We live in a vibrant, colorful and incredibly lively city. And though it’s hard to believe that there are people out there who don’t like this kind of place, we’ve all got someone in our lives who hates live music, is offended by drinking and late-night living and won’t even put salt on his food because it’s too spicy. But I’m sure that we’re all cultured and worldly enough to be accommodating to even the most prudish of people if they find the strength to make it down here for a visit. Don’t worry about arguing about lifestyle choices and trying to get them to enjoy the party more, just let them be and show them the best time they can have. Maybe seeing things that are offensive to their boring sensibilities will leave them with a good opinion of the city, and just maybe they’ll open their minds up a little bit wider.
1. Saint Louis Cathedral
They may not be religious people, but the beauty and solemnity might be what they find interesting here. You can also eat at the rather uncontroversial Café Du Monde nearby. If you want to show them the more genteel parts of the Quarter and not shock them with the festivities of Bourbon Street, stick to Royal Street where you can often see fine art, antiques and fully clothed street performers.
2. Lake Pontchartrain
Perhaps your people are nature lovers. In that case, I’m sure they’d like to take a lovely drive along the lake. Eat at Landry’s, Brisbi’s or the Blue Crab, take in the sail boats, and even jump out of the car for a fun family photoshoot.
3. Riverwalk Mall
Since its gorgeous renovation, The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk Mall is a stellar location to find great clothing, fun stops like candy stores, and a fine selection of foods. I’m sure they’d like to do some shopping with recognizable brands and not outlandish styles. Maybe they’ll be brave and try some spicy stuff at the New Orleans Hot Sauce Company or get the fanciest thing they’ve ever worn at Neiman Marcus Last Call Studio.
4. WWII Museum
They’ve opened so many other attractions at the museum that it’s really an all-day destination if you want it to be. You can also venture out to nearby museums of their liking, like the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, which sometimes has live music, or the Contemporary Arts Center. Some other galleries in the area may also be interesting to them, but steer clear of anything too bold.
5. Saenger Theatre
The Saenger Theatre has a fantastic entry way that leads the patrons into a world full of wonderful entertainment. . They surely can’t be offended by the opulent décor. But the trick here is to pick the right performance. A Broadway show is usually a safe bet, but don’t take them to a rock show.
Photo compliments of the Saenger Theatre.
6. Orpheum Theater
Another beautiful theater that your friends may like to take in is the Orpheum, but again, pick the right event to take them to. Along with live music of all kinds, the Orpheum has even done free movie nights. You should definitely emphasize the extreme care taken in the renovation including the fact that the co-owner’s wife painstakingly hand painted the theater herself.
Photo by Jamey Shaw.
7. City Park
There are plenty of non-confrontational activities that you can do with your not-usually-impressed relatives and friends. You can take in the art at NOMA, rent a boat to enjoy the lakes, breathe in the fragrant air of the Botanical Gardens, eat beignets at Morning Call or just explore the massive park. Perhaps you can pack a picnic and bring some sporty toys to play with.
8. Commander’s Palace
If you really want to impress these special people, bring them to Commander’s. It’s in a beautiful, relatively quiet neighborhood, and has a pleasant atmosphere. You can tout the use of locally-sourced ingredients. Although the cocktails are fantastic, your friends may prefer you don’t drink with dinner.
9. Rock N’ Bowl
Bowling is a great American pastime that is very popular in Middle America, so I don’t know how they could say no to a game at Rock N’ Bowl. It will also allow them to see some live music if you go on the right night, and maybe they’ll loosen up when they see people dancing happily together to Cajun or swing music.
10. The Audubon Attractions
Animal exhibits are a main attraction in every city because they’re family-friendly and all-around fun. And we’re lucky enough to have multiple choices. I would recommend the zoo because it will take longer and keep you out of the Quarter, or you could take a trip to all of them and include the Aquarium of the Americas, the Giant Screen Theater and The Insectarium.