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New Orleans

chapjim

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We are about halfway through our week at Quarter House, our first visit to N.O. since 2019.

Impressions: Prices at restaurants are markedly higher than before Covid. Also, many places have severely reduced hours and/or close for one or two days per week. Example: Daisy Duke's, a couple of doors from Quarter House, used to be open 24/7. Now it is open from 7 AM to 2 PM and closed on Wednesdays. Mena's Palace, very close to Quarter House, has always been open only for breakfast and lunch and is now closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

We have been shocked to see the number of buildings that used to have occupants that are now vacant. Places that had stores or restaurants/cafés are now empty. Also, a number of establishments have changed names.

Unavailability of labor seems to be the basic problem.

Covid seems to have taken its toll, much as Katrina did seventeen years ago. The French Quarter bounced back nicely from Katrina. We'll see what happens post-Covid.

Edit: Went to the French Market today. I'd estimate that about 25% of the space was occupied.
 
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Rolltydr

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We have a trip scheduled in early April and are really looking forward to it as we haven’t been since pre-covid. Jim’s report makes me a bit apprehensive.
 

chapjim

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I would not cancel a trip based on my posts.

The major attractions (WW II Museum, Audubon Zoo, the Aquarium, etc.) are still available. Yesterday evening, we walked about three blocks on Bourbon Street to get to a restaurant on Conti. The restaurant had too much of a line so we went back to QH and ate in. Bourbon Street was going strong. Lines at Felix's and Acme Oyster Bar were still very long.

It seems that the smaller restaurants and shops along Decatur and Chartres are the ones that didn't survive Covid. There is still a lot left.
 

Rolltydr

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I would not cancel a trip based on my posts.

The major attractions (WW II Museum, Audubon Zoo, the Aquarium, etc.) are still available. Yesterday evening, we walked about three blocks on Bourbon Street to get to a restaurant on Conti. The restaurant had too much of a line so we went back to QH and ate in. Bourbon Street was going strong. Lines at Felix's and Acme Oyster Bar were still very long.

It seems that the smaller restaurants and shops along Decatur and Chartres are the ones that didn't survive Covid. There is still a lot left.
Thanks for this update, Jim. We have a trip scheduled in early April and I was wondering if we should cancel based on your initial post. Acme is one of our go-to’s. Did you go to the French Market area and Jackson Square? If so, were things back to normal there?
 

chapjim

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Thanks for this update, Jim. We have a trip scheduled in early April and I was wondering if we should cancel based on your initial post. Acme is one of our go-to’s. Did you go to the French Market area and Jackson Square? If so, were things back to normal there?

As I posted earlier, the French Market looked to be about 25% occupied. Jackson Square didn't have the usual number of artists, mimes, musicians, etc. I don't know if the acrobats still perform across the street from Jackson Square.

I forgot to mention one important thing. Yesterday, we drove out to Avery Island near New Iberia, about two hours each way from the French Quarter. Avery Island is, of course, where Tabasco© products are made. Admission is $15.50/person and includes a self-paced tour through the Tabasco plant and admission to the Jungle Gardens, a self-paced drive-thru with lots of places to stop and follow paths to the particular attractions.

The combination is spectacular! One thing Mr. McIlhenny did totally on his own was to save the snowy egret from extinction (and I don't think that is an exaggeration). He started with seven birds that he raised and released so they could fly south for the winter. He built nesting platforms hoping they would return, which they did. Not too many years later, over 100,000 snowy egrets were nesting on his platforms in what is called Bird City. There were no birds yesterday they will be back way before April.

We had been told several times that there was nothing to see and that driving out there would be a waste of time. Totally and absolutely wrong! We spent six or seven hours there, took a Central Grocery muffuletta for lunch (we ate a quarter each -- they are huge!).

 

slip

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As I posted earlier, the French Market looked to be about 25% occupied. Jackson Square didn't have the usual number of artists, mimes, musicians, etc. I don't know if the acrobats still perform across the street from Jackson Square.

I forgot to mention one important thing. Yesterday, we drove out to Avery Island near New Iberia, about two hours each way from the French Quarter. Avery Island is, of course, where Tabasco© products are made. Admission is $15.50/person and includes a self-paced tour through the Tabasco plant and admission to the Jungle Gardens, a self-paced drive-thru with lots of places to stop and follow paths to the particular attractions.

