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Where to Go in New Orleans

How to Indulge Your Soul
or "Knowing New Orleans
in 2 minutes"
I've been a lot of places but my adopted home, New Orleans is the one place where every day - and night - just feels right. Whether you are visiting or you're a local, you already know, or will soon find out, our city is where you come to Indulge Your Soul. - Stephen

Here are some of the ways we do it:

Mondays - "Hot, Sweaty, Raw, & Soulful Rhythm & Blues in a legendary 9th Ward lounge."
- or a Bluegrass Pickin' Party with red beans and rice (a Monday staple)
- or traditional jazz in a large, well-appointed hotel bar with a band that may have you second-linining (New Orleans-style conga) before the night is over.

Tuesdays - Downtown, you're guaranteed a great evening at one of the world's best live music streets when a favorite brass band takes the stage. Or, if you're Uptown, you don't want to miss the legendary Tuesday night gig of yet another fine group of brass musicians.

Wednesdays - On Wednesday evenings I enjoy throwing on a jacket with my jeans for a more dressy evening with friends at the Ritz Carlton lounge. Trumpeter and singer Jeremy Davenport & band start the weekend (yes, I know it's Wednesday) off at an easy pace with their big-band sound and big-city style on a smaller stage in a hotel bar that feels like the living room of a well-appointed Uptown mansion.
Thursdays - from 6-8pm, my favorite New Orleans museum hosts an "After Hours" event every Thursday evening featuring live music (always a well-selected southern performer) two cash bars, catered soul food, an amazing collection that I call "southern mini MOMA" and a perfect sunset view of the Mississippi River bridge and much of the city.
Then take the streetcar Uptown to the best dance event of the week - Zydeco (think handsome cowboy courting a beautiful, and sassy, Cajun girl) in a bowling alley/bar/dance hall.

Now, we're getting to the actual weekend...
Fridays & Saturdays - I like to start my weekend off with an hour of free draft at the biggest brewery within the city. Just walk in and the first 2 beers are free 2pm-3p Fridays. And you can take a tour to learn how the good stuff is made.

These two busiest entertainment days of the week feature dozens of great performances in locations ranging from street corners to historic venues rivaling the best in the world.
Sundays - On Sunday nights there's no better place to be than the end-of-week gig of a legendary blues, jazz, and R&B trio - and a $10 crawfish boil feast prior to the performance.

And if you want to feel phenomenal - ANY day of the week, you are sure to smile and will likely find yourself on the dance floor while enjoying the velvet smooth sounds of Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue. They are one of the country's best Americana/rockabilly bands that also happens to be based in New Orleans. Look out for Gal and the guys or be sure to check my "Where To Go Tonight." If they're performing in town, I'll be sure to let you know.

Here's one to make you smile. Turn your phone horizontal and crank your headphones. It's THAT good. Dave's upright bass riff at 2:15 is ridiculously amazing. - Stephen
...and these are just a few of the regular events that are on locals' calendars every week.

Before dining and dancing well into the night, here are some of the daytime diversions I share with visitors and other friends...

- breakfast at either a dive diner, a classic 72-item (I counted) brunch-style buffet or the new favorite place serving gourmet platter-size donuts, "sliders & brew."

- taking a stylish woman to visit my clothing designer friend Kate in her 3-story historic atelier where she creates chic wearable art. Everyone feels beautiful when we leave Kate's studio and gallery.

- getting sticky in a Faubourg Marigny old-school candy kitchen.

- imbibing with JoAnn in her pub where she packed a .38 and a shotgun or two in the days after the Storm (Hurricane Katrina) so she could take care of her people and the visitors who came for friendship and the only ice-cold beer in town...

- dressing up and dining down in the restaurant kitchens of a celebrity chef or two or three...

- having my future told - and a VERY accurate account of my present and past by either Sally Ann or Velvet, two of my favorite extrasensory visionaries...

- hanging with folk artists like Bruce in his Holy Cross home while he draws and shares stories that no one back home will believe...

- more to come - I need to go for a run now...

My favorite way of navigating 
the streets of New Orleans - 
from the airport to photo shoots to evenings
in old-school 9th Ward R&B lounges.

New Orleans is...
Passionate. Provocative. Perfect.
In New Orleans, when a bartender asks, "you next baby, what you having?" be sure to look around (and down) because, although you're getting used to being called "baby" by strangers who don't resemble your grandmother, the lovely woman behind the bar could also be speaking to the 8-yr old in the booster seat on the stool next to you.
In New Orleans, "You next 'baby' what you having?" may also be meant for the costumed 8-yr-old sitting on the stool next to you."

And that’s only one example of what makes New Orleans just about the most (imperfectly) perfect place on the planet.

Much of the world outside our city thinks New Orleans is little more than booze, beads, and Bourbon (Street). I’ve run into friends from other places arriving at the airport and asked them where they’re headed. The puzzled look I get when they respond, “French Quarter” is one that suggests, “what else is there?” 

I’m Stephen Young, a pro photographer who came to New Orleans on a photo shoot and as many have done, I fell in love with our city and left only to pack a moving van and get back to my new home as fast as I could.

Last year's Holiday card.

Soon after following my heart and while still getting settled in I received a call from a small tech company called Google asking me to be their independent New Orleans photographer of 360° business virtual tours. This awesome gig has made it possible for me to meet and become friends with owners of some of the most interesting shops, bars, and restaurants in our city. I created “You Orleans” - this mobile site/app to share these fascinating locals and our favorite (often secret) places with those visitors who might otherwise miss out on the true New Orleans experience. As you’re about to find out, we are so much more than Bourbon Street.

"Warm beer, lousy food, and poor service" is definitely not what you'll experience at one of our most popular restaurants.

One of the cool things I’ve learned as I’ve traveled for photo shoots is that what makes a place truly special is the people and the interesting things we all do as we interact with each other. A secret I’ve discovered is that great cities - the places many of us dream of visiting - are great because the people are passionate. In New Orleans, beyond family and faith, we are passionate about three things - our food, our music, and the rituals we share with each other.

Second-lining (yes, it's a verb) with visitors in the Quarter

But this is what happens just a short walk
beyond what you think you know.

In “Why New Orleans Matters” author Tom Piazza explains “New Orleanians…take (our) cooking and eating seriously, just as we take our music seriously, and our dancing, and our masks and costumes, and our celebratory rituals, because it is not mere entertainment to us. It is all part of a ritual in which the finiteness, the specificity and fragility and durability and richness and earthiness and sadness and laughter of life, are all mixed together, honored, and given tangible form in sound, movement, and communal cuisine."

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