Exploring Frenchman’s Street

One of my favorite spots for live music in New Orleans is Frenchman’s a Street.  To the first time visitor, it is easiest to describe this location as “the eastern edge of the French Quarter.”  But actually this is past Esplanade, the Treme, etc.  

Ten years ago this had a high proportion of locals.  But over the past four years, it has seen a massive surge in popularity.  Call it “gentrification” or “development” or an invasion of the “tragically hip hipsters” or whatever you like. Rents have soared, folks like the Louusiana Music Factory have relocated (from across the street from the House of Blues in the Quarter), and others have simply sprung up to serve the now-selling crowds of tourists.  This is the nightlife spot for those interested in things other than the frat-boy, alcohol-drenched street like Bourbon.

One of the ways Frenchman has always differed from the more typical fare in the Quarter Nightlife scene is a tremendous concentration of music venues (Snug Harbor for straight ahead Jazz, DBA for acts like John Boutte and zlonnzi Zaorski, the Three Muses, Spotted Cat, etc.)

The Art Walk is an example of the unique mix of things here.  This spot was a lot five years ago when a few street artists started selling their wares.  Now you can chill on a frequently-rotating array of furniture, draw with chalk on the concrete floor, or just meander the stalls under a canopy of white lights.  The Art Walk is a must-see for anyone visiting Frenchman’s Street.

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