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Tag: New Orleans (page 3 of 3)

Saints Season Preview

The beginning of all is upon us, and with it marks the beginning of the South’s favorite sport, football. There is no arguing that Louisiana is SEC country with LSU located in the state capital of Baton Rouge. Tigers fans would give a left arm to see their team win the SEC championship in Atlanta in December, let alone a national title. The football allegiance of these state’s most populous and famous city, New Orleans, however, lies with the Saints which boast some of the most passionate fans you will find across any American sports team. The last decade has been an up and down journey for the Saints.  Their journey closely aligns with the experiences of the people of New Orleans who suffered great hardship due to the destruction to their city caused by Hurricane Katrina more than a decade ago. In the ensuing years, the Saints, in some ways, served not only as a beacon of hope, but as a unifying thread that tied together all members of this incredibly diverse city. The Saints, led by their talented and infallible quarterback, Drew Brees, capped off a wonderful 2009 season with a thrilling SuperBowl Victory.

That was six years ago, however. NFL Pundits have been proclaiming all offseason that the NFC South is the weakest amongst the league’s divisions. It is true that the Saints, Falcons, Panthers, or Buccaneers are not legitmate contenders for the conference championship, let alone the Super Bowl.

The Bucs with a weak defense, a talent-defficent offesnive line, and rookie quarterback will most likely finish at the bottom of the division. Most analysts are split between the Falcons, the Panthers, and the Saints as the division favorites. The Falcons, if their O-line holds up will have a powerful offensive attack, but it remains to be seen if first year coach and defensive guru, Dan Quinn, can transform their previously lackluster defense. The Carolina Panthers, who have won the division the last two years, will be lead by the always exciting Cam Newton. Their Achilles heel lies in the fact they don’t have any legitimate receiving threats as their second-year star wide out, Kelvin Benjamin is out for the season.

The Saints could very well end up as the division champions come January. A lot of it depends on how Brees, 36, performs in the twilight of his career. While he is still an elite qb, many experts believed he did experience a decline last year. The defense, while young and injured, should still be solid led by defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan. Jimmy Graham did depart, but Brandin Cooks should largely fill this receiving gap. To watch all these players in action, tune into Fox at 4 pm EST this Sunday to watch the Saints take on the Arizona Cardinals. 

The Nine Best Historic Bars of New Orleans

New Orleans is, and has always been, renowned for its nightlife and bar scene. It’s the birthplace of the Sazerac, the Ramos Fizz, the Vieux Carre, the Hurricane, and several other classic cocktail. It has a long history with the Caribbean rum industry. And today, it’s is a go-to drinking destination for local and world travelers alike.

However, sitting down for a drink in New Orleans is more than just a chance to kick back and order something fancy looking. The city’s oldest bars can take you back in time. They can connect you with important political, economic, and societal changes that were taking place in this country across the epochs. They can put you in the same seat as a number of historical figures who have owned and patroned these establishments. Here’s just a few of the most historically rich bars you should visit when you’re in New Orleans.

1. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop was built between 1722 and is currently the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States. The original blacksmith shop used by the notorious Lafitte Brothers, Jean and Pierre, as a front for their Barataria smuggling operation. Like many places in New Orleans and particularly the French Quarter, Lafitte’s is rumored to be haunted by these pirates spirits. Patrons and bartenders claim to have spotted Jean Lafitte sitting with a drink in the back of the bar, as well as a mysterious female ghost that sometimes appears in a mirror on the building’s second floor.

2. The Carousel Bar

Located inside of the Hotel Monteleone, guests can enjoy a drinking experience like no other, atop an actual revolving indoor carousel. The bar slowly revolves at one revolution per 15 minutes, and at just 1/4 horsepower, you don’t have to worry about getting dizzy. Built in 1949, the bar itself is perhaps one of the newest features at the Hotel Monteleone, which dates back to 1886. In its earlier days, celebrities such as Liberace would come in for a nightcap after performing at the hotels Swan Room.

Famous Patrons: Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Liberace.

3. Tujague’s

Tujague is the second-oldest bar in the cities, and is known for being the first stand-up bar in the city. This allowed those arriving on horseback to enjoy a drink with their fellow patrons.

Guillaume and Marie Abadie Tujague established Tujague’s Restaurant in 1856 after immigrating to America from Bordeaux France. They were known to serve a delicious breakfast and lunch to local dock workers, market laborers, and seamen who regularly spent time on the riverfront.

In 1982, when Steven Latter bought the business, and has made it his mission to restore the restaurant it to its earlier state. He has even resurrected many of the restaurant’s culinary traditions. Today, customers are served its traditional Tujague’s specialties including shrimp remoulade, beef brisket with horseradish, “cap” bread, and dark coffee in shot glasses.

Famous Patrons: Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and France’s De Gaulle; as well as Cole Porter, O. Henry, Diane Sawyer, Don Johnson, Harrison Ford, Margot Kidder, Dan Akroyd, Ty Cobb, and John D. Rockefeller.

4. Pat O’Brien’s

Pat O’Brien’s is famous for two things: Hurricanes and the piano bar. Pat O’Brien’s started as an illegal establishment during Prohibition, but converted to a full-bar once the ban on alcohol was lifted. In 1940, they invented the now famous Hurricane cocktail, a staple of New Orleans bars ever since. Today, patrons enjoy old timey tunes at the piano bar as they sip on their signature drinks.

5. The Napoleon House

The building’s owner and former Mayor of New Orleans, Nicholas Girod, expected to use this home as an asylum for an exiled Napoleon in 1821. Napoleon never made it, but the name stuck. Since then, the location has been a regular spot for artists and writers throughout the 20th century. The bar regularly play Beethoven’s Eroiqua, which Beethoven composed for Napoleon, as well as music from other classical masters.

Famous Patrons: Andy Warhol

6. Old Absinthe House

Built in 1806, the building was originally used for importing food, tobacco and Spanish liqueur, but in 1815, the ground floor was converted into a saloon known as “Aleix’s Coffee House,” later renamed “The Absinthe Room” when mixologist Cayetano Ferrer created the signature Absinthe House Frappe in 1874.

During prohibition, the bar was moved to a secret warehouse to hide it from the authorities, but it returned to its original location in early 2004. After a 3 million dollar renovation to return it to its turn-of-the-century style, The Old Absinthe House today has the original marble fountains that were used to drip cool water over sugar cubes into glasses of Absinthe. It is now operated by Tony Moran, himself the son of a New Orleans legend — “Diamond Jim” Moran.

Famous Patrons: Jean Lafitte, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Oscar Wilde, Frank Sinatra, Robert E. Lee, P.T. Barnum, Mark Twain, Jenny Lind, Enrico Caruso, Liza Minelli, and Frank Sinatra.

7. Henry’s Uptown Bar

Henry’s Uptown Bar has been around since 1900 and today is fourth generation family owned. The first generation of owners were Irish immigrants named James Lee and Margaret Tully Lee. Their son-in-law Edward Crone took over before his daughter, Dorothy Crone, married Henry Gogreve, the bar’s namesake and took ownership in 1946.

Henry was a well known member of the community, and the reason many local customers called Henry’s Uptown Bar their regular spot. He operated the business well into his late 80’s and passed away in 2010 at the age of 91. Today, it is under the ownership and management of his children, who continue to display his trademark hospitality.

Famous Patrons: Lee Harvey Oswald was a regular. Josh Brolin was once asked to leave for throwing darts.

8. Arnauds

Count Arnaud was a headstrong, local wine merchant who opened Arnauds in 1918 after making a wager with his customers that he could make it successful. He did, and Arnauds and it’s owner have has had a colorful past ever since. During prohibition, Arnaud received multiple fines for serving alcohol, and was even jailed once for refusing to stop.

Today, the restaurant operates with two bars: the French 75 and the Richelieu Bar. French 75 originally served as a “gentlemen only area” when it was established, and served as a gathering place for businessmen to congregate after a days work. Richelieu Bar was opened just a year before Count Arnaud’s death in 1948. While the bar was recently renovated, the bar’s original mahogany finish and dedicated patrons remain.

9. Sazerac Bar

The Sazerac Bar is named after what many consider to be the world’s first mixed drink: the Sazerac. But the bar has a lot more history than just its signature drink. The Sazerac Bar is allegedly the reason that Huey P Long built the Airline Highway (so he could get from Baton Rouge to his favorite drink cocktail, a Ramos Gin Fizz, as quickly as possible) and why the Kingfish flew its bartender to NYC to teach his staff how to make his favorite cocktails the way he liked them. This bar is also the location of “The Stormin’ of the Sazerac” in 1949 which ended with the admittance of women into the establishment for the first time. It is still celebrated every September 30th.

Famous Patrons: Huey P. Long.

Obviously, there are hundreds of other bars you can visit while you’re in New Orleans, but you would be missing out if you didn’t try to connect to the towns illusive history full of intrigue, mystery, wild characters, and most importantly: some of the world’s greatest drinks. Cheers!

Free Museums in New Orleans

As a cultural epicenter and one of the most historically notable cities in the region, New Orleans boasts its fair share of museums. Fear not if you are a budget conscious traveler. New Orleans does, in fact, offer an abundance of museums that are free of charge for the museum-goers out there. Here is a short list.

Newcomb Art Gallery: 

Tulane University, which sits just a streetcar ride away a few miles uptown, is home to an incredibly special collection of art. At the Newcomb Art Gallery, you can find a wide array pieces including, but not limited to, Tiffany windows, art from Nick Cave, and industrial art. Please note that it is closed during the summer months as school is out of session.

Madame John’s Legacy:

This National Historic Landmark, located in the heart of the French Quarter, is a delight to visit for everyone, but is especially riveting to those interested in architecture and the distinct style that is often associated with the city of New Orleans. Madame John’s Legacy is in many ways the paragon of Louisiana’ colonial architectural design.

House of Dance and Feathers:

Perhaps the least renowned on this list, the House of Dance and Feathers is aptly named as it serves to catalog, celebrate and remember New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians. Upon visiting this museum in the Lower Ninth Ward, you will have the opportunity to learn about the traditions, art, and history of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians.

The New Orleans Museum of Art

First opened more than a century ago in 1911, this museum houses more than 40,00 pieces of art. The collection is quite diverse, ranging from the modern to contemporary to the more traditional. The New Orleans Museum of Art, as its name would suggest, places special emphasis on artists from area. While it is not technically free, Louisiana residents can, in fact, visit the museum without charge every Wednesday.

Frenchman Street: An Embodiment of the City’s Culture

New Orleans occupies a unique position on this globe. This isn’t in reference to the city’s geographic location. In fact, the city lies in a precarious location as exemplified by Hurricane Katrina. But instead, it refers to how the city of New Orleans holds is unique in its taste for quality music, food, and just fun. Perhaps the street that serves as the purest embodiment of what makes New Orleans special is Frenchmen Street. This is particularly true with regards to music. Just minutes away from the French Quarter,  Frenchman Street is legendary for its live music scene. The street boasts a wide array of music venues, and diverse offerings of live music.

Todd Berner - Frenchman StreetNo matter if you a reggae, blues, or jazz fan, you will be able to find a concert going on at any point during the week. Many of the venues don’t even have a cover fee. However, please note that it is customary to tip the band if you stay at a concert for some time. The Spotted Cat Music Club and Snug Harbor are two of the most popular live venues on the street.

During the weekend nights, be sure to visit the Frenchmen Art Market to discover the work from all the best New Orleans artisans. Additionally, poets, artists, and musicians line the streets providing great entertainment no matter where you are. Although it is certainly busier at night, Frenchman street can serve as a great place for a day trip. You can explore the street front which contains loads of antique stores, interesting shops, and an array of native cuisine options.

In general, Frenchman street is an absolute must-visit, especially if you are looking to enjoy the music and culture that has become synonymous with New Orleans.


New Orleans Update

The Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market is slated to open at the beginning of April in the Central City neighborhood, and will serve as the home for New Orleans’ Jazz. This venue, which is more than 13,000 square feet, will primarily feature the grammy winner Irvin Mayfield and the, 18-piece ensemble, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Irvin Mayfield, who plays trumpet and serves as the orchestra’s artistic director, expressed the band’s desire to have a place of their own to perform at. They previously performed regularly at the Contemporary Arts Center. Furthermore, the Jazz Market will also place more than thirty Herman Leonard photos on display. These black-and-white photos will feature New Orleans jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, and Bolden Bar.

The finalists for James Beard Awards, which many consider to be the highest honor a restaurant, bartender, or chef could receive, were announced recently. The city of News Orleans certainly had a strong showing. Just last year, Peche’s Ryan Prewitt and Sue Zamenick of Gautreau’s shared the accolade of the chef’s best south. Prewitt’s Peche won the award for best new restaurant in the nation.

Three local chefs including the chef from La Petite Grocery, Justin Devillier, Alon Shaya from Domenica, and Brennan’s Slade Rushing are all up for the category of Best Chef, South. Arnaud’s French 75 Bar is in the contention for Outstanding Bar Program.

Upperlin’s JoAnn Clevenger was named as a finalist for the category of Outstanding Restaurateur. Restaurant August is a finalist for the Outstanding Service award.  Donald Link who is the chef at Cochon, Herbsaint, and Peche is a finalist for the foundation’s highest honor, Outstanding Chef.

The foundation also named a number of professionals who create content based around food in online, print, and other forms of media. Those honoured include Brett Martin from GQ who authored  “How the Vikings Conquered Dinner,” and Tina Antolini who produced the Podcast, Gravy.