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Upcoming Events

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CANO & PhotoNOLA…

Jan 24 - Feb 28, 2017
CANO is proud to announce our first photography exhibition in conjunction with… more

Clarence John…

Jan 24 - Mar 25, 2017
A Louisiana native, Clarence John Laughlin (1905 - 1985) ranks among the most… more

David Hansen's Garden…

Jan 24, 2017
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

Exhibition to feature…

Jan 24 - Mar 25, 2017
 The Historic New Orleans Collection will open its next exhibition,… more

First Time Renovator…

Jan 24 - 31, 2017
Topics covered at this two-night workshop will be an analysis of the pros and… more

Grow Modern Event 15%…

Jan 24 - 31, 2017
It's back! Grow Modern 2017 has returned in full effect. Now for a *LIMITED… more

New Orleans…

Jan 24 - 26, 2017
Join us for Master Sugar Sculptor Sidney Galpern. She will be offering free… more

Rashaad Newsome:…

Jan 24 - Feb 12, 2017
New Orleans-born artist Rashaad Newsome returns for this interdisciplinary… more

Saenger Theatre…

Jan 24 - 29, 2017
Experience the phenomenon of Grammy and Tony Award Winning Disney's The Lion… more

Singer/Songerwriter…

Jan 24, 2017 - Jan 06, 2026
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages. House of Blues New Orleans hosts a new weekly… more

Sugar Blowing…

Jan 24 - 27, 2017
On Monday, January 23 from 9 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm, the prominent chefs… more

Comedy Gold hosted by…

Jan 25, 2017 - Jan 07, 2026
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages (content may not be appropriate for all ages).… more

Live Opera…

Jan 25 - 25, 2017
Opera Returns to Bourbon Street. Enjoy FREE opera entertainment at the Puccini… more

Opera on Tap

Jan 25 - 25, 2017
Now in its 10th season, Opera on Tap presents the finest young local and… more

The Historic Carver…

Jan 25 - 25, 2017
Join us at the Historic Carver Theater for the  Midweek Jazz … more

The Historic Carver…

Jan 25 - 25, 2017
Join us at the Historic Carver Theater for the  Midweek Jazz … more

The Maison Presents -…

Jan 25 - Jul 26, 2017
The New Orleans Jazz Vipers play a free dinner show at The Maison every… more

Greater New Orleans…

Jan 26 - 26, 2017
LGBT older adults have worse mental and physical health compared to their… more

Heart of the House

Jan 26, 2017 - Jan 08, 2026
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages. Heart of the House puts the spotlight on House… more

Jenni Sorkin:…

Jan 26 - 26, 2017
Sorkin will speak about her scholarship focusing on the intersection between… more

CANO & PhotoNOLA…

Jan 24 - Feb 28, 2017
CANO is proud to announce our first photography exhibition in conjunction with… 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