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When is the Best Time to Visit New Orleans?

French Quarter

Spring in the New Orleans French Quarter

You are thinking about that long-awaited journey to New Orleans, but can’t decide on when to come.  Do you like crowds or quiet balconies? Parades or garden tours?  Festivals or concert halls?  Here are a few tips from the Grand Victorian staff to help you decide.

SUMMER for the amazing deals

Summer is hot and so are the special deals you can find to design that economical vacation or stay-cation to enjoy all that the city has to offer.  COOLinary menus allow you to try 2 and 3 course lunches and dinners for low prices.  The festivals continue with Creole Tomato, Cajun-Zydeco, Essence, Satchmo and weekly free summer music offerings in our incredible parks.  The Grand Victorian also offers great summer rates for a cool respite after your sizzling summer days.

MARDI GRAS for the bucket list

You have to experience it at least one time in your life, and we can help you make it the experience you will enjoy.  There are many ways to experience Mardi Gras – parades, costumes, family picnics and ribald entertainment from the masses.  We do Mardi Gras family style in the Garden District, where our home is right on the parade route for over 50 parades during the two-week season.  When you’re tired of the crowd, just jaunt over to the porch to enjoy the pageantry from afar.  It is usually during February or March, check the calendar as the date changes every year.

Mardi-Gras

SPRING for the music festivals

If you love the live local music like we do, then April is for you!  French Quarter Festival and Jazz Festival are the weekends we enjoy most in the city.  An abundance of musical talent on 10 or more stages plus an over-abundance of restaurant food tasting choices can tempt even the most solitary traveler.  Make the festival one of your own design by choosing which musical acts to enjoy or which food booth to park your chair near.  Great spring weather added onto these elements make spring the easy choice for your next New Orleans vacation.

 

The Grand Victorian tends to book early for Mardi Gras and the spring festivals, but we always have good deals in the summertime!  Make this historic New Orleans bed and breakfast your home away from home this year!

Cocktail Festival in New Orelans: July 15-19, 2015

Bartenders and spirits professionals are celebrated in New Orleans for the Cocktail Festival.

 

The world’s premier cocktail festival happens right here in New Orleans July 15-19, 2015 and features a “spirited” array of activities for the professional mixologist as well as the enthusiastic imbiber. Most of the events take place in hotels in the French Quarter, a quick streetcar ride from our Garden District Bed and Breakfast. Some of the spectacular events include  “Spirited Lunches and Dinners” which pair cocktails with meal courses, A Royal High Tea – Prohibition Style, cocktail tours, a Texas Tiki Throwdown, aWorld Cup Cocktail event, a Taming the Hurricane competition and many many more.

Cocktail Festival in New Orleans

The Sazerac started it all!

Save the date and make sure to get your tickets to this intoxicating festival early. While you’re at it make reservations to stay at our historic Garden District B&B.  Book early because we fill up fast. We’ve got a great summer deal for weeknight rates; mention Tales of the Cocktail when you book four or more nights and we’ll extend it through the weekend!

Top 5 Jazz Fest Foods 2014

 

Cochon de lait po boy

Cochon de lait po boy

There are over 65 food booths at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; it can make it hard to decide what to eat. As the staff of our New Orleans Bed and Breakfast attend and sample the food booths every year, we are sharing our Top 5 Jazz Fest Food selections with photos taken from last weekend’s feasting.

1.    Cochon de Lait Po-Boy from Love at First Bite Caterers. (See photo above) A must have item at least once per weekend!! While the main ingredient of this po-boy is the pork (cochon is roasted suckling pig), this Cajun treat’s highlight is its extras. It is dressed with cabbage and creamy Cajun sauce. The combo of tastes are wonderful. Make sure you pick up lots of napkins before you walk away with this one!

2.   Crawfish Strudel from Coffee Cottage.  There are many crawfish dishes on the grounds, but the the light and flaky pastry shell that makes this one my all time favorite crawfish dish in the world.  It’s savory, not sweet, but they also have the white chocolate bread pudding at this booth.

Crawfish streudel and white chocolate bread pudding

Crawfish streudel and white chocolate bread pudding

3.   Spinach Artichoke Casserole, Seafood Au Gratin, Sweet Potato Pone from Ten Talents Catering. This plate has veggies, a rarity in the Jazz Fest diet, plus a slightly sweet dessert. It also has the additional factor of being easy to eat while traveling between stages.

4.   Crawfish Sack, Oyster Patty, Crawfish Beignets from Patton’s Caterers. The sacks are thin crepes filled with a wonderful crawfish etouffee, tied at the top w/ a green onion & the entire thing gets quick fried until the outside is crispy. The crawfish beignets are a non-sweet adaptation for the traditional delicacy deep fried, bite-sized crawfish bread balls served with a tasty but light remoulade sauce; fabulous.

 

Crawfish Sack, Oyster Patty, Crawfish Beignets

5.   Guil’s Gators from Sharon and Guilherme Wegner. If you want to try an alligator dish, my friends Sharon and Guil don’t run a restaurant anymore, but every year they make these fried alligator bits with jalapenos and onions. They are great tasting and not too spicy or gamey. 

Don’t forget to get seek out the Rosemint herbal iced tea  or strawberry lemonade at Congo Square to wash it all down.

It’s not too late!  There is one more weekend of Jazz Fest, and we have a last minute availability for any 3 nights between April 30 and May 4.  Check our reservations page for your last minute getaway to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival!

 

 

 

Holiday Home Tours, Concerts and More make New Orleans Your Place of Joy

The holiday events near our New Orleans bed and breakfast just keep rolling with 85 events listed, 50 of which are free, and many great specials still available to make your holiday a festive one.

Take a peek into quiet courtyards in the French Quarter, conveniently located near our bed and breakfast in the Garden District, and private homes in the Garden District with these holiday home tours:  The Preservation Resource Center hosts its eagerly awaited 38th annual Garden District Tours, December 14 and 15.  The Grand Victorian is proud to welcome the tour fans to our neighborhood each year.  The residents of the French Quarter open their garden gates on December 22 with the Patio Planters self-guided walking tour.

new orleans bed and breakfast holiday events

Cathedral Concerts Holiday Series

St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States, hosts free concerts until Christmas Eve, featuring New Orleans’ best in jazz, gospel and classical holiday music.  Just outside St. Louis Cathedral you’ll find a decades old tradition of Caroling in Jackson Square.  It is a truly moving holiday tradition beloved by locals and visitors held by candlelight on the Sunday before Christmas.  December 22, 7pm.

Also moving, but in a slightly different way is the annual festival and pub crawl, Running of the Santas.  An anticipated 4,000 costumed revelers will jingle their way around the business district on December 14.

new orleans bed and breakfast events

Running of the Santas pub crawl on Dec 14

Finally, add a new tradition to your holiday experience.  On Christmas Eve, take a drive along the Mississippi River west of the city to view the bonfires that light the way for Papa Noel, the Cajun Santa Claus.

Don’t forget to take advantage of our Papa Noel special at our New Orleans bed and breakfast for your last minute getaway to the city that helps you “Follow Your Joy” this holiday season!

Great music and food on Wednesdays at the Square!

Amanda Shaw

Amanda Shaw

Go for the music or go for the food, but get yourself downtown on Wednesday evenings for the annual free concert series, Wednesdays at the Square.

Lafayette Square on a lovely Wednesday Evening

Lafayette Square on a lovely Wednesday Evening

 

Sponsored by the Young Leadership Council, concerts are held at Lafayette Square on St. Charles Avenue every Wednesday from March 6 to May 22, 2013 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm, rain or shine.

Coming Up:  Marcia Ball, Irvin Mayfield, the Meters Experience, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk and more.

Tab Benoit

Tab Benoit

No pets or outside food; concession sales keep it free!

No need to look for parking downtown, the streetcar that passes in front of the Grand Victorian B&B will put you right in the heart of everything!  Mid-week rooms available so you can hear your favorite artist, or meet a new one.

