Adobe Stock

Best of the Big Easy Writers' Picks

12:00 July 05, 2022
By: Staff

2022 Best of the Big Easy Writers' Picks

Best Continuation of Jazz Fest

Hundreds Brass Band

Leaving the gates of Jazz Fest each day there was that let-down feeling until I heard "my" brass band in the distance. There on the streets were the sounds of the Hundreds Brass Band reminding me that not only do we have another hour of great music but also that this is New Orleans and hip-shaking, eardrum-throbbing brass music is available year-round. Check 'em out @hundredsbrassband. They're a joy to watch and hear anytime and my favorite post Fest moment. —Debbie Lindsey

Cheapest Place to Get in a Street Fight

Sea Cave

3000 St. Claude Ave.,

Looking to bust some heads without breaking the bank? Look no further than the Sea Cave Arcade in the Bywater. Specializing in head-to-head "arcade-style" games, this arcade/bar/restaurant triple-threat regularly hosts evening gaming tournaments. While offering variety in both theme (hi-score nights) and selection (puzzle games, Super Smash Brothers), Street Fighter "Ryu on the Bayou" nights are a definitive favorite. Don't know how to exchange Venmo for quarters? Don't worry—for $8 all-you-can-play, there's no cheaper place to grab a drink and get your game on. —Greg Roques

[ Charlie Deets/unsplash ]

Best Way to Stop Fornication

Trap Dat Cat

Trap Dat Cat is a non-profit spay/neuter program that humanely traps cats, partners with local shelters/vets for the medical procedure, and releases them back into the community to live healthier lives. Nita Hemeter and a dedicated group of volunteers trap up to 30 cats a week while also working to provide medical care, foster homes, and adoptions when needed. "I know I can't change the world but I know I can change the lives of a lot of these cats," says Nita. She and her volunteers are heroes. —Debbie Lindsey

Best Place to Do Laundry and Play Pool While Having an Adult Beverage

Igor's Lounge & Gameroom

2133 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130 · (504) 568-9811

Who doesn't love quaffing spirits while getting household chores done? At Igor's, one can multi-task like a member of the monarchy: laundry, billiards—that's pool for the common folks-food, and drinks. Plus, the dive bar is right off the streetcar line, so one doesn't need to drive to and from to get there and home. What could be better? Be forewarned, though, you'll need cash (and coins) at Igor's. It wasn't always so, but it has been since the pandemic. —Donald Rickert

Best Place For a Sunrise Kiss


French Quarter

Yes, sometimes you two might be out all night on Frenchmen or in the Quarter, high on life (mostly sober) and not quite wanting to call it a night—deep in conversation and you're looking to make a tender moment. Walk over to the Decatur side of Jackson Square, cross over and up the staircase to glance at the Mississippi River. Explain how in New Orleans, the sun comes up in the east over the West Bank and bet a kiss that it does. Surprise! You win! —Phil Mancusa

[Londyn Morse]

Best Place to Get a Wax on Magazine St.

The White Roach

5704 Magazine St.,

Don't let its size fool you—the White Roach is infested with one of the strongest selections of new releases and hidden gems in the city. Some of the rarest and most eclectic albums in my vinyl collection were snatched up thanks to a spontaneous stop in this store—everything from a very-limited Amon Tobin soundtrack to an Mardi Gras classics compilation album. Along with cool merch, a friendly and helpful staff, and several great bars, restaurants, and Audubon Park nearby, there are plenty of reasons to pop in and get lost in its walls of wax. —Greg Roques

Best festival for bookish types

The Tennessee Williams Festival

Tennessee Williams Festival

Interested in meeting like-minded bookworms and writers? The Tennessee Williams Festival offers a great selection of master classes, author readings, and performances. There's a writing contest, a literary walking tour, tips on getting your writing published, academic panels, and more. Meet and chat with authors and fellow writers and readers at this annual festival or the LGBTQ Saints and Sinners Festival, which happens alongside it. And, if you've ever had the urge to yell "Stelllllaaa" (or "Stanleyyy") as loud as you can, the Tennessee Williams Fest has a contest for you. The festival takes place in the French Quarter in March, and it's a fun weekend to immerse yourself in all things books and Tennessee Williams. —Reine Dugas

