NOLA

Jim K

Final Approach
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Richard Digits
I've got a working trip to New Orleans in January. We are being provided a hotel on Canal St., which we can extend beyond the actual meeting I'm there for. We've never been, and need to know what the "can't miss" items are. Nat'l WWII museum is on my list. I suppose Bourbon street. Anything else? How long should I plan to spend at the wwii museum?
 
Ww2 museum is quite the immersive experience. Amount of time depends on how much interest you have in the different aspects of the war. The aviation displays are not that extensive.
 
A streetcar trip thru the Garden District is nice. Same route as the WWII Museum IIRC. Been to the French Quarter a few times with my Brother who lives in NOLA. We always went during daylight. Also a few Tulane Football games Nice small Stadium.
 
I don't like cities but I enjoyed New Orleans. Actually it's less of a city than a theme park, where the themes are alcohol, food, and music. You'll want to walk down Bourbon Street but yeah, it's a dump. Most bars with music have a two drink minimum. We liked the area around Frenchman Street on the east end of town a lot more, quieter but still some fun places.
 
My experience was just before the pandemic, so assuming that the following is still true:

For a number of years I have operated under the feeling that once you've seen a couple of North American cities, you've really seen them all.

A visit to New Orleans killed that feeling. You don't have to stay on Bourbon street to get the "real" New Orleans experience. In fact, some of the surrounding streets have some great opportunities, depending on what you're into. Frenchmen Street, for example, exemplifies the typical New Orleans ethos where some very unassuming bars/restaurants will have amazing jazz bands playing within. This was one of the two enduring phenomena that I experienced there - small bars with incredibly talented musicians dutifully imbuing ambiance into the place. I was absolutely enamored with the music that was just everywhere there. And I don't even care about jazz.

The other phenomena that I vividly recall is the food, which was great virtually across the board. From little hole-in-the-wall sandwich/beer shops and their Po' Boys all the way to fancy restaurants with expensive fish/steaks - the entire spectrum of everything that I ate in the week that I was there was just delicious.

In the French Quarter there are also awesome antiques shops where you can browse curios from various points from American history. A lot of civil war and turn-of-the century items to be seen. Oh, and if you can make it to some of the historic cemeteries there, they are also quite interesting.

I hope this is all true in 2023.
 
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We were just back there again in September. It's changed like so many cities lately with many more homeless sadly.

The above said, you want to go to Johnny po boys in the quarter. Also the gumbo shop is good. I would suggest the central grocery in the quarter also, but it was under renovation in September; perhaps it's back open now.

Stop at the visitor center in the quarter here:
 
I seem to remember that I was at the WWII museum for 4, maybe 5 hours. It is definitely worth the time. I also agree that in addition to Bourbon Street, Frenchman’s street is a must see for jazz music. The Garden district is worth walking around to see the homes and cool restaurants. Go to Parasols for the po boys and the Avenue Pub for beers. In the Quarter, Coops Place is one of my favorite restaurants.
 
First, t5he WW ll museum. At least one full day, 2 is bettrer. If you find that one is enough, other things are right around it.

If you are a polite veteran, they have rules that the volunteers may ignore. There are ropes around the Patton tank, beyond arms reach, and a sign saying "Do Not Touch". I asked the volunteer guard if I could step inside, and take a closer look, he unfastened the rope, and asked if I would like a picture next to it? Absolutely! "Tanker?" "No, but I have been in one, many years ago, and just as clean as this one, and not in a museum". Italy, in 1958, and combat ready.

Museum is 4 parts, the equipment, from motorcycles to airplanes, the diorama's of combat conditions, which will not entice you to enlist, the theater, which has a strong anti war element, but also a strong promotion that early entry is the better choice. As is a minor part, the PT boat, housed in a steel building on Lake Ponchartrain.. The limitations there ruin the experience, rides ended with Covid, and probably will never come back, as they never collected the actual cost of running the PT.

