New Orleans/Faubourg Marigny
The Faubourg Marigny (FAW-borg MER-ih-nee), commonly just Marigny, is a hip neighborhood just "below" (down river from) the French Quarter.
Best known for the great live music district on Frenchmen Street, the Marigny also offers neighborhood cafes & businesses, historic architecture, and more.
It has the air of what the French Quarter was a generation or two ago before there was so much tourist development. It has a few small hotels and many bed-and-breakfasts, as well as a number of good restaurants, coffee shops, and music venues. Part of the city's old high ground, it fortunately escaped the worst of the post-Katrina disaster.
Marigny is down river from the French Quarter, to the north-east by compass. Due to its odd shape (following a bend in the Mississippi River), locals often divide the Marigny into the "Marigny triangle" and the "Marigny rectangle." The triangle runs from Esplanade Avenue (abutting the French Quarter) to Elysian Fields Avenue. The rectangle begins at Elysian Fields and runs to the railroad tracks on Press Street, where the Marigny abuts the Bywater district (the "Ninth Ward").
Marigny is maybe the most foot friendly neighborhood to explore in the whole city. It's small, compact, and centrally located, and many visitors get to the area by simply walking down river on Royal or Dauphine from the French Quarter. A tip: Bourbon St does not intersect Frenchmen St, and walking to Marigny on Bourbon is a pretty surefire way for an out-of-towner to get turned around.
Parking is fairly easy, especially if you venture a little further east. The main avenues for getting around are St Claude/Rampart, Elysian Fields, and the Esplanade. Frenchmen St gets backed up during events only.
Quite a few New Orleans RTA buses pass by here.
- 55, Elysian Fields: this is the most noticeable route cutting through Marigny, and is also the most useful, as it will take you through the French Quarter along Decatur to Canal and the CBD, or north through the 7th, 8th, and Upper 9th Wards and on to the University of New Orleans in Gentilly.
- 5, Marigny-Bywater: you can theoretically catch this bus on Canal Street at the corner of N. Peters (right in front of the Canal Place tower, across the street from the casino); it goes through the French Quarter on N. Peters/Decatur Streets before taking Elysian Fields back four blocks to Dauphine, and from there follows Dauphine Street through the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods all the way down to Poland Avenue next to the Industrial Canal. Coming back up the route is the same except the bus follows Royal Street instead of Dauphine.
- 88, St Claude-Delery and 57, Franklin: both routes will pick you up on St Claude and take you down Rampart past the French Quarter to Canal and the CBD. The 88 going eastbound will take you past the Bywater and on to the Lower 9th Ward.
- 91, Jackson-Esplanade: this bus picks up only at the edge of the district, at Rampart & Esplanade, but the route is pretty handy. Going upriver, it goes past the French Quarter, through the heart of the CBD and on to the Garden District in Uptown. Going back along Esplanade, it will go straight through Mid-City.
Taxis are pretty easy to catch in the busy section of Frenchmen St.
Architecturally, the Marigny is known for its many styles of Creole cottages, most of which date to the 19th century. Its "heart" is Washington Square Park (bounded by Frenchmen Street, Royal Street, Dauphine Street, and Elysian Fields Avenue). Frenchmen Street is the main nightlife district, with half a dozen live music clubs and just as many restaurants in four short blocks.
At Mardi Gras, the Marigny is one of the city's hidden hot spots, popular with locals who enjoy partying in the streets without the drunken frat-boy atmosphere of Bourbon Street. Crowds gather at the corner of Royal and Kerlerec (outside the R-Bar), as well as at the intersection of Royal and Franklin. Elaborate costumes are the order of the day, along with brass bands and many drummers. Two weeks before Mardi Gras, the Marigny is also the starting place for the Krewe du Vieux, a satirical, raunchy parade in 19th-century Carnival style, complete with small floats drawn by krewe members and mules.
Known for its bohemian atmosphere and low rents (though the latter is changing), the Marigny is home to many artists and musicians, as well as a sizable gay and lesbian population. Among its notable residents are chef Paul Prudhomme, painter James Michalopoulas, and actors Harry Shearer and Jennifer Coolidge, who can be seen around town when they're not working in L.A. Local writers include New Orleans mystery writers Julie Smith and J.M. Redmann, as well as Andrei Codrescu, Michael Swindle, and Kevin Allman.
