First of all, I want to say that the majority of the pictures in this blog post were not taken by me (hence why they have names other than MeShell on them.) They are taken from the pool of creative commons license photos on flickr. If one of these is yours and you don’t want it used on my blog, please let me know and I’ll take it off right away (and please remember to change your license settings on flickr).
Yesterday my roommate was cooking a spicy gumbo that filled the condo with the heavenly aroma of spices and slowly simmered vegetables (including okra, one of my absolute faves). Today I feel like going to New Orleans more than ever, I wonder if it is just a coincidence…
Worst of all, I checked how cheap a bus ride would be from Toronto… sigh. Or even a direct flight… Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2011… A girl can dream right? Knowing me, I think pretty much anything is possible at this point.
On surface, New Orleans seems like an unideal destination if you’re vegan or vegetarian, and in a lot of ways… it is. Especially if you want to actually eat something at a restaurant, which as it happens, I enjoy doing a lot. I’ve heard from a variety of sources that there are next to no options in the French Quarter, but I am pretty stubborn, and I always like to hold out hope that I’ll hunt something down.
Resources for more information:
For this I was hoping to use the combined knowledge of the PPK forums, but since a recent redesign (which I love) all the old posts disappeared (but I know they are being archived somewhere…) so I was on my own.
It was a bit more complicated. I searched for “Vegan in New Orleans” and got back a few semidepressing articles about how difficult it is to be vegan (can you feel the bias?), or a list of coffee shops that had some vegan options, and as much as I truly love coffee, I need something more. The benefit of hearing copious amounts of negative information is that it makes me search harder to find something, anything, and now I feel like I’ve found some decent options.
Things that were helpful:
- This PDF guide to Gluten-free, Vegetarian, & Vegan Dining in New Orleans thanks to the FoodCultureJustice Community Food Conference that happened earlier in October
- the New Orleans section of Kittehkakes blog
- Finding Derek Goodwin, a blogger in New Orleans. Gave me hope that it is totally possible to be vegan and live there. And also provided some interesting information about local NOLA beer. I’m not really a beer drinker, so it’s never been all that interesting to me, but his info piqued my curiosity and I’ll probably try something from Abita, just because it’s local.
- The Vegetarian Resource Group restaurant guide for Louisiana YES. Now we’re talking.
- The Vegan in Louisiana fan page as well as the accompanying blog from Missy.
- Mardi Gras in New Orleans website. Not food related but helpful nonetheless.
by Wallyg on flickr
The New Orleans Regonal Transit Authority, you can buy a Jazzy Pass in several day increments (1 day(5$), 3 day (12$), 5 day(20$), 31 day(55$)). There doesn’t seem to be a trip planning service.
There is also Jefferson Transit, JeT, serving Jefferson County (is useful for getting to and from the airport.) Seems the fare would be around $2 from the airport.
Where to stay:
While normally when I travel I look for the absolute cheapest place to stay, which usually means hostels (and I love staying in hostels.) But I’m widening my reach here.
The Creole Inn. I don’t know what it is about this inn, but it sounds like my kind of place. It’s somewhere between a hostel and a B&B without the breakfast. Which works for me. There are discounts on extended stays, etc. I think that’ll be the place I try to stay at least once. The only disadvantage is that unlike a hostel you don’t really get to mingle with your fellow guests but I think I’d be more apt to run around the city than stay inside. That said,because of the location and the price, I imagine people book to stay here a year in advance during Mardi Gras.
Places to Eat!
by jimnix on flickr
One thing that was recommended frequently is that you call in advance to see if a restaurant you want to visit can make something vegan especially for you. Personally, I hate doing that. I hate asking a lot of the questions I do as it is, but it’s a necessity, so whatever you’re comfortable with. I like supporting the places that have vegan option already, and going to places so restaurants can see my sad face when they have nothing for me to eat.
By sierraromeo on Flickr
Meltdown Gourmet Popsicles (508 Dumaine St., New Orleans, LA) because why the heck not. Popsicles can be food right? No. I’m kidding, but this place sounds like fun.
By Angela de Março
Gumbo Shop (630 St Peter St., New Orleans, LA) – Word on the street is this place has Vegan Gumbo and veganedible Beans&Rice. It’s not on their menu, but they do have a vegetarian entree of the day listed. Sounds promising, and it would be great to go somewhere with veganised creole cuisine
by rdpeyton on flickr
The Green Goddess (307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA). A place with vegan and vegetarian options. You’d think they would have more options with such a hippie sounding name, but looking at their menu, it doesn’t seem to be that much more than anyone else. They do have an utthappam dish and the Adobo Mess o’ Greens “Cuban” Sandwich on their lunch menu sounds really good. And I’d have to try the Tanzanian Peaberry Coffee.
There is a place called Murriel’s Jackson Square (801 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA) – this restaurant was listed as vegan friendly on Urbanspoon. Looking over their menu I did see a couple salads (that would need to be modified to not have cheese in them) and Muriel’s Vegetable Plate didn’t sound half bad;
wood grilled portobello mushroom, topped with spinach, red onion, tomatoes, peppers and
feta cheese, with a drizzle of aged balsamic and olive oil; Served with roasted root vegetables.
On the bright side, it sounds like their restaurant is haunted.
by Urban Sea Star on flickr
Juan’s Flying Burrito, has two locations in New Orleans, but since I’m mostly focusing on the French Quarter, 2018 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA, is the closest.
It’s a creole-mexican fusion place with a few options. It’s listed as vegan-friendly on a few different sites. I’m not certain of how they cook their beans and rice, but still, most of it sounds good to me.
Croquette (2800 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA). This place doesn’t have many options, but it’s beautiful, and has some starters that appear to have a lot of potential. The Burrata sans Burrata might be nice (with roasted tomatoes, petite greens, crostini) or some figs minus the goat cheese, and the beautiful watermelon salad.
Not in New Orleans but still interesting and fairly close.
If worst comes to worst there is always Whole Foods Market (5600 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA) or the Crescent city farmers market which might be nice to check out anyways!
Coffee Shops with free wifi AND vegan snacks
There is a vegan baked goods company called No Whey Vegan Baking and their fan page on facebook(or at least it existed at one time. Cookies are available at Z’otz Cafe (as well as Cinnamon Rolls), Fair Grinds, Bean Gallery, Marigny Perks and Cafe Envie. I don’t know if No Whey Vegan Baking still exists in New Orleans, their facebook page has been inactive since April…
Hopefully they do still exist. because if there are Cinnamon Rolls, I’ll be there. Z’otz does not have free internet (pay internet? bleh), so that’s too bad. However, vegan cinnamon buns trump internet.
Stuff to see & do: (in order of priority to me)
by maitri and digitizedchaos on flickr
Krewe Of Bacchus – Sunday, March 6, 2011 – one of the biggest parades ever. Thousands of members and spectacular floats. Here is a map.
both by Philippe Leroyer on Flickr
Tuesday March 8th 2011. The day and night when magic happens. The day of Mardi Gras.
By catwommn and merelymere on Flickr
Lalaurie Mansion (1140 Royal St., New Orleans, LA) – The most haunted place in the french quarter? Why the heck not. I would love to learn more about the horrific Madame Lalaurie.
by wallyg on flickr
New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) – No secret, I love art galleries and museums. so this is a must see for me. How can I resist seeing works by the Edgar Degas and their collection from the School of Paris by Picasso, Braque, Dufy and Miro, and others? That’s right, I can’t resist it.
It’s $10 dollars for adults and 9$ for students (If you are from out of town, it’s cheaper if you’re from Louisiana). Free admission for everyone on Wednesdays!!!
By hragvartanian on Flickr
Degas House (2306 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA) – Tying in with my love of art galleries, I’d love to take a guided tour of French Impressionist Edgar Degas’ temporary house. The tours are conducted by his great grand niece and are by appointment only. (call 504-821-5009 to schedule a tour.)
Follow A Hurricane Katrina Tour. or take an organized one. I remember sitting and watching in horror as Hurricane Katrina was happening, and it would be nice to see how things are rebuilding.
The R.W. Norton Art Gallery (The 4747 Creswell Avenue, Shreveport, LA) – Yes this is in Shreveport, but I think I’d make the effort to head over here.
The Voodoo Museum. (724 Dumaine St., New Orleans, LA) Yeah, I know it’s probably just a tourist trap, but darn it, I want to go there.
Southern Food and Beverage Museum (1 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA). – Uh, it’s food realated. It’s a nonprofit history organization dedicated to the celebration of food, drink and the related culture of the South. Admission is 10$ for adults, or 5$ for seniors or students with valid ID. I also love that hey have something called VolunTourism as an option.
There is also the Museum of the American Cocktail in the same general vicinity.
Other things I wanted to say.
See. It’s not impossible. So there.
Also. If there are any errors, please tell me, I really do want to know. If you have any other suggestions or tips, please tell me, because I really would like to visit.