My visit to NOLA was specifically to have a ride on the PT boat, ticket bought many months in advance. The slip has concrete floor on both sides of the PT, and the all steel building is open at one end. Comment is made on various threads on the sound of F 1 engines, and various motor cycles. I was unprepared for the sound of the center 850 HP V12 starting, straight pipes 10 feet long, out the sides at midship. Echoing off the walls and ceilings. First as a deep GRUMP....GRUMP... as the Captain cranked her. Then it fired and ROARED, eased back to closely packed individual bangs, and the next engine cranked. With all 3 pounding sound off those steel walls, everyone had fingers in ears, but grinning.
The handlers backed us out of the building, the exhaust blasted out into open air, and the overpowering noise was gone

After idling out of the marina on just the center engine, we accelerated quickly to 35 K, and zoomed around for 20 minutes. CGS regulations do not allow speeds faster, but the Captain idled down to about 5 K, then advanced the throttles to wide open, raised a great rooster tail, and immediately backed off, as we were at the limit. Great feeling and sounds.

The Garden District trolley ride was well worth going out and back.

The Museum ill give very good guidance for nearby outstanding food, both pricy, and modest I think that we ate in 4 of their recommended places and all were delicious, even the modestly priced two.

We did not go downtown after dark, as our hotel was on the Lake near the old airport..

If you fly in, the old airline terminal is a good place to eat, modestly priced authentic foods, and you can keep your plane there as it is now all GA and lower end Corporate. It may not be quite as good as we remember it, as the executive chef died a year ago, but it was famous for NOLA food well before he was hired, so the replacement should be similar. Prices are subsidized, to make the restaurant a destination dining place, and boost awareness of the availability of getting charter flight based there.

Pilots should take notice of the very high railroad and car bridges over the Mississippi River, sea going ships pass under them. Tempting to pilots.......... Lunken should stay away from NOLA :)

Have a great trip, Jim.
 
4 years at Tulane. Been years but was there about 2 years ago for a meeting and so reacquainted myself with some thing Sites to be seen Audubon zoo and park, lakefront, Jazz fest but thats in the spring, if you are into Mardis Gras there is a museum across the river, street car ride, Louis Armstrong Park, ww2 museum I have been told is good but did not go. Would avoid Bourbon St. Lots of drunks and not much to see. My favorite restaurant out the normal big shots: Camillia Grill, Masperos, Ye Old College Inn, Cooters Browns(really a bar but their limited bar menu is pretty good). The big name restaurants are overhyped in my opinion.
 
Was just in New Orleans and had a blast, did my seaplane add-on there, and stayed a few days after. Tons of restaurants, you can walk everywhere, the food was amazing! Go to places with long lines, eat the gumbo and seafood, delicious.
 
I lived there for 12 years for school/residency at LSU/Charity Hospital so I saw the ugly underbelly of a city that has progressively gotten more unsafe in the past dozen years. My wife was raised there and she refuses to stop in NOLA proper on the way to visit family that live down the river. The police department are either incompetent or corrupt in many cases: there are good officers on board but they are tainted by the scumbags. A friend who lives there gave me a navy blue ‘swat’ style tee shirt that read in bold yellow letters “NOPD” and underneath “not our problem dude”. Unfortunately there is too much truth in the words written on that shirt. As mentioned, stay out of the French Quarter at night and keep ‘between the posts’ in the day. Do not wander off of Bourbon toward Rampart…unless you carry and are well prepared to use your weapon. Use a cab or Uber to get to destinations even if in walking distance of several blocks. I don’t want to trash the city completely but you must be cautious and maintain situational awareness when on the street. There are great restaurants in the CBD and Uptown that are a safe Uber ride. Yes, the WWII museum is phenomenal and a must see. The aquarium in really nice as well as Audubon Zoo. Just be cautious and minimize night walking and you will be fine.

side note- When Charity Hospital was open, the ER on most nights was the most entertaining zoo I have been to. ;)
 
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There's also a quiet and nice little Revolutionary War battlefield that I enjoyed visiting.

For the most part, I'm not a fan, but there are some decent spots already noted. Antoine's wasn't bad, if a lot pricey.
 
There's also a quiet and nice little Revolutionary War battlefield that I enjoyed visiting.
Do you mean Chalmette? I suspect so. That’s actually the War of 1812 and is what’s referenced to in the old “Battle of New Orleans” song. It’s an interesting place, if only to see how close they were to each other when fighting.

