Road Trip: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

When the carousing dies down at the Fair Grounds Race Course, site of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (April 25-May 4), the majority of revelers will swarm the French Quarter. But those craving the Big Easy's more serene and quirky charms know to head straight to nearby but less-trafficked neighborhoods located just to the east. Faubourg Marigny, where jazz-filled Frenchmen Street is the main drag, and the colorful and edgier Bywater, are both where a slew of live music, offbeat art and compelling food and drink await.

1. The Claiborne Mansion, 2111 Dauphine St. The circa-1850s historic inn oozes old-world grace. Spacious rooms are elegantly appointed with canopy beds and marble fireplaces and baths. Bonus: The grounds include a shady gazebo, a surrounding pool and a fresh citrus grove.

2. The Three Muses, 536 Frenchmen St. Music and food dynamically collide at this beloved venue, which attracts jazz acts like The Royal Roses and Luke Winslow King. When there isn't a musician gracing the stage, it's worth going just for the grub, like Bulgogi beef po' boys.

3. Blue Nile, 532 Frenchmen St. The former Dream Palace - the first establishment on Frenchmen Street to showcase live music - is a bilevel staple that lures acts including Toubab Krewe, Mikey B3 Band and The Soul Rebels.

4. Frenchmen Art Market, 619 Frenchmen St. This emporium is an ode to local craftspeople. Among the wares on display: Porter Lyons' funky jewelry and Damon Arts NOLA's whimsical paintings.

5. Dat Dog, 601 Frenchmen St. All the classics - crawfish sausage and cheddar-bacon ranch fries among them - are on offer at the newest outpost of the city's hot dog shrine. Another element of intrigue is the mammoth mural depicting the street performers that used to congregate here.

6. The Spotted Cat Music Club, 623 Frenchmen St. Locals linger here for the laid-back, friendly crowd just as much as the jam-packed array of performances - from The Panorama Jazz Band to Sarah McCoy banging out ragtime piano. During Jazz Fest, the club will be open late on Fridays and Sundays.

7. Mimi's in the Marigny, 2601 Royal St. A local favorite. First, come for a beer and to shoot some pool. Then, as the night wears on, make your way upstairs to dance to the likes of DJ Fayard and The Shotgun Jazz Band.

8. Booty's Street Food, 800 Louisa St. Puerto Rican-style yucca fritters and grilled octopus skewers are among the motley concoctions served up at this global-inspired restaurant. Go for brunch - which actor Elijah Wood has given his stamp of approval - and make sure to check out the monthly rotating art installations.

9. La Maison Marigny Bed & Breakfast, 1421 Bourbon St. On this hushed end of raucous Bourbon Street, close to jazz-heavy Frenchmen Street, proprietor John Ramsey presides over a turn-of-the-20th-century home with four eccentric rooms sporting high ceilings.

10. Satsuma Cafe, 3218 Dauphine St. If you're in need of taming a Jazz Fest hangover, then head to this Zen, brick-walled hangout for brunch, where black-bean-and-poblano-pepper-strewn tofu scrambles and fresh-squeezed Ponchatoula strawberry lemonade are among the most popular menu items.

-Alia Akkam


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