After hanging out in New Orleans for more than twenty years and still not bored, I should have written this sooner!
Please be safe! New Orleans is ranked on the higher side of crime cities. Travel in groups, stay alert, and stay on the beaten path.
Note also this is opinionated stuff. Ask someone elese from New Orleans and they may say the opposite. Send questions to ken dot walsh @ rocketmail dot com
I think of Frenchman Street as a slightly better quality Bourbon Street. Generally higher quality music and slighly less drunks bumping into you. This is the street to wander and just head inside a venue when you hear nusic you like. Lot's of good food as well. Interesting stops on this street are the Spotted Cat, Apple Barrell, Cafe Negril, ...
Classic upscale restaurants that are always perfect are Antoine's, Commander's Palace, and Galatoire's.
My favorite Louisianan dish is barbecue shrimp. And no, the word barbecue does not mean here what it might anywhere else in the world because it is not barbecue at all. It is whole head-on shrimp in a delicios garlic and butery sauce that is eaten by hand makes quite a mess. You also dip your hand torn piece of french bread in the sauce as well. It was invented at Pascal's Manale, but I like Mr. B's best.
One of my favorite's in the quarter for upscale dining is Le Tableau. The crab butter is to die for. It is unique in that it is located in the same building as one of the country's oldest running theater companies, Le Petite Theatre, making it an excellent dinner and a show venue.
Cafe Du Monde is the most famous for beignets and cafe au lait. If the line is too long, Cafe Beignet is a good substitute.
Snug Harbor is probably the best jazz venue for those wanting to stay for a full concert, rather than pop in an out like other places. Usually shows at 8 and 10.
For punk rock and eastern eurpean food go to Siberia. Unfortunately, they seem to be going mainstream with more blues and jazz also, but checout their ecletic lineup.
If you see Kermit Ruffin, catch his show for great classic jazz. You can't go wrong if someone in the Neville family is playing.