Saturday, November 15, 2014

Eat, explore and be merry!

Now that you’ve arrived in the Big Easy, it might be tough to decide what to do with your non-APHA time. This is one seriously lively town. But here are a few ideas.

Our local friends tell us these are some of the must-eats in the area near the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center:
•    Herbsaint
•    Cochon/Cochon Butcher
•    Domenica (According to our sources, “some of the best pizza in the Southeast.”)
•    Mother's (Some consider this a touristy landmark for po-boys, others rave about it.)
•    Restaurant August
•    Pêche Seafood Grill (Pro tip: Reservations are at a premium.)

•    National World War II Museum (It's expanded, is huge and will suck you in, plus there's a decent on-site restaurant.)
•    Ogden Museum of Southern Art, featuring a fascinating Louisiana-themed Basquiat collection.
•    Contemporary Arts Center
•    Louisiana Children's Museum
•    New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

The French Quarter is just a few blocks from the convention center and offers everything from voodoo-themed keepsakes to high-caliber street musicians. Last night at about 8 outside a packed Café Du Monde on Decatur Street, a saxophonist and a drummer were playing a soulful cover of “Dock of the Bay.” Nearby, the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve Visitors Center has an exhibit explaining how the French Quarter came to be, and Tuesday-Saturday at 9:30 a.m., park rangers lead walks to the riverfront. There’s a limit of 25 free tickets, though, and those are available beginning at 9 a.m.

The New Orleans School of Cooking and Louisiana General Store on St. Louis Street offers cooking classes and free praline samples. If shopping’s your thing, the Shops at Canal Place ( is the home of higher-end stores like Saks and Brooks Brothers, and the Outlet Collection Riverwalk has a variety of stores right on the waterfront. Looking to stock up on some produce and other healthy foods to hold you over between scientific sessions? Rouses Market at 701 Baronne St. is open 6 a.m.-midnight.

Check out this list of local smoke-free venues and find out about the local public transportation options before you venture out. If you’re interested in guided tours by riverboat or bus, stop by the On the Town Concierge table on the main floor of the convention center, near the APHA registration area.

Do you have any favorite local spots? Let us know in the comments section below.

— D.C.

Above photos from top to bottom, a fitting alligator-themed sign in the French Quarter; the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau welcomes us to town; a jester and a riverboat along the Riverwalk Marketplace; and a local garbage truck implores you not to litter. Photos by Donya Currie

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