Attempting to articulate the essence of New Orleans, Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) once remarked: “everything mingles together… until nothing is purely itself but becomes part of one funky gumbo.” Get a taste of the gumbo that is the Big Easy, and complete this hunt between 3:30 pm and the first crow of the morning rooster. Also, make sure to remember to bring cash for cabs, as you will need to take a few throughout the day. Bòn chans!
Start your afternoon around 3:30 pm at The Backstreet Cultural Museum ($8 for admission) in the French Quarter and learn about the history of New Orleans’ African American community. More specifically, learn about that community’s rich traditions having to do with jazz funerals, social aid and pleasure clubs, masking, and Mardi Gras Indians. Music-loving locals gather at The Backstreet Cultural Museum on Mardi Gras, as it marks the site of where the second line parades start and end. Take a photograph of your favorite museum artifact, tag #hipmunkcitylove, and post it on our Instagram page @thehipmunk.
From the museum, walk southeast on Ursulines Ave until you reach the Mississippi River, and then cut a right on Decatur Street. Hopefully, you’ve worked up an appetite by this hour, as Tujague’s offers some of the finest cajun cuisine in the city. Established in the 1850s and originally serving as a Spanish Armory, Tujague’s built its legendary reputation on two notable dishes: a stimulating remoulade sauce flavoring cold shrimp, and a rich beef brisket served with fresh vegetables and horseradish sauce. Make sure to glance the restaurant’s guestbook, which includes the names of Cole Porter, Dan Aykroyd, and Ty Cobb (to name a few), and tweet your favorite celebrity to have frequented the restaurant @thehipmunk. Additionally, be sure enjoy a refreshing Sazerac or Absinthe frappé at the restaurant’s old cypress bar. Take a freewheeling selfie with a new friend and your drink, tag #hipmunkcitylove, and post it on our Instagram page @thehipmunk.
Travelers can’t truly experience New Orleans until they’ve danced in reckless abandon at Vaughan’s, the beloved local music venue and cash only bar in New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood. A short cab ride from both Tujague’s and the French Quarter’s Bourbon Orleans Hotel (in case you want to change into comfortable dancing clothes before going out), Vaughan’s features some of the best acts in the city, including world-renowned trumpeter Kermit Ruffins and his foot-stompin’ band on Thursday nights. Photograph a plate of red beans, gumbo, and rice, all of which the bar serves to its customers for free after midnight, tag #hipmunkcitylove, and post it on our Instagram page @thehipmunk.
From Vaughan’s, take a cab to The Spotted Cat. Located at 623 Frenchmen Street in the center of the Fauborg Marigny District, “The Cat” epitomizes the spirit of New Orleans’ live music scene. Locals frequent this music club to see killer bands like Pat Casey & the New Sound, Dominick Grillo & The Frenchmen Street All-Stars, Washboard Chaz Trio, and Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns. If you’re not familiar with these groups, see one of them live and thank us later. Hosting three bands nightly, “The Cat” guarantees its customers quality music, atmosphere, and libations. Shoot a video on your iPhone of a blaring horn solo, tag #hipmunkcitylove, and post it on our Instagram page @thehipmunk.
Feeling the electricity of the night (and perhaps of a few bold Sazeracs), ride an uber from The Spotted Cat to Hotel Monteleone in the French District, and drift into a comfortable sleep in luxurious linens beneath high ceilings and elaborate crown moldings. Wake up and work out at the hotel’s rooftop fitness room, and freshen up for another funky day in America’s hippest city.