After growing up and completing my orthopaedic training in my native New Zealand, I came to New Orleans 33 years ago to complete a fellowship at Louisiana State University (LSU) Medical Center. I never left.
Part of that may have to do with marrying a local, but here are some reasons I continue to be fascinated with my adopted city—great art, music that gets your toes tapping and touches your soul, gourmet food and regional delicacies, wonderful shopping, plenty of outdoor activities, a diverse history, and nonstop wonders. Visitors to the 2014 AAOS Annual Meeting may have a hard time deciding what to do, so here are my suggestions.
Don’t discount this list just because I have grey hair! My coauthor, Lindsey Liuzza, MD, is a native New Orleanian and a resident here at LSU.
Have a Sazerac!
The “official cocktail” of New Orleans was created by Antoine Amedie Peychaud in 1838. The recipe has evolved over the years and now incorporates rye whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters, and herbsaint (an anise-flavored liquor). You can order a Sazerac at most restaurants and cocktail bars in the city.
In the French Quarter, Lindsey recommends the Carousel Bar (214 Royal St, 504-523-3341), the Hermes Bar at Antoine’s (713 St. Louis St, 504-581-4422), the French 75 Bar (813 Bienville St, 504-523-5433), and the happy hour at Domenica’s in the Roosevelt Hotel (123 Baronne St, 504-648-6020). I would add the Sazerac Bar (504-648-1200), also in the Roosevelt Hotel.
Listen to music
The tradition of unique New Orleans music continues. Check the weekly free magazine Gambit to see who is playing and where. Names to look for include James and Troy Andrews (Trombone Shorty), Snooks Eaglin, Deacon John, Irma Thomas, and Jeremy Davenport.
Not-so-well-known venues and names include The Maple Leaf Bar (8316 Oak St, in the Carrollton neighborhood, 504-866-9359); anywhere on Frenchman Street, including the Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro (626 Frenchmen St, 504-949-0696); Irvin Mayfield at the Royal Sonesta (300 Bourbon St, 504-586-0300); Jeremy Davenport at the Ritz Carlton (921 Canal Street, 504-524-1331); or just stroll Royal Street and listen to the street performers!
Lindsey’s recommendations include live music in the French Quarter and near-by Faubourg Marigny. Check out Frenchmen Street, as well as One-Eyed Jacks (615 Toulouse St, 504-569-8361) and House of Blues (225 Decatur St, 504-310-4999). Tipitina’s (501 Napoleon Ave, 504-895-8477) and Le Bon Temps Roule (4801 Magazine St, 504-895-8117) are worth taking a cab ride uptown.
Take in a sporting event
Our beloved Saints are now out of the National Football League playoffs, and the Who-Dats are in hibernation. Lindsey, a basketball fan, recommends a Pelicans game at the New Orleans Arena (1501 Girod St) in the heart of the Central Business District (CBD). The Pelicans will be playing at home during the AAOS Annual Meeting, so you can root for your favorites: March 12 against Memphis, March 14 against Portland, and March 16 against Boston.
Golfers can take advantage of several excellent courses that allow visitors to play with green fees. If you have a day, try the TPC Louisiana course on the west bank (11001 Lapalco Blvd, Avondale, 504-436-8721); but if you have just a couple of hours, play at the public course at Audubon Park (6500 Magazine St, 504-861-2537). The par is only 62, so there are more par 3 holes than a regular course, but it is by no means an easy course! (The 17th hole requires 180 yards across water with no bailout.) After the round, you can enjoy great food and drink at the clubhouse.
Be art smart
My appreciation of art comes from my wife, who is an artist. We routinely visit museums and galleries in the cities where the AAOS meeting is being held.
Here at home, we enjoy the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Part (One Collins Diboll Circle, 504-658-4100. The big exhibit during the AAOS Annual Meeting is “Photography and the American Civil War,” featuring more than 200 of the finest and most poignant photographs of the era in a landmark exhibition that will be of interest to history buffs as well as art lovers.
Also in the CBD is the Ogden Museum of Southern Art (925 Camp St, 504-539-9650), which features live music after hours on Thursday evenings. The New Orleans-based Sweet Olive String Band will be featured on March 13 as part of the Ogden After Hours series.