- Cafe Istanbul, 2372 St Claude Ave (at St. Roch), ☎ . Named after a legendary Frenchmen Street venue of a generation ago, the new Cafe Istanbul is theater space with a bar in the New Orleans Healing Center, a renovated old warehouse building now a community center. Live theater, music, dance, film, and other performances.
- Shadowbox Theatre, 2400 St Claude Ave, ☎ . A small theater on the bohemian side of town, and it's arguably one of the city's best performance venues both for its fringey style points and for its regularly high quality of local and touring performances.
- Beth's Books, 2700 Chartres St (at Port St), ☎ . 7AM-8PM daily. New and used books, inside the Sound Cafe (listed below at "Eat")
- Louisiana Music Factory, 421 Frenchmen St (at Decatur St), ☎ . 11AM-8PM daily. Specializes in local music, with a wide selection new and used CDs, plus vintage vinyl upstairs. Local musicians often play free sets here for promotion when they come out with a new record. The staff here usually know their stuff and can make good recommendations.
- Scott Edwards Photography Studio & Gallery, 2109 Decatur St (at Frenchmen St), ☎ . Tues-Thurs 12pm-8pm Fri-Sat 12pm-12am. A gallery specializing in regional and New Orleans based Photography. $$$.
- Island of Salvation Botanica, 2372 St Claude Ave, Suite 100 (at St Roch St), ☎ , e-mail: Sis_isochron@yahoo.com. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. A real voodoo supply store. Moved from their old ramshackle building in the Bywater into the new "Healing Center" building in 2011.
- 13 Monaghan, 517 Frenchmen St (between Chartres and Decatur Sts), ☎ . 11AM-4AM daily. An Irish themed bar and grill, squeezed into an odd warehouse space. Good Irish beers and late-night grub, including Huevos Rancheros and pulled pork sandwich. Vegan options available.
- Cafe Rose Nicaud, 634 Frenchmen St (at Royal St), ☎ . 7AM-7PM daily. Coffees, teas, and fresh deli sandwiches, quiches.
- Cake Cafe, 2440 Chartres St (at Spain St), ☎ . 7AM-3PM daily. Great bakery with sandwiches.
- Flora Gallery and Coffee Shop, 2600 Royal St (at Franklin Ave), ☎ . 7:30AM-midnight daily. Ultra-funky coffeehouse with light fare, as well as poetry readings, board games, and the like.
- La Peniche, 1940 Dauphine St (at Touro St), ☎ . Open 24 hours except W. Locals go here all day and night, particularly after the clubs; it's a cozy coffee shop with a full bar. Peniche means "barge" in French because the building is made from barge wood previously used to carry goods down river. The Touro omelette is delicious. Friendly and fun waitstaff. NOLA cops eat there too.
- Mona's, 504 Frenchmen St (at Decatur St), ☎ . Middle Eastern cuisine, with excellent shwarmas, and an extensive vegetarian selection. Other locations around the city.
- Schiro's Community Cafe & Bar, 2483 Royal St (at St Roch Ave), ☎ . M-F noon-10PM, Sa-Su 9AM-10PM. Great food, reasonably priced. Great vegan/vegetarian selections, even for breakfast. Small community market attached.
- Sound Cafe, 2700 Chartres St (at Port St), ☎ . 7AM-8PM daily. 160 year old building. Very reasonably priced. Excellent coffee, also home made sandwiches etc. Local art, and a book shop within the cafe. Very local meeting place of many post-Katrina survivor groups.
- WhoDat Coffee (formerly Hallowed Grounds, formerly Marigny Perks), 2401 Burgundy St (at Mandeville St), ☎ . 7AM-10PM daily. Friendly coffee shop with free wireless internet and easy parking. Gourmet coffee and tea, soup, salad, sandwich and pastry selection, reasonably priced.
Coffee, snacks & supplies
- Alois J. Binder Bakery, 940 Frenchmen St (at N Rampart St), ☎ . Breads and pastries to go.
