I present to you three exceptionally interesting places to explore in New Orleans… that most travelers don’t. Algiers Point, Treme and Downtown. These areas are cool enough for multiple blog posts each, but I’m condensing for now.
Algiers Point is a lovely neighborhood full of history and activity. To get there, catch the ferry at Canal Street Station–along with the locals heading to or from work–and head across the river.
Step off the boat and walk down a hill, and you’ll find an adorable town with cool nautical charm and unique architecture. There’s history here, too; in 1895, a fire destroyed a big part of the town. The main architectural icon is the courthouse, but the whole area has a colorful and interesting look.
Don’t forget to walk along the river. If you can make it there at sunset, you’ll catch a gorgeous view of the French Quarter and Downtown across the way.
Dry Dock Cafe
Dry Dock is a great place for lunch or dinner. It’s cozy and not crowded and in the center of Algiers. When I went, plenty of locals were hanging out discussing the strange weather. The food was delicious. Note the photo of étouffée–it was fabulous.
Crown and Anchor
This is a cool pub with a funny police call box out front. This local hangout is also in the center of town, and has a great outdoor patio.
This neighborhood, just north of the French Quarter, is chock full of interesting architecture, history and culture. New Orleans has traditionally been a very progressive and liberal city, and when I visited Treme in early 2017, I discovered all sorts of politically charged signs and art. There was satire and humor in windows and on street posts. Treme is alive with opinion and thought.
Google ‘Treme self-guided walking tour’ and choose from several available. Or simply wander. Every street hosts a plethora of colorful homes, decorated for holiday, Mardi Gras or just for fun. There are stained glass windows and ornately carved wooden doors. Don’t forget to bring your camera! And stop in at Treme Coffeehouse for a snack or cup of joe.
Backstreet cultural museum
I love this museum, tucked away in the Treme neighborhood. The staff respectfully asks that you don’t post photographs of the wonderful exhibits inside, so I present to you only this exterior photo. But I highly recommend a visit. They have vintage Mardi Gras costumes, historically significant objects from famous musicians and artists, and much, much more. The staff is friendly and informative. I found especially interesting the room dedicated to New Orleans funeral culture.
Later in my trip, I learned more about one reason funeral culture became a ‘thing’ in NOLA; early in the city’s history, yellow fever took thousands of lives each year. Immigration was the only thing keeping the population up. Death was normal. Funerals were common. The resilient culture of New Orleans found a way to cultivate hope and joy anyway.
Louis Armstrong Park
This beautiful park separates Treme from the French Quarter. There are ponds and bridges, statues and sculptures. It’s beautiful and full of lovely places to relax and people-watch.
The St. Charles Street car will pick you up on Canal St. by the French Quarter and take you through Downtown. It’s a fun and interesting ride, and there’s plenty to see along the way.
Every friend I know who’s lived in New Orleans recommended Mother’s to me. They also warned there would be a line to get in. They were right, but the line moved quickly, and the restaurant did not disappoint. They serve traditional New Orleans soul food… and the very best of it. It’s cafeteria style with a casual, laid back atmosphere, and there’s a bar, in case you’d like a glass of wine with your Po’ Boys.
Mardi Gras World
This giant warehouse museum is a delight. It holds floats, statues and art from many past Mardi Gras seasons. The tour is super fun and includes knowledgeable and funny tour guides, showing of a documentary about the history of Mardi Gras, and even a slice of King Cake! The old floats are beautiful and beautifully kept, and there are many great photo opportunities. I left with a whole new understanding of the holiday and what it means to the city. It’s not just a party, y’all. It’s a cultural phenomenon that represents the very best of the city and its people.
If you visit any of these places, comment and let me know what you think! And if you’re curious for more, see my other posts on New Orleans.
~Page Light Studios