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Say Bonjour to the French Quarter

NOLA

[img src=http://nabjconvention.org/2012/wp-content/flagallery/nola/thumbs/thumbs_nola_062212_tw_01.jpg]Clyde Casey, 61, of New Orleans on Friday with his Senergy Sonic Senorshuttle Percussion, a musical instrument he created. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
Clyde Casey, 61, of New Orleans on Friday with his Senergy Sonic Senorshuttle Percussion, a musical instrument he created. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
[img src=http://nabjconvention.org/2012/wp-content/flagallery/nola/thumbs/thumbs_062212_nola_da1.jpg]The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) streetcar travels through the historic French Quarter in New Orleans, Friday. (Donnalyn Anthony/NABJ Monitor)
The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) streetcar travels through the historic French Quarter in New Orleans, Friday. (Donnalyn Anthony/NABJ Monitor)
[img src=http://nabjconvention.org/2012/wp-content/flagallery/nola/thumbs/thumbs_nola_062212_tw_02.jpg]The Terpsichorian Time Traveler of Paranormal Percussion is one of the musical instruments created by one-man-band, Clyde Casey, 61, of New Orleans. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
The Terpsichorian Time Traveler of Paranormal Percussion is one of the musical instruments created by one-man-band, Clyde Casey, 61, of New Orleans. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
[img src=http://nabjconvention.org/2012/wp-content/flagallery/nola/thumbs/thumbs_nola_062212_tw_03.jpg]Clyde Casey, 61, of New Orleans on Friday with his Senergy Sonic Senorshuttle Percussion, a musical instrument he created. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
Clyde Casey, 61, of New Orleans on Friday with his Senergy Sonic Senorshuttle Percussion, a musical instrument he created. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
[img src=http://nabjconvention.org/2012/wp-content/flagallery/nola/thumbs/thumbs_nola_062212_tw_04.jpg]Clyde Casey, 61, of New Orleans, stands near musical instruments he’s created in New Orleans on Friday. Casey considers himself an artist first and a musician second. He takes found objects and creates are as well as musical instruments he uses as a one-man-band. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
Clyde Casey, 61, of New Orleans, stands near musical instruments he’s created in New Orleans on Friday. Casey considers himself an artist first and a musician second. He takes found objects and creates are as well as musical instruments he uses as a one-man-band. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
[img src=http://nabjconvention.org/2012/wp-content/flagallery/nola/thumbs/thumbs_nola_062212_tw_05.jpg]A view of the Crescent City Connection stretches for miles along the Mississippi River in New Orleans. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
A view of the Crescent City Connection stretches for miles along the Mississippi River in New Orleans. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
[img src=http://nabjconvention.org/2012/wp-content/flagallery/nola/thumbs/thumbs_nola_062212_tw_06.jpg]A shrimp poboy served at We Never Close Poboys in New Orleans Friday, June 22, 2012. "They do the best job. It's home cookin', fresh," says Xavier Angel, of New Orleans East. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
A shrimp poboy served at We Never Close Poboys in New Orleans Friday, June 22, 2012. "They do the best job. It's home cookin', fresh," says Xavier Angel, of New Orleans East. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
[img src=http://nabjconvention.org/2012/wp-content/flagallery/nola/thumbs/thumbs_nola_062212_tw_07.jpg]Debra Milton, 45, eats her shrimp po’boy sandwich at the counter from cashier Keisha Westbrook, 32, at We Never Close restaurant in New Orleans East on Friday. Milton’s mother-in-law, Hazel Matthew, 62, and her nephew Derrick Milton, 18, join her. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
Debra Milton, 45, eats her shrimp po’boy sandwich at the counter from cashier Keisha Westbrook, 32, at We Never Close restaurant in New Orleans East on Friday. Milton’s mother-in-law, Hazel Matthew, 62, and her nephew Derrick Milton, 18, join her. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
[img src=http://nabjconvention.org/2012/wp-content/flagallery/nola/thumbs/thumbs_nola_062212_tw_08.jpg]Clarence Rodriguez, of New Orleans, works on a neighbor’s truck in his neighborhood, the Lower Ninth Ward on Friday. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
Clarence Rodriguez, of New Orleans, works on a neighbor’s truck in his neighborhood, the Lower Ninth Ward on Friday. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
[img src=http://nabjconvention.org/2012/wp-content/flagallery/nola/thumbs/thumbs_nola_062212_tw_09.jpg]Clarence Rodriguez, of New Orleans, is seen here at his Lower Ninth Ward home. Rodriguez said he slept on top of his refrigerator in his home surrounded by three feet of water post-Katrina for days. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
Clarence Rodriguez, of New Orleans, is seen here at his Lower Ninth Ward home. Rodriguez said he slept on top of his refrigerator in his home surrounded by three feet of water post-Katrina for days. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
[img src=http://nabjconvention.org/2012/wp-content/flagallery/nola/thumbs/thumbs_nola_062212_tw_10.jpg]The Sounds of the Crescent City sculpture was donated to the musicians of New Orleans by artist Rontherine Ratliff in New Orleans. The sculpture sits in the playground of Musicians’ Village, a neighborhood created by New Orleans’ natives Harry Connick Jr., and Branford Marsalis with Habitat for Humanity where musicians live. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
The Sounds of the Crescent City sculpture was donated to the musicians of New Orleans by artist Rontherine Ratliff in New Orleans. The sculpture sits in the playground of Musicians’ Village, a neighborhood created by New Orleans’ natives Harry Connick Jr., and Branford Marsalis with Habitat for Humanity where musicians live. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
[img src=http://nabjconvention.org/2012/wp-content/flagallery/nola/thumbs/thumbs_nola_062212_tw_11.jpg]A cyclist rides down North Rampart Street in New Orleans on Friday. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)
A cyclist rides down North Rampart Street in New Orleans on Friday. (Tiffany L. Williams/NABJ Monitor)

