Top Five Things to Do Now –
When You Can Have the Quarter Practically to Yourself.
One of the most magical times to come to New Orleans is at year-end when the crowds are relatively small and you can develop a more intimate relationship with the city. Most tourists are waiting for the azaleas to bloom or for Mardi Gras to visit. Those who know better, know that this is the time of year to come. Right now, you can get great rates at the The French Quarter Collection of Hotels, which includes Hotel St. Marie, Hotel Provincial, Le Richelieu, Maison Dupuy Hotel, and French Market Inn. Come now and you won’t have to wait to get into the city’s most legendary restaurants either. Plus, without all the people blocking your view, you can get a really good look at the unique architecture of the Vieux Carré – every little wrought-iron detail will come to life.
Instead of rushing all over, trying to see everything and everybody, stop, lean and close your eyes when you hear the song of the calliope from the Steamboat Natchez. When you hear the bells of St. Louis Cathedral, imagine these streets in the old days, filling with Creole families heading to mass. This time of year, you may actually be able to hear your own feet as you walk down the cobblestoned streets of the old city. This is what the French Quarter must have been like when it was relatively new. Here are five must-experiences:
1. Strike up a conversation with an Oyster shucker.
Oysters are at their salty best in months ending in “R” and, this time of year, shuckers have more time to chat with visitors while they shuck. Pull up a stool and let yourself be entertained. Have a question? Ask away! You won’t just get an answer. You’ll get a story.
2. Take your sweet time in the Cabildo and the Presbytere.
If you’re like a lot of visitors, you’ve always wondered about the buildings that flank the Cathedral but have never gone in. This time, don’t make that mistake. Both Louisiana State Museums are filled with one-of-a-kind treasures. Our exhibits tell tales. Ask to see a portrait of the Baroness Pontalba who built the apartment buildings on either side of Jackson Square. Notice how she hides her fingers in the folds of her dress? It’s because her greedy father-in-law shot them off when she wouldn’t give him his way.
3. Share our history – and a muffuletta – at Napoleon House.
If the patina-covered walls of this old building could talk, we’re pretty sure you’d want to write down what they said. This restaurant has been a favorite of writers (both the famous and the should-have-beens) since way back. Post a pic of your Pimm’s Cup and get inspired.
4. Rock the cradle of jazz at Preservation Hall.
Going to Preservation Hall may sound like a touristy thing to do, but those too cool to do it are really missing out. This is your chance to hear real, live jazz cats, daddy-o. Don’t blow it. These guys were born to pick up a horn. If you don’t dig this, you can’t be fixed.
5. Get a front row seat to the fun.
Don’t just tour the French Quarter – stay here. There’s no better way to understand all her moods than to experience them morning, noon and in the middle of the night. Find your own secret courtyard and fall under the spell of New Orleans. It’s not voodoo. It’s the Vieux Carré. The magic is real.
The dedicated and friendly staff of Hotel St. Marie will ensure you experience all of the best of New Orleans' many sights, sounds, and tastes.
The French Market Inn, New Orleans, La., is tucked away on the banks of the Mississippi River in the center of the French Quarter.