- The Orange Couch, 2339 Royal St (at Mandeville St), ☎ . 7AM-10PM daily. Coffee house with light snacks and ice cream.
- Adolfo's, 611 Frenchmen St (between Chartres and Royal Sts, upstairs from the Apple Barrel Bar), ☎ . Cozy, slightly quirky yet charming Italian. Let the waiters guide you to the nightly specials.
- Feelings Cafe, 2600 Chartres St (at Franklin Ave), ☎ . The way the French Quarter used to be 50 years ago. Great piano bar, balcony overlooking nice courtyard. Definitely a locals place and great value, but not for the homophobic.
- Marigny Brasserie (formerly Cafe Marigny), 640 Frenchmen St (at Royal St), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-3PM. Good menu, and a popular wine and martini bar.
- Praline Connection, 542 Frenchmen St (at Chartres St), ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-9PM. Much more than pralines (a sweet pecan candy), good Creole soul food at a reasonable price.
- Sukho Thai, 1913 Royal St (at Touro St), ☎ . Tu-Su 11:30AM-2:30PM and 5:30PM-10PM. Authentic Thai food in a neighborhood cafe.
- Wasabi, 900 Frenchmen St (at Burgundy St), ☎ . Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11:30PM. Excellent sushi and Japanese cuisine. Good selection of sakes.
Frenchmen Street is in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood just below the lower edge of the Quarter. A 4 block stretch of bars, restaurants, and coffee shops mixed with live music venues make it one of the city's most hip places, catering more to locals than tourists (though tourists are certainly welcome, and welcomed).
On any given night, one might find modern jazz, swinging traditional jazz, Latin American style music, rockabilly, and more within this small area. Except for Buffa's, all the below venues are all either on this stretch of Frenchmen Street or just around the corner from it on Esplanade Avenue.
The best way to enjoy Frenchmen (particularly on weekends) is to walk the street with a drink in hand, listening to the music in each club. Many don't have cover charges, but most require at least a one-drink minimum to enter and listen to music. Whenever the music is enjoyable, don't forget to put some cash in the band's tip jar.
- Apple Barrel, 609 Frenchmen St, ☎ . Sometimes has live music too. Local characters, low prices, no attitude.
- AllWays, 2240 St Claude Ave. Lounge in the front, small theater in the back. The hub of fringe theater, plays, bands, and variety shows often. Very friendly and comfortable for all.
- d.b.a., 618 Frenchmen St. New York style bar on Frenchmen, if you need a bit of sophistication when you drink. Great selection of beers, and frequent live music.
- Dragon's Den, 435 Esplanade Ave (above Mojitos), ☎ . A charmingly dilapidated, well-hidden club (go down the building's side alley, then up the stairs to your left), with a balcony on Esplanade and an opium-den feel inside. Live music, occasional poetry slams, serves food.
- Friendly Bar, 2301 Chartres St (at Marigny St). Gay neighborhood bar where locals gather to hang out in a no-pressure atmosphere.
- Iggy's, 1943 N Rampart St (at Touro). Neighborhood bar with a lot of neighborhood characters; very friendly for all. Frequently serves food.
- The John, 2040 Burgundy St (at Frenchmen St). Relaxed neighborhood hangout with rockabilly, country, and punk on the jukebox. Named for the gold-painted toilet seats that serve as stools at the tables. With inexpensive stiff drinks served up in Mason jars, this spot for locals offers one of the best deals on Frenchmen St.
- Lost Love Lounge, 2529 Dauphine St (at Franklin), ☎ . A hip, upscale, dive bar. Features a small library, evening entertainment including comedy and karaoke, surprisingly good Vietnamese food, and great drink specials every day. As the saying goes "its always happy hour at the Lost Love Lounge".
- Mimi's in the Marigny, 2601 Royal St (at Franklin Ave). The toniest bar in the Marigny (but hardly pretentious), with billiards, Galaga, occasional live music, and tapas served from the restaurant upstairs. Good selection of beers and specialty drinks. Hip Hop and Funk DJs Friday and Saturday nights. Lots of singles on the weekends.
