New Orleans, United States
John-Michael, 32
Musician & Recording Studio Owner
see his New Orleans city guide

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parks fine dining live music bar dive bars cajun / creole food artist studio neighborhood tours

What are the New Orleans spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Parkway Bakery, Preservation Hall, and Hansen's Sno-bliz

Do’s and don’ts in New Orleans: (Ex: Tipping: yes/ no, public transport tips, safety tips etc.):

Pay attention, trust your gut. Don't walk with your head down on your phone. When your intuition tells you to talk to a stranger during the day, take the time to stop and make a new friend. And then if you're out at night and it tells you to keep it moving, listen. Look people in the eyes and say hello, and lose track of time. Also, 2/3 of our economy is based on hospitality and tourism, so we are very much a service-industry city. Tipping is crucial, but the service is outstanding and the prices are reasonable, so it's breezy to tip well in the Big Easy. Get a drink to-go in between stops. The motto... "Do whatcha wanna." Rebirth Brass Band

How much do you spend on an average night out on the town?

$35-40

Your all-time favorite musicians:

New Orleans's own Allen Toussaint and Stevie Wonder

Which neighborhood is it best to experience during the day / night?

Daytime: Algiers Point, just across the River on the ferry. Nighttime: Oak Street Uptown

Where would you take a date for a romantic night out?

Mona Lisa on Royal Street in the French Quarter. My grandfather grew up across the street and would sleep out on the balcony during the summer nights, so it's a special block for me for sure from May-September.

Drunk and hungry - where do you go in New Orleans?

For breakfast: Camelia Grill Uptown. For lunch: Bevi Seafood in Mid-City. For dinner: Karibu Kitchen at Tchoup Yard. For late night: Gene's Po-Boys (hot sausage w cheese and a Dr. Pepper) also Mimi's in the Marigny, or Cleo's, or Backspace Bar in the Quarter

It's freeeeezing out - what should a visitor do?

That's rare. Northernmost part of the Caribbean right here, so I guess the Aquarium of the Americas and then dinner at K-Paul's?

Where do you take your guest when you want to impress?

By my mama's

Which local creators do you admire?

Brandan B-Mike Odums at StudioBe, Patrick Melon photography, Chris Roberts Antieau art, Sam Bowler with Culturalyst, young vocalist @blu_shakurx

Special views that mainstream tourists don't know about:

The observation deck at the Omni Royal Orleans hotel in the French Quarter on Royal Street Take the elevator up to the pool and bar and then up the stairs to the deck. Next is in between the Crescent City Connection bridges that cross the Mississippi River. Last would be anywhere along Lake Pontchartrain for sunset. We have several restaurants in the area, too (e.g. Blue Crab).

Best place for a cheap bite on-the-go:

Felipe's Taqueria, shrimp quesadilla *baja style* // Taqueria Guerrero, both on Carrollton Avenue.

You’re meeting the mayor of New Orleans - what constructive criticism would you give them?

Mayor LaToya Cantrell... Shade, seating, and rain coverage at every bus stop. Better organization in our NORD youth sports leagues. A city directory of artists from all media and where I can find them and their work. Finally, I'd ask her to imagine how much more beautiful and safer it would be if the Live Oaks on Esplanade Avenue had some up-lighting at night. And a fountain and roundabout at either end of Esplanade Avenue would be stately and righteous.

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