Living in New Orleans
Why New Orleans (pronounced N’Awlins, New-or-lens, or New-orleens)? Well, Bob Dylan once said: “There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better.” In New Orleans we have four seasons — but not Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall; instead, we have Mardi Gras, Festivals, Snowballs and Football.
Yes, Mardi Gras is a season. It’s much more than you may have heard. It’s not just parades. It’s not all about girls flashing on Bourbon Street (although this does happen). It’s not a city full of drunks. I think iconic New Orleans entertainer Chris Rose said it best: “Mardi Gras is the love of life. It’s the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, our joy of living. All of once.”
Then there’s Festival season (which one may argue is all year round) — but the height of this season is in the springtime. It would be hard not to find something to do on your off-call weekend during Festival season. My favorite way to ring in Festival season is with the French Quarter Fest, which is the biggest free music festival in the country. It has a good taste of local music, art, history, and good New Orleans fun. Following that we have the well-known Jazz and Heritage Festival, which is always the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May. Jazz Fest is more than just a music festival with more than 100 musical acts, including some of the biggest musical talents in the world. It’s a mini-city within the Fairgrounds Racetrack. There’s the Blues Tent, Congo Square, Gospel Tent, and many more each with its own flair. Listening to all the music builds up an appetite; so year after year folks go back for their favorite foods. For example, just to name a few – crawfish bread, cochon de lait po-boy, fried oyster spinach salad, fried soft shell crab po-boy, crawfish Monica, mango freeze, and the list goes on. There’s also Oyster Fest, Satchmo Fest, White Linen Night, Southern Decadence, Essence Fest, and many more!
Now how can you talk about New Orleans without mentioning food? If you come to New Orleans for a six-year residency, you still may not be able to eat and drink your way through the city. Luckily, we have our Journal Club at some of the city’s top restaurants. A few places you can’t miss: Jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace, beignet’s at Cafe Du Monde in “da quarta” (French Quarter, that is) or Morning Call in City Park, Friday lunch at Galatoire’s, Eggs Benedict at Brennan’s, Oyster Rockefeller at Antoine’s, French 75 at Arnaud’s, drinks at the Pontchartrain Hotel (best view of the city) and a Sazerac at The Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel.
Snowball season means sunshine. Snowballs in New Orleans are not like the “snow cones” you get in other parts of the country — they’re much better! Try one for yourself at Hansen’s or Plum Street or Sal’s or any neighborhood stand you run into. If the sun is shining and you’re not stuck in the hospital, you can enjoy your day at one of the popular pools, like the ones in the Ace Hotel, the Country Club, or the Roosevelt. Or take a road trip to the beach. This time of year is perfect for visiting one of the Gulf Coast beaches, such as Orange Beach, Pensacola and Destin, which are only a 2.5 to 4.5 hour drive away.
Last but not least, Football season…If you’re not a New Orleans Saints or LSU Tigers Fan, well you just better become one!
If you’re moving to New Orleans you probably want to know where to live. Each neighborhood in New Orleans has its own feel, so you should come visit to find out which one suits you best. Each has its own selection of fine dining, down home cuisine, bars focused on mixology from craft beer to pool hall dives. Each is accessible to City Park — with its museum, sculpture garden, nature trails, lagoons and some of the most magnificent oak trees in the country; and Audubon Park — with its riverfront park (the Fly), zoo, golf course, stables and popular running trail. And there’s even Crescent Park along the riverfront in Downtown.
Our neighborhoods have been renewed, restored, and have evolved since Hurricane Katrina. The influx of younger folks/millennials continues to modernize the Downtown area, which is just minutes away from our University Medical Center New Orleans campus. Children’s Hospital is located in the heart of Audubon Park. Ochsner Baptist and Touro Infirmary are in the Uptown area/Garden District. West Jefferson Medical Center is across the Mississippi River. And there’s also the surrounding areas like Old and New Metairie if you’re not a city folk.