- Phoenix, 941 Elysian Fields Ave (at N Rampart St). 24 hours. Gay neighborhood bar by day, catering to the leather crowd at night. Also the official United Cab stand for catching rides back into the French Quarter.
- R-Bar, 1431 Royal St (at Kerlerec St). Hip but laid-back hangout that's comfortable by day and happening at night; great jukebox.
- Blue Nile, 532 Frenchmen St (between Chartres and Decatur Sts), ☎ . A staple of the Frenchmen Street set of music venues, Blue Nile serves up funk, blues, jazz, and New Orleans-style brass bands. A plus is the big dance floor. Unlike most places in Marigny, though, it often charges a cover, so be sure to sample the music from outside before making the decision to go in.
- Buffa's Lounge, 1001 Esplanade (at Burgundy St), ☎ . Small bar room in the front; the big room in the back (also accessible from the side door on Burgundy Street) hosts live music and other events, including a popular jazz brunch on Sundays.
- Checkpoint Charlies, 501 Esplanade Ave (at Decatur St), ☎ . This bar has bands, pool tables and laundry facilities if your clothes need awashin'. Local rock and jump bands.
- The Maison, 508 Frenchmen St (between Decatur and Chartres Sts), ☎ . The place to go for dinner + jazz (pretty energetic jazz), with the largest dining room on the street, and three stages for music.
- Snug Harbor, 626 Frenchmen St (between Royal and Chartres Sts), ☎ . Perhaps the city's foremost modern jazz venue.
- The Spotted Cat Music Club, 623 Frenchmen St (between Royal and Chartres Sts), ☎ . Cozy bar with good hot jazz.
- Aaron Ingram Haus, 1012 Elysian Fields Ave, ☎ . One and two bedroom suites six blocks from Bourbon Street.
- Auld Sweet Olive Bed and Breakfast, 2460 N Rampart St, ☎ . Historic home with six rooms, each with private bath. Hand painted wall treatments, attractive gardens.
- B&W Courtyards, 2425 Chartres St (between Mandeville and Spain Sts), ☎ . Three 19th century buildings connected by lush courtyards. Private baths. Architectural award winner. Just 4 blocks to the French Market.
- 1870 Banana Courtyard B&B, 1422 N Rampart St (between Esplanade Ave and Kerlerec St), ☎ , toll-free: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. In 1800s former elite bordello. B&B now, great location. Balcony rooms with a view or budget rooms, each w/different theme. Lagniappe: free soft drinks, bottled water, generous continental breakfast. Tropical courtyard with hammock, verandah with porch swing. Wi-Fi. New fangled stuff, ensuite like: private bathrooms, cable TV, phone, heat and A/C. Gated parking lot. $79-$165.
- The Burgundy Bed and Breakfast, 2513 Burgundy St, ☎ , toll-free: . Gay owned and operated, affordable rates, walk to the French Quarter.
- Chez Nous Guest House, 825 Touro St, ☎ . One and two bedroom private suites. Fantastic location, one block from Frenchmen St and three blocks from Bourbon St.
- Chez Palmiers Bed & Breakfast, 1744 N Rampart St, ☎ , toll-free: .
- The Claiborne Mansion, 2111 Dauphine St, ☎ . An outstanding 19th century mansion, an impressive guest list, and a wonderful hostess, Cleo. In and of itself worth a visit to New Orleans.
- Creole Inn, 2471 Dauphine St, ☎ . A cozy and affordable B&B in the trendy Faubourg Marigny, just a short walk to the French Quarter.
- Crescent City Guest House, 612 Marigny St, ☎ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. 4 Guest rooms each with private bathrooms. All taxes, maid service and continental breakfast included. Free off-street parking and WiFi. 3 blocks from the French Quarter. $79-$169.
- Elysian Fields Inn, 930 Elysian Fields Ave, ☎ , toll-free: . Convenient for walking into the French Quarter, 3 blocks from Frenchmen Street clubs. Hosts, Leigh and Jim are very knowledgeable of the NOLA music scene. Has secure covered parking.
- The Frenchmen Hotel, 417 Frenchmen St, ☎ .
