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Upcoming Events

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1970 Jazzfest Movies

Apr 17 - 17, 2014
Join the Friends of the Cabildo as the Louisiana State Museum’s… more

30 Americans

Apr 17 - Jun 15, 2014
30 Americans showcases works by many of the most important African American… more

Concerts in the…

Apr 17 - 17, 2014
The Historic New Orleans Collection is proud to announce the lineup for its… more

Ogden After Hours-…

Apr 17 - 17, 2014
Ogden After Hours is the place to go on Thursday nights to to hear Southern… more

The Andrews Brothers

Apr 17 - 26, 2014
Mistaken identities, madcap comedy, romance and miscal treasures fill this… more

Georga Porter Jr. &…

Apr 18 - 18, 2014
George Porter, Jr. is best known as the bassist of The Meters, along with Art… more

The Contemporary Arts…

Apr 18 - 18, 2014
Join the CAC and Junebug Productions for an evening of poetry—during… more

Walter Wolfman…

Apr 18 - 18, 2014
Walter “Wolfman” Washington has been an icon on the New Orleans… more

"Run For It - Run For…

Apr 19 - 19, 2014
“Run For It – Run for Spot!” Crescent City Classic… more

An Evening with Chita…

Apr 19 - 19, 2014
Chita Rivera is a living Broadway legend and a two-time Tony winner who… more

Crescent City Classic

Apr 19 - 19, 2014
With top runners from throughout the world participating in previous years, the… more

Earth Day Festival…

Apr 19 - 19, 2014
Join us in celebrating Earth Day with music, food, art, local green vendors,… more

Family Workshop:…

Apr 19 - 19, 2014
Don’t touch that dial! In this fun-filled family workshop, kids and… more

Historic Saturday…

Apr 19 - Nov 22, 2014
One of the keys to understanding NOLA’s past, present, and future is to… more

Living History Corps

Apr 19 - 19, 2014
The Museum’s World War II re-enactors, collectively known as the Living… more

LIVING LEGEND CHITA…

Apr 19 - 19, 2014
***Two time Tony winner and Broadway’s original Anita in “West Side… more

Southern Rep, Stage…

Apr 19 - 19, 2014
Southern Rep, the Stage Door Canteen at the National WWII Museum and… more

Victory Corps Saturday

Apr 19 - 19, 2014
During D-Day on June 6, 1944, the Naval Construction Battalions called… more

Double Violin Concert…

Apr 20 - 20, 2014
Performing Bach's violin concerto and Vivaldi's double violin concerti. more

Early Modern Faces: …

Apr 20 - Jun 29, 2014
This exhibition brings together nearly ninety Old Master paintings and prints… more

1970 Jazzfest Movies

Apr 17 - 17, 2014
Join the Friends of the Cabildo as the Louisiana State Museum’s… more

Picking up the pieces: Tourists come back to New Orleans

Picking up the pieces: Tourists come back to New Orleans
by Jeff Tidwell

While San Francisco's LGBT community and city government were struggling with a safe approach to celebrating Halloween and shut down the Castro this year, New Orleans was opening its arms to the community for a celebration with a renewed excitement and taste for fun. Last month, the New Orleans Metropolitan Visitors and Convention Bureau invited a group of travel writers to the city with the goal of showing off the city to LGBT tourists.

Though there is no shortage of stories of unfinished business from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, there is finally some good news for New Orleans. In the central tourist destination of the French Quarter, spirits are high and it's business as usual. If you're considering a getaway, put New Orleans at the top of the list. There's plenty of fun to be had and you'll feel welcome in the town that lives by the expression "Laissez les bon temps roulez" - Let the good times roll. Additionally, one of the city's great traditions, Mardi Gras, takes place in February. Gay Mardi Gras is scheduled for February 1-5 to coincide with the city's longtime event, which culminates with Fat Tuesday.

If you're heading down for a brief stay, you would be wise to set up headquarters in the French Quarter for easy access to the action. We stayed at Harrah's, which is very savvy in catering to gay audiences and has a longtime New Orleans writer and bon vivant, Bonnie Warren, setting the tone for its public relations.

Warren hosted us at Brennan's Restaurant for a brunch with piles of crab, administered by a team of veteran waiters ensuring the meal was fun and trouble-free for all of its guests. Brennan's invented the term "eye opener" after seeing the reaction to a drink it offers for the morning crowd called "Punch" - made of brandy, milk, and nutmeg.

The French Quarter is a rich bohemian neighborhood where music is the central focus. Great jazz, blues and Cajun music is everywhere and is a constant thread that runs through the culture. It comes streaming from the lively bars and restaurants along the streets. There are brass bands on the street and kids tap dancing for tips.

To get a take on the gay scene, you can grab a copy of *Ambush* magazine. It's packed with the local hangouts and a calendar of events. But it's not very hard to find the fun in New Orleans. Walking down Bourbon Street in the Quarter we found a couple of gay bars along the way. The Pub has a great balcony for watching the show go by, and a favorite, the Corner Pocket, is a really fun spot with a late night scene that can't be beat.

After an eventful evening, it was time for a hearty 3 a.m. breakfast at the Clover Grill. This 1950s joint is packed and featured an ongoing performance of dancing cooks in full view from the open kitchen. The sounds of Michael Jackson and Prince were blasting through the restaurant. This place is a blast.

The next day we rented bikes at Michael's Bikes. It's a relaxed way to discover the narrow streets of the Quarter. Near the bike shop, there is a wonderful old-school gay bookstore called FAB "Faubourg Marigny Art & Books" on Frenchman Street. There are piles of dusty books and vintage publications. It also has a gallery worthy collection of gay-themed paintings by local artists that spans 50 years.

We then peddled to the Garden District on Magazine Street. This street goes for miles and miles and is known for its plentiful antique stores. The prices are fair and, from what we saw in the few homes we were able to peek into, it seems that folks in New Orleans take their antiques seriously. For the more contemporary tastes, we found the perfect mid-century furnishings showplace called Neophobia. If architecture is your interest, the Garden District is home to some spectacular examples of Victorian splendor with grand porches and gardens dripping with the humidity-loving fauna.

A couple more great eateries are worth mentioning. Muriel's is located in Jackson Square in a historic building rumored to be haunted. We started with drinks in the Seance Room where our Tarot cards were read, to the delight of our companions. Then dinner is served in a perfectly restored and opened dining room. The menu provides a contemporary take on Cajun cuisine. The turtle soup with sherry was a nice surprise.

A lively joint a bit uptown is The Upperline, hosted by the colorful Joanne Clevenger, a longtime fixture in the Quarter as the purveyor of the vintage shop. The simple dining room was lined with original paintings from her many artist friends. Here we dug into the seafood more seriously and topped it off with warm Louisiana Pecan Pie.

Jeff Tidwell is the proprietor of Camp Dude, a gay vacation spot near Yosemite. http://www.campdude.com

For more information

http://www.neworleanscvb.com

http://ambushmag.com

http://gayharrahsnola.com

http://www.brennansneworleans.com

http://www.cornerpocket.net

http://www.muriels.com

http://www.upperline.com

http://www.clovergrill.com