Group Stage, on the Riverfront’s Moonwalk, right across from Jackson Square.

The French Market & The U.S. Mint

The other side of Jackson Square is also a nexus of music stages and, importantly, food! The New Orleans Jazz Museum, located in the Old U.S. Mint building on the corner of Decatur Street and Esplanade Avenue (400 Esplanade Ave.), will host a number of acts and vendors as in previous years. It’s also a good spot for cooling off should the days get too hot. The French Market features two stages, the Traditional Jazz Stage and the Dutch Alley Stage.

Royal Street

Usually, Royal Street is an unbroken string of cute antique shops and art galleries. During French Quarter Fest, expect that scene to get livened up by several smaller music stages.

Decatur Street

Notable for the Bienville Statue, Decatur Street is where you’ll find the House of Blue Voodoo Garden Stage.

Jackson Square

The “town square” of New Orleans, as it were, Jackson Square is a geographic lynchpin for the entirety of the French Quarter, so expect it to be filled with food vendor booths for the duration of the fest, and as vibrant as ever. It will also be the location of many of the French Quarter Festival’s special events, including the opening-day second line.

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street has a reputation as a hard-partying locus of bachelor parties and wild weekend trippers, but during French Quarter Fest it showcases a few smaller musical stages, including the lovely Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta.

Music Lineup

The who-is-who of the local music scene is returning or joining this year. Expect beyond excellence when it comes to the French Quarter Fest music lineup. That includes Irma Thomas, Ivan Neville, Little Freddie King, George Porter Jr., Charmaine Neville, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Rockin’ Dopsie Jr., Kermit Ruffins, The Soul Rebels, Big Freedia, and many more who will be performing on stages stretching from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue. Check out the full music schedule on the fest’s website.

Food Vendors

As in the previous year, expect a mouthwatering melting pot of traditional New Orleans dishes such as fried shrimp or catfish, stuffed crabs, locally brewed beers, meat pies, crawfish macaroni and cheese, and hot sausage po-boys. Beyond that, there will be plenty of global flavors.

Our favorite vendors that are returning include Jacques-Imo’s Cafe, Tujague’s Restaurant, Plum Street Snoballs, 14 Parishes Jamaican Restaurant, Pat O-Brien’s, Miss Linda the Yakamein Lady, Desire Oyster Bar, Couvant, Morrow’s, Loretta’s Authentic Pralines, Addis NOLA, Cochon King BBQ, and many more.

This year, Bao Mi and Paco’s Tacos will have their culinary debut at the festival along with Miss River and Fritai Nola.

Also, if you see an orange “Eat Fit” sticker next to the food item, it means that it’s part of a special menu that focuses on lighter fare like lean proteins, vegetables, plant-based fats, and whole grains, with no white carbs and minimal added sugar. Fourteen vendors are participating in this program this year. Examples include crab, artichoke and citrus salad from Jacques-Imo’s Cafe, and sugar-free raspberry and sugar-free pink lemonade from Plum Street Snoballs.

Special Events

Every year, the festival features special events. Here are the 2024 highlights.

The French Quarter Festival Kickoff Parade and Opening Day Ceremony

The annual parade is held this year on Thursday, April 11, at 10 a.m. The parade departs from the 200 block of Bourbon Street down to St. Ann Street, where it turns and makes its way to Jackson Square for the Annual Opening Day Ceremony.

Dance Classes

The French Market Traditional Jazz Stage and the Chevron Cajun-Zydeco Showcase will feature dancing and classes in traditional Jazz, 1920s Charleston, swing, Cajun jitterbug, and zydeco. Classes are taught by professional dancers and are free and open to the public. Check out the lesson schedule on the festival’s website.

Children’s STEM Zone

On Saturday and Sunday, families are invited to take a journey of discovery at the STEM Exscavaganza: A Louisiana Scavenger Hunt.

French Quarter Fest After Dark

The festival offers nighttime programming at various local venues from 9 p.m. till midnight to keep the good times rolling after the last festival stage closes at 8 p.m.

… And more

On top of all this, the festival features installations, a choir concert at St. Louis Cathedral, the 2024 French Quarter Fest Official Poster signing, interviews, and more.

Getting Around

Getting around the Fest should be fairly easy if you’re walking or biking. Parking will be limited, so arrive early and try these lots: French Market, 500 Decatur Street, 300 North Peters Street, 211 Conti Street, The Garage at Canal Place, plus street parking within walking distance.

We do suggest that instead of driving, you use RTA buses, streetcars, rideshare services bikes, cabs, or the ferry to get to the festival. In addition to increased traffic, some streets will be closed for the duration of the festival beginning at approximately noon until 8:30 p.m. (Those who live in the area will need to have access passes from the NOPD Eighth District Station.) The streets that will be closing are Iberville, N. Rampart, Dumaine, and Decatur.

A Few Facts About French Quarter Fest and What’s New in 2024

Here are a few facts about the fest and what to expect this year:

  • The Fest celebrates local music and represents every genre from traditional and contemporary jazz to R&B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, Latin, Zydeco, classical, cabaret, and international. It’s a medley, and a great way to sample the local music scene.
  • It debuted in 1984 as a way to bring residents back to the Quarter following the World’s Fair and extensive sidewalk repairs in the French Quarter.
  • The Fest employs more than 1,800 local musicians, with over 60 local restaurants participating as culinary vendors.
  • The food and beverage vendors are set up in several locations throughout the French Quarter: Jackson Square, the Jazz Museum at the MintJAX Brewery, and Woldenberg Riverfront Park.
  • You can buy the official 2024 poster at one of the four merch booths at the festival, and then online starting on April 22.
  • To streamline your music experience and navigation, you can download an app on the fest’s website (either for IOS or Android).
  • The live-music hours every day of the festival are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • No coolers and ice chests, please. Help keep the festival free by purchasing food and beverages at the festival.
  • And yes, the fest is free unless you opt to buy a pass for a VIP experience.

Planning a Visit to New Orleans?

We’d love for you to stay with us! And if you do, consider booking a guided tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to experience the hauntingly beautiful past of New Orleans.

For easy, informative sightseeing, we recommend the City Sightseeing New Orleans city tour on the open-top, double-decker bus. It runs every 30 minutes through the Garden District, French Quarter, and CBD. You can hop on and off anytime, and your kids won’t have to do all this walking.

Take advantage of The Brakeman Hotel specials, group rates, and best-rate guarantee for greater savings to spend on New Orleans’ famous cuisine and enjoy everything this magnificent city has to offer. Reserve your room today!

 

Late-Night Dining Near The Brakeman Hotel

The neighborhoods that surround The Brakeman Hotel — the French Quarter and the Marigny, plus Tremé (where the hotel is located), eagerly lend themselves to staying out till you can greet the daybreak in last night’s clothes. To keep up the stamina, however, one must eat, right?