All photos courtsey of YLC’s Wednesday  at the Square.

 

October Festivals in New Orleans

Grave at St. Louis Cemetery

Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival
October 12-14
Downtown New Orleans, Central Business District
Lafayette Square (St. Charles Avenue at Poydras Street) is the home for this free blues festival.  Two stages plus food and craft booths, including some of the best barbecue in the South. Get your blues on with these performers: Keb Mo, Otis Clay, Latimore, Lil Buck Sinegal, Luther Kent and more.  Take the historic streetcar from our front door to Lafayette Square for the full New Orleans experience.

New Orleans Film Festival
October 11-18
Various venues

Voodoo Music Experience
October 26-28
City Park
You can also take the streetcar to City Park for the Voodoo Music Experience with headliners that include Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Green Day, Green Day, Marcia Ball, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Irma Thomas, Grand Victorian favorite Paul Sanchez (formerly of Cowboy Mouth), and the burlesque dancers from Fleur de Tease

Halloween in New Orleans
October 2012
Haunted Tours and Spiritual Shops

You might want to start with one of the many haunted tours through the French Quarter or some other spooky part of the city. There are haunted houses Uptown, in the Garden District and elsewhere, if you know where to go or are with someone who does. And then, of course, there are the world-famous cemeteries where the dearly departed are buried in tombs aboveground. Hundreds of stories abound in which the ghosts of these “Cities of the Dead” make their presence known, some of which have actually been documented and visually captured.

While prowling around the French Quarter there are a number of Voodoo shops you can check out to learn a little more about the history behind these centuries-old spiritual practices. You might even learn a few spells and mystical incantations. There are even shops catering specifically to vampires, believe it or not. Some of the shops plan special events for Halloween, so make sure you stop by and get in on the action. You can read about them online byclicking here.

Top 5 Places for Cocktails and Small Plates in New Orleans

We are getting ready for Tales of the Cocktail next month, the annual celebration of the birth of the cocktail right here in New Orleans. To help you get ready too, we have listed our Top 5 places to get a delicious cocktail and appetizer or small plate. All of these are in close proximity to our Garden District Bed and Breakfast.

 

Cure: Rated one of the Top 3 places to get a cocktail by Best of New Orleans.com, we love Cure for the scrumptious cocktails, small plates and great patio for whiling away the evening.

 

The Columns: A few streetcar stops down from our St. Charles stop (right at the front door of our Garden District Bed and Breakfast) is the best front porch to drift back in time, have a traditional New Orleans cocktail, and people watch. This is a great place to kick off your evening as it gets crowded later on.

 

Delachaise: Walk across the street from the Columns and have a really good light meal or cheese plate with great wine at this small place on the streetcar track.

 

Commander’s Palace: 25 cent martinis for lunch (and one and a half block walk from our Garden District bed and breakfast). Any questions?

 

Oak: A little further down the historic streetcar line and around the riverbend is a new bar and eatery that features small plates from the chef of Patois Restaurant. Live musicians every night make this a place to put on your must-visit list.

 

A little old fashioned for a hot summer's night.

A little old fashioned for those hot summer nights.

Finish your evening on the porte cochere balcony at our Garden District B&B. Check out our summer specials for an extra reason to check out the Tales of the Cocktail festival.

 

Three June Festivals in One New Orleans Historic Weekend

Tomatoes, Seafood and Zydeco: this festival trio (June 9-12, 2012) celebrates the early summer harvest bounty of the New Orleans region. The festivals are held at the same time and in the same location, the French Market District, 8 blocks along the Mississippi River from Jackson Square to Esplanade Avenue, a quick ride from our Garden District B&B via the historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar.

Historic St. Charles Avenue Streetcar by Garden District B&B

 

The French Market’s Creole Tomato Festival heralds the arrival of New Orleans’ favorite summer vegetable. The New Orleans secret behind what makes a tomato a Creole is only realized through the local culture. And what makes this festival a local favorite are the life size tomatoes strolling the grounds handing out tomato shaped fans and the annual auction of the first tomatoes of the season to local chefs for charity!

