french quarter

Angie Garrett / Flickr

On this week's Louisiana Eats!, we set out to discover hot spots both literally and figuratively in our backyard.

Dennis Brady and Peter Ricchiuti.
Cheryl DalPozzal / It's New Orleans

A lot of tourists who come to New Orleans go home and describe the city as an oasis of European-looking streets lined with music clubs where people wander around drinking cocktails and eating beignets 24 hours a day. This fabulous wonderland is the same 13 riverside blocks that locals describe as dirty, smelly, crime-ridden, home to gutter punks, T-shirt shops, and over-priced restaurants they wouldn’t go to even if they could find a parking place.

wikicommons

Since the debate over the noise ordinance came to a standstill last April, live music advocates and neighborhood groups are stuck with an unlikely piece of legislation to deal with sound in the city:  zoning.

It’s early evening on Frenchmen Street, and the doors of this bar are wide open. Tourists are drifting in and out, and the music is free. It’s also illegal.

Richard Campanella

As NBC announces the 6-month, unpaid suspension of news anchor Brian Williams, controversy over the truth of many of his high-profile reporting trips continues.

While the scandal erupted related to questions about Iraq, in 2003, it has also brought into question Williams’ 2005 reporting in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Among other claims, Williams reported floodwaters around his French Quarter hotel.

Maria Carter / Flickr

There’s a new firm collecting garbage and cleaning the streets in the French Quarter. It’s the first time the city has changed waste collection vendors since shortly after Hurricane Katrina.

According to a report in The Advocate, the new contract is with Empire Janitorial Sales and Services, based in Metairie. It's worth $3.9 million annually.

New Orleans' most visited neighborhood rarely sees the type of violent crime that plagues other parts of the city. Recently, several high-profile robberies have rattled the region and led to criticism of the police department and the mayor, both of whom are rethinking safety measures.

Over the next few weeks, more and more visitors will roam the city's famous French Quarter, drinks in hand, for Mardi Gras. In less than 2 square miles, the French Quarter combines hotels, restaurants, street performers, and all-night bars with historic homes and tight-knit neighbors.

French Quarter residents are warning people to walk in groups to avoid violent crime.

They posted signs in the neighborhood that say, “Caution. Walk in Large Groups. We (Heart) NOPD. We Just Need More.”

Police Superintendent Michael Harrison says he’s temporarily assigning an eight-person task force to the Quarter. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says state and federal agencies should contribute more resources. He says the area generates sales tax that benefits the state, and is a national historic district.

JoAnn Clevenger grew up in a strong Baptist community in northern Louisiana and eventually found her way to New Orleans.
Historic New Orleans Collection

JoAnn Clevenger had never even heard of Mardi Gras until she moved to New Orleans in the late 1950’s. She dropped out of Tulane to care for her mother and then moved to the French Quarter shortly thereafter. At that point in her life the jazz clubs, restaurants and literary circles she hung around weren’t like anything she’d seen.

Ian McNulty


The New Orleans City Council is rethinking the idea of using unarmed citizen patrols in the French Quarter.

Some businesses in the city’s premier tourist destination want to know why actual police officers aren’t being hired.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu wanted to use voluntary hotel taxes to fund the patrols. The civilian officers would handle non-emergency matters, in theory — easing the workload for regular officers.

But several businesses are questioning why the city wouldn’t spend $2.3 million in annual revenue to hire fully qualified police officers.

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