brass bands, Bullet's Sports Bar, Celebration Hall, crime, danger, French Quarter, live music, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, New Orleans, Rock N Bowl, Snake & Jake's Christmas Tree Lounge, The Candlelight Lounge, travel, zydeco night
Ok, folks, I’m off to New Orleans mid-week next week and possibly looking for a little companionship for a couple of evenings. What? No! Not THAT kind of companionship! Get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about someone who might possibly join me for an evening of live music, drinking and (heaven forbid) dancing in a heavily inebriated state. I can always go alone, but, once in awhile, it’s nice to meet some new people on vacation. My plans were to hit up The Candlelight Lounge on Wednesday night to hear a brass band, then go to the Rock N Bowl on Thursday night (zydeco night) to see Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas. Now I’ve already been to the Rock and Bowl 4 times – 3 of those times when it was out in Mid-City, pre-Katrina. The neighborhood was a little rough around the edges, but I traveled via cab and had a great time every time. Now it’s in a newer, “safer” neighborhood, but doesn’t quite have that same feel about it. Still, I love zydeco and will go there regardless. The Candlelight Lounge, on the other hand, has yet to be graced by my presence. It’s in either the Treme or the Bywater, supposedly a $10 cab ride from the French Quarter (and a cab has been recommended to go to/from there as well). It’s a bit more of a locals’ spot, but a fair amount of tourists seem to go there. I’m not really too concerned about going there alone, but asked on a couple of travel websites if anyone would be interested in joining me at either place.
This is my dilemma. A local woman answered me and said that she was interested in going to Celebration Hall on Wednesday night to see a brass band. She mentioned that she rides by there during the day on her bike, but has never been able to convince anyone to go to hear music there at night. She added that she would only take a cab to/from there at night. She also attached a link to show the brass band performing and people dancing. To be honest, it looks like a great and very unique night out. I told her that I’d be interested in going and for her to message me, which she did, with her phone number. Since then, I realized that Celebration Hall is in the 7th Ward, which doesn’t seem to come highly recommended by anyone. I’ve read that cabs often don’t even want to go there. I’ve traveled the world by myself 95% of the time. I’ve also lived in Los Angeles for many years, as well as Chicago (briefly). I’m wondering if the “danger” is all relative to what people are used to or how comfortable they feel. When I specifically mentioned Celebration Hall and the 7th Ward on a few other websites, asking for opinions, most of the responses were not very positive. Some said it’s ok, but to exercise caution. Others said they would never advise their wife or friend to go there. Finally, someone said that if the local wasn’t able to convince any of her friends to go, there must be a reason. At yet another person’s suggestion, I looked up the recent crime rate/activity in the 7th Ward. Let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty! I hate to reneg, but I’m starting to think that The Candlelight Lounge might be a better option after all. Do any of you readers/followers have any input? Have any of you been to either The Candlelight Lounge or Celebration Hall? There was also mention of a great bar with live music called Bullet’s Sports Bar, which happens to be in the 7th Ward, too. The locals in there are reputed to be extremely friendly and there’s the added bonus of BBQ out front. I’m even leaning towards that a little more than Celebration Hall.
Rest assured, I’m not a scaredy-cat. It takes a lot to phase me; my friend and I were chased by 4 young French guys in a random arrondissement in Paris, some Croatian guy drove me via motorcycle to the middle of a “bois” after dark (also in Paris and definitely unplanned) and I’ve also been followed by Muslim men in Georgetown. All of those situations ended up ok, though some by the skin of my teeth. By and large, the good outweighs the bad with people and in various neighborhoods. However, I don’t want to stress myself out and pay cab fare to somewhere that I won’t feel comfortable when I can stay closer to my home-away-from-home and either party in the Quarter (like all good tourists) or venture outside the Quarter to places with more favorable reviews where sketchiness is kept to a minimum.
So, peeps, let me know what you think and how this should play out. Until this dilemma is settled, I won’t even mention Snake and Jake’s Christmas Tree Lounge. (Ssshhhhh!!!)