Friday, February 25, 2011

"Must-See" Bourbon Street

Asking a person to say the first thing coming to mind in response to the words "New Orleans" will bring a number of responses. (We'll give you a few seconds to respond.)

A list of likely responses might be topped with responses of "Hurricane Katrina" or "Mardi Gras."

Some others would respond with "beignets," "the Saints," "jazz," or "the French Quarter."

A final group might come up with "Emeril Lagasse," "Brennan's," "gumbo," "po'boys," or "Pat O'Brien's hurricane."

Finally, we're sure there would be a sizable group that would quickly respond: "Bourbon Street."

Ah, yes. Bourbon Street--"you've got to see it," "sleazy," "best place to party," or "too noisy."

Not being the wild and crazy party goers at any point in our lives, we had crossed Bourbon Street as we headed north or south on cross streets, but we thought we really needed to at least get a glimpse of the famous 13-block parcel.

So, tonight we walked the east-west length of a large portion of the street. We began late one afternoon, about half an hour before sunset. For us, this was the perfect time--early enough to use a camera without invading privacy, but late enough to easily photograph the neon signs.

Even though our walk occurred before the crowds arrived, it was not too early to be "invited" to "See the newest bar on Bourbon" or "C'mon in, it's 3 for 1" (three drinks for the price of one), and to receive a variety of "Food and Girls" enticements

Bourbon Cowboy is unique among the bars along the street in that it has a mechanical bull.

This scene features a Lucky Dog cart and Chris Owens' bar (below). "The eternally glamorous Ms. Owens delivers an elegant dose of Las Vegas to Bourbon Street with her Latin Rhythms.... This is the way floor shows used to be back in the days when women wouldn't leave home without their white gloves and men indulged in the three-martini lunch."

We interrupted our walk to stop at the Musical Legends Park at Café Beignet. The Park is a tribute to New Orleans Musical Legends and includes 3 bronze statues of New Orleans musical legends Al Hirt, Pete Fountain, Fats Domino and other commemorative displays, plaques and artwork.

The outdoor park with its comfor-table, inviting setting of about 20 or so round, metal-mesh tables was a welcome contrast to the bars of Bourbon Street.

Located in the Royal Sonesta Hotel is the Desire Bistro & Oyster Bar--one of the most famous and most photographed--restaurants in New Orleans, with the renowned “Desire” sign above the entrance.

Located in the lobby of this same hotel, is the newly-opened PJ's Coffee Cafe.

Jester Gateway is an eatery featuring bar/pub food.

For almost 200 years the Old Absinthe House bar has been a staple of life in the French Quarter.

We will continue our walk after a brief break.

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