Entertainment in New Orleans is only limited by your imagination. In the lively French Quarter, you’ll find everything from jazz and blues music to peep and strip shows to gambling.
But if you’d like to experience jazz and blues without all the hype and activity found along Bourbon Street, you should consider venturing off to the Faubourg Marigny area located just down river from the French Quarter. Here, along Frenchman Street you’ll find a four-block stretch of bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and live music venues; a few are located around the corner on Esplanade Avenue.
Faubourg Marigny is a hip, up-and-coming neighborhood where the jazz is as varied as the locals you’ll see tucked into the clubs. The area has been a well-kept secret of New Orleans for years.
The most happening time to visit Faubourg Marigny is during the weekend, when you might be lucky enough to see the Ellis Marsalis Trio (the father of Wynton Marsalis) play at Snug Harbor on Friday nights or Charmaine Neville and Friends (of the Neville Brothers family) who usually play there on Monday nights.
The Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro has been jazzing it up for the past 30 years, offering great live music and local down home cookin’. Their dining room is open for dinner seating only starting at 5:00 p.m.; try the shrimp remoulade, followed by the Southern fried chicken, with the bread pudding or traditional pecan pie for dessert. Then head on over to their bar, with exposed beams and a rustic atmosphere, for a glass of wine.
The Music Room at the Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro is where the magic happens. Seating only 90 guests, the Music Room offers cabaret-style seating on the main floor plus a small mezzanine that makes for an intimate evening. Offering two shows every night of the week, general admission tickets are available by telephone and seating is first-come, first serve, so be sure to go early for those front row middle seats. When you’re in the bar, there are monitors set up to give you a sneak preview of the Music Room.
The Spotted Cat Music Club is another cool club in Faubourg Marigny where you’ll find two different bands performing seven nights a week. Ranging from jazz and blues to Latin and Rockabilly, the dimly lit bar looks a little bit on the Bourbon Street side of things but it’s definitely worth checking out for the variety of music alone.
Flickr.com Photo Credit: Snug Harbor (Charmaine Neville) by Gnalnad