New Orleans is more than Bourbon Street

(photo by Michael Kinney)

By Michael Kinney

NEW ORLEANS– Oklahoma completed another successful trip to the Sugar Bowl after its 35-19 win over Auburn Jan. 2. The win marked the eighth win in 10 trips to New Orleans for OU.

As successful as the trip was for the Sooners, who finished the year with an 11-2 record, it was just as good for most fans who made the trek South.

Except for the rain that poured down New years Eve and New Years, fans were treated to variety of special events that made the Sugar Bowl one of the best events college football has to offer.

And with the way the bowl system is set up, Oklahoma fans can expect to be back in New Orleans often if they do not earn a spot in the College Football Playoffs.

Because of that, here are a few tips for OU fans who plan to make the trip to New Orleans the next time the Sooners find themselves in the Sugar Bowl.

1. If you have to drive, leave early. The 10 plus hour drive is bad enough. But having to go through the badlands of Texas and Louisiana at night is never good.

What I did discover on my drive is a place called Buc-ee’s, an interstate truck stop that looks like a WalMart. It had everything inside. I could start my 2017 Christmas shopping at Buc-ee’s and pretty much fill my list.

But besides Buc-ee’s, there is nothing good about the drive to New Orleans. But because plane tickets are so expensive, driving is just something you have to get through.

2. Much praise has been heaped on New Orleans for its food. And for the most part, it is well deserved.

The Shrimp & Grits at Pascal’s Manale was great, despite me not being a fan of grits. But even that pailed in comparision to the Crab Cakes and Shrimp and Catfish Po Boy from Old N’awlins Cookery and Oceana Grill.

However, I did try a few dishes that were outside my lane. That included a Fricassee Lamb at the Irish House my first night in town. It was horrible, as was the house music. And the only reason I had to go there was because almost every restaurant we went to or called about was packed with some having lines out the door.

Most of the more well-known eateries, such as Cafe Du Monde and Acme Oyster House, are always going to be packed with long waits. So do a little scouting and find some lesser known restaurants. The food is just as good and often less pricey.

3. If you are looking to get blind drunk, drink cheap bear and see wild debauchery, than Bourbon Street is for you. It’s a loud, non stop assault on your senses. If you have enough beads, you can rule the world for a night. People will do almost anything to have drunken frat boys to bestow beads on them.

While the scene at Bourbon Street has its moments of fun and interesting sights, some visitors may want a more laid back scene. That’s why I became a fan of Frenchmen Street.

While it’s not as well known as Bourbon Street, it has many positives to it. Every restaurant seems to have good, head swaying music playing at all times. Mostly from live bands. Jazz and blues were the dominant influences.

Check out Blue Moon, D.B.A. Three Muses, The Spotted Cat and Bamboulas. The food is solid and the atmosphere is much more chill. It’s a better representation of nickname the The Big Easy than Bourbon Street.

4. Don’t be afraid to explore the city. It is full of historical sites, beautiful neighborhoods and interesting people. But you have to get out of your hotel and and away from the beaten track to find them.

If you get an opportunity to visit a city like New Orleans, you don’t want to come back home with the “I wished I had done this or that.” Take a chance and really get out in the streets. That’s how experiences are made.

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Story first appeared in The Yukon Review

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