Fortunately, late-night restaurants that pepper the area offer a wide variety of options for noshing round midnight, whether you’re hankering for a burger and fries, need to sample jambalaya before your red-eye flight back home, or are looking for something a little more upscale to polish off the evening in style.

Check out this list of the spots we recommend if the late-night cravings hit. (And by late night we mean after 10 p.m. and well past midnight.)

French Quarter

Clover Grill

900 Bourbon St.

Both the staff and clientele of this Bourbon Street burger joint look like a casting call for a John Waters movie, and the atmosphere is just about as fun. Located across from a thriving gay nightclub, the tile-and-chrome diner is as heavy on camp as it is on calories. Everyone from drag queens to cab drivers keeps the orders for burgers, fries and omelets coming in all night. Open 24 hours.

Coop’s Place

1109 Decatur St.

What appears to be another of the many dark barrooms along Decatur Street reveals an excellent late-night menu of local dishes, including the best inexpensive jambalaya around. Look for pasta dishes loaded with local seafood and tasso (a flavorful Cajun ham smoked on premises), blackened redfish, and a fried alligator appetizer that for once actually tastes like something besides batter. Open till 11 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

Deja Vu Restaurant and Bar

400 Dauphine St.

This 24-hour full-service restaurant and bar in the French Quarter is always available and ready to accommodate. You will find a wide variety of options on the menu ranging from traditional New Orleans fare to downhome comfort food, all reasonably priced. Deja Vu serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day long and is available for dine-in, carry-out or delivery.

Killer PoBoys

811 Conti St. (in the back of Erin Rose bar)

If you want to depart from the traditional po-boy, pop into Killer PoBoys. They play around with the ingredients here — the black beer beef debris, served with pickled peppers and green beans, is to die for, while the roasted sweet potato po-boy with pecan spread is great for herbivores. Open till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

(Killer Poboys has a main branch, also in the French Quarter, at 219 Dauphine St. The menu at both locations changes, so this is just a sample of what awaits.)

Palm&Pine

308 N. Rampart St.

The delicious seasonal menu includes small plates like brussels sprouts and steak tartare. Mains are a robust medley of meat and fish, with a focus on southern BBQ and Gulf offerings. Open till 11 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Port of Call

838 Esplanade Ave.

If a half-pound hamburger with a side of a loaded baked potato sounds tempting, you’re not alone. You might have to endure a little bit of wait but it will be worth it as this place has been keeping things simple and delicious since the 1960s. Just slide up to the bar while you wait and sip one of the famously strong concoctions like Neptune’s Moonsoon or The Red Turtle. Open till midnight Thursdays through Saturdays.

Quartermaster Deli

1100 Bourbon St.

This French Quarter institution is open 7 days a week, 24 hours. It’s a to-go-only operation, but the menu is as delicious as it is long. Among the favorites are homemade mac-and-cheese, 1/2 pound choice burgers, overstuffed po-boys (especially the roast beef and the hot sausage), entrees like barbecue chicken, New Orleans meatloaf, and hamburger steak. The Deli is also an essential stop if you need some groceries, liquor, or sundries.

The Bombay Club

830 Conti St.

Located in the elegant Prince Conti Hotel, the Bombay Club offers some of the most refined food you’ll find in the French Quarter after 9 p.m. Ribeye, seared Gulf fish and curried cauliflower are a few examples of the dishes served in a British imperial setting of polished wood and well-made cocktails. Dinner is served till 11 p.m.; the bar is open till midnight Wednesday-Sunday.

The Will & The Way

719 Toulouse St.

Open till 1 a.m. every night of the week, The Will & The Way is your go-to for sophisticated bar food — charcuterie and cheese boards, meat pies, house pickle plates, a house burger, and loaded Korean hot fries.

Three Legged Dog

400 Burgundy St.

This place is an unassuming bar with classic pub grub and really good crawfish boils, when in season. Open 24 hours.

Turtle Bay

1119 Decatur St.

The 24/7 Turtle Bay is famous for its 20-ounce rib eye served with potato skins and garlic bread, big enough for two to share. The thin-crust pizza comes with lots of toppings, and there is a handful of signature burgers on the menu along with the classic pub grub like wings and nachos.

Verti Marte

1201 Royal St.

A miracle of space management, this tiny corner deli serves an enormous array of sandwiches, po-boys and hot plates ranging from blackened catfish and creamed spinach to a dense block of utterly comforting macaroni and cheese. You also can’t go wrong with its epic specialty sandwiches like the vegetarian Green Giant and the mountainous All That Jazz — with grilled ham, turkey and shrimp, plus two cheeses, grilled veggies, and the special “wow” sauce. There is barely enough room to stand and order, never mind sit and eat, so all orders are to go. Open 24 hours.

Marigny

13 on Frenchmen

517 Frenchmen St.

With its unbeatable location on Frenchmen Street, this bar is a gem of casual late-night dining. The menu is typical bar food of wings, tater tots, po-boys, and burgers, but there are also some vegetarian and vegan options.

Anna’s

2601 Royal St.

Formerly Mimi’s, Anna’s has food pop-ups like tacos by Tacos Para La Vida on Tuesdays through Fridays. Open till 2 a.m. every night.

Buffa’s

1001 Esplanade Ave.

A funky mainstay that exists just on the other side of the Quarter in the Marigny, Buffa’s is essential for eccentric servers, New Orleans locals, great burgers and etouffee, and live music. Open till 2 a.m. every day.

Dat Dog

601 Frenchmen St.

Dat Dog is located on the music club-heavy part of Frenchmen Street. Not only Dat Dog’s dogs and sausages are pretty amazing but there’s balcony seating overlooking Frenchmen, and the second floor is filled with decorations culled from the Krewe of Chewbacchus (the city’s science fiction/fantasy-themed Mardi Gras krewe). Open till midnight on Mondays through Thursdays, and on Sundays. On Fridays and Saturdays, the party goes on till 3 a.m.

Tremé

Candlelight Lounge

925 N. Robertson St.

Mainly a local bar with excellent live music, Candlelight Lounge is also an option for Creole food. Open till 2 a.m. every night except Wednesdays.

Kermit’s Treme Mother in Law Lounge

1500 N. Claiborne Ave.

This iconic New Orleans institution was well run for decades by the late R&B and jazz legend Ernie K-Doe and his wife Antoinette. When both passed, Kermit Ruffins bought it and continued the tradition with live music and BBQ. You may know Ruffins for his music, but he’s an experienced and enthusiastic BBQ chef as well.

Planning a Visit to New Orleans?

We’d love for you to stay with us! And if you do, consider booking a guided tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to experience the hauntingly beautiful past of New Orleans.

For easy, informative sightseeing, we recommend the City Sightseeing New Orleans city tour on the open-top, double-decker bus. It runs every 30 minutes through the Garden District, French Quarter, and CBD. You can hop on and off anytime, and your kids won’t have to do all this walking.

