So you’re in New Orleans for a conference and you’ve got two hours or an afternoon to spend on yourself before your next session. We recommend taking the streetcar to the St. Roch Market.
For Travelers Who Like: People-watching, Food, a bit of History
Where to Go: Most people are familiar with the St. Charles Avenue streetcar which will take you through what’s known as the Garden District of New Orleans. But, because streetcars are so charming, the city has added or revived a few other streetcar lines, including one that goes down St. Claude Avenue and stops a few blocks from the St. Roch Market.
You can take the St. Claude Avenue streetcar at the intersection of Canal Street and Rampart Street. Rampart turns into St. Claude Avenue. Take the streetcar to the intersection of St. Claude Avenue and Elysian Fields Avenue which is currently the last stop. Walk four blocks in the same direction and the St. Roch Market will be on your left.
What Makes It Special: In this case, both the trip and the destination are special. The St. Claude streetcar takes you along the edge of the French Quarter, through the historic New Orleans neighborhoods of Treme and Fauborg Marigny. The view from the streetcar makes it easier to people watch and catch glimpses of the city’s cool architecture.
The St. Roch Market is essentially a food hall, housed inside a historic (1875) building that initially served as an open air market and then a fresh seafood market where New Orleanians could go to buy shrimp and crabs to make gumbo.
The building was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. It’s been beautifully restored, with a light, airy interior, outside patios, and lots of seating in both areas. Go to www.neworleans.strochmarket.com for hours and the current line-up which usually includes 13 food vendors. It’s the perfect place to go with a group when everyone fancies something different. The day we were there, there was Haitian street food at Fritai, Mexican street corn at La Mezcla Mexicana, and of course, fresh raw oysters on the half shell at Elysian Oyster Bar.
Must Try: We had the NOLA Trio Sampler at Fete au Fete which included small portions of three classics, crawfish poutine, red beans and rice, and shrimp and grits. If you come with a group, you simply must spend some time hanging out at the Mayhaw Bar. Their summer drink menu was too much fun, with drinks like the Mousetrap (“a potent tropical punch”), the Shipwreck (a frozen Mai Tai), and the Anti-Inflammatory (Jamaican dark rum blended with a bunch of other yummy stuff).