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The Claiborne Mansion
Thereâ€™s a reason we love the New Orleans Saints so much
The summer of 2017 has certainly ended on a furious note, with record-breaking hurricanes devastating parts of Texas and Florida as well as a large swath of the Caribbean.
As survivors of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, we New Orleanians know first hand the pain of seeing the place you love stripped bare and buried under a murky sheet of water.
But we also know what it feels like to come back from a catastrophe like Harvey or Irma stronger and more resilient, not just as individuals but as a city. And nowhere is that unsinkable community spirit more apparent in New Orleans than when you’re watching a New Orleans Saints game.
Don’t believe me? If you find yourself in New Orleans on a crisp Sunday afternoon this fall, seek out the nearest local watering spot. Maybe it’s a hardcore sports bar like Manningâ€™s with its banks of recliners, or something more traditional and laid-back like Finn McCoolâ€™s Irish Pub. Go inside, order yourself a drink, and take part in the communal celebration of watching a New Orleans Saints game with locals.
It’s not just typical home team pride that makes us shout â€śWho dat?â€ť and generally act the fool during football season. It’s what the team represented to us in the years immediately following Katrina, when we struggled to rebuild this city that we love.
The Saints started playing in the late sixties, but they weren’t exactly a top-ranking team for most of the last 50 years. They didn’t even win a playoff until 2000. After Katrina hit, our Superdome football stadium was converted to an emergency shelter, and the Saints played their home games in other cities. The Superdome sustained so much damage from the hurricane that there were rumors it would be torn down completely.
Instead, we rebuilt the Superdome and the Saints returned home a year later for the 2006 season. That season they won their second playoff in the history of the team.
For a team with a record like the Saints, that alone would have been considered a victory, a classic example of overcoming adversity. But the Saints, like everyone else in New Orleans post-Katrina, weren’t finished, and in 2009 they made it to the Super Bowl. Everyone in New Orleans watched with growing excitement as the Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17, and brought home New Orleans’ first Super Bowl trophy.
Take that, Katrina.
Of course, the problem with being home to a popular NFL team is it can be hard to get tickets, but if you do manage to grab a couple, one of the best ways to get to the Superdome is on the new Rampart-St. Claude streetcar. It runs from Union Passenger Terminal downtown, all the way up through the French Quarter, and ends at Elysian Fields in the historic Marigny district where the Claiborne Mansion is located. Three stops from Union, at the Poydras Street station, you’ll find the newly renamed Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The 2017 preseason has already started, but the first official home game is Sunday, September 17. If you can’t miss it, be sure to take a look at the 2017 schedule for the dates of the other 7 home games.
Take a break from #SIBA17 with these 5 New Orleans favorites
This year the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) is hosting its industry trade show in New Orleans. This is just so-so news for book lovers, because the #SIBA17 Discovery Show is an industry event and not open to the general public. However, for #SIBA17 attendees, this is a great opportunity to get out and explore one of the best cities in the world in between those endless trade show panels.
You can find plenty of tourist-friendly guides to New Orleans out there, but often you’ll end up visiting the same destinations as every other visitor to the Big Easy. Here are five other locations that aren’t as well known to outsiders but are local favorites.
New Orleans has enjoyed a long love affair with snow cones, and you’ll understand why after you visit this local family-owned favorite. Ernest and Susan Hansen opened Sno-Bliz in 1939 using Ernest’s inventionâ€”the first electric ice-shaving machineâ€”and Susan’s secret homemade syrup recipes. Nearly 80 years later, and under the ownership of their granddaughter Ashley, Hansen’s Sno-Bliz is still serving the perfect “snoball.”
4801 Tchoupitoulas St
This fourth-generation Italian family restaurant at 3800 Canal Street started life as a grocery store for New Orlean’s Italian residents in 1898, then became a pool hall that served sandwiches for a short while. In 1932 it was turned into a restaurant and it’s been serving authentic Italian food with a New Orleans flair ever sinceâ€”even after being flooded by Katrina. If you want to try Creole classics like turtle soup or homemade seafood gumbo, this is the place to go.
