Where would you go out at night in New Orleans? Bourbon Street, right? Me too. But after satiating the people-watching craving via the drunken crowds and after having enough of the flashing neon signs, I yearned for more of a locals’ scene.
Enter Patrick, a self-proclaimed hobo, standing on the corner of Bourbon Street. With blonde dreads draping to his mid-back, looking not homeless but possibly without a home, he immediately responds to my locals’ scene question, “Over at Frenchmen. I’m on the way there right now. I’ll show you.”
Ahh, the friendliness of New Orleans.
You hear the horns of Frenchmen Street nightlife before you walk its two-block stretch. This isn’t music from clubs, but rather from the street’s bands. They usually jam on a corner surrounded by a small park – sometimes bands enter into musical wars as well (see video). The area pulsates with dance, music and stimulants of sorts – alcohol, of course, and later in the night, a nitrous oxide balloon-sucking session. Seriously.
Don’t stay in the streets too long: Frenchmen also offers an array of nightclubs, bars and cafes. Some of New Orleans’s best acts play here at venues like D.B.A. and the Blue Nile Nightclub. A great dive bar with beautiful live jazz is the Spotted Cat.