As for NOLA itself, I agree with lots of the above, including the downtown in particular being a war zone outside of a pretty small area. Definitely stay southeast of Rampart in the Quarter but we enjoy Royal St in particular and even on Bourbon Street, past St Ann St the whole area quiets down a lot, becomes more “residential”, and is nice to walk through- in daylight.

For us, a must-do is to go to Cafe du Monde for beignets, especially at breakfast. There are lots of others selling beignets but we like theirs the best, plus love the ambience. Walk around the back (river) side to see how they’re made - probably best done AFTER eating.

There are TONS of greasy-spoon fast-food-ish places with excellent shrimp poboys, especially in the suburbs. They’re awesome.

If you have a car, driving through the Garden District and the “uptown” area (along Magazine or St Charles, near Touro hospital) is fun to do. And, odd as it sounds, consider going into the University Hospital for a visit. The lobby for their medical offices has a fantastic glass sculpture “map” that tells the history of the city. https://www.nola.com/news/more-than...cle_496d7660-4125-5301-97a8-6c8f671b968b.html
 
Definitely the right time of the year for less stress from the heat and humidity. Would highly recommend a Segway Tour. Excellent knowable guides take you all around the Quarter to explore the history and special out of the way places we would never have been able to find on our own. Rose Ann was Master on that thing. She could run circles around all us in the group. Must have been her low center of gravity.

https://nationtours.com/louisiana/new-orleans-segway-tours/

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Avoid bourbon street and other known tourist attractions like the plague since there’s great food and music everywhere

Beware, it’s easy to get emotional at the WWII museum.
 
One of the guys going on this trip related that his nephew went a couple months ago and had his phone and wallet lifted off him and had no idea until he got back to his hotel. Now, apparently he was wearing cargo shorts :rolleyes: and must've not had his phone locked because the next part of the story was all the stuff the thieves managed to do/buy with his phone. I have a feeling he was an easy victim, but I get the impression the crowds down there invite pickpockets at a higher level than other places. We're not much into nightlife, although in January it will obviously be dark well before even we go to bed. I presume the touristy areas like Bourbon St. would be comparable safety wise to downtown Chicago?

How are the streetcars? Looks like a fun way to access most of the places we would want to go and all the lines run right in front of our hotel.
 
On my first visit to NOLA, decades ago, I was strolling down Bourbon street when a beautiful woman in full antebellum dress, right down to the parasol, sidled up beside me, slipped her arm through mine, looked into my eyes, and in the sweetest southern accent asked...'Honey, are you lonely?'.

It took me a moment to realize I'd encountered a theme hooker. I managed to stammer that no, I was fine, and she moved off through the crowd, like a Disney character working the park.
 
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One of the guys going on this trip related that his nephew went a couple months ago and had his phone and wallet lifted off him and had no idea until he got back to his hotel. Now, apparently he was wearing cargo shorts :rolleyes: and must've not had his phone locked because the next part of the story was all the stuff the thieves managed to do/buy with his phone. I have a feeling he was an easy victim, but I get the impression the crowds down there invite pickpockets at a higher level than other places. We're not much into nightlife, although in January it will obviously be dark well before even we go to bed. I presume the touristy areas like Bourbon St. would be comparable safety wise to downtown Chicago?

How are the streetcars? Looks like a fun way to access most of the places we would want to go and all the lines run right in front of our hotel.
Great info videos
 
Do you mean Chalmette? I suspect so. That’s actually the War of 1812 and is what’s referenced to in the old “Battle of New Orleans” song. It’s an interesting place, if only to see how close they were to each other when fighting.
Whelp, I apparently wasn't firing on all cylinders last night. Yep, the war of 1812...
 
The street cars are safe but a bit of a yawn in my opinion, but hey, if you find yourself with nothing better to do….:)
 
Aside from everything already mentioned… Get your ASES at Southern Seaplane, highly recommend them and landing on water is the most fun you’ll ever have with your clothes on. Or if you don’t have time for the rating see if they’re doing any fishing trips — didn’t do that but have heard good things.
 
You're going to walk through a lot of puke and urine, make sure you take that into account with your shoe selection.
 
You're going to walk through a lot of puke and urine, make sure you take that into account with your shoe selection.
Ahh….the olfactory patina of the French Quarter. To paraphrase Chris Christopherson… ”nothing so pungent as the smell of Sunday morning going down”. ;)
 
I was born and raised in an area near NOLA, but not in it. Here is my take on the city.

