“Well, we’ve eaten and its too early to start drinking, what do you want to do?”
Radio Station: WWOZ 90.7 FM, Old jazz and odd stuff, good in morning and late at night. A good source for finding out who is playing in town. A lot like KDHX in St. Louis in terms of crazy programming.
Steamboat Gothic Houses: St. Claude East across bridge to Egiana St., turn right go to the end, take a look. Best seen in daylight. (Pike & Stan)
Fats Domino’s House: See the home of a legend. Corner of Caffin and Marais. Look for the TV cameras and big Caddies and Buicks parked in front. (note, this is not an official tour, so don’t ask to be let in) (flooded badly during Katrina and has been re-built, since his death rumors its going to be a museum) (Stan & Pike)
A Gallery for Fine Photography: One of the best photo gallery’s in the South, three floors of great contemporary photography. Always something interesting on the walls. 241 Chartres St. in the Quarter. Open Mon.-Sat. 10 am-6 pm and Sunday 11 am-5 pm. (Note, as of January 2003, they moved the gallery to Charters St.from their old digs on Royal) Call 504 568 1313 for information (Stan)
Audubon Zoo: On every map and a good zoo if you are into that sort of thing. Entry fee for adults $7.00. Claim to fame is the white alligator. If you are a member of the St. Louis Zoo, show your membership card and get in free. (Pike)
New Orleans Art Museum: Small but good selection, often interesting visiting shows pass through. Stan even has work in the permanent collection. In the City Park at the junction of Esplanade and Carrollton Ave. Entry fee $6.00; open Lundi Gras, Closed Mon. (Stan & Pike)
Le Mieux Gallery: 332 Julia Street, 504 522 5988. I am represented by the gallery, they do have a portfolio of my work on hand, so ask to see it if your in the area. They mostly represent a range of media from Louisiana and Gulf coast artists. Open Monday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm. (Stan)
Confederate Memorial Museum: 929 Camp Street, Uniforms, weapons, and personal effects of your civil war favorites. For history buffs only. $3.00 admission (Pike & Stan)
National D Day museum (now called the WW II Museum) 945 Magazine Street, (entrance on Andrew Higgins Drive) open 7 days a week 9:00am-5:00pm. From an overview of World War II’s economic and political routes to the build-up and military mobilization of Allied Forces in the 17 D-Days around the world, the 70,500-square-foot museum presents a collection of personal stories, preserves important materials for research and scholarship. If you’re into WWII history, this is a very well designed museum and a must see, recently expanded. Avoid the American Sector cafe, the food there is terrible and over priced (Stan, Pike)
Meyer the Hatter: 120 St. Charles, since 1894 the South’s largest and only complete hatter, that about says it all. Buying a hat here is a very civilized experience, one you won’t forget. (Stan & Pike)
Historic New Orleans Collection: In the French Quarter, on 533 Royal, down the block from the Gallery of Fine Photography. If you’re into local history, this is the place. Often there are some good photo shows here that connect with local events. Stan has work in the collection from his Mardi Gras series. Open Tues-Sat. 10 am to 4:30 pm (Stan)
Aquarium of the Americas: A must see if you like fish. On the Riverfront, you can also take a riverboat to the zoo in conjunction. $7.00 to get in. (Kevin)
Algiers Ferry: Great way to see the city. Take the passenger ferry from New Orleans to the Algiers side of the river. Ferry is at the end of Canal St., near the Aquarium. The Staten Island Ferry of New Orleans.
Julia Street Galleries: Julia Street from Commerce to Camp; Get with the latest art scene in New Orleans, beginning at the new and truly ugly Radisson, this revitalized warehouse area is now home to some very interesting galleries. A good visit on a rainy afternoon. (Pike & Stan)
Gambino’s Bakery: 200 Broadway; 861 0011, one of the really great bakeries to be found. Even by my East Coast snob standards a great canoli can be gotten here. The place for a traditional king cake. (Pike and Stan)
Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo: 739 Bourbon Street; 581 3751; Yeah, I know that it’s a little like a junky tourist trap, but everyone still wants to know where it is. Just don’t take it too seriously. As an aside, a recent poll showed that 15% of New Orleans residents believe in Voodoo. (Stan)
New Orleans Cemeteries: St. Louis #1 best, but can be very dangerous, don’t go alone!! A good time is when “Haunted New Orleans” runs a tour group by, so there are lots of people around. Watch out for gangs of pre-teens checking out your hardware. St. Louis #2 is considered too dangerous to visit even in groups without an armed guard, I know one local photographer who only visits this one with an armed rent a cop!. I don’t want to sound too paranoid, but this is a very bad part of town. I am also a big fan of St. Roch’s, Lafayette #1 (where the vampire Lestat is buried), Metairie, Odd Fellows and Holt (the paupers cemetery), all of these are safe enough in even small groups. The Archdiocese is still a little sensitive about making commercial photos in their cemeteries after the Acid Trip scene in Easy Rider, (no fooling, they still mention it to me), so be sure to say that you are not a professional and there is no commercial value in your work and you are but a simple tourist. (Stan)
Here are a few addresses.
St. Louis Cemetery #1; 425 Basin Street 1789 open M-Sat 9:00-3:00pm Sun 9-12 (as of March 1, 2015 you can only visit as part of a pre-paid group or tour)
St. Louis Cemetery #2; 1600 Conti Street, (part of three city blocks) 1823 St. Patrick Cemetery #1,2, & 3; 143 City Park Ave. 1841
St. Roch Campo Santo Cemetery #1 and 2; 1725 St. Roch Ave. 1875
St. Joseph Cemetery #1 and 2; 2220 Washington Ave. 1854
St. Vincent Cemetery #1 and 2; 1950 Soniat Street. 1850
Holt Cemetery, in back of Delgado Trade School; City Road near Park Ave.
Metairie Cemetery; off Metairie Road and I-10
Greenwood Cemetery; across street from Metairie Cemetery
Rosedale Cemetery, across from I-10 near Metairie Cemetery.
Cypress Grove, Next to St. Patrick and across from Greenwood Cemetery Lafayette #1, across from Commander Palace Restaurant, (Wash., Poydras & Sixth St. area) open 10:00-2:00 pm only (for a great Po boy, check out the grocery store at 6th and Wash.)
Carrollton Cemetery, on Adams Street, between Birch and Hickory, another city owned cemetery.
Cemetery tour: If prowling around the local cemeteries seems like too much, you can go on a tour, this is the only one I can recommend. Haunted History tour is well run and informative, but costs $20.00. If you go, ask for the tour run by Mr. Jones if you can. Call 504 861 2727 for info. They also run ghost, vampire, and voodoo tours, but I can only recommend the St. Louis cemetery tour. Go to their WWW site to get discount coupons.
French Quarter: Also known as Vieux Carre, it is the oldest part of the city, a wonderful mix of French and Spanish influences. Also a notorious tourist trap full of shops selling all manner of crap and misguided adventures. I can only recommend a few places to eat here, and less to purchase anything, outside a whopping hangover. Although Pike and I are getting a little tired of it all, it’s still worth an afternoon walk. During Mardi Gras, however, this is the place where most of the truly crazy behavior happens, especially on Fat Tuesday. Watch yourself on the dark, un traveled streets at night around the fringes of the Quarter. Parking is difficult, especially during Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest . I have had best luck parking near the river to the East of the Quarter. Of note, the places to see in the Quarter are Jackson Square Park, the St. Louis Cathedral, U.S. Mint Building with the Jazz and Carnival Museum and for those interested in drug history, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. (Stan)
French Marketplace: They actually sell food here, but most people go for the junky souvenirs and knock off designer stuff, and they are usually cheaper here than elsewhere in the Quarter. One of the few public toilets in the city. Don’t bother to buy hot sauce, Zaps Chips or local New Orleans coffee, go to the supermarket, its much, much cheaper, recently rennovated and its a nice place to visit, particularly if its raining and you need something to do.
Martin Wine Cellar: 3827 Baronne St. 899-7411 (between Gen. Taylor and Peniston, 2 blocks off Lakeside of St. Charles) This is the place to find a good bottle of Sauvignon Blanc on sale for $2.99 or $188.00 Bordeaux. A tremendous selection of wines, beers and liquors. They also have a good deli. (Pike & Kevin)
Chief Menteur Highway: Take this road for an interesting afternoon drive toward the Gulf. This must be the place where old Peterbuilt trucks go to die. (Stan)
Fort Pike: 10 miles East of the City on the Chef Menteur Highway, early 19 th century fort with wonderful brickwork and catacombs, heavily damaged by Katrina and I’m not sure how much of it is open ot the public. (Pike)
Avery Island: Home of the famous Tabasco hot sauce. About a 2 hour drive from New Orleans. Closed on Sunday. (Pike)
Lafayette: Although a ways away from New Orleans, you can do this in a day if you get an early start. Lots to see here in Cajun Country. For one of the best swamp tours, call Marcus de la Houssaye who is located outside Lafayette and do tours of Lake Martin. He specializes in photo and ecotours, call 337 298 2630 for information and reservations (which are recommended), They even have a WWW site: www.delahoussayes.com
River Plantation Tour: It is said that before the Civil War, half of Americas millionaires lived on plantations along the lower Mississippi River. The St. Francisville area, located below Natchez and above Baton Rouge, was one of the South’s wealthiest areas, and many of their homes remain intact.
