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Any Place in New Orleans to Get a Flavour of the "Old South"?

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Dec 5th, 2006, 07:13 AM
  #1
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Any Place in New Orleans to Get a Flavour of the "Old South"?

Hello

A Canadian friend of mine and I will be taking a sleeper train from New York City to New Orleans in a few weeks. This will be his first time south of New York City in the Americas (he's originally from the Seychelles).

My friend has a great appreciation for historic homes and antiques. I think he'd enjoy seeing some antebellum homes and I think would be very mind-opening for him to experience the warmth, good manners and hospitality one associates with the "Old South". We will staying in the Garden District with no car; are there any restaurants (budget to $10-$20 per person) that pop to your mind (accessible by bus/tramway)to get Southern hospitality maybe with some traditional Southern home cooking? We're planning to explore the Garden District, French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. Any additional area to focus on for antebellum homes is welcome. I'm hoping to dispel/nuance some negative stereotypes about the US for my friend so since my Gay friend is biracial (no joke), I'm not looking for a different kind of "old South" (as you might imagine), if *that* even still exists.

Thanks! DAN
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Dec 5th, 2006, 07:22 AM
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I don't understand that last part. Gay residents and/or biracial residents definitely live, work, and play here. What is it you're looking for now?
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Dec 5th, 2006, 07:55 AM
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New Orleans has a large gay community as well as a majority African-American population. I can't imagine your friend not fitting in pretty well and enjoying himself. It's a very tolerant "live and let live" city.

Why Garden District? Great neighborhood but not the best place without a car, especially since the streetcars aren't running. I'd strongly suggest a move to the French Quarter or Faubourg Marigny but if you're "locked in" then it will work fine. I lived in the Lower Garden District until 2 years ago, when my wife, son and I moved to the Marigny, so I know both areas!
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Dec 5th, 2006, 08:28 AM
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I agree with the others - being biracial and gay wont really raise any eyebrows unless you are looking to mix with the upper crust.

I also think that without a car, the Garden District is not the most convinient place to stay - esspecially with the St. Charles streetcar still out of commission. I am sure there is a bus you could take and of course there are always cabs, so if you still want to stay in that neighborhood, then it is doable. It just isn't walking distance to a lot of things you will probably want to see.

As far as southern hospitality goes, just about everyone I interacted with in New Orleans was great. You don't have to look very hard to find really pleasant, hospitable people. They are everywhere.

For antibellum homes in New Orleans, there is a townhouse on Jackson Square in the French Quarter that is open as a museum - I believe it is called 1850 House or something like that. It gives a good view of city life in the antebellum south.

I am sure there are tours of other homes in the city as well.

If it is plantations you are looking for, then you could take a half day or day long tour from New Orleans.

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Dec 5th, 2006, 08:30 AM
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LoL, that won't raise any eyebrows with the upper crust of N.O. either. ;-)

Dan, do you have reasons for staying in the Garden District? How are you planning on getting around? Friends in N.O.? RTA not the most reliable in ole New Orleans.
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Dec 5th, 2006, 02:02 PM
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We'll be staying in the Lower Garden District... the price was right. Plus, this worked well for me when I passed through New Orleans briefly (2 years ago) and I found the neighbourhood charming; it may be a little tougher getting around compared to when the streetcar was there, but I understand there is a bus that will be running down St. Charles in the streetcar's place. I'm also looking forward to strolling through the Garden District itself (Magazine St., etc...). Hopefully that bus will take us where we need (and the Riverfront Streetcar I noticed stop at Thalia, looks not too far from Prytania on the map).

BTW I knew that by and large, being Gay and biracial would not be an issue in New Orleans (imagine there are more people with both those descriptors there than in much of the US), but didn't want people to think we were looking for a less tolerant "Old South", but more traditional genteel Southern hospitality, antebellum homes and home cooking. (At risk of sounding ridiculous, to describe what I'm trying to express in terms of cinema/TV, Old South resembles more "Gone With the Wind" and New South resembles more "Dallas".). Anyhow, sounds like there's plenty of hospitality all over (can't wait!)! Thanks for your thoughts. DAN
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Dec 5th, 2006, 02:10 PM
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Dan, here's a little thread about another aspect of Louisiana. Enjoy!

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=34909689

Do some online reading on the River Road and see if you'd like to take a tour out of New Orleans. I'll see if I can get some links for you, too.
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Dec 5th, 2006, 02:19 PM
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Go to the Columns for a drink on the porch. http://www.thecolumns.com/index.cfm

You definitely should take a plantation tour if you can. Don't know what condition they're in, but worth checking out.

I don't know which is the best (have gone with my friend who lives there, not with a tour) but here's one
http://www.graylineneworleans.com/plantation.shtml
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Dec 5th, 2006, 02:25 PM
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Start here, Dan, and I'll find more:
http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/louisiana/riverroad.htm
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Dec 5th, 2006, 02:26 PM
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Perhaps the upper crust wouldn't raise their eyebrows, but I don't think many of them would be quick to admit a biracial person to their ranks either. I mean some of these people would rather cancel their krew's mardi gras parade than admit black people.
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Dec 5th, 2006, 02:33 PM
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Now you're getting personal, J! LoL It's not as bad as you may think.
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Dec 5th, 2006, 04:04 PM
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McLaurie,

Columns looks wonderful, the kind of thing I'm looking for! I hope they let two well-mannered Montrealers from nearby budget hotel sip a glass of mint julep on that lovely porch .