- La Dauphine, Residence des Artistes, 2316 Dauphine St. A Bohemian, laid-back, unpretentious, 2 room 1896 guest house for the budget-minded traveler- with a 3-night minimum; private baths, free Internet & great walking location for French Quarter-Marigny. Advance reservations required. Ray & Kim are the warm and friendly hosts.
- La Maison Marigny Bed and Breakfast, 1421 Bourbon St. One of Travel & Leisure Magazine's TOP TEN B&Bs.
- Maison DuBois Bed and Breakfast, 1419 Dauphine St (between Esplanade Ave and Kerlerec St), ☎ , fax: +1 504 944-1946. Marigny bed and breakfast not far from the French Quarter.
- Marigny Manor House, 2125 N Rampart St (between Frenchmen St and Elysian Fields Ave), ☎ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. Step back in time and enjoy Southern Hospitality at it's best in this 1840's Grand Greek Revival Home just 5 blocks from the French Quarter and Riverside streetcar.
- Old Town Inn, 1001 Marigny St, ☎ . Cool historic inn, three separate buildings, dating from the 1800's. Located across the street from the Phoenix and Cowpokes and three blocks from Washington Square. Good community feel in a very localized neighborhood open to all. One bright yellow building you shouldn't miss.
- Pierre Coulon Guest House, 714 Spain St, ☎ , toll-free: . Comfortable small apartment very convenient to the Marigny bars and restaurants and an easy walk to the French Quarter. A great location from which to explore the many different attractions of New Orleans!
- River House, 625 Marigny St, ☎ . Check-in: 2PM. A lovingly-restored antebellum mansion with three unique apartments, each like no other in the city of New Orleans. Located two blocks from the river, three blocks from the French Quarter.
- Royal Street Courtyard Bed & Breakfast, 2438 Royal St, ☎ .
- Royal Street Inn B&B, 1431 Royal St (at Kerlerec St), ☎ . "B&B" here may stand for "Bed and Beverage", as this is upstairs from the R-Bar.
- Suite Jazz, 526 Frenchmen St. Circa 1861, the building has typical high ceilings, chandeliers, hardwood floors, Cable TV, WIFI Internet Access, Central Air, a fully stocked kitchen and more! A queen sleigh bed, travertine tiled shower & original artwork by fabulous artists. This apartment is conveniently located above a bicycle shop, Bicycle Michael's. Minimum stay 2 nights, starting at $125/night. Located at the heart of the Frenchmen Street music & dining, between Snug Harbor and d.b.a., facing The Spotted Cat, a few doors from Adolpho's, Marigny Brasserie, Cafe Rose Nicaud, Negril and the Praline Connection. Windows have added sound protection. Sylvia is one of New Orleans' best ambassadors and a great concierge/hostess/tour guide.
- Sunburst Inn, 819 Mandeville St, ☎ . Historic Victorian house with one and two bedroom suites with private bath. A short walk to French Quarter. Suites has lots of nice ammenties, located in quite charming neighborhood.
Cafe Rose Nicaud, Marigny Perks, and the Orange Couch listed above all offer coffeeshop style free Wi-Fi.
Like with many urban neighborhoods, there have been problems with crime in Marigny and in the nearby Bywater neighborhood. The Frenchmen Street corridor with most music venues and restaurants is generally safe. Cabs are plentiful and are always a good idea if you're traveling to areas with less "foot traffic."
The lower part of the French Quarter is adjacent to the Faubourg Marigny just upriver. The Bywater serves as the Marigny's downriver neighbor, with a similar vibe but even less visited by out-of-towners. The 7th and 8th Ward neighborhoods begin just back across St. Claude -- while much of this section is still struggling 6 years after the Katrina disaster, it also has some attractive venues and sights just a short distance from Marigny. Drive, bike, or take the bus back on beautiful Esplanade Avenue toward City Park (located in Mid-City New Orleans) where you can visit NOMA museum and the free admission, not-to-be missed, Sculpture Garden; alternatively you can also get there by catching the Riverfront Streetcar just beyond the floodwall at the foot of Esplanade Avenue- this will take you lengthwise through the French Quarter along the Mississippi, then back along Canal Street.