365 NOLA Adventures

365 New Orleans Adventures — I need your help!

One of things I love the most about blogs, as opposed to, for example, something more permanent like a book or a newspaper, is that it can serve as a malleable, working document.  I can post something I’m struggling with, and then hopefully I can get feedback and ideas from anyone who happens to be reading.  (Mom?  Grandma?)

And this is good news, because I’m struggling and I need your help!  It’s two days until my first adventure — can you help me by posting your ideas for New Orleans-based adventures in the comments section, below?

In my first post, I introduced what I imagine the blog will encompass.  Yesterday, I went into a little more detail on the blog’s main component: my 2018 quest to go on 365 New Orleans adventures in one year.  One local adventure each day!

top of the nopsi
Christmas Eve Eve, from the top of the NOPSI Hotel in downtown New Orleans.

Today I’m going to post my running list of potential adventures.  There are probably some good ideas in here.  Some most definitely suck.  But the most important thing, for now, is there just aren’t enough ideas on the list yet.  I am sure there are 365 fun and interesting adventures to go on in New Orleans.  I have no doubt about that.  I need to think them up and write them down.

Here are some things I’m shooting for on an adventure:

  1. An activity (this can be a restaurant, a bar, a music venue, a museum, a park, a walk…an anything).
  2. Combining like things.  If I go to the World War II Museum, maybe I also go to a location where ships were produced for our navy during the war.  If I am looking into the history of Sicilians in New Orleans, I’m probably doing some research to find a couple of places owned and operated (currently or formerly) by Sicilian immigrants.
  3. I like diversity.  German-Americans in New Orleans congregate at Deutsches Haus?  I want to learn that history and I want to visit.  Many South Africans go to Finn McCools for New Years Eve?  When did that start?  And, of course, this city is full of Creole history, of which I have barely scratched the surface.
  4. History.  One reason this project is so appealing to me is because I get to learn something (many things) new every day.  Today, I got the nicest message from an employee at The Historic New Orleans Collection, who offered to help me with research on my adventures.  Whether the adventure is going on a walk in a park, or learning who used to live in a certain neighborhood, every inch of this city is an onion with layers and layers of history to discover.
  5. Talk to people.  Chefs, museum curators, residents, neighborhood leaders, business operators, etc.  What makes your taco unique from these three other taco shops within two blocks?  Why did your Dad decide to set up a shop here?  I’m looking forward to having those conversations.

Okay!  I’m now going to list my running tally of possible adventures.  Please leave me a comment with your ideas for possible adventures.  They can be as built out, or as a raw, as you want or have time for.  This is a brainstorm.  There are no bad ideas, but I am desperate for your ideas!  Thanks in advance!

Brainstorm:

  • The history of the area that is now Crescent Park.  All docks?  Rail lines?
  • Walk up Laborde Mountain in City Park (Highest point in New Orleans?  How’d it get there?)
  • Walk through Couturie Forest in City Park (its history — maybe check with City Park on that)
  • The “Barmuda Triangle” in the Bywater (J and Js, Vaughans, BJs, Bar Redux, Parleaux Beer Lab — so many neighborhood bars in a very small area.  That’s unique.  How’d it happen?  Have they been bars for that long?)
  • Bouligny Tavern (old plantation dividing line)
  • St. Claude Avenue used to be Good Children Street (find remnants of the old name and learn about reason for change)
  • Burgundy St used to be Craps St (made the change because all of those churches didn’t want to be on a street named, “Craps”?)
  • Did Babe Ruth really go to the bar that is currently 12 Mile Limit? (can also include history of the old baseball team here and/or history of the building in which 12 Mile Limit is)
  • I want an excuse to go to that new milkshake/hot dog place in Carrollton neighborhood
  • Plessy v. Ferguson site, and the rope-making factory that was there years before it.
  • Biking to the end of the Mississippi River levee trail.  Where does that end?
  • Biking along lake trail.  Maybe include stop in Bucktown?  (History of Bucktown?)
  • Food/bar crawl around Bucktown?  And history.
  • Food/bar crawl along Harrison Avenue?  And history.
  • Walk Bayou St. John.  With history.  Or, better yet, walk/bike ride from lake entrance of Bayou St. John, trace it to Grand Route St. John, and then along Bayou Rd into the French Market.  I believe that used to be the route French settlers took to bring goods into the city.
  • Three ponds at the Old Metairie Cemetery.  (I believe those are remnants of Bayou Metairie.)
  • History of specific food items.  Try some of the best of that item.  With history and evolution of that item.  (King cakes, for example)
  • Biking from Slidell to Covington along the Tammany Trace.  (History of the old rail line that was converted, as well as the breweries at which we stop.)
  • Camping in Fountainbleau State Park
  • Hiking in Fountainbleau State Park.
  • Biking all the way around Lake Pontchartrain?
  • The four taco spots near Carrollton and Canal.
  • St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans.
  • The Fly
  • Dutch Alley
  • History of Dutch Alley
  • A.P. Tureaud Statue/Outdoor Museum
  • O.C. Haley and its evolution over time.
  • Angles in the street and the history of arpents and the dividing lines between plantations
  • Competing buttermilk drop shops on St. Bernard Avenue
  • Old street car lines that were paved over.  Is the one on France Street, and then up Royal Street, what cracks the pavement so often?
  • Monkey Hill (in Audubon Park?)
  • Frenchmen Street (the name and the history at the US Mint?)
  • Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar (history)
  • Was there a Chinatown in New Orleans?  Where?  What’s left?
  • Where did the Jewish population used to congregate?  I think I read O.C. Haley was  a big spot?
  • History of Sicilians in New Orleans.  A few locations.
  • History of Germans in New Orleans.  Deutsche Haus and other locations.
  • History of Irish in New Orleans.  Irish Channel and history.
  • History of Vietnamese in New Orleans.  Should be several adventures to several communities.  New Orleans East (maybe not only during New Years celebration), and also in Algiers.
  • Algiers Point has great bars and a really interesting history.
  • Incorporate a school building or several, and their immediate surroundings.  How that has evolved over time.
  • Candlelight Lounge and the Treme Brass Band
  • Bourbon Street (the A-rated bars in that old Nola.com article, as well as the history — see Richard Campanella’s book)
  • Old movie theaters.  What’s left?  (Operational and just old buildings)
  • Old places of worship.  Different denominations in different neighborhoods can be several adventures.  (Tours of churches, interview with heads, etc)
  • Build an adventure around the archery spot in Algiers!

