Are you on the fence about coming to DrupalCon North America in New Orleans, May 9 - 13, 2016? If the addition of three new session tracks or the record setting 767 proposed sessions isn’t enough to convince you that this year’s conference is going to rock, let me entice you with what New Orleans has to offer!
If you didn’t know, New Orleans is a terrific venue for conferences, music festivals, and sporting events, not to mention the famous Mardi Gras celebration. From hosting annual events such as the Sugar Bowl and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans is now entertaining more than 9.5 million tourists yearly. The warm weather, coupled with its famous cultural offerings, make New Orleans a choice venue for DrupalCon North America.
The conference will be held at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, adjacent to the Arts District. The conference hotels are all found within the Downtown area made up of the Arts District, Central Business District (CBD) and French Quarter. Chances are you’ll spend most of your time at the conference and surrounding areas of the convention center and hotels. However, I encourage everyone to venture out into the other neighborhoods at least one night, or even a full day if you have time.
To encourage y’all to attend DrupalCon and explore New Orleans, I’ve organized some info below. Hope it’s helpful! Follow me on twitter, where I’ll share additional info leading up to and during the conference: @jasonawant.
Getting there and getting around
Visit the conference website for info about getting to the conference.
Once in New Orleans, there are your typical options of getting around: taxi, Uber, buses and street cars. Additionally, and I encourage it, you can rent a bike, particularly if you are adding a day to either end of the conference week to explore New Orleans. On a bike, you will cover more ground than walking and will have more freedom to get off the beaten path. You may even discover something new.
Downtown to Uptown and Riverside to Lakeside of the Crescent City
Get to know the lay of the land before you go.
Find your New Orleans Grooves
If you want to hear New Orleans, tune in online to WWOZ’s live radio. From here, you can listen to the WWOZ Live Wire music calendar announcements at every odd hour to hear a list of local music venues and their lineups for the evening. Go ahead and do your homework before coming to the conference and equip yourself with the WWOZ Livewire iOS app to pick your favorite musicians to see live the week of the conference.
Not all music venues are listed on the WWOZ calendar or in the app, so double up on the info and grab a weekly copy of The Gambit or review it online.
New Orleans Food
So, yeah, New Orleans has great food. You probably knew that. If you want a local take on local New Orlean food culture, listen to Where Y’eat weekly podcast, read restaurant descriptions and ratings at New Orleans Menu and catch the latest at NOLA Eater. Here’s a short list of recommend food to eat. Additionally, give the following a try if you see them on the menu: gumbo, turtle soup, red beans & rice and bread pudding.
- Crawfish, typically available March through June, call ahead to confirm.
- Frankie and Johnny’s, an Uptown favorite, catch the #10 Tchoupitoulas bus
- Maple Leaf Bar, pay a cover for music and crawfish Sunday evenings. Take the St. Charles Streetcar line.
- Tchoupitoulas Beer Garden, Friday afternoon boils start at 4pm
- Rivershack Tavern, Friday and Sunday boils; you’ll need a car
- The Blue Crab, has a view the Lake Pontchartrain; you’ll need a car
- A po-boy, we love them so much we have the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, unfortunately you’ll miss it; it’s in November. But, check out the winners listed on their website.
- Johnny’s Po-Boys, in the Quarter
- Parkway Tavern and Bakery, take the Canal Streetcar - City Park/Museum line
- Crabby Jack’s, you’ll have to take a car here
- Domilise’s, take the #10 Tchoupitoulas bus
- Chargrilled Oysters and Oysters on the Half Shell
- Acme Oyster House, there'll be a line, so grab a drink from somewhere else and wait; that’s right, you can drink on the street!
- Drago’s, central business district
- Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar, take the St. Charles Streetcar line
- Sucré, Macarons! at the French Quarter or Garden District locations
- The Creole Creamery, in Uptown
- Angelo Brocato’s, in Mid City
- Café Du Monde, in the quarter
- Morning Call, take Canal Streetcar - City Park/Museum line to City Park; combine with a po-boy at Parkway’s and a kayak, canoe or paddle board rental on Bayou St. John or in City Park.
- New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co, take St. Charles Streetcar line; combine with trip to Audubon Park
- Snowballs, a local variation of the snow cone
- Pandora’s Snowballs, along the Canal Streetcar - City Park/Museum line
- Plum Street Snowballs, along the St. Charles Streetcar line
- The Avenue Pub, also has a selection of Bourbon, Rye & Whiskey; order the Dump Truck Fries! Take St. Charles Streetcar line.
- The Courtyard Brewery, a good selection, near the conference
- The Black Penny, in the Quarter
- Second Line Brewing, a short walk from the Canal Streetcar Line terminus at the Metairie Cemetery.
- NOLA Brewing, brewery tours every Friday 2pm, tap room open daily
- Abita Beer, served all around the city; find the brewery on the Northshore in Covington
Outdoors in and around the Crescent City
An excellent way to take in New Orleans is to get outside, whether you are just walking off last night’s indulgences or taking a self guided, name-your-own-price or paid walking tour; I’m sure you’ll enjoy the sights. There are many walking and bicycle tour options, but here are few outdoor activities that may not occur to you.
- Charter fishing, especially inshore Redfish
- Swamp tours, explore bayous and spot alligators
- Kayak or canoe in City Park or on Bayou St. John
- Paddle Boarding on Lake Pontchartrain
Family Activities in New Orleans
Looking for activities for children during your conference in New Orleans, check out the following spots: