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Insider's Guide to New Orleans, Pt. 2: Classic New Orleans
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Be it food, nightlife, music — the essence of New Orleans lies in its amalgamation of influences, a fusion of Creole and French tastes with a dash of Spanish, African American and Native American traditions.

Want to experience quintessential New Orleans for yourself? In this installment of the YO Info Insider's Guide to New Orleans, local ophthalmologists dish out tips on where to find the best of the best in the Big Easy — from oysters and beignets to gumbo and all that jazz on Frenchmen Street.

Acme Oyster House. There will be a long line at this New Orleans classic, but you will be glad you waited. The seafood is fried and decent, but the oysters are excellent — raw or chargrilled, they are delicious. And if you order an oyster shooter, they’ll put a raw one in your shot! — Richard Watson, MD, Tulane University resident

Insider's Guide to New Orleans
Aiden, son of LSU Retina Fellow Sapa Pham, enjoying his new hat (and beignets of course) at Café du Monde.

Café du Monde. There is nothing better than a lazy Sunday morning here, after a night out listening to music on Frenchmen Street, with an order of beignets piled high and a steaming hot café au lait. The moment you bite into the beignet and the powdered sugar flies into the air and all over your clothes – that’s when you’ve got the true NOLA experience. — Sonya Bamba, native New Orleanian and alumnus, LSU/Ochsner Ophthalmology Residency Program, New Orleans, LA

Galatoire’s. This is the most famous restaurant in town. One of the oldest eating establishments in America, Galatoire’s is an absolute must. Sit downstairs and get there early because they take no reservations for that seating. Make sure to get the crabmeat au gratin; but other than that, the waiters have been there for 40 years in some cases and will probably just order your meal for you! Oh, and jackets are required. — Blake K. Williamson, MD, Tulane University resident


The Gumbo Shop. Gumbo is a Louisiana creation, and your life is not complete until you have had a good bowl of it. Avoid the fancy restaurants and head to The Gumbo Shop at 630 Saint Peter Street, where many locals believe you will find the best in town. — R.W.

Insider's Guide to New Orleans
A typical night on Frenchman Street. Photo by Natalie Weil, MD.

Frenchman Street
Frenchmen Street, described as the "locals' Bourbon Street," is a colorful, eccentric, and hip scene where the best music of New Orleans happens! It's also a great place to try casual gourmet bites (tapas at Three Muses) or one of the best burgers in town at Port of Call.  And don't forget to check out the adorable Frenchmen Art Market in between your walks to the live shows!" — Lisa Dang, native New Orleanian and resident, LSU/Ochsner Ophthalmology Program

Adolfo’s. Located on the second floor of a building on Frenchmen Street, Adolfo’s doesn’t take reservations. The wait, however, is part of the experience, with live music at the Apple Barrel Bar downstairs. What should you order? Anything with ocean sauce. If you want to impress friends who visited New Orleans once, then tell them you had oysters at Acme; if you want to impress locals, tell them you went to Adolfo’s! — R.W.

Richard Watson, MD, and his wife Mary Esther Watson at a New Orleans Saints football game.
Dr. Watson and his wife Mary Esther Watson at a New Orleans Saints football game.

Spotted Cat and Snug Harbor. Both of these clubs are located on Frenchman Street, a locale similar to what Bourbon Street used to be like in the ‘60s. Although the strip is only three to four blocks long, every club on it is a jazz or music venue that has great local artists — all with fewer tourists! Snug Harbor is a traditional jazz venue in the sense that you’ll need to buy tickets. It’s a sit-down establishment with a candlelit table type of feel, whereas the Spotted Cat is more of a walk-in-and-party type of joint. Irvin Mayfield’s is another great jazz venue located in the Royal Sonesta hotel. It’s probably the most upscale jazz club in the city, as it’s brand new and resembles a modern New York City jazz venue. — B.K.W.

Blue Nile, Café Negril and the Balcony Music Club. You’ll also have plenty of options for live music at these venues on Frenchman Street. There are usually bands playing right on the street during the weekend, so exercise the city’s lack of an open-container law and jam outside! — Thomas W. Jones, MD, Tulane University resident

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