 

Garden District B&B

The Louisiana Seafood Festival is held at the Old U.S. Mint (Esplanade Avenue) and features delicious dishes from local restaurants. It celebrates the family businesses that provides most of the shrimp, oysters, crab, crawfish and alligator to the rest of the U.S. (By the way, it’s the beginning of shrimp season too!)

 

Garden District bed and breakfast

 

The sixth annual Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival has three stages (also at the Old U.S. Mint), cooking demonstrations, a large crafts fair with handmade jewelry and art, and some of the best Cajun and zydeco artists in the state.

Some of the artists this year include:

 C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band

Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie

Rosie Ledet

Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas

The Lost Bayou Ramblers

Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots

Bruce Daigrepont

Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers

 

Come out and enjoy all three festivals for delicious Louisiana food, music and fun! Two-step your way down to our Garden District Bed and Breakfast to relax after feasting and frolicking along the old Mississippi River.

 

 

 

New Orleans Has the I’s of March

Not too long after the last bead has fallen from the trees (just kidding, they stay there year round), the streets heat up again with the beat of drums and marching feet. More celebrations and parades await the rested reveler in the city that celebrates.

Irish:

The St. Patrick’s Day parades and parties feature walking groups from various clubs in the city dress in costumes of green give out flowers, beads, and kisses to lucky parade goers along the route. Floats throw beads plus the more infamous cabbages, carrots, onions…and moonpies! (You may even see a potato or two in the air!)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Parasol’s Block Party 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Channel Parade – 1 p.m.

(passes directly in front of the Grand Victorian)

 

Italians:

March 19th marks the Catholic celebration of St. Joseph’s Day where New Orleanians construct elaborate altars in honor of this saint. The tradition, commemorating the relief St. Joseph provided during a famine in Sicily, began in the late 1800’s when Sicilian immigrants settled in New Orleans. The American Italian Marching club hosts the annual St. Joseph’s day parade in the French Quarter is a local favorite with marchers dressed in black tuxedos proceeding to parade until dark.

Saturday, March 10

Italian American Marching Club – French Quarter

 

Indians:

St. Joseph’s Day has also been adopted as an important day for the Mardi Gras Indians, an African-American tradition unique to New Orleans. The Super Sunday Mardi Gras Indian parade on the Sunday nearest St. Joseph’s Day is the one time of year all of the Mardi Gras Indian tribes come together to show off their new suits. Original costumes are created every year and can weigh between 100 and 150 pounds.

(photo by M. Hinton)

Sunday, March 18

Super Sunday Mardi Gras Indians – 1pm

 

Islenos:

Islenos, or Canary Islanders, were recruited Spanish colonists from the Canary Islands that arrived in St. Bernard Parish between 1778 and 1783. Their annual heritage celebration occurs March 17-18 featuring traditional Spanish food and folk music.

Los Islenos Parade – Chalmette

April 1

You’ll get a front porch view of the St. Patrick’s Day parade from the Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast, and you’re a streetcar away from the French Quarter and Super Sunday events. Book your weekend now

 

Essence Fest 2011

We didn’t think it could get any hotter in New Orleans, but Essence Fest will bring up the heat July 1-3, 2011. The annual music festival celebrates contemporary African-American music and culture and is the largest of its kind. In the past, award-winning artists include Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Chris Rock, and Mary J. Blige have taken the stage in the New Orleans Superdome.

This year, New Orleans is excited to welcome Usher, Charlie Wilson, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Boyz II Men, and Nephew Tommy as they headline at the 2011 Essence Music Festival.

After the festival, join the Big Easy in celebrating Independence Day. The Crescent City always puts on a firework show off of the Mississippi. Get a close-up view of this spectacle on New Orleans’ Paddlewheeler Creole Queen or the Steamboat Natchez. Just a streetcar ride from all this excitement is the Grand Victorian, which can provide you and your family and friends the perfect place to stay while in New Orleans.