Take advantage of The Brakeman Hotel specials, group rates, and best-rate guarantee for greater savings to spend on New Orleans’ famous cuisine and enjoy everything this magnificent city has to offer. Reserve your room today!

Where to Hear Live Music Near The Brakeman Hotel

New Orleans is a music city, and if you’re staying at The Brakeman Hotel you are in luck as you can walk to many venues that dish out excellent, world-class live music nightly, often for a low cover. Sometimes it’s even free — all you need to do is walk around and catch a band on a street corner.

Also, there’s no better place for live music than the so-called Marigny Triangle. Situated between Esplanade Avenue and Elysian Fields, this wedge-shaped neighborhood is bisected by Frenchmen Street, a pedestrian-friendly strip of music clubs, bars, restaurants, and an art market, some of which don’t get going until after 10 p.m. The vibe is a giant block party, and you can easily walk there from the hotel.

So, here’s just a sliver of where to check out the city’s robust live music culture near The Brakeman Hotel.

In the French Quarter

21st Amendment Bar at La Louisiane

725 Iberville Street

Prohibition-era 21st Amendment Bar is located just a half-block off Bourbon Street. The bar takes its name from the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which repealed the 18th Amendment creating Prohibition (the ban on alcohol production and sales) in 1920. The space was originally a hotel and restaurant called La Louisiane when it was established in 1933; the same year, Prohibition ended. Black-and-white images of mobsters adorn the walls, and inventive craft cocktails abound.

Fritzel’s European Jazz Club

733 Bourbon Street

Fritzel’s is a great spot for live jazz, and it regularly dishes out plenty of old-school Dixieland. It’s calm and laid back in almost inverse proportion to much of the rest of Bourbon Street — a perfect stop if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the crowds, or if you just want to listen to some good music.

House of Blues

225 Decatur St.

The highly successful House of Blues opened its New Orleans venue over a decade ago, and it has grown into the French Quarter destination to hear nationally touring acts. In addition to the main stage, the club often has music in its restaurant or patio bar, as well as the more intimate concert hall in the adjacent House of Blues Parish, which hosts many local performers.

Kerry Irish Pub

331 Decatur St.

It lives up to its Celtic billing with some of the best-poured Guinness stout in town and a welcoming atmosphere. There’s no cover charge for the nightly live music, which includes traditional Irish, alternative country, bluegrass, and rock.

New Orleans Street Music

Royal Street, Jackson Square, Bourbon Street

You don’t have to buy a cocktail or pay a cover to hear great jazz. Playing on the street is a New Orleans tradition, and many successful music careers have started that way. You might catch a band on the corners throughout the Quarter nightly, especially on Bourbon and Royal, plus on Jackson Square. Frenchmen Street in the Marigny also hosts impromptu performances nightly. Drop a tip in a jar, and enjoy.

One Eyed Jacks

1104 Decatur St.

One Eyed Jacks, a popular live music venue formerly located at 615 Toulouse Street, reopened for Mardi Gras 2022 in the space that was formerly occupied by Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and B.B. King’s Blues Club. One Eyed Jacks’ stage is big enough for touring rock bands and even 1950s-style burlesque shows, and the music lineup is as electric and eclectic as ever.

Preservation Hall

726 St. Peter Street

There’s no food or drink for sale or public restrooms at this no-frills, all-ages venue (you can bring your own drinks). What you will find, though, is a bastion of traditional New Orleans jazz that has branched out in recent years to embrace performances by artists ranging from Mos Def to Foo Fighters. Grab a go-cup and get ready to sweat it out — a concert at Pres Hall is truly a New Orleans bucket-list item.

The Bombay Club

830 Conti Street

When former owner Richard Fiske took the wheel at Bombay Club in the early 2000s, jazz was scarce in the Quarter (except for Preservation Hall). Fiske aimed to make The Bombay Club a live jazz destination on par with nightclubs of the 1940s. He succeeded at his task, and although he has since passed on, his legacy continues in the nightly lineup of jazz luminaries. There’s no better place to savor music alongside new Louisiana cuisine and cocktails, all in a comfortably luxurious atmosphere.

On Frenchmen Street

The Maison

508 Frenchmen Street

A music club that triples as a restaurant and bar. It’s three-level, with multiple stages where you can find drag, burlesque, and live music of many genres. The menu is primarily New Orleans classics, a house burger, and sandwich platters.

Bamboula’s

514 Frenchmen Street

Here, you’ll find casual New Orleans fare like po-boys and jambalaya. The no-cover eclectic live music seven days a week is another draw.

Blue Nile

532 Frenchmen Street

One of the longest-standing clubs on Frenchmen Street is a must for live jazz and local brass. On any given night, you can catch a performance by the city’s top musicians like Kermit Ruffins and Big Sam’s Funky Nation. It’s also a great spot to see the Mardi Gras Indians do a show.

Three Muses

536 Frenchmen Street

Grab a seat at the bar or a tall bistro table, order tapas and one of the on-point house cocktails, and settle in for an intimate night of music. Curated by musician and Frenchmen Street fixture Sophie Lee, the nightly lineup includes Shotgun Jazz Band, Gal Holiday, Tom McDermott, and many others.

d.b.a.

618 Frenchmen Street

Since this live music venue opened its doors in 2000, d.b.a. has hosted hundreds of live acts. The bar features a broad selection of beer and spirits, and the music plays nightly. Tin Men and John Boutte perform there regularly.

Marigny Brasserie

640 Frenchmen Street

The casual, live music venue at the end of Frenchmen offers an elevated Cajun/Creole menu, hand-crafted cocktails, a good wine list, and local draft beer plus live big-band music.

Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro

626 Frenchmen Street

Snug Harbor is a sit-down ticketed music venue that is home to local and touring heavyweights of traditional and modern jazz. For over 30 years, Snug Harbor has provided the best in live jazz and great regional cuisine. Snug Harbor is located in three rooms of a renovated 1800s storefront a dining room, a bar, and a music room.

The Spotted Cat

623 Frenchmen Street

It’s raucous, it’s loud, it’s standing room only, and it’s one of the best places to throw down in New Orleans. This casual, petite Frenchmen Street venue doles out traditional jazz, modern jazz, blues, and funk. If things get too hot and crowded, just step outside with your drink for a breather — chances are, you’ll find a brass band playing on the street.

In the Marigny

Buffa’s

1001 Esplanade Ave.

Just past the Quarter in the Marigny, Buffa’s has long been a character-laden outpost of great New Orleans music. The lineup here can range from soulful jazz crooners to piano masters stroking the ivories. It helps that the bartenders pour strong drinks and the food is great. Buffa’s is also open late, (till 2 a.m.).

Dragon’s Den

435 Esplanade Ave.

The eclectic variety of music hosted by the two-story Dragon’s Den matches the exotic setting in this singular club. Located at the edge of the Quarter, the intimate space creates a seductive atmosphere with lustrous red hues, Far East décor, a courtyard, and a wrought iron balcony over the tree-lined Esplanade Avenue. Look for all manner of music and a young, very local crowd.

Check Point Charlie

501 Esplanade Ave.

Be on the lookout for Check Point Charlie. This may look like a rough punk music bar (and it still is, in a lot of ways) from the outside, but management attracts a pretty wide range of clientele. Check Point Charlie feels pretty divey, but once inside, the music is almost always wonderful. An added bonus: Check Point sells amazing cheeseburgers throughout the evening.

In Tremé

Candlelight Lounge

925 N. Robertson St.

Treme is said to be the birthplace of jazz, and it’s still a great place to hear live music. The Candlelight Lounge is an excellent option for Creole food and brass bands.

Kermit’s Treme Mother in Law Lounge

1500 N. Claiborne Ave.

This legendary place belonged to the late R&B and jazz legend Ernie K-Doe and his wife Antoinette. When both passed, Kermit Ruffins bought it and continued the tradition with live music and BBQ.

Are You Visiting New Orleans Soon?

We’d love for you to stay with us! And if you do, consider booking a guided tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to experience the hauntingly beautiful past of New Orleans.

For easy, informative sightseeing, we recommend the City Sightseeing New Orleans city tour on the open-top, double-decker bus. It runs every 30 minutes through the Garden District, French Quarter, and CBD. You can hop on and off anytime, and your kids won’t have to do all this walking.

Take advantage of The Brakeman Hotel specials, group rates, and best-rate guarantee for greater savings to spend on New Orleans’ famous cuisine and enjoy everything this magnificent city has to offer. Reserve your room today!

Transportation Options for The Brakeman Hotel Guests

There’s plenty to see on foot in Tremé, where The Brakeman Hotel is located, and the surrounding areas of the French Quarter and the Marigny. Make the most of your trip to New Orleans by sightseeing on City Sightseeing’s Hop-On Hop-Off buses, riding one of its legendary streetcars, or hiring a human-powered pedicab that can get you to that dinner reservation much faster than you could hoof it. Here are your options for getting around New Orleans, near The Brakeman Hotel in particular.

Blue Bikes Nola

This is a bike-share option, when you rent a bike, unlock and pick it up at one of the designated Blue Bike racks throughout the city, and return it to the rack anywhere when done. You can either pay a pro-rated fee as you go or get a monthly pass.

City Sightseeing’s Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

With multiple stops all over town and great combo packages with walking tours and harbor cruises, Hop-on Hop-Off bus tours from City Sightseeing New Orleans give you the most bang for your buck and let you explore New Orleans at your own pace.

City sightseeing tours start at $46 for a one-day pass, but the best deal is the three-day pass ($59), which includes two free walking tours in the Quarter and the Garden District. Sit on the upper deck for the best views, and listen to savvy guides explain exactly what you’re seeing. You can even venture beyond New Orleans’ boundaries by booking tours that visit Louisiana’s swamps and bayous, or Oak Alley Plantation.

Need a Ride New Orleans Pedicabs

1025 Bienville St., Suite 3

Pedicabs are a clean, green way to get around town. NOLA Pedicabs’ motto is “We pedal to please,” and they can take you wherever you want to go, whether it’s the Fairgrounds during Jazz Fest or a Saints game at the Dome. Need a Ride serves the Quarter, CBD, the Arts District, and Faubourg Marigny. Both companies employ savvy seasoned bicyclists who know their way around town.

Royal Carriages

700 Decatur St.

The king of mule-drawn carriage tours, Royal Carriages was named Louisiana’s #1 attraction a few years ago by the Louisiana Travel Association. Enjoy an impromptu 30-minute ride by hiring one of the carriages parked in Jackson Square, or book a one-hour tour online ($60/person).

Streetcars

A streetcar named Desire hasn’t rattled through the streets of New Orleans since 1948, when many of the old neighborhood lines were replaced by diesel buses. But the historic St. Charles line never stopped rolling, and several new lines have been added that make streetcars the most charming, and most economical, way to explore the city.

Visitors can hop the St. Charles line at the corner of Canal and Carondelet, go through the CBD and Garden District, and continue uptown past the stately St. Charles mansions. The Riverfront line is a fun way to see the Mississippi, and it connects to the Canal St. line, which runs all the way to City Park.

The fully air-conditioned Rampart/St. Claude streetcar, the network’s newest addition, runs along the rear of the Quarter on Rampart St. to Elysian Fields and St. Claude, near several lively Marigny music spots.

Streetcars run 24/7, and cost just $1.25 per ride, plus $.25 per transfer. (Exact change only, please.) Visitors can also buy a variety of Jazzy streetcar passes good for designated periods of time. Check the RTA online store for details and to buy.

For more details on New Orleans streetcars, read our guide, “New Orleans Streetcar Sense.”

Taxis and Ride-Shares

Everyone knows about Uber and Lyft, which function the same way in New Orleans as they do in any city. Use either service’s mobile app to request a ride, but be aware of price surges during peak times and popular events.

You can also go old school and hire a taxi. There are several local cab companies, but the biggest and most reliable is United Cabs (504-522-9771). All New Orleans cabs take credit cards and have the same set fee schedules.

Finally, just like in most cities, New Orleans has a few major car rental chains, so renting a car while you are here is another option.

Planning a Trip to New Orleans?

We’d love for you to stay with us! And if you do, consider booking a guided tour of the famous St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to experience the hauntingly beautiful past of New Orleans. And, for easy, informative sightseeing, we recommend the City Sightseeing New Orleans city tour on the open-top, double-decker bus we’ve mentioned above.

Take advantage of The Brakeman Hotel specials, group rates, and best-rate guarantee for greater savings to spend on New Orleans’ famous cuisine and enjoy everything this magnificent city has to offer. Reserve your room today!

Exploring the French Quarter and Nearby With Kids

While “child-friendly” or “family-friendly” may not automatically come to mind when, say, Bourbon Street is mentioned, New Orleans is packed with things you can do as a family, for kids of all ages. Here are our favorite family-friendly destinations and things to do close to The Brakeman Hotel.

Where to Eat

Start off with a relaxing breakfast at Vacherie Restaurant located inside Hotel St. Marie. There are kid-friendly items on the menu, such as a breakfast sandwich, house-made grits, and muffins.

For an old-world French breakfast or lunch, head to the Croissant D’Or Patisserie. This intimate Parisian-style patisserie tucked between Royal and Chartres on Ursulines Street will satisfy the whole family with its array of cakes, quiches, fruit tarts, and sweet and savory croissants. Everything is made daily and served fresh from the bakery. The cafe au lait and cappuccino are perfect, and there’s a magical little tiled courtyard.