The City has a tremendous amount of history and heritage. The culture and food is unmatched by any other city I've visited in the US. It is truly unique.

Unfortunately the city has become quite a cess pool. The City government is completely broken and corrupt. There is no safe part of the city, huge areas of high poverty and homelessness. Crime has taken over the city, and no one really cares to deal with it. The morning news everyday is just a list of all the shootings from the previous day, most of which go unsolved.

Many of the historic districts are just a block away from the worst neighborhoods, and the resident gangs love to target tourist. Police presence is non existent. Gangs of young teenagers with AK-47s target random people to rob and carjack, and often kill their victims, even in broad daylight. The City did make an effort to add cameras around the French Quarter to deter crime, all they have done is make better news footage.

Many cities have crime and murders, but usually if you aren't involved in bad things with bad people, your personal risk is low. That isn't the case in NOLA. Random people are attacked all the time.

I no longer visit the city, and I find that sad. It could be a wonderful place.
 
I was born and raised in an area near NOLA, but not in it. Here is my take on the city.

The City has a tremendous amount of history and heritage. The culture and food is unmatched by any other city I've visited in the US. It is truly unique.

Unfortunately the city has become quite a cess pool. The City government is completely broken and corrupt. There is no safe part of the city, huge areas of high poverty and homelessness. Crime has taken over the city, and no one really cares to deal with it. The morning news everyday is just a list of all the shootings from the previous day, most of which go unsolved.

Many of the historic districts are just a block away from the worst neighborhoods, and the resident gangs love to target tourist. Police presence is non existent. Gangs of young teenagers with AK-47s target random people to rob and carjack, and often kill their victims, even in broad daylight. The City did make an effort to add cameras around the French Quarter to deter crime, all they have done is make better news footage.

Many cities have crime and murders, but usually if you aren't involved in bad things with bad people, your personal risk is low. That isn't the case in NOLA. Random people are attacked all the time.

I no longer visit the city, and I find that sad. It could be a wonderful place.

Man that is disappointing to hear. Guess I shouldn’t be surprised though.
 
A couple of weeks ago a friend had to drive to NO to pick up a couple from San Diego that were visiting but decided to stay in the city for the weekend. They were robbed at gun point on Bourbon St. (at night) and had no way to get a rental car to get over to Lafayette to my friend’s house. This is not an uncommon occurrence and only makes the nightly news if they were shot. There are some nice sights and places to visit in daylight in the quarter but Bourbon is a cess pool.
 
Like any big city there is good and bad. Nawlin's has a reputation for being unsafe and corrupt cops. Is it true, probably to some extent, but like flying visiting Nawlin's requires you to be prepared and be aware. Be aware of your surroundings, do not go into dangerous areas especially at night, be vigilant, do your research and you are going to be okay. No different than visiting (put any other big city name and probably most places).
 
In the last few years it's obviously been a city in decline. A sad allegory for all of us.
 
Like any big city there is good and bad. Nawlin's has a reputation for being unsafe and corrupt cops. Is it true, probably to some extent, but like flying visiting Nawlin's requires you to be prepared and be aware. Be aware of your surroundings, do not go into dangerous areas especially at night, be vigilant, do your research and you are going to be okay. No different than visiting (put any other big city name and probably most places).

I would love to agree with you, but I can't. There aren't safe and dangerous areas in NOLA, all areas are dangerous. Being vigilant doesn't do much good when you are set upon by a half dozen 15 year old's with automatic weapons, as has been caught on surveillance video.

A friend of mine's husband was in downtown for a business meeting many years ago. He was shot in the chest and killed waiting to cross the street in broad daylight by a guy on a bicycle, according to witnesses. No motive, no connection, just random. The shooter was never caught.

There have also been random shootings of cars just driving down the interstate. On one of my last visits it was all over the news that the police were looking for two girls, 14 and 16, who posted videos on social media randomly firing guns out of a car window driving down the interstate in NOLA. Interestingly, the PD had previous mug shots of these two young girls.

These are recent events, but the city has always had its issues. After Katrina I met a marine that was sent to NOLA to assist in the rescue and recovery. This young man had also spent time in the battle of Fallujah. He told me straight out, he would rather go back to Fallujah than NOLA. At least in Fallujah the rules of engagement allowed him to shoot back.

