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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Taste the Gulf in New Orleans


5. Oddball Day

Frenchmen Street, lined with quirky stores, offers a respite from the touristy Bourbon Street.  

Spend a day exploring the city’s idiosyncratic establishments, both old and new. Bypass the French Quarter and head to Frenchmen Street, a less touristy version of Bourbon Street, for brunch at the original Praline Connection, where you can have fried soft-shell crawfish (($7-$9), a rich gumbo Zaire ($6), and crispy fried chicken livers ($8). Next, poke through the junk shops for old Mardi Gras uniforms at Le Garage Antiques and Clothing (1234 Decatur St.; 504-522-6639) and Collectible Antiques (1232 Decatur St.; 504-566-0399). Then, stock up on used books and old vinyl at Faubourg Martigny Bookstore, a neighborhood institution with a strong selection of LGBT titles. Afterward, channel New Orleans's most famous witch, Marie Laveaux (buried at the Saint Louise Cemetery in a grave that’s been marked by admirers) at Witchy Living, New Orleans's premiere witch boutique, where you can also explore herbs and essential oils. Later, have a happy hour orange-blossom sazerac ($9) at The Three Muses, a new bar where part-owner Sophie Lee sings standards nightly. Then make your way by foot or cab to the Garden District, another one of New Orleans's up-and-coming neighborhoods. Eat in a renovated townhouse that houses Dominique's on Madison, where chef Dominique Macquet (previously of Dominique's) reprises his imaginative French-infused cuisine like roasted and cured leg of lamb “farci” with mint-oil whipped potatoes ($24) and wagyu beef with creole crème cheese stuffing ($9). Then, stop for chicory fleur de lys chocolates ($30/box) at haute sweet shop Sucré before heading to one of the city's best dance clubs, Republic New Orleans, for one of their occasional BOUNCE nights, where recent performers have included Big Freedia and Rusty Lazer. Finish at 3 a.m. at Café du Monde, a tourist trap by day that transforms into a reliable Veselka-type establishment by night.

Published on Aug 4, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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