Of course, there is the classic local breakfast/snack option, the 24-hour Cafe Du Monde on Decatur Street. Since 1862, this iconic cafe has been serving a simple menu of coffee, cafe au lait, and beignets. The cafe is open-air, so there’s a lot of room in which to navigate, and no reservations are necessary. As a bonus, your visit will probably be accompanied by live music coming from any number of the street entertainers performing nearby.

Great family-friendly options in Tremé include a legendary soul food restaurant Dooky Chase’s, the upscale Gabrielle, and the casual Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe, a popular choice for profoundly New Orleans fare.

What to See

While some tours are decidedly not for little ears because they focus on vampires and ghosts, French Quartour Kids caters to kids ages 4 to 18 with six walking tours, all within a six-block radius. There’s the Ghost Hunt, a child-friendly version of the ghost tour. The teen tour (11-18) explores the history of French Creoles and the military and trade past of New Orleans. The tour for the very little ones (4-7) keeps it simple and fun with a pirate treasure hunt and dress-up.

Don’t feel like committing to a guided tour? The Cabildo and The Presbytere, two historic buildings flanking St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square, are part of the Louisiana State Museum. Each offers excellent exhibits. The Cabildo houses such precious artifacts as a painting of Marie Laveau by Frank Schneider and a rare death mask of Napoleon.

On the other side of the cathedral, The Presbytere houses several exhibits, including the two permanent ones we always recommend. The all-encompassing “Mardi Gras: It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana” tells the story of the Carnival traditions in Louisiana; the dazzling costumes alone are worth the visit. The “Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond” exhibit offers interactive displays and artifacts related to that disaster.

To give everyone’s feet a break, grab a mule-drawn carriage tour on Decatur Street right outside the Jackson Square gate. It’s first-come first-served, 8 a.m. through midnight daily. The French Quarter and More tour is a good alternative to a daytime walking tour and covers the French Quarter and the Marigny. It’s perfect for families with small kids because it’s one hour long and children under four ride free.

If you want a quick respite from the crowds, Louis Armstrong Park, right by the hotel and just across N. Rampart Street in Tremé, is a 32-acre expanse of green and is excellent for a quiet walk and turtle-spotting. Check out the iconic Congo Square and Armstrong’s statue. Armstrong Park is also home to several excellent annual food and music festivals, so depending on what time of year you are staying with us you might end up with a local fest on your doorstep.

One of the city’s most famous “cities of the dead,” St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, is located at Basin and St. Louis Streets, just steps away from the hotel. Civil rights activist Homer Plessy and voodoo queen Marie Laveau are buried in this cemetery, which was founded in 1789. Guided tours are available, and they’re family-friendly.

As another option, head to the Riverfront and watch the boats go by. New Orleans is still a busy port, and you can spot freighters, cruise ships, barges, tugboats, and the uniquely Twainesque Steamboat Natchez. Bring a po-boy or a muffuletta for a bench picnic, and walk the stretch of the Riverfront dotted with public art and street performers.

If you have a few hours to spare, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, located on the Riverfront, will keep your kids enthralled with its walk-through tunnel, otters, penguins, sea turtles, a stingray touch-pool, and an expansive replica of an offshore oil rig submerged in 400,000 gallons of water. Right next door, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is packed with bug-centric interactive exhibits and features a dreamy butterfly garden.

Then there’s Mardi Gras World, a magical place for kids of all ages. You’ll find it downtown, located along the Mississippi River, next to the Morial Convention Center.

More than 80% of the parade floats that you see on the streets of New Orleans during the Carnival season are designed and built at this 300,000-square-foot warehouse that belongs to Kern Studios. The history of Kern Studios dates back to 1947, when it was founded by the late float designer and builder Blaine Kern.

The guided tour covers the history of the Carnival that began in 1837 with floats pulled by mule-drawn carriages, including the balls, the krewes, and other traditions. If you want a tour, a Mardi Gras World shuttle can pick you up (included in the ticket price) from one of the many designated locations downtown and in the French Quarter. There are no prearranged pickups, so just call 504-361-7821.

Also, feel free to take advantage of a free slice of King Cake offered at the end of the tour (it’s not easy to find out of season), and the great views of the Mississippi River from the on-site café.

Where to Shop

Your kids will probably get a kick out of the Maskarade (630 St. Ann Street), which features a selection of fabulous creations by local artists as well as high-end handmade Italian masks done in the Venetian style. Or visit the Mask Factory (515 Decatur Street), to get a souvenir to take home.

Also on Decatur, The Shops at JAX Brewery is a four-story mall full of gift shops, boutiques, kiosks, and restaurants. And, now there’s a store your kids might love. Santa’s Quarters is solely dedicated to Christmas year-round, so it’s Christmas all day, every day.

Further down is the French Market, perfect for browsing, with its six-block-long stretch of the farmer’s market, flea market and food stalls. Vendors come from all over the world, and whether you are looking for a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce to bring home or spices or a Zydeco CD — you’ll find it there — along with raw oysters, po-boys, gourmet cheese, and pralines.

Are You Visiting New Orleans Soon?

We’d love for you to stay with us! And if you do, consider booking a guided tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to experience the hauntingly beautiful past of New Orleans.

For easy, informative sightseeing, we recommend the City Sightseeing New Orleans city tour on the open-top, double-decker bus. It runs every 30 minutes through the Garden District, French Quarter, and CBD. You can hop on and off anytime, and your kids won’t have to do all this walking.

Take advantage of The Brakeman Hotel specials, group rates, and best-rate guarantee for greater savings to spend on New Orleans’ famous cuisine and enjoy everything this magnificent city has to offer. Reserve your room today!

Eating on the Budget Near The Brakeman Hotel

New Orleans is known for its food, so it’s no wonder that it has long been home to many of the finest and most high-end eateries. You can experience quintessential New Orleans fare at places like Antoine’s, Brennan’s, Galatoire’s and others, and every trip to the city should include visits to these emporiums of great dining.

But when you just want a quick, inexpensive meal — maybe one with a little local color thrown in — ask the locals and follow the French Quarter workers, the service industry folks, the bartenders, and the servers, to places where good eating can be cheap eating. (Or please ask us at the front desk.)

Some spots are open 24 hours, some deliver. Some are at their best in the middle of the night. For our purposes, “cheap” is defined as breakfast for $15 or less, and lunch or dinner for around $25 per person, or less.

You won’t find haute cuisine or, for that matter, haute society either, at places like the Quartermaster Deli or Deja Vu. But you will find New Orleans culture out the wazoo, soulful and satisfying sustenance and a few more reasons, as if you needed any, to eat out in the Big Easy.

Here are our top recommendations close to the hotel, in alpha order.

Bon appetit!

Ayu Bakehouse

801 Frenchmen St., Marigny

A relatively recent addition, Ayu has quickly become one of the best bakeries in New Orleans. It’s a welcoming, bright, modern, and quiet spot that serves pastries, breakfast items like frittata, sandwiches, and, of course, all kinds of baked goods.

Bennachin

1212 Royal St., French Quarter

At the small and cozy Bennachin, you can sample flavorful African dishes with origins from Gambia and Cameroon. The restaurant was also one of the first places in New Orleans to feature vegan items on its menu.

Buffa’s

1001 Esplanade Ave., Marigny

A funky mainstay that exists just on the other side of the Quarter in the Marigny, Buffa’s is essential for eccentric servers, New Orleans locals, great burgers and etouffee, and live music (offered in no particular order). Open till 2 a.m. every day.

Cafe Maspero

601 Decatur St., French Quarter

If it’s classic New Orleans fare you are looking for with a price that won’t blow your travel budget, this is the place for you. With a wide variety of seafood platters, crawfish (when in season), muffulettas, and traditional po-boys all tastes are sure to be satisfied.

And did we mention its perfect location? Cafe Maspero is right in the middle of all of the French Quarter action, near the river and Jackson Square. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day in an open and friendly atmosphere.

Central Grocery & Deli

923 Decatur St., French Quarter

A sprawling old-fashioned grocery store on a buzzing block of Decatur Street, Central Grocery is not called “Home of the Original Muffuletta” for nothing. Its founder, a Sicilian immigrant named Salvatore Lupo, is credited for creating the famous sandwich.

The store is still lovingly run by the same family, and is packed full of imported Italian delicacies, including the famous olive salad by the jar. Central Grocery is worth a look for that reason alone, but it’s the made-to-order muffulettas that have the visitors and the locals flocking there since 1906. You can eat at one of the few tables in the back, or take your muffuletta to go.

Clover Grill

900 Bourbon St., French Quarter

Both the staff and clientele of this Bourbon Street burger joint look like a casting call for a John Waters movie, and the atmosphere is just about as fun. Located across from a thriving gay nightclub, the tile-and-chrome diner is as heavy on camp as it is on calories. Everyone from drag queens to cab drivers keep the orders for burgers, fries and omelets coming in all night. Open 24 hours.

Coop’s Place

1109 Decatur St., French Quarter

Visitors wander into Coop’s but locals are the mainstay of this raucous bar/restaurant close to the French Market. Loud and lively, it’s the kind of place you’d probably expect to offer a limited menu, maybe fried cheese sticks and out-of-a-freezer-bag of buffalo wings, because it could get away with that.

Instead, expect appetizers like the local crab claws and a delicious smoked duck quesadilla, a complex flavor surprise made even better with Coop’s outstanding house-made salsa.

Coop’s takes its food as seriously as its mixology. You’d be hard-pressed to find better fried chicken anywhere in town; served with the creamy, house-made coleslaw, it’s a plate of pure plump-you-up pleasure. Regulars rave about the rabbit and sausage jambalaya, especially when made “Supreme” with the addition of spicy tasso ham and shrimp. Alert: You must be 21 and over to enter only. Also, it could get crazy busy.

Croissant D’Or Patisserie

617 Ursulines St., French Quarter

Please don’t miss this Parisian-style patisserie, tucked away between Royal and Chartres on Ursulines. Steeped in old-world charm, Croissant D’Or some of the best baked goods in the city. The sweet and savory croissants, and everything else you’ll find displayed in the gleaming glass case — the tarts and the tortes and the quiches — is delicious and served fresh daily from the bakery.

Dat Dog

601 Frenchmen St., Marigny

Dat Dog is located on the music club-heavy part of Frenchmen Street. Not only Dat Dog’s dogs and sausages are pretty amazing but there’s balcony seating overlooking Frenchmen, and the second floor is filled with decorations culled from the Krewe of Chewbacchus (the city’s science fiction/fantasy-themed Mardi Gras krewe).

Deja Vu Restaurant and Bar

400 Dauphine St., French Quarter

This 24-hour full-service restaurant and bar in the French Quarter is always available and ready to accommodate. You will find a wide variety of options on the menu ranging from traditional New Orleans fare to downhome comfort food, all reasonably priced. Deja Vu serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day long and is available for dine-in, carry-out, or delivery.

Envie Espresso Bar & Cafe

1241 Decatur St., French Quarter

We also recommend this airy coffeehouse with comfortable sidewalk seating, popular with the locals. It has a full bar and a big breakfast menu, plus small plates — all of which will go easy on your budget.

Fritai

1535 Basin St., Tremé

Fritai is a chef-driven traditional Haitian restaurant with modern takes on the traditional street food and plates like whole roasted fish, crispy goat, smothered greens, and other Haitian staples.

Johnny’s Po-Boys

511 St. Louis St., French Quarter

This place has been dishing them out since 1950 and, in addition to a first-class sandwich, the popular lunch spot offers a glimpse of a truly down-home po-boy joint packed with character and characters. Ask for your po-boy “dressed,” and it will come with chopped lettuce, tomato, pickles, and plenty of mayonnaise.

I-tal Garden

810 N. Claiborne Ave., Tremé

I-tal Garden serves delicious vegan soul food dishes that even carnivores will crave. There’s a breakfast menu, and for lunch and dinner, you can build your own menu with one protein and two sides for $20, or two proteins with three sides for $23.

Killer PoBoys

219 Dauphine St., French Quarter

If you want to depart from the traditional po-boy, pop into Killer PoBoys. They play around with the ingredients here — the black beer beef debris, served with pickled peppers and green beans, is to die for, while the roasted sweet potato sandwich with pecan spread is great for herbivores — and the results would make a purist’s mouth water.

Killer Poboys has another branch in the back of the excellent Erin Rose bar (811 Conti St.). The menu at both locations changes, so this is just a sample of what awaits.

Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe

1500 Esplanade Ave., Tremé

This is a popular choice for a casual soul-food breakfast, but you’ll find staples like gumbo, po-boys, bread pudding, and other New Orleans must-try dishes on the menu as well.

Lucky Dog

Various street corners in the French Quarter

The popular hot dogs and iconic weenie-in-bun-shaped carts have been part of the late-night Quarter scene for years; the company website claims over 21 million hot dogs have been sold in the past half-century. Lucky Dog makes a pretty good weenie, perfect for slowing your roll when you’ve had one too many Hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s.

Mona Lisa

1212 Royal St., French Quarter

Right next to Bennachin is another comfy, cozy spot, the Mona Lisa, decked in the namesake’s-centric art floor to ceiling, and serving some of the best (and inexpensive) pizza in the Quarter.

Ray’s On The Ave.

2139 Orleans Ave., Tremé

The no-frills Ray’s features authentic Southern comfort food with a focus on Creole and Cajun specialties and soul food staples. It’s also a popular spot for live music.

Quartermaster Deli

1100 Bourbon St., French Quarter

Also known as the Nellie Deli, this French Quarter institution is open 7 days a week, 24 hours. Space is cramped because so much is packed into a tiny footprint — groceries, liquor, sundries, and the focal point, the old-style deli case crammed with goodness — bowls and bowls of made-in-house sides, veggies and more.