Across from the Ogden is the Contemporary Arts Center (900 Camp St, 504-528-3805), and around the corner on Julia Street is Gallery Row. Additional galleries can be found on Royal and Chartres Streets in the French Quarter and uptown along Magazine Street.
Be a history buff
Take a walking tour of the French Quarter to view the facades and enter the courtyards of buildings that date back hundreds of years.
Lindsay recommends taking a guided tour; Friends of the Cabildo (504-523-3939) and Historic New Orleans Tours (504-947-2120) offer well-regarded tours in the French Quarter and beyond. Carriages offering French Quarter tours line up in front of Jackson Square. However, these tours are better known for their colorful stories than their historical accuracy.
Walk on the quiet side of the French Quarter down Royal and Chartres streets between Jackson Square and the Esplanade. Visit the Ursuline Convent and the many quirky shops and galleries in the area. For more recent history, an excellent choice is the National World War II Museum (945 Magazine St, 504-528-1944) in the CBD, just a few blocks from the Morial Convention Center.
Although large stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue are close to the convention center, Lindsey recommends that serious shoppers check out Magazine Street, which stretches 6 miles from the CBD to the Riverbend. It features Audubon Park, many restaurants and bars, and some of the city’s best boutiques and antique stores. Visit www.magazinestreet.com for a merchant directory and shopping guide.
A great fishing trip can be had in a morning, leaving time for afternoon and evening functions. Marsh fishing from neighboring Jean Lafitte will quickly get you your quota of redfish and speckled trout. A longer day will allow fishing from Venice, with trips to the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico or farther out in search of tuna.
Dine well and often
Dr. Zembo’s article (“Creole, Cajun, Cuisine, and Carry-out,” page 45) lists a number of excellent choices, and everyone has a favorite neighborhood bar or po-boy shop. One of mine is close to the convention center—Mother’s (401 Poydras St, 504-523-9656). Ask for Ronnie and tell him I sent you! Midcity eateries include Mandina’s (3800 Canal St, 504-482-9179) and Liuzza’s (3636 Bienville St, 504-482-9120), while uptown, Domalise’s Po-Boy and Bar (5240 Annunciation St, 504-899-9126) is a hole-in-the-wall where you might run into Eli Manning chomping on a shrimp po-boy dripping with beef gravy.
Downtown and the CBD are home to many of New Orleans’s famous restaurants, including Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, John Besh’s Restaurant August, and Emeril Lagasse’s Emeril’s, to name just a few. Even now, making a reservation at these eateries around the time of the AAOS Annual Meeting may be difficult.
Although we who live uptown don’t relish seeing taxi loads of conventioneers turning up at our favorite watering holes, Magazine Street has many great restaurants, including La Petite Grocery (4238 Magazine St, 504-891-3377) and Lilette (3637 Magazine St, 504-895-1636). Near Children’s Hospital, where I work, Clancy’s (6100 Annunciation St, 504-895-1111) and Patois (6078 Laurel St, 504-895-9441) are excellent options. For an adventure, head across the Huey Long Bridge to Mosca’s (4137 U.S. 90, Avondale, La., 504-436-8950), especially if you like garlic!
Run off those calories
To leave New Orleans with the same trim figure you had when you arrived, take the streetcar or a taxi to the Audubon Park track. (If you are really fit, you can get there by running about 4 miles up the streetcar line in the center of St. Charles Avenue.) The perimeter track is around 2 miles long, and you can add another mile if you extend it behind the zoo to the Mississippi River. You will be walking or running with locals, Tulane students, and more than a few celebrities, often including James Carville and Drew Breese.
Lindsey and I hope these suggestions are helpful. My final comment is that New Orleanians are almost universally friendly, proud of their city, and very willing to be approached for advice on anything, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Links to the places mentioned in this article can be found below and in the epub version available at http://orthoportal.org/aaosnow
Andrew G.S. King, MD, is department head and Robert D’Ambrosia Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the LSU School of Medicine. Lindsey Liuzza, MD, is a PGY-2 resident in the department of orthopaedics at LSU School of Medicine.
New Orleans links: