When we were checking out the music at the Spotted Cat on Frenchman on the edge of the French Quarter, we happened upon a very authentic 1930’s style jazz band. Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horn Jazz Band grabbed me from the moment we walked in the door. I stood mesmerized, tapped my feet and transported myself back to the beginning of the last century in a community seeped in Voo Doo and Creole traditions. As you will witness in the video, the New Orleans people know how to dance and party. The band just doesn’t stop and plays from around 9 until 3 am. She isn’t kidding when she says, “We’ll be back for 3 more sets.” If the joint is hoppin’ the band ain’t stoppin’.
There’s no time like the present to get a drink in the French Quarter. New Orleans is the last place I would send a recovering alcoholic. The streets are like a river of booze flowing through the delta out to sea. Most everyone you see is either going to meet someone for a drink or just returning from one. While we were there we visited a few of the most venerable and famous estiblishments in the Quarter. These are the bars that I would visit if I were traveling to NOLA and only had 24 hours.
For live jazz
The Spotted Cat
623 Frenchmen Street
New Orleans, LA
For live blues
The Apple Barrel Bar
609 Frenchmen Street
New Orleans, LA
For chill atmosphere at the oldest bar in the world
Laffite’s Blacksmith Shop Bar
941 Bourbon Street
New Orleans, LA
In January, Jake & I got the itch to make a drive from Detroit to Austin via Nashville, New Orleans and Memphis. We love to travel, see the country. We don’t mind riding in the car too much. Guess it’s the gypsy musician in us.
We drove I-69 South from Nashville on through Birmingham, Alabama and then South on I-59 through Meridian, Mississipi and eventually across Lake Ponchatrain to the Big Easy. Now we should have been able to travel the whole distance between Nashvile and NOLA in what would have been about 8 hours… since our end goal was to get to there in time for dinner. However, we had a little incident in Northern Alabama at a truck stop. Someone lifted Jake’s cell phone and then Sprint sent us on a wild goose chase thinking we might actually be able to “locate” the phone. FYI: if you want to use the “gps locator” function on your phone, you actually have to approve a text message saying, turn on the locator service before you can actually locate the phone. (You would think the fine customer service folks at Sprint would know how their services actually work.) Yet I digress….
So, across the never ending bridges we cruised into a twinkling skyline of New Orleans. I know why they call it the Big Easy, cause it’s a big easy place to loose yourself in. 🙂
We found our hotel, the Place d’Armes, in no time. It is a ghost of a place with a traditional New Orleans style inner courtyard with a nice fountain and small pool. They have a great continental breakfast in the morning with fresh fruit, coffee and pastries. The rooms are a bit small, but nothing compared to some places we’ve stayed in Europe. Our room had a queen size bed, desk, lounge chair and a separated bath and sink area. The hotel was within walking distance of all the tourist spots in the French Quarter and off the corner of Jackson Square. I picked it because of it’s proximity to Cafe Du Monde. I had been dying for a Cafe Au Lait since I had my first one there in 1998.