Best place to hear a free one-hour concert

Nola Jazz Museum Tuesday evening balcony series

New Orleans Jazz Museum, Tuesdays 5-6 pm,

If you're a jazz lover and enjoy listening to music from the comfort of your lawn chair or stretched out on a blanket, the New Orleans Jazz Museum has you covered. On most Tuesday evenings, there are free balcony concerts given by local musicians such as Big Sam, Corey Watson and the Hot 8 Brass Band, Russell Batiste, and more. The atmosphere is casual and the music is the perfect way to ease into the week. The New Orleans Jazz Museum sells drinks at this event and sometimes food, too. You never know who you'll end up meeting or dancing with at this Tuesday evening show. It's a perfect spot to get your music fix. —Reine Dugas

Best Breakfast With The Beatles

WTIX FM 94.3

America Top Forty with Casey Kasem, the Spinners, Commodores, Carpenters, Coasters, Cat Stevens, Santan,a and Chuck Berry are all on WTIX FM 94.3 on your dial; that's what's on in my car for the drive around this town. It's music that I know the words to and brings me back to a simpler time when rent was $100, hourly wages were $4 to $5, gas was 36 cents a gallon. It's not a public station or one of a radio station conglomerate. It's individually owned and operated by Michael "Michael in the Morning' Costello. —Philipe LaMancusa

Best one-man culinary band

Peter Vazquez

The days have long passed when Peter Vazquez could be found as head chef of a local, fine dining restaurant, but if you're quick and pay attention to the daily dinner menus posted on his Facebook group, you just might be able to taste his incredible cuisine. Over in Algiers Point on Vallette Street, Vazquez is on his own doing his own thing in his own time at his corner takeaway spot, the Appetite Repair Shop. He may not cook every day and items may be sold out by the time you get there, but if you're nimble enough to score a go-box of literally anything he has whipped up, you'll enjoy dishes such as crab-heavy crab cakes and prime rib sandwiches to Emir's Middle Easter Platter and salted caramel tiramisu. —Kim Ranjbar

Best place to turn makin' groceries into an adventure

Hong Kong Market

925 Behrman Hwy #3, Terrytown, (504) 394-7075,

Though many locals already know this, there are few spots more fun to shop than Hong Kong Market. Grocery shopping can really be a chore, whether you're ordering it all online or trudging through a major supermarket, but Hong Kong Market in Terrytown is something yet again. Not only will you find a huge selection of produce, including vegetables and fruits you may not have ever encountered, and an unequaled seafood counter, but you'll also discover a veritable cornucopia of Asian products you never knew you needed. The aisles are crammed with sauces and spices, an incredible variety of rice, colorful displays of candies, cookies and snacks, cold sections with all kinds of meats and sausages, dumplings and mochi, and almost an entire aisle devoted to ramen. I challenge you to go and buy just one thing without walking away with a trolley-full. —Kim Ranjbar

[Robert Witkowski]

Best Brunch for Fans of Art Deco & Airplanes

Messina's Runway Café

6001 Stars and Stripes Blvd., (504) 241-5300,

Lakefront Airport's Art Deco lobby leads to Messina's Runway Café's elegant Walnut Room, a full service restaurant open Tuesday through Sunday 8 a.m.-3 p.m., as well as special holiday events. Patrons and pilots enjoy panoramic views of Lake Pontchartrain and runways buzzing with small plane activity. Indiana Jones adventures flood the mind when devouring their made-to-order White Chocolate Bread Pudding amid the Prohibition-era decor. If you prefer a more relaxed dining experience, much like the airlines, book your reservation on a Wednesday or Thursday when it's less busy. —Robert Witkowski

Best Place to Gather for Grilled Meat and K-Pop

Little Korea BBQ

2240 Magazine St., #103, 504-821-5006,

With the immense popularity of BTS, Squid Game, and more, the Korean Wave can really be felt all over the United States. Here in New Orleans, you can see what all the fuss is about at Little Korea BBQ. Opt to sit at one of the restaurant's grilling tables and bond with your friends while cooking some delicious cuts of meat. If you don't feel like working for your meal, Little Korea's kitchen menu has traditional dishes like bulgogi beef and bibimbap rice bowls. Munch on some kimchi, sip on some soju, and enjoy great tasting food.
—Burke Bischoff