The combination is spectacular! One thing Mr. McIlhenny did totally on his own was to save the snowy egret from extinction (and I don't think that is an exaggeration). He started with seven birds that he raised and released so they could fly south for the winter. He built nesting platforms hoping they would return, which they did. Not too many years later, over 100,000 snowy egrets were nesting on his platforms in what is called Bird City. There were no birds yesterday they will be back way before April.

We had been told several times that there was nothing to see and that driving out there would be a waste of time. Totally and absolutely wrong! We spent six or seven hours there, took a Central Grocery muffuletta for lunch (we ate a quarter each -- they are huge!).


Central Grocery Muffuletta are the best. shaka
 

scootr5

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took a Central Grocery muffuletta for lunch (we ate a quarter each -- they are huge!).

Central Grocery Muffuletta are the best.

Have they reopened the store? It was still closed from the roof collapse when we there over the summer.
 

slip

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Have they reopened the store? It was still closed from the roof collapse when we there over the summer.

I can't help you with that. We haven't been back for a few years.
 

chapjim

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Central Grocery is still under re-construction but their muffulettas are available in a store just to the left of CG.
 

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Looking forward to picking one up when we are there in February.
 

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Yes, as they are everywhere else, prices are higher......in the grocery store and in restaurants.....everywhere. Please don't cancel, especially if it is your first time visiting New Orleans. Most venues dealing with staffing issues and having to make tough decisions regarding their businesses. The French Market would likely be busier over the weekend.

There is another Daisy Dukes location at 308 St. Charles Avenue which is a short walk from the location next to Quarter House. The website says they are open 24 hours. You will be so close to Felix and Acme that you can just ask when is a good time to come when they are not so crowded. Some residents and businesses are also still dealing with the challenges of Hurricane Ida. If you are coming soon, many hotels have great holiday decorations (Fairmont, Windsor Court, etc). Sugar Bowl is new year's eve this year rather than new year's day. It's such a fun time to be in the quarter with the those in town to see the game. If you are looking to enjoy a meal that might be a bit pricier, try Muriels, Mr. B's, Palace Cafe, Brennens, G W Fins, Antoine's, Red Fish Grill, Tableau, to name a few. Another treat would be Commanders Palace, a streetcar ride away. Be sure to make reservations as early as possible and go to lunch for their specials. I promise you, you won't regret it.

The Mardi Gras SEASON actually starts on January 6, 2023 with Mardi Day next year being Tuesday, February 21. So if you are coming in February, it's a great but crowded time to be in the city. The kickoff of the season actually begins with the Joan of Arc parade in the French Quarter where the Quarter House is located. The bigger parades start on Friday, February 10 thru Mardi Gras Day. Just google 2023 Mardi Gras parades and you can read about all of them.

April is another great time to visit with French Quarter Fest steps away from Quarter House April 13-16, 2023. Grab an inexpensive folding chair and enjoy the entertainment and food booths right in the quarter. Jazz Fest is always the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May but it is not in the quarter; however, there are transportation options to get there....just ask at Quarter House.

Don't give up on us just yet. And, I would be remiss if I did not say be careful. Just as in other place we visit and see the same things happening on local news, be aware of your surroundings and simply be careful. Please come and enjoy your visit.
 

scootr5

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The Mardi Gras SEASON actually starts on January 6, 2023 with Mardi Day next year being Tuesday, February 21. So if you are coming in February, it's a great but crowded time to be in the city.

Don't give up on us just yet. And, I would be remiss if I did not say be careful. Just as in other place we visit and see the same things happening on local news, be aware of your surroundings and simply be careful. Please come and enjoy your visit.
We’ve been coming down once or twice a year since about 1995, but this will be my first Mardi Gras (because my youngest daughter asked to go for her high school graduation present). We fly in early on 2/18 and out late on 2/21.

I want to get down there for FQF at some point.
 

rapmarks

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As I posted earlier, the French Market looked to be about 25% occupied. Jackson Square didn't have the usual number of artists, mimes, musicians, etc. I don't know if the acrobats still perform across the street from Jackson Square.

