Cinderella's Carriage in New Orleans

What You Need To Know About Bourbon Street

If you haven’t gotten your New Orleans groove on yet, you are long overdue.  Where do you go to experience real New Orleans, to really savor the flavor of a New Orleans week?  You don’t go to Bourbon Street.  Unless you are bartender or a server or a musician, if you live in New Orleans, you don’t spend a lot of time on Bourbon Street.

I was on Bourbon Street two months ago, but only to cross it.

What you need to know about Bourbon Street can be summed up succinctly: go, but don’t spend all your time there.


Cinderella's Carriage in New Orleans
Every princess finds her prince in our part of New Orleans.

Bourbon Street is much longer than you realize.  It goes all the way to Arabi, which isn’t even in New Orleans.  The part of Bourbon Street you’re going to visit is what we fondly call around here, “the belly of the beast.”  Get it?

Bourbon Street starts at Canal Street (Bourbon Street becomes Carondolet Street when it crosses Bourbon).

I say Bourbon crosses Carondolet because Bourbon was here first.  Bourbon Street is one of the streets laid out in the city’s first grid.  Some people would say, “No, they’re two separate streets.  After all, the 100 block of Bourbon Street is the block closest to Canal Street and the 100 block of Carondolet Street is the closest block on the other side of Canal Street.  There is no continuity.”  Okay, but nobody reading this has even heard of Carondolet Street until I just brought it up.  Bourbon Street becomes Carondolet Street when it crosses Canal, and not vice versa.

I don’t spend a lot of time on the part of Bourbon Street you see on TV, even when that’s my main destination.  Buying a novelty tee shirt and going to a strip club are rarely on my daily list of things to do.

This is the part of New Orleans where I spend most of my time.  This can be your New Orleans headquarters while you’re here.  It’s a small personalized hotel called La Belle Esplanade:

La Belle Esplanade
Your New Orleans headquarters can be a colorful historic mansion.

You are on the right website if you are looking for the #1 place to stay if you want to fell what it’s like to live here.


Walt Whitman in New Orleans
Sit down.  Let me tell you what to do on Bourbon Street.

Don’t drink any beverage that isn’t a color found in nature.  You didn’t come to New Orleans to dye your insides neon.

Don’t buy a drink because it comes in a novelty cup.  It isn’t worth it.

The reason you drink is to get drunk.  The reason New Orleanians drink is because they enjoy life.

If you want to run into someone from your home town, the place to do that is the French Quarter, most likely on Bourbon Street.  You might also see them on Frenchmen Street—-‘Where All the Locals Go To Listen To Music!

I go to the parts of Frenchmen Street that you are most likely to visit more often than I go to the parts of Bourbon Street that you are most likely to visit, but the bar for that measurement is set pretty low.

When people say New Orleans is dirty, they are thinking of Bourbon Street and Frenchmen Street, where all the tourists are dropping their cups and their pants on the sidewalk, when they’re not throwing up.  New Orleans is more than that.

Flowers on Esplanade Avenue
Open your eyes. Open your nose. New Orleans loves you. You belong here.


Once you’ve got Bourbon Street out of your system, there is a whole wide and wonderful city out here, where people choose to live, not just to visit.  Get yourself into an authentic New Orleans state of mind by getting outside the French Quarter.  La Belle Esplanade is a five-suite craft bed-and-breakfast hotel.  Visit New Orleans like you belong here.

Go to Bourbon Street.  You should.  When you get home, all your friends will ask you if you went to Bourbon Street.  Go.

Don’t spend all your time on Bourbon Street, or in the French Quarter, or on Frenchmen Street.  Get off the typical tourist radar.  Bourbon Street is for beginners.  Esplanade Avenue is for winners.  At La Belle Esplanade, you’ll be close to all the tourist must-sees but you’ll also be close to marvels that most tourists don’t even know exist.  That’s the beauty of our part of New Orleans.  We love to share what we know to help you make good New Orleans memories that will last you the rest of your life.

We’re here for you.  Plan ahead and make a reservation as soon as you can.  THIS IS A LINK TO OUR CALENDAR.  We only have five suites so we tend to fill up early during busy seasons.  La Belle Esplanade has been ranked the #1 place to stay in New Orleans on TripAdvisor since April 2014, and #2 in the U.S., and #16 place to stay in the world.  Treat yourself right and Visit New Orleans like you mean it.  Follow us on Facebook or Instagram—-we post there a few times every day to keep you in a New Orleans state of mind.  We also sponsor a sister blog.  Read it.   You won’t regret it.

Good memories are made in New Orleans every day.  The best memories are made at La Belle Esplanade.  Get your good self off Bourbon Street.  There is a whole wide and wonderful city here waiting for you to explore.

2019 TripAdvisor Award
The people have spoken, awarding La Belle Esplanade within the top five small hotels in the United States two years in a row.