Don’t Miss Royal Street
Be sure to plan a stroll along the 13 blocks of New Orleans’ famous Royal Street in the French Quarter – it goes from Canal Street to Esplanade. If you’re coming from Uptown (begins upriver of the Garden District and stretches to Broadway Street) you can take the St. Charles Streetcar and get off at Canal.
Royal is one of the original streets of New Orleans. It dates from the early 18th century and, by the early 19th was one of the city’s chief business and shopping streets. Currently, it’s the best window-shopping and gallery-hopping street in New Orleans. You’ll find Royal Street a classy alternative to the rowdy Bourbon Street that gets all the press. And, by the way, it does not mean “whiskey” (yes, that’s what I always thought) it refers to Louisiana’s 18th century French ruling family.
Royal Street and Bourbon are parallel to each other – Royal is one street south of Bourbon. Currently, Royal Street, which historically has been closed, from Bienville and Orleans streets, for pedestrian-only use, will be open for vehicular traffic at all hours until the eight-block road construction project on Bourbon Street ends.
To compare: Royal Street is to the French Quarter what Magazine Street is to the Garden District. For some visitors, an evening stroll on Royal may have greater appeal than the nightly party scene on Bourbon.
IS ANYONE HOME?
Few people actually live on this 13-block stretch of Royal Street, although they once did. In fact, they resided quite nicely in closely packed Creole townhouses with graceful wrought-iron balconies that are still on Royal and add to its charm. But that’s not the whole story. You may not be able to see this from the street, but behind many of these structures were jaw-dropping gardens and courtyards that were once used to escape the bustling street scene. Now they’ve morphed into outdoor dining spaces because, as we all know, eating outside always make makes a meal taste even better.
WHERE TO EAT?
Since we all travel on our stomachs, this is an important topic even when one is just strolling along. For a quick bite, drop into Café Beignet at 334 Royal. Their beignets are larger and softer than those at Café du Monde and you can eat outdoors.
For a restaurant where you can drop in for any meal go to Brennan’s at 417 Royal for breakfast and/or lunch and treat yourself to a Cajun Bloody Mary (it has pickled okra in it) with a Crawfish and Porcini mushroom omelet (I’m getting hungry just writing this).
Do you like jazz music when you’re dining? There’s a jazz brunch buffet every day from 9 am to 3 pm at The Court of Two Sisters located at 613 Royal. The buffet offers a sumptuous selection of hot and cold dishes. Eggs Benedict and turtle soup are served all day.
Dining in the evening? Then you should consider Café Amelie at 912 Royal and treat yourself and your date to a great dinner served in an elegant courtyard. Try the chicken and andouille gumbo or a starter of Cajun country poutine. Not in the mood for dinner? Then try a catfish on ciabatta sandwich.
This is just the tip of the iceberg – we’ll get back to more on Royal Street at a later date. That’s a promise.