As I said previously, it is very sad. I do find NOLA to be a unique city with its character, history, and culture. It should be an icon but greed and corruption have destroyed the city government and allowed the city to self destruct.
 
Are there any stats showing that NO is vastly more dangerous than other cities? From the lists I can find (citing varying years, to be fair) New Orleans seems to jump into and out of the lists of most dangerous cities, residing at various points in the top 50. It seemed pretty nice when I was there in 2019, and I was there for over a week, walking around at all hours.
 
In the past, I owned some properties in and around New Orleans (Crescent City) and spent considerable time there. The hurricanes wiped out my properties, killed my partner, and I haven't been back for over a decade.

Even back then you had to be careful. Heed the above warnings. DO NOT, under any circumstances simply drive around sightseeing in residential districts off the beaten path. Second line marches and funerals always have mounted police leading and trailing the parade for a reason. If you hook up with one, always stay between the police.

Loved the WWII museum.
Saint Charles street car was a nice tour of the crescent--not sure now.

Food is awesome, crab/crawfish boils, muffuletta, po' boy's, fried catfish... French Market along the river was great back then--not sure now.

Do Bourbon Street during daytime if at all. Back then I never dressed like a tourist, I'd be even less inclined to to do so now. Do not get drunk in public. Leave your jewelry/watches at home, even wedding rings. Do not flash cash. Use credit/debit cards.

The thing I miss most is fishing the marsh out of Delacroix with my buddy, bringing back a mess of redfish and trout, and throwing a fish feed party for friends. Good food, good friends, and good music.

It is a unique city rich with culture and history, just be careful. Have a great trip!
 
I was just there in September. Stayed at the fabulous Hotel Monteleone in the FQ. Yes, a few blocks of Bourbon at night are a tourist sh*tshow, but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

Wondered all thru the quarter day/night and never felt uncomfortable. Love the history, culture and architecture of the area. I highly recommend Preservation Hall for an intimate jazz music experience with some of the best.

Have a great trip!
 
You guys made me curious.. per Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_crime_rate sorting high to low by "murder and nonnegligent manslaughter" New Orleans is definitely up there. .. I would be hesitant, looking at this, to say "just like any other city, be vigilant" .. looks like an 'avoid altogether!' place to me.

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Interestingly I always assumed San Francisco, given all the media coverage the homeless get, would be higher on the list but it ranks at 66 out of 100.. Better than I'd have thought.
 
@midwestpa24 @Domenick ….listen to them, they know. I worked the surgical ER at Charity Hospital on an off from 1987-95. They handled the vast majority of major trauma in the city proper and adjacent areas. Most GSW victims could have easily been the perp any other day. However, there were too many innocents that were brought in that had ‘bled out’ before we could help them. Many had taken a wrong turn and ended up in a bad area. One particular patient that still sticks in my mind was a German helo pilot training at Ft. Rucker and was in town on leave. He was trying to find Bourbon street on foot and one of the female friendlies offered to assist. She turned him toward ’the Treme’ and another friendly put a small caliber pistol to his side, robbed him, the pulled then trigger just for kicks. He came in with pupils fixed and dilated, no pulse. We found a small perf in his aorta and he lost most of his blood volume before he could get to the ED. Bachelorette number one rolled on number two giving the detectives the story. That one really angered me. I then made a decision to not accept an academic appointment and pursue private practice away from any big city. My daughter was nearing driving age and the thought of her making a bad turn into the wrong area scared me. According to friends who still live there the violent crime is worse in that it is more widespread and there are no truly safe areas as there were in my time of residence.
 
If it hasn’t already been mentioned, the garden district is a nice, different side of NOLA. Maybe not in January, but who knows.
 
I know the crime stats for NOLA are bad but I gotta say, I spent a week there in April 2022 during french quarter festival and never felt unsafe (staying on Canal street close to Bourbon). But I'm from Chicago so maybe that helps take the edge off in terms of being worried about criminals.

KNEW was a fun airport to land at, and the FBO was friendly and solid. Also approach let me do a scenic tour of the city through the bravo so that was fun. I hope you are flying there. Quick trip.

No specific site recommendations except to soak in as much food and music as you can!
 
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