Best Shop to Pick Up Coffee Beans, Roasted Nuts, & Turkish Delights, All in One Visit

Royal Roastery

1180 Terry Pkwy., Ste. 103, Terrytown, 504-800-8555,

Royal Roastery is a special gem of a place that brings all of the great tastes and spices of the Middle East right to Terrytown. There is so much to choose from in such a tiny locale. You can get different flavors of roasted nuts, Turkish Delights, and halva, as well as different types of Arabic sweets. They also have imported coffee beans from the Middle East, Brazil, Ethiopia, Colombia, and Mexico (you can request the beans to be ground up), as well as beautifully designed Turkish coffee cups. If you don't go to the Westbank, you're really missing out.
—Burke Bischoff

Best place to pick up alcohol when you're running dry

Total Wine and More

3780 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie,

The name says it all. In fact, they should probably change their name because who's actually going here for the fruit of the vine? I do know this is the absolute go-to place for the latest craft beer, elusive liquor, mixers, you name it. Consider this: I had to drive to Baton Rouge to get 90 proof coconut rum for my wife's favorite piña coladas until this bastion of booze opened up on Veterans. And don't worry, if you can't drive out there and take advantage of their curbside delivery, they will also deliver to the ultimate curbside—your house!
—Jeff Boudreaux

Best Place to Grab a Kitschy, New Orleans T-Shirt without Looking Like a Tourist

NOLA T-Shirt of the Month Club

3013 Magazine St., New Orleans,

There's a small, hip storefront on Magazine Street that has the best New Orleans themed t-shirts and curiosities for sale. These shirts and other items won't make you feel like a tourist, either by buying them and/or rocking them while out and about. In fact, there are so many of the shirts that are so cleverly designed that most people outside of New Orleans wouldn't have a clue that it was a New Orleans-themed shirt. Plus, the shirts are some of the softest, most comfortable shirts you can buy, so stop by and pick up your Freddie Mercury po-boy t-shirt to kill two birds with one buy. —Donald Rickert

Best neighborhood grocery that doubles as a Po-Boy diner

Red Wagon Grocery

6611 Jefferson Hwy, Harahan

You certainly wouldn't know it from staring at the outside of this joint, but inside Harahan's long standing Red Wagon Grocery, there is a gaggle of sandwich makers will serve up any type of po-boy that you are craving—in delicious, stupendous, monster 18-inch editions. Whenever I walk in here, I can't decide whether I want a fried shrimp, a roast beef, or maybe even a cheeseburger, so I try to alternate between visits. If you want to sit inside, be sure and grab an ice-cold bottle of Barq's root beer. The locals wouldn't have it any other way. —Jeff Boudreaux

Best Place to Catch a Flight

Ruby Slipper Café

Multiple Locations,

Nope, not the airport. The best place to get a flight and to make sure it's boozy isn't the airport bar or duty free shop. It's the regional breakfast joint, Ruby Slipper. The mimosa as we know it soars to new heights with their four-drink Seasonal Mimosa Flight. With flavors including Mambo 75 (a take on a French 75, with lavender), blue orange, peach Bellini, and blueberry, the sky's the limit. This is also the perfect fix for indecisive sippers. Don't miss your flight—get one now. -—Kathy Bradshaw

Best Landlocked Lighthouse

Milneburg Lighthouse

University of New Orleans, 2021 Lakeshore Dr.,

Seemingly stranded in a lush grassy field hundreds of feet from the water, Milneburg Lighthouse (aka Port Pontchartrain Lighthouse) once sat over the waves of Lake Pontchartrain. One of the most historically significant beacons in the Gulf Coast, it
was named after the annexed town of Milneburg, a summer getaway for New Orleanians. The tower was built in 1839, and reinforced to its elegant hour-glass design in1855. It was an iconic landmark in Pontchartrain Beach Amusement Park's Kiddieland, until being absorbed into "The Beach"—UNO's Research and Technology Park. —Robert Witkowski

Sign Up!