Frenchmen Street is, more or less, the local-music version of Bourbon Street. It also has its share of tourists trundling about with go-cups in hand, but they’re drawn more by the music than the drink. Plan to spend an evening (things start to pick up around 8 p.m., earlier on weekends) along a three-block stretch of small, informal clubs where there’s often no cover (give generously and give often when the bucket comes around), or at most $5 or $10. Notable clubs include the Spotted Cat, the Maison, Blue Nile, D.B.A., the Apple Barrel, and Snug Harbor. Earlier in the evenings, there’s often an impromptu brass band at the corner of Chartres and Frenchmen. Between sets, take a moment to browse the night art markets, the largest of which is next to the Spotted Cat.
By Wayne Curtis
Go Local on Frenchman St.
As I arrived I heard a horn commotion and saw a large crowd gathering on a corner. I pushed my way through to see about eight guys with horns jamming away while others danced in the streets. Now this was New Orleans. I went on to all of the bars on Frenchmen Street over the course of two nights and was in love with the vibe. The music was great, dancing was allowed (which many places on Bourbon St. don’t allow), and the drinks were about $2 cheaper than Bourbon St. There was a big swing dancing festival in town recently so I was able to watch some great dancing too! This is where (more) locals go to hang out and listen to music – yet I’m sure as the popularity grows, the locals will find other spots to do their thing. But until then – this is a must if you love music and dancing. See for yourself in this short video I made of my night out: http://youtu.be/6jx_0gGPFL0
By Sherry Ott, AFAR Ambassador
Unstoppable Music Man
A force of nature, an amazing performer, and a lot of fun! Over the last several years I have watched Glen David Andrews perform at least twenty different shows, from Jackson Square to festival stages, and now headlining his own band of exceptional local musicians. Every time it’s different, and always terrific. I have seen this man turn random stragglers into an audience, HIS audience, with just a few lines of music from his horn. To call him "mesmerizing" is an understatement. Glen works the crowd, literally. He fearlessly leaves the stage to stroll through the audience, his powerful voice—gravely, soulful, beautiful—needs no microphone. Trombone swinging in the air over our heads, the Crown Prince of Treme won’t quit until we’re all on our feet, dancing and struttin’ New Orleans style. When not on tour, you can find him at d.b.a. on Frenchman Street every Monday night. Actually, he plays almost every night of the week. Check OffBeat magazine, free in the New Orleans area, for great music all over town.
If the bright lights of Bourbon Street aren’t to your taste, Frenchmen Street presents a nearby alternative. It’s famous for live music venues—including d.b.a, The Spotted Cat, and Blue Nile—that host nightly shows with both notable jazz names and up-and-coming acts. Late-night spots like Port of Call mean you can start and end your evening right here. On weekends, Art Market showcases items by local talents, making it easy to source a souvenir to take home with you. Photo by Infrogmation New Orleans.
By Grace Montgomery, AFAR Contributor