Don’t expect to eat there — there are no tables and there’s no room — but you can order at the deli case, or call your order in ahead of time for pickup. There’s free delivery, too (though check if they’ll deliver to your hotel).

The Quarter Master cooks serve up breakfast, lunch and dinner, late-night munchies, and even offer two specials a day — which seem almost superfluous considering the comprehensive menu in this teensy space. Among the favorites: homemade mac-and-cheese, 1/2 pound choice burgers, overstuffed po-boys (especially the roast beef and the hot sausage), entrees like barbecue chicken, New Orleans meatloaf, and hamburger steak. Good food, friendly staff, local color, and great prices.

Sweet Soulfood

1016 N. Broad St., Tremé

The cafeteria-style Sweet Soulfood only serves plant-based dishes, with many gluten-free options. You’ll find New Orleans classics, served in generous portions, with meat and fish swapped out for plant-based versions.

Verti Marte

1201 Royal St., French Quarter

Verti Marte is open 7 days a week, 24 hours, and delivery is available (though not to Tremé). Like The Quarter Master Deli a couple of blocks away, it’s strictly a to-go operation, serving a heavily local clientele and offering a mind-bogglingly extensive menu of breakfast specialties, sandwiches and po-boys, entrees, and even desserts.

You’ll see the Quarter workers stopping in for fried shrimp po-boys, BLTs, and Verti Marte’s Philly Cheese Steak. You also can’t go wrong with the other epic specialty sandwiches like the vegetarian Green Giant and the mountainous All That Jazz — with grilled ham, turkey and shrimp, plus two cheeses, grilled veggies, and the special “wow” sauce.

Lagniappe

In New Orleans, “lagniappe” (pronounced lan-yap) means “something extra,” and that’s what we’re giving you. Here are a couple more places to eat for less. They are both bars with live music, but they do food, too, just in a more unofficial way.

Both in Tremé, the Candlelight Lounge (925 N. Robertson St.) is an excellent option for seafood (they have recurring Seafood Mondays) and brass bands, and Kermit’s Treme Mother in Law Lounge (1500 N. Claiborne Ave.) does a great BBQ, and often. The place belonged to the late R&B legend Ernie K-Doe and his wife Antoinette. When both passed, New Orleans’ now, the great Kermit Ruffins bought it and continued the tradition with live music and BBQ.

Are You Visiting New Orleans Soon?

We’d love for you to stay with us! And if you do, consider booking a guided tour of the famous St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to experience the hauntingly beautiful past of New Orleans. And, for easy, informative sightseeing, we recommend the City Sightseeing New Orleans city tour on the open-top, double-decker bus. It runs every 30 minutes through the Garden District, French Quarter, and CBD. You can hop on and off anytime!

Take advantage of The Brakeman Hotel specials, group rates, and best-rate guarantee for greater savings to spend on New Orleans’ famous cuisine and enjoy everything this magnificent city has to offer. Reserve your room today!

Must-Try Dishes Near The Brakeman Hotel

Amazing food is everywhere in New Orleans, and the area around The Brakeman Hotel is no exception. From the Creole grand dames to the contemporary wonders helmed by the award-winning chefs, you can easily check a few famous renditions of the New Orleans and southern staples off your must-try food list — without venturing far. Here are some suggestions that cover mostly Tremé, the French Quarter — but also beyond — to get you started. 

Gumbo and Jambalaya

Gumbo is one of Louisiana’s most famous dishes, but there’s no single recipe to prepare it. In New Orleans, excellent gumbo is easy to find. The chefs tend not to deviate too much from the classic Cajun and Creole recipes, and even the beaten paths would often lead you to the best gumbo you’ll likely ever taste.

The difference is whether you like your gumbo laden with meat or seafood; and with dark roux or a lighter roux. Most restaurants include at least two versions on the menu — the meat and the seafood.

Appropriately enough, the French Quarter restaurant that includes the dish in its name is a great place to try several of its varieties. Gumbo Shop (630 St. Peter St.) serves seafood and okra gumbo that is thick with shrimp and crabmeat, a smoky chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, and even gumbo z’herbes, a rarely-seen vegetarian gumbo made with greens. Cup-sized portions are available for easy sampling.

A legendary soul food restaurant, Dooky Chase’s, in Tremé (2302 Orleans Ave.), serves gumbo z’herbes as one of the staples of the late, great Chef Leah Chase. We highly recommend it, plus pretty much everything else on the stellar menu.

Staying true to the classic Creole cuisine since its inception in 1918, the fabled Arnaud’s Restaurant (813 Bienville St.) offers seafood gumbo on both its dinner and jazz brunch menus (and chicken and andouille gumbo on the jazz brunch menu).

Another beloved local institution, Galatoire’s (209 Bourbon St.), also serves two classic Creole gumbos. The seafood okra gumbo is made with shellfish stock and light roux, and is packed with Louisiana jumbo lump crabmeat and shrimp. The shredded duck and Andouille sausage gumbo is made with a dark roux and duck stock.

Gumbo Ya-Ya, a house specialty at Mr. B’s Bistro (201 Royal St.), is a Cajun country-style gumbo made with a dark roux, lots of Creole spices, chicken, and Andouille sausage. The seafood gumbo is a satisfying classic with shrimp, crabmeat and oysters.

Don’t be discouraged by the line at Acme Oyster House (724 Iberville St.): its classic menu of oysters, po-boys and gumbo is that good. Plus, you can get a cup of gumbo with half of po-boy, or as part of the New Orleans Medley, a hearty combo of gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and grilled smoked sausage. (Go ahead and chase yours with an oyster shooter of vodka or an oyster-topped Bloody Mary.)

Jambalaya is right up there with gumbo for international fame, but this flavorful rice-based dish is cooked more often at home than at restaurants. The one-pot local staple has absorbed French, Spanish, African, and Native American influences, and traditionally incorporates stock, meat, seafood, long-grain rice, and vegetables (like the “holy trinity” also used in gumbo — bell pepper, onion and celery).

The main distinction is that the Creole version has tomatoes and the Cajun recipe doesn’t. You can find one of the best versions of jambalaya at Coop’s Place (1109 Decatur St.), a local watering hole that serves excellent food until quite late at night.

Coop’s rabbit and sausage jambalaya can be upgraded to “supreme” by adding shrimp and tasso, a spicy Cajun ham smoked on premises. Please note that because Coop’s offers video poker, children under 18 are not allowed inside.

To sample jambalaya in a more upscale setting, try the version cooked up at the Pelican Club (312 Exchange Pl.), which uses the traditional ingredients of sausage, chicken and shrimp. If you just want a taste, the spicy Creole jambalaya at Napoleon House (500 Chartres St.) comes with chicken and sausage and could be ordered as an appetizer or as a side. Consider pairing it with the restaurant’s famous muffuletta and washing it down with its signature drink, Pimm’s Cup.

