One of the things that makes New Orleans such a great city is its walkability. When friends come to visit me, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that we will drive or take a cab to our initial destination and there will be plenty of places to walk to from that point. Decatur Street is a bustling street in the New Orleans French Quarter neighborhood that offers a lot to do in a very small amount of space. I suggest planning to conquer Decatur on foot: fuel up with some coffee at Envie (1241 Decatur) and then venture out into Jackson Square to see the local artists and performers and take a picture in front of the magnificent St. Louis Cathedral. Next, walk across the street to sneak a peek at the Mighty Mississippi and, if you’re feeling particularly touristy, stop at Cafe du Monde (800 Decatur) for another coffee and a beignet. Now that you’re totally amped up on caffeine, let’s get the day started!
“Decatur, complicator, I want a little more: the savior of misbehavior. It’s alright – circle tight, say goodnight, hit the town, yeah …”
-The Twilight Singers
Central Grocery (923 Decatur): Since 1906, this family-owned grocery store has been a reliable source for hard-to-find ethnic grocery items. This is also the home of the original muffaletta sandwich, so it’s kind of a must-do, at least once. One is enough to feed two people, so be forewarned!
Southern Candymakers (334 Decatur): Walk in here and ask for a free sample of pralines – I promise you won’t regret it! They also have amazing dark-chocolate covered Oreos (or milk-chocolate covered Oreos, or white-chocolate covered Oreos) and a sweet selection of cookbooks.
Angeli on Decatur (1141 Decatur): This is a great New Orleans dining spot for a sandwich, with a lot of vegetarian options on the menu. There’s also a decent selection of specialty pizzas and salads.
Corner Oyster House (St. Peter at Decatur): With 16 flat screen televisions, this one of the cool New Orleans restaurants for a game day, if that’s your thing. The menu includes raw oysters, fried seafood, po-boys, and your standard bar fare.
Perestroika at Pravda (1113 Decatur): I really enjoyed Pravda!, which is under new management and has been renamed Perestroika at Pravda – the team behind the Uptown craft cocktail bar Cure intends for this spot to eventually become a rum bar. For now, they have an impressive cocktail list full of inventive libations. Drop in and see what you think about the new look and feel; we’d love to hear your thoughts!
Coop’s Place (1109 Decatur): Coop’s offers a very casual, dive-bar atmosphere and is a fun place to catch up over beers. If you drink long enough that you become hungry, order the fried chicken or anything off their extensive Cajun menu.
Palm Court Jazz Cafe (1204 Decatur): This is basically a restaurant to hear live Jazz music with your meal (very cool!), but there is a bar, and if the restaurant area isn’t full you’re welcome to sit at a table with your cocktails and enjoy the music. Nifty.
Molly’s at the Market (1107 Decatur): This is one of my favorite spots; I can’t remember a time when I haven’t run into someone I know here. The frozen Irish coffee is a huge local favorite, and they also have a good Bloody Mary, which I’m always on the hunt for. Very friendly staff and well-lit atmosphere – which, depending on your drinking philosophy, may be a good or bad thing!.
Be Merry! (A.K.A. New Orleans Shopping)
Greg’s Antiques (1209 Decatur): Decatur Street is full of great antique shops, but this one is my favorite. Every time I go, I leave with a head full of ideas regarding what I want to hang on my walls next. There are very cool paintings and, obviously, a great selection of antiques – I’m currently very fond of the New Orleans Water Meter painting hanging near the front.
The Shops at Jax Brewery (600 Decatur): Brewery no more, this is now a four-story mall full of New Orleans boutiques, stores, restaurants, and bars. Not quite as robust as other local malls, but it offers a great view.
French Market (Starts at 1000 Decatur): A perfect Saturday morning for me has, on occasion, included picking up a Bloody to go from a bar on Decatur and browsing the French Market. There are booths of local vendors, and if you look hard enough, you might find a gem or two to bring home. The best part is the vendors are willing to haggle, so bring your poker face!
Peaches Records (Decatur at 400 Block of N. Peters): I love that this store is big on supporting local musicians, and they’ve always been extremely friendly and helpful to me. I was browsing here last week with my musician friend, and he said the selection was awesome, so I’m going to go with that!
Wish Boutique (Decatur at 400 block of N. Peters): This New Orleans boutique has affordable, cute clothes for women and is nestled conveniently next to Peaches (above) – it’s also part of a row of shops that includes French Connection and Urban Outfitters. I feel I should also mention there’s a Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics store across the street, because my out-of-town friends love to stock up on the natural soaps there.
Happy exploring from the team at GoNOLA!