By Azania Briggs
NABJ Monitor

Most tourists try to avoid the far end of the French Quarter because it is a long walk from many of the hotels that line Canal Street just like the palm trees that give the area a tropical touch.

Instead visitors, and some locals, opt to stay on the outskirts or party down on Bourbon St. Whenever I travel to a new place I make it a mission to venture through the area like a local, so I won’t miss out on what the city has to offer. Here’s a guide on how to get from the front end of the French Quarter to the back end where the “Local’s Bourbon Street” thrives.

If you’re on the lookout for something other than a tourist trap or a native in need of something new, take North Peters Street down to the French Quarter. Right on the corner of North Peters and Canal Streets is the Insectarium located in the 170-year-old U.S. Customs House. The museum (located at 423 Canal St.) is one of America’s largest that’s all about bugs. There you will discover various types of insects from praying mantises to grasshoppers, and if you’re lucky you might even get a chance to taste one. Don’t forget to check out the beautiful butterfly garden that is full of exotic butterflies, flowers and cocoons.

Two blocks down is Felipe’s Taqueria, a Mexican made-to-order venue that goes above and beyond to offer fresh and fast food at an affordable price. At Felipe’s (located at 301 North Peters St.) you won’t have to worry about mixed up orders or vengeful waiters because you can see everything that is going into your meal. Some menu items are low as $2, and everything is under $8 for those who want to enjoy New Orleans without breaking the bank. The burritos are huge, so for about $5 the meal can be split between two people.

While you continue traveling down North Peters Street you’ll notice how it merges with another street called Decatur. This is where the adventure begins as you head towards the pearl of the oyster. Not far from the neutral ground, that serves as a foundation for Jean Baptiste LeMoyne de Bienville monument, is Peaches Records- a local’s favorite for music and all things New Orleans (located at 408 Decatur St). The two story building is an old school jewel that will tickle the fancy of any crate digger or avid music lover. There, you can find a wide range of music including zydeco, bounce and brass band. The store is great place to find vintage LPs, local clothing lines, and even children’s books.

The St. Louis Cathedral is one of the few New Orleans landmarks visible from either side of the river and it overlooks the Jackson Square, a roundabout garden and park. Next to the Cathedral are the Cabildo and Presbytere, Louisiana State Museums are open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The Square is also surrounded by musicians, fortune tellers, and artists who are eager to offer their services to passersby. Right across the street from Jackson Square is one of the most famous restaurants in New Orleans that you’ll probably smell before you see it – Café Du Monde. Since 1862 the company has served beignets that are square, deep-fried doughnuts covered with powdered sugar. The frozen café au lait is a popular drink that goes perfectly with a side order of hot beignets.

Further down on the 1100 block of Decatur Street is where you’ll find Angeli’s, a superb Italian restaurant with angelic-inspired art covering the walls. Angeli on Decatur (located at 1141 Decatur St.) serves a variety of pizzas, sandwiches and appetizers, including the garlic cheese bread big enough to share between two people. The restaurant also serves a number of specialty pizzas like the Angeli’s Special that comes loaded with roasted garlic, eggplant, sundried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and kalamata olives. The art covered walls are great to look at while you’re waiting on your food to arrive.

Two blocks down, Decatur intersects with Esplanade avenue and if you cross the street you’ll run into the last portion of Decatur street before it merges into Frenchmen Street. This is where the locals come out to party or grab a bite to eat in order to get away from the tourist trap called Bourbon Street. On Frenchmen there are a number of venues and entertainment alleys. For music there’s the Blue Nile, the Maison, Snug Harbor and Vaso that showcase live music and great food every night. At Mona’s Café and Deli you’ll discover delicious Mediterranean like falafel, hummus, tabouleh. The Praline Connection started as a delivery service for women who were too busy to prepare food, but now it offers its Cajun-creole style food to everyone. Don’t forget to grab a praline, New Orleans signature candy made from sugar, milk and pecans. Café Negril is a cozy, colorful music venue that has a taco bar in the back, but tacos aren’t the only thing they serve. There you can find gorditas, burritos, and quesadillas all for less than $10.

2 Responses to Say Bonjour to the French Quarter

  1. Linda G Reply

    June 23, 2012 at 6:39 am

    what a shame you took the vistors on a tour through the Quarters all the way to Frenchmen St and didn’t mention the Black owned restaurant The Praline Connection

    • Azania Reply

      June 27, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      The Praline Connection is mentioned in the last paragraph.

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