Hanging Out in The French Quarter: Parks, Eats & More
A block from our hotel sat the almost empty and very green Louis Armstrong Park. With benches, bridges and ponds to walk around and an extremely attractive main arched
entrance, the park is a great place to have a picnic or just take a stroll in the morning before it gets too hot in the middle of the summer heated days in the city. Statues of jazz greats including Louis Armstrong, but also some others, are scattered around the area and if you have kids, this park would make for a nice little scavenger hunt friendly place as well as a perfect place to take some bread to feed the many ducks swimming around during the day. Concerts and other events are held inside from time to time and checking the local guides for anything happening in the park while you’re in town is a must. For such a nice area it was surprising that it was so empty the two times that we visited on our trip.
(This page contains affiliate links. That means if you click on them and purchase something, I will get a percentage of the transaction to keep up this blog and maybe if there’s a little extra to buy a bottle of red wine to go with dinner. Thanks for the support!)
Coop’s Place is one of those haunts that locals frequent and tourists try to find and sometimes bypass not realizing this little hole in the wall is what they were looking for.
IDs are checked at the door due to the video poker machines inside and no one under the age of 21 is permitted which makes this a more younger adult crowd and not so friendly to the families that wander everywhere, but that doesn’t stop Coop’s from getting packed with people outside waiting to get in. Opened in 1983, the restaurant and bar doesn’t take reservations and the staff is said to be snarky and inattentive but we found them informative and pleasant though very busy on our visit. Their menu is packed with local favorites from gumbo and jambalaya to shrimp, crawfish, redfish and red beans and rice and the prices are much friendlier than the more tourist frequented restaurants in the area. It’s dark, grimy and lived in and perfect for the visitor that wants to see where the locals really hang out.
If you’re heading to New Orleans, check out Ace Hotel New Orleans for a rustic urban hotel in the heart of the French Quarter for a simple yet chic stay with all of the amenities. The Hotel Le Marais also offers very chic ambiance in a great location or if you want something with more old world charm and history, check out The Magnolia Mansion.
After living in Korea for so many years, it’s not strange to see people drinking in the street, passed out on the street or really doing anything else in the street so walking along Bourbon Street for us didn’t have the same awe and fun feelings that other
Americans probably get when visiting the French Quarter and see so many drunkards stumbling around. With plastic cups in hand filled to the brim with some alcoholic beverage or another and a selection of beads wrapped around numerous necks even though it wasn’t even close to Mardi Gras, tourists and locals enjoyed the live music that streamed out of almost every establishment lining the road. The weeknights saw tourists, but come weekend, the street was packed with everyone and even more live musicians in the bars and on the streets. Jazz music here, blues there and even some metal music randomly blasted into our ears as we walked along. At night, the smell of booze, piss and vomit is masked by the fried chicken and other food scents that filter out of the restaurants, but come day and especially in the summer heat, this is not the street anyone could walk down for too long. I have to admit, as a pregnant woman, smells are currently overwhelming anyway, but then add stale beer to the scents filling the air and it’s sickening. Every morning the street is washed down, but it’s not perfect and I would recommend any other avenue to take a walk down during the day while saving Bourbon Street for your night out fun.
The windows and doors of every place sit open so the music comes from this way and that and if you’ve got a drink in hand while you’re on the street, you can stand just outside of any place and still get quite the show without actually entering. Costumed locals walk up and down the strip and tourists gawk at the spectacles or snap a shot here and there. When the night fun ends, not to worry, there are 24 hour diners at a few different corners ready for those late night eaters and as someone visiting from abroad, I was extremely happy to see some cheap hamburgers and fries that I could get at any hour.
The French Quarter was beautiful by day and offered some delicious and huge portioned food to eat as well as some great music to fill the ears. We went, we saw and we dined and couldn’t have asked for much more on the trip.
Louis Armstrong Park
835 N. Rampart St.
New Orleans 70116
Hours: dawn to dusk
1109 Decatur St.
New Orleans 70116
Days: Monday – Sunday
Hours: 11AM – 1AM (Open until 2AM on Fridays and Saturdays)
Website: Coop’s Place