Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Let the Good Times Roll – Destination Travel and Golf in New Orleans

Let the Good Times Roll – Destination Travel and Golf in New Orleans

Art Stricklin

Whoever came up with the term for the Crescent City of New Orleans, “Let the Good Times Roll,” or laissez le bon temps rouler as the locals would say in French knows how to accurately describe this most unique Southern city.

There are few places in America, or just about anywhere else in the world, which combines, the food, the fun, the outdoor sporting activities, the celebrations and music as New Orleans.

There is a popular shirt for sale in the French Quarter, the elevated heart of this city hard by the Mississippi River, which reads, “There are only 2-3 unique cities in America, and everything else is just Cleveland.”

 

Well no offense to Cleveland, but New Orleans, maybe San Antonio with its Signature River Walk and Las Vegas with its 24-7 glitz fits that bill.

 

You can try to sink this city with hurricanes, scar it with political scandals or overwhelmed with spring break partiers, but nothing can give people away from here.

 

It’s too nice, too unique, too many activities to keep people for exploring this marshy area.

 

They still come because they missed the unique rakish, European vibe of the city. They miss the authentic Cajun food, the narrow alleys, romantic courtyards, and balconies. They miss the powdery beignets taken with strong coffee. Anything else is a woeful copy.

 

Another thing the city is really good at is repurposing former work buildings, to be used for the area good time’s motto.

NOPSI and Public Service Exterior - Night

Photos Courtesy of NOPSI Hotel & Public Service

No better example is the new NOPSI Hotel in the Business District of New Orleans, past Canal Street and the French Quarter, but still close enough to walk to your hotel.

 

The former home of the New Orleans Power and Transpiration utility has been transformed into a luxury hotel with a most unique dining hotspot titled, Public Service, befitting his former work life.

 

After starting your night at the lobby, Harry’s Gin Bar, you can make the short walk over to Public Service for a taste of what makes New Orleans food so famous and inviting. Among the initial offerings are Shrimp Toast, Scallion Hushpuppies, and Fried Oyster Remoulade.

 

Then you can move over to the Public Gumbo, the Gulf Catch Etouffee and the New Orleans Shrimp and Grits. All outstanding bayou food examples.

 

Finally, end the night at the rooftop bar where you can oversee the entire downtown landscape, including the Super Dome, the home of the NFL Saints, and celebrate your good fortune of finding a drab former city utility turned into a dining and lodging hotspot.

But when it comes to food in New Orleans, asking somebody for their favorite place is like asking somebody for their favorite Disney Character or Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model. There really is no right or wrong answer to the question.

 

If you’re there for the first time or the 100th, the classics still endure in the French Quarter. The Gumbo Shop is a great place to start for the comfort food which is enjoyed by all visitors and locals alike. The Court of Two Sisters is the traditional place for an outdoor Cajun Food Buffet with a Jazz Trio in the background, while Commander’s Palace in the Garden District is a white tablecloth, upscale, food wonderland.

 

Regardless of where you eat, a stop at Café Du Mond, open 24 hours a day, is a must. It only has one thing on the menu strong Chicory Coffee, milk and juice and powdery Cajun donuts, known as beignets, which are a square piece of fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar. Perfect at any time of day.

Of course, all that food has to be worked off and there is more golf for that. Audubon Park is likely the only course in America you can take the streetcar to the first tee and you’ll see people carrying their clubs here in that method every day.

 

Another layout hit hard by the Katrina, it was reworked into a par 62, 4,440-yard layout right in the heart of the city. It’s played out between Tulane and Loyola University to give you the classic Crescent City feel, not to mention a great workout on your short game.

golf-course-855

Photos Courtesy of Audubon Nature Institute

Another great public course nearby is the newly renamed Bayou Oaks course, formerly known as City Park. Byron Nelson, Jimmy Demaret and Billy Casper all won PGA Tour event on the South Course at City Park and now you can play the layout which was reworked by Rees Jones after the hurricane.

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Photos Courtesy of Bayou Oaks

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Photos Courtesy of English Turn Golf & Country Club

English Turn, another former New PGA Tour site, is another great place to tee it up in the area, just beware of the water-laced 18th hole which can sink a good round with watery danger from tee to green on the left side of the fairway.

Looking for a rainy day activity (yes it does do that here), the massive D-Day Museum in the Warehouse District is a must-see. The opening 45-minute film narrated by actor Tom Hanks is worth the price of admission and gives you a real appreciation for what it took for you to be able to stroll peacefully through all the food and fun of New Orleans.

Bourbon Street is a trip onto itself for any manner of fun or trouble you want to find. One local’s tip is Pat O’Brien Courtyard bar also serves up some excellent hamburgers if you looking to soak up all the spirts you have imbibed. Preservation Hall, also near Bourbon Street, is the authentic home of New Orleans Jazz.

 

Famed author Anne Rice once said of the charming bayou area, “I love New Orleans physically. I love the trees and the balmy air and the beautiful days. I have a beautiful house here.”

 

Well, home prices are out of sight due to the area’s popularity over the last few years, but add the wonderful food, the rich culture and the unique architecture and you will quickly see why visitors by the tens of thousands still arrive on a regular basis too, “Let the Good Times Roll.”

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