I forgot to mention one important thing. Yesterday, we drove out to Avery Island near New Iberia, about two hours each way from the French Quarter. Avery Island is, of course, where Tabasco© products are made. Admission is $15.50/person and includes a self-paced tour through the Tabasco plant and admission to the Jungle Gardens, a self-paced drive-thru with lots of places to stop and follow paths to the particular attractions.

The combination is spectacular! One thing Mr. McIlhenny did totally on his own was to save the snowy egret from extinction (and I don't think that is an exaggeration). He started with seven birds that he raised and released so they could fly south for the winter. He built nesting platforms hoping they would return, which they did. Not too many years later, over 100,000 snowy egrets were nesting on his platforms in what is called Bird City. There were no birds yesterday they will be back way before April.

We had been told several times that there was nothing to see and that driving out there would be a waste of time. Totally and absolutely wrong! We spent six or seven hours there, took a Central Grocery muffuletta for lunch (we ate a quarter each -- they are huge!).

Is dave Robicheaux still in New Iberia?
 

chapjim

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Central Grocery Muffuletta are the best. shaka
I agree whole-heartedly but that's not a universally held opinion.

We brought a whole muffuletta to our daughter and SIL in Western Kentucky, an hour north of Nashville. He didn't like it and she says she doesn't like green olives so it went back in the fridge. Shoulda kept it!

BTW, two muffulettas cost $57 at Central Grocery.

Jason's Deli has a pretty good muffuletta if you have one of the places nearby. (Edit: Jason's Deli price is over $8 for a QUARTER of a muffuletta!)
 
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chapjim

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fatlard

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Planning to head to Quarter House, NOLA for Thanksgiving week 2023 (11/18/2023-11/25/2023) with 3 kids. Wife and I been to New Orleans for one afternoon a couple years after Katrina.

Any thoughts or tips? Is this a trip worth making?
 

ambere

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We love New Orleans -- we stayed at the Quarter House last May for Jazz Fest (great place and location), and just came back from another trip to New Orleans last week. How old are the kids? New Orleans has a lot of history, great food, great music, but my thought while we were there was -- not a place I'd want to bring our kids until they are at least 21. There are some wholesome things to do -- city tours, swamp tours, cemetery/haunted tours, the City Park is beautiful, the World War II museum is great, and there's the Aquarium. But in my view, it's really most known for the things you will enjoy more as adults -- local music, local food, live music, etc. I'd probably personally take the kids somewhere else, but totally up to you -- there is plenty they might enjoy.
 

fatlard

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We love New Orleans -- we stayed at the Quarter House last May for Jazz Fest (great place and location), and just came back from another trip to New Orleans last week. How old are the kids? New Orleans has a lot of history, great food, great music, but my thought while we were there was -- not a place I'd want to bring our kids until they are at least 21. There are some wholesome things to do -- city tours, swamp tours, cemetery/haunted tours, the City Park is beautiful, the World War II museum is great, and there's the Aquarium. But in my view, it's really most known for the things you will enjoy more as adults -- local music, local food, live music, etc. I'd probably personally take the kids somewhere else, but totally up to you -- there is plenty they might enjoy.

After a couple hours of pondering, I decided to take your advice and cancelled my reservation for Quarter House. I think if we walked as a family (2x adults, girls 8, 8 and 13), we would stick out as a sore thumb. We would be a easy target... I will wait for them to visit this on their own when they are older. I will take a trip with the wife on our own in the future at some time....

We booked Landmark Panama City Beach instead... I think this will allow the family to do more with my needing to my alarms to be heightened throughout...

Thanks again..
 

ambere

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After a couple hours of pondering, I decided to take your advice and cancelled my reservation for Quarter House. I think if we walked as a family (2x adults, girls 8, 8 and 13), we would stick out as a sore thumb. We would be a easy target... I will wait for them to visit this on their own when they are older. I will take a trip with the wife on our own in the future at some time....

We booked Landmark Panama City Beach instead... I think this will allow the family to do more with my needing to my alarms to be heightened throughout...

Thanks again..
It may be more relaxing; have a great time!
 

Bailey#1

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We’ve been coming down once or twice a year since about 1995, but this will be my first Mardi Gras (because my youngest daughter asked to go for her high school graduation present). We fly in early on 2/18 and out late on 2/21.

I want to get down there for FQF at some point.
FQF is my favorite NOLA festival, it is a music lover paradise. Not to be missed!
 
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