3800 Canal Street
Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub (pictured above)
If you’re in the mood to hear some traditional New Orleans jazz in a classic historical setting, pay a visit to Fritzel’s, which bills itself as “the oldest operating jazz club in New Orleans.” This Bourbon Street destination has been delighting jazz lovers since it opened in 1969, although the building itself was built in 1831.
733 Bourbon Street
Chris Rose Walking Tour
You know those themed tours of downtown that cities love to sell to tourists? Imagine that with all the gimmicks stripped out and replaced with a loud, passionate lover of New Orleans and its enormous musical heritage. Rose is a former journalist with an insider’s knowledge of the city and its history, and over the course of a couple of hours he’ll have you loving the Big Easy as much as he does.
This beloved neighborhood wine shop hidden away in the Marigny neighborhood is famous among locals for its friendly setting, good prices, and generous wine tasting events (complete with cheese platters). If you’re here for #SIBA17, you’ll just miss the weekly wine tasting which happens every Wednesday, but Faubourg has one of the best curated selections in the city, so this is the place to visit if you want to bring a bottle or two back home with you.
2805 St. Claude Avenue
Girls Gone Vegan
Mornings at the Claiborne Mansion begin with granola and banana nut bread from Girls Gone Vegan: a gluten free and vegan bakery in New Orleans, LA. They offer a large variety of breakfast items as well as cookies, cakes and breads — and they deliver locally!
Visit their website to learn more (and place an order for your stay):
â€śGood bonesâ€ť despite being one of the most overused phrases when referring to old houses happens to be nonetheless accurate with The Claiborne Mansion. The house is well built, lovingly (and continually) renovated, and a beautiful piece of history that we love being able to share with you.
We thought youâ€™d enjoy seeing a little behind-the-scenes glimpse of the house so we recently asked Richard Sexton to photograph the exposed rafters and typically off-limits areas of the attic. We discovered a few beams with what may be â€ścarpenterâ€™s marksâ€ť also known as â€śmarriage marksâ€ť â€“ Roman numerals or other symbols carved into rafters to match joints of timber framing. You can learn more about them at the Historic House Blog.
Weâ€™ll be sharing more photos and history of the house soon.
Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere
In Creole World, that old New Orleans greeting ” How’s your mama an’ nem” gains depth and resonance. We learn that “an nem” includes our cousins in Haiti (cozen nou an Ayiti), our uncles in Cartegena (nuestros tios), our aunts in Cuba, (nuestras tias), and a wealth of other friends and relations in Panama. By depicting these connections so beautifully in pictures and words, Richard Sexton has made the Creole world at once larger, smaller, and better.
â€”Lolis Eric Elie, writer for HBO’s Treme and coproducer/writer of Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans
Kids Tour Too
Educational and entertaining tours of the French Quarter designed just for kids (6â€“13 years).
French Quartour Kids
For more information visit:
Trace the Footsteps of Regional Writers
Although the Crescent City is most renowned for its music, cuisine and architecture, New Orleansâ€™ literary heritage is as significant as that of any American city. Trace the footsteps and visit the inspirational haunts of the regional writers who have defined literature itself.
New Orleans Literary Tour (Walking Tour) by Reservation Only
For more information visit:
The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans
Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post wrote:
“Powell … has written in â€śThe Accidental Cityâ€ť what should stand for years as the definitive history of New Orleansâ€™s first century, the period that he regards as central to the cityâ€™s formation and its character.” (Read the complete review.)
Photo of Lawrence N. Powell byÂ Chris Granger/ The Times-Picayune
You can stay up-to-date with events around New Orleans at NOLA.com.
And if you’re looking for information on the best food and restaurants in New Orleans, then visit The New Orleans Menu at NOMENU.com.
* Lagniappe (pronounced LAN-yap) is something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure (such as getting a 13th doughnut when buying a dozen).