I’ve been seven times to New Orleans by now and I can’t recommend it enough to anybody who loves food, music or just having a great time. Whether you are a big Jazz music or spicy food fan, it doesn’t matter. New Orleans got something for everyone.
I first went down there with my family when I was only 13 in March of 1993. Although I couldn’t get into a lot of places due to my age, I remember I thoroughly enjoyed the whole atmosphere in the city and the fact that it had a Tower Records on Decatur Street didn’t hurt either. I also remember doing a Superdome tour with my father (which I loved and it was the main reason we became a Saints fans) and even though I’m a little difficult when it comes to eating, I just feasted on the local food (gumbo, jambalaya, alligator sausage, turtle soup, you name it).
It took us a few years to go back, but after we returned to spend our 1999 New Year’s Eve, we made a point of going back there almost every first week of January. And in the beginning of the 21st century, Decatur Street appeared to be something out of my dreams. You had on the same street, one after the other: Planet Hollywood, Virgin Records, Hard Rock Café, Barnes and Noble, Tower Records and Landry’s Restaurant. In my early twenties mind, it was heaven on earth.
And it didn’t stop there: now in my early twenties I could drink and go to the bars on Bourbon Street! And it was then that we discovered the wonderful world of used record stores, particularly one located on Conti Street called Magic Bus. It was owned by three extremely friendly and funny British guys, who actually became our friends because we went there every single day. And there was the whole atmosphere that engulfed the city during the Sugar Bowl. It’s really interesting and way cool.
Then Katrina hit. We were devastated, almost as much as the city. It took us almost ten years to have the guts to come back there. And this last Holyday Season we did. And what a great surprise! I don’t know how they did it but the city is even better. Okay, there’s no more Magic Bus, but they still got decent record stores, Bourbon Street is still vibrant, the people are happier than ever, there are a lot of wonderful new restaurants (Gordon Biersch brewery and Couchon comes to mind) and the unmissable WWII museum. And we even got to watch Allen Toussaint at the great Snug Harbor and a decisive Saints game at the Superdome! All in all a, stupendous trip!
So, anytime you have the chance, go to New Orleans. I guarantee you won’t regret it!
Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal”.
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