Bayou Girl-- River Road looks super! I don't know if and how we'll manage to swing by plantations with no car and only 5 days (BTW thanks also for the Oak Alley suggestion, McLaurie!), but the whole shebang looks like a part of history to be treasured. BTW Fais-dodo also sounds like a good ol' time (some of my closest friends are Cajun cousins (francophone New Brunswicker Acadians)and they too know how to whoop it up with folk music and dance too!).

Thanks for all the great ideas!!!
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Dec 5th, 2006, 04:12 PM
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Does he look or small gay? Because then watch out!

No seriously Daniel. You will have a good time. BayouGal will steer you right.
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Dec 9th, 2006, 02:06 PM
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Hello again,

Thanks for all the suggestions. I especially appreciate the Gray Line tour referral, which after research seems to be the most reasonably priced out to Oak Alley Plantation.

My friend also mentioned he might enjoy going on a traditional paddlewheel. The Steamboat Natchez is the main one I could find, with the 2 hour tour seeming the most appealing. I've read mixed reviews on this and welcome more thoughts on the experience; $19/adult sounds pretty reasonable and I understand it takes one out as far as Chalmette Battlefield. I'm OK with the idea if some of the journey is industrial, but hopefully not all. I alternatively thought we could instead just take Algiers ferry across the Mississippi for free.

Also, any favourite lovely bike paths to look out for?

Thanks again DAN
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Dec 17th, 2006, 05:44 AM
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I pretty much agree with all of the postings here.

For the "Old South" I'd recommend going to "Oak Alley" for a trip back in time. I'd also recommend the Laura plantation for a more realistic interpretation of "the way things were" to give that other perspective.

I'd recommend Mother's regarding reasonably priced Southern home cooking with Southern hospitality. Make sure you order your poboy dressed and with debris...

Your friend will love it.

Oh, by the way, the weather has been fantastic lately. Warm! Some Canadian friends of mine were down here on business and they really appreciated the 70-75 degree weather vs. what is back home!
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Dec 17th, 2006, 07:42 AM
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Check this website for coupons concerning attractions in New Orleans:

http://www.neworleansonline.com/

There is one for the Steamboat Natchez - I'd suggest just the 2 hour trip since there are so many other great places to eat in the city that the dinner cruise isn't really necessary.

I'm sure you're already aware of the financial problems New Orleans is dealing with, so even if you use the coupons in the Good Times Guide tips everywhere are appreciated. We tipped like crazy (even the checkout ladies at the A&P in the Quarter) when we were there in September and everybody was so appreciative.

What a great town it is - have a good time!!

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Dec 21st, 2006, 05:29 PM
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I totally agree with bkluvsnola. You can't go to NOLA without visiting the plantations. They have tour vans that will pick you up at your hotel and take you out and back and include lunch. BOTH Oak Alley and Laura Plantations are a must - Oak Alley for it's grounds (to die for) and Laura for all the generations of history found on the plantation. We toured them three years ago and still think about them constantly. We are taking my parents back (to support NOLA tourism) in March because they have never been there and I have talked to BOTH plantations and they are open and running and very excited to see us. They stated everythin from New Orleans to Oak Alley to Baton Rouge was open and made it through the storms.

Also, something we did that was the BEST night EVER was taking the Haunted History Tour. It's all documented history around the French Quarter and we thought it was going to be some dumb ghost boogie man thing, but it was AWESOME and we learned so much about the weird history that has happened. It's a walking tour around the old hotels and mansions and if you can, ask for Midian Van Thorne for your guide. He was great.

Hope you enjoy it. It's a place you won't forget.

emh
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Jan 20th, 2007, 05:57 AM
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Hi

I double-clicked on my name, saw this post and realized I very rudely forgot to thank all those who offered their suggestions. We had a wonderful trip--for which I posted a trip report (url below). Our fabulous trip certainly didn't correspond with all the bad press New Orleans gets in the media these days (some of my mother's friends advised us against going!).

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=34923192

BTW we ended up very happy in the Lower Garden District, even without car. Being a 25-minute walk to the French Quarter, I can see why some of you were trying to persuade us to look elsewhere. We're however both avid walkers and appreciated the exploration and the exercise (working off all that great Nawlins food). Walking combined with the #12 St. Charles bus and #11 Magazine bus into the Quarter and out toward Audubon Park/Tulane, Whole Foods and the Uptown part of Magazine, we were very satisfied with the location. Even though not as "close" to the excitement of the quarter as say the Faubourg Marigny (or the Quarter itself), I think I would stay there again, as I loved the beautiful homes there, the neighbourly feel and especially Coliseum Park. (My friend thought at times he might have preferred staying the Fr. Quarter as he loved the area's energy, but then again, he liked the relative quiet of the Lower Garden District and thought he might have gone broke buying antiques if he had been in too close proximity to the Fr. Market area. Mind you, he went pretty cuckoo on Magazine Street buying pretty items as it was .

So, thanks to everyone for all your advice! DAN
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Jan 25th, 2007, 09:01 AM
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J-Correa...not true!!!

I know this for a fact.

Rex has a special guest this year who does not check the Caucasion box.

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