Here are a few:
Rosedown Plantation, just East of St Francisville on SR 10 and US 61, open all year, call 504 635-3332
Oakley Plantation, built in 1799, this is where John Audubon created more than 30 of his Birds of America Series. House and grounds open daily.
Cottage Plantation, six miles North of St. Francisville, it’s 350 acres opened to the public in 1951. You can even spend the night here for $90.00 a night. The tour is only $4.00. Call 504 635-3674
Oak Lawn, in Franklin, La., on SR 182 via US 90; a restored antebellum plantation. 828-0434
San Francisco, a unique “steamboat Gothic” style house only 20 miles West of New Orleans, near Reserve, La., recently restored.
Oak Alley, 3 miles N. on SR 18. Famous in films and commercials, and is also near Reserve. They have a nice lunch here and the tour is worth the price of admission. Call 265-2151
Crime and Punishment:
Let me start by saying that I love New Orleans, its a wonderful place and I have met some really great people here. One of the negative aspects of the city is the high crime rate however. New Orleans is every bit as dangerous as Detroit (or more so) in terms of street crime, but without the Big City paranoia. There is a very laid back attitude toward it that often catches outsiders with their guard down. Car break-in’s are very popular so leave nothing, not even small change in sight. Be very careful in the cemeteries in particular and in the areas surrounding the French Quarter and Armstrong Park. There is also a concealed gun law here and it seems like way too many people carry guns.It is also one of the most dangerous cities in the USA. In 2011, they set a record for a city of its size, 209 murders, which ranked NOLA most murders per capita in the USA. (the NOPD say not to worry, most of the victims were drug related, and 80% had previous felony convictions). In 2013 the rate dropped 20% to 155, but its still a crazy place. In addition to the usual street crime watch out for the following scams. A person, often a teenager or pre teen will approach you and say “I’ll bet you $20.00 I know where you got them shoes”. You think how could this kid know where I bought these shoes, and he says “on your feet on Boubon Street”. If you don’t pay off there is an ugly scene. Another is someone who offers to take you “where the action is”, this ends up being an alley where you get mugged. Pick pockets and bag snatching is also a popular enterprise. Watch you bag when in an outdoor cafe or bar. If you look a like a drunken victim, you’ll end up being one. Be aware of your surroundings. My favorite admonition given by locals is: “Park in front, or take a cab”
Watch out for the flashing lights that mark the school zones in the morning and afternoon. It’s really 20 mph here and the cops take it very seriously. A new addition are red light and speed cameras, you never know until you get the $100 ticket in the mail. The cops are usually not much help. In some cases, they are worse than the crooks. I always seem to get crossed up with the motorcycle cops, and they are not very user friendly. The former District Attorney here, Eddie Jordan, said the corruption runs deep and wide through the department- “pervasive, rampant, systemic”, and having said that quote, he was run out of office in 2007-for good reason. There is some hope, a new police superintendent was hired and he has vowed to clean up the force. Never the less, when a cop tells you to move along, the only answer is “Yes Sir”. The cops are generally overworked and underpaid and as a result you need to give them a certain degree of “respect” even if you think they don’t deserve it. Unfortunately, Rodney King happens on a regular basis here.
List compiled by Stan Strembicki, Professor of Photography and Professor Jeff Pike of the School of Art at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. Special appreciation to The Green Bay Party Girls who helped me discover the backwaters and byways of the Crescent City, no one could ask for better co-pilots. Grateful thanks to our local tour guides Kevin Barre, Arthur and Caroline Nead for their insiders information and of course “The Annex”. Also thanks to Jimmy & Marie (my home away from home), Jennifer F (for her e mail advice) and new friends made along the trail. Last but not least, thanks to Eric Liu, who came to NOLA with me for my first Mardi Gras. Not responsible for prices, muggings, directions, knuckleheaded opinions, bad spelling or anything not found to be completely accurate. If your Mama is a lawyer, this is not an offical site of Washington University or the School of Art at the SamFox School.
Updated by sjs 2018/10