Alright!  What else do you have?  Post away in the comments section.  Again, it’s just a brainstorm, so send as many or as few as you’d like, and as built out or as raw as you have them.  What about this city do you want to learn?

Thanks so much!

 

19 thoughts on “365 New Orleans Adventures — I need your help!”

    1. That’s a really good idea! I once had a book club where we would read a New Orleans-based book, and then go on an adventure that the author or protagonist might go on.

      The Moviegoer has been on my list of books to read forever, so I should do that stat and then plan the adventure. I wonder if I posted a book way in advance, if people would read it (if they haven’t already) and go on the adventure with me. That could be fun!

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    1. Thanks! The Villalobos Rescue Center is right by my house (and my home was actually featured on the show once, because we found a not-so-great tenant had abandoned his dog in the home when he unexpectedly left). And I’ve always wanted to go to the Lower 9th Ward Living Museum, so both great suggestions.

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  1. I really enjoyed the New Orleans pharmacy museum in the quarter. The pharmacist there wasn’t very ethical but he was the first licensed pharmacist in the US. And it’s just a neat place! I also learned when I went on a tour with my fam that the modern stereotypes of voodoo like voodoo dolls were born here. Could lead to interesting research!

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  2. Matt!! Please check out neworleanshistorical.org. It’s a website/project that was designed by the UNO Dept. of History Public History Program (my grad program) which includes lesser known New Orleans stories and mobile tours written/designed by grad students. There are 30 tours, so that should help with your list and I am sure you could create something from the additional 306 stories in the website. Also, I think it would be fun for you to find all of the remaining landmarks/structures from both the 1884 Cotton Centennial Expostion and the 1984 World’s Fair.

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  3. Also, with Mardi Gras coming up soon, I am think some carnival history research help to create some interesting adventures for the season. “All On a Mardi Gras Day” is a great documentary about black carnival traditions, if you haven’t seen it already. If you are interested in krewes such as Rex and Comus, one of your adventures could be having dinner at Antoine’s and taking the tour. Call to make your reservation and ask for a waiter named Chuck, who is a short old yat who knows EVERYTHING about the restaurant and a lot about the super secretive carnival krewes who hold their banquets there. He’ll also show you a lot of areas of the building other waiters won’t show you on the tour.

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  4. One more website that I think will be helpful: knowla.org is a great website and digital encyclopedia great for a wide variety of Louisiana and New Orleans history. It’s very user-friendly. They have something on the homepage right now called “An Ignatian Journey” which is a self guided tour based on A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole and it looks pretty dang cool.

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  5. When I was here a few years ago I did a nighttime tour of the St. Louis Cathedral where they took you all the way up the belltower to look out at Jackson Square and the Mississippi. It was really cool. That might be a really interesting historical adventure. Not sure though if that is something they offer to the general public or if it was because our volunteer group host had an in! Ha

    Also maybe you could go on various haunted tours and then do research to comment on the authenticity of the stories. I know a running joke among my family is that the stories often sound so generic you wonder if they’re real or not.

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    1. Ah cool, I didn’t know about the bell tower but was definitely thinking of Jackson Sq and the Cathedral at some point.

      The ghost tour could be kind of fun around Halloween, maybe! Thanks, Cara!

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