Po-boy and Muffuletta

A po-boy — the French-bread sandwich that is to New Orleans what the cheesesteak is to Philadelphia — comes in as many versions as there are ingredients to stuff inside a loaf. But one of the classic favorites is the fried oyster po-boy, which takes advantage of Louisiana’s abundance of bivalves and indigenous local skill in frying anything.

Johnny’s Po-Boys  (511 St. Louis St.) has been dishing them out since 1950 and, in addition to a first-class sandwich, the popular lunch spot offers a glimpse of a truly down-home po-boy joint packed with character and characters. Ask for your po-boy “dressed,” and it will come with chopped lettuce, tomato, pickles, and plenty of mayonnaise.

If you want to depart from the traditional po-boy, pop into Killer PoBoys (219 Dauphine St.). They play around with the ingredients here — the black beer beef debris, served with pickled peppers and green beans, is to die for, while the roasted sweet potato sandwich with pecan spread is great for herbivores — and the results would make a purist’s mouth water. Killer Poboys has another branch in the back of the excellent Erin Rose bar (811 Conti St.). The menu at both locations changes, so this is just a sample of what awaits.

Or venture to the very edge of the Quarter, into the orange bomb shelter that is The Orange Store (1700 N Rampart St.), also referred to as the Rampart Food Store. This neighborhood convenience store has all the atmosphere of the moon, but the fried shrimp po-boy is the stuff of culinary legend.

New Orleans’ other famous sandwich is the muffuletta (sometimes also spelled as “muffaletta”), the Italian answer to the po-boy: a round, seeded Italian loaf crammed full of cold cuts and cheeses and a big oily pile of the indispensable olive salad.

The definitive version has been made since 1906 at Central Grocery & Deli (923 Decatur St.), where the only menu choices are a whole or a half muffuletta (half is plenty for most appetites). When the weather is nice, many people take their muffuletta and a Barq’s root beer to the nearby Riverfront or Jackson Square.

Like with most signature New Orleans creations, opinions run strong when it comes to any deviation from the tradition. Some maintain that muffuletta is a cold-cut sandwich, period. Yet Verti Marte (1201 Royal St.; 504-525-4767), for example, serves its Mighty Muffuletta cold AND hot (on the hot grilled Italian bread).

Napoleon House also serves its traditional muffuletta warm. It’s one of the specialties, and is big enough for two people (you can also get it in half and quarter sizes).

And, just down the block from Central Grocery, Frank’s Restaurant (933 Decatur St.) has been winning fans for close to 60 years with its “World Famous Original Muffuletta” — which is baked and served with toasted bread and melted cheese.

Red Beans and Rice

Back in the old days, Monday was laundry day in New Orleans, and while the clothing was soaking so were the kidney beans for traditional red beans and rice. Laundry schedules may have changed, but a plate of red beans and rice with sausage is still the Monday special at diners and finer restaurants around town.

A delicious version is served every day at Buffa’s (1001 Esplanade Ave.), a New Orleans mainstay and a popular live music spot. Like all good renditions of this classic dish, the red beans are cooked down to utter softness and seasoned for a big flavor. And, like in many other local restaurants, you can get either a cup or a plate, and add meat (Buffa’s choice is smoked sausage).

Famous New Orleans Desserts

You can usually tell when someone has visited Cafe Du Monde (800 Decatur St.) by the traces of powdered sugar that inevitably sprinkle their clothing. This means they’ve indulged in the bite-sized New Orleans tradition called beignets (pronounced “ben-yea’s”), square donuts covered liberally in powdered sugar and served piping hot.

At 24/7 Cafe Du Monde, a true New Orleans fixture in the French Market that closes only for Christmas and hurricanes, the automatic accompaniment to a plate of beignets is a strong cup of café au lait.

Most visitors to New Orleans have heard of Cafe Du Monde and its beignets, but don’t miss out on another dessert New Orleans is famous for — Bananas Foster. This decadent dessert remains a staple, impressively served flambéed tableside, or in many delicious variations (as a pie, ice cream, or French toast) in some of the best restaurants in the city.

If you want to try the classic version, Brennan’s Restaurant (417 Royal St.) is the place, since it was the restaurant’s Chef, Paul Blangé, who came up with it in 1951. Chef Blangé’s version remains the original go-to recipe and is made by sautéing the bananas in butter, sugar and cinnamon, then adding rum and igniting the concoction tableside, and served over ice cream. Arnaud’s is another notable version, with more cinnamon, and big enough to share.

With all the po-boys in this town, there’s bound to be some leftover French bread. Happily, this is the main ingredient in the Creole dessert called bread pudding. At the elegant and picturesque Court of Two Sisters (613 Royal St.), the bread pudding is served traditionally, spiked up with a hot whiskey sauce over the top, while the Palace Cafe (605 Canal St.) serves an excellent modern take on the dish with white chocolate baked inside. Either way, the dish makes a pleasing end to a rich dinner and an absolutely decadent finale to a courtyard brunch.

Last Word

Though New Orleans doesn’t own barbecue, seafood or fried chicken it does them all exceptionally well. Both in Tremé, the Candlelight Lounge (925 N. Robertson St.) is an excellent option for seafood (they have recurring Seafood Mondays) and brass bands, and Kermit’s Treme Mother in Law Lounge (1500 N. Claiborne Ave.) does a great BBQ, and often. The place belonged to the late R&B legend Ernie K-Doe and his wife Antoinette. When both passed, New Orleans’ now, the great Kermit Ruffins bought it and continued the tradition with live music and BBQ.

Not far away on Orleans Avenue, Greg and Mary Sonnier have reopened their famous restaurant, Gabrielle (2441 Orleans Ave.) which used to be in Mid-City on Esplanade Avenue but had been shuttered since Katrina. We recommend that you head there to sample elevated takes on Cajun food by Chef Greg. 

And, speaking of Esplanade, Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe (1500 Esplanade Ave.) is a popular choice for a casual soul-food breakfast, but you’ll find staples like gumbo, po-boys, bread pudding, and other New Orleans must-try dishes on the menu as well. 

Those were all suggestions for Tremé. Our New Orleans-wide recommendations are too numerous to mention, so we’ll just refer you to our guides to where to find the best friend chicken, crawfish, and barbecue in New Orleans.

Are You Visiting New Orleans Soon?

We’d love for you to stay with us! And if you do, consider booking a guided tour of the famous St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to experience the hauntingly beautiful past of New Orleans. And, for easy, informative sightseeing, we recommend the City Sightseeing New Orleans city tour on the open-top, double-decker bus. It runs every 30 minutes through the Garden District, French Quarter, and CBD. You can hop on and off anytime!

Take advantage of The Brakeman Hotel specials, group rates, and best-rate guarantee for greater savings to spend on New Orleans’ famous cuisine and enjoy everything this magnificent city has to offer. Reserve your room today!