Saturday, January 1, 2011


The fly fishing in and around New Orleans, Louisiana is really fun. Quality guides will show you a saltwater marsh environment teeming with big redfish, sea-trout (specs), sheepshead and really big black drum. Nonstop action is fairy common. 10 to 25 pound redfish are the primary target. Many of these fish are spotted less than 30 feet from the skiff and often they are seen feeding from 100 yards. My trip was made possible by Uptown Angler in downtown New Orleans. All tackle, clothing and flies are available there. Guides can meet you at the store to get everything organized.

But wait, that's not all. New Orleans is a very interesting city, possibly the most interesting in the entire US. Why? Because of a rich history, amazing architecture, by US standards, a tradition of great, local food, museums, characters and an infectious spirit. I'm not an expert on the city, in fact I am far from even 'quite knowledgeable', so with that being said, here is my New Orleans 'Things To Do List'.

1. Right off the bat, the French Quarter is a great place to get into the swing of things. It is world famous for huge parties, "show me your___" and more partying. If that is all the French Quarter means to you, sadly you will miss so many other incredible, uniquely New Orleans attractions. The small things like the wrought-iron balconies, the tall shutters, the smell of spicy food as it wafts out onto the street blending with the sound of jazz, blues and zydeco music make strolling aimlessly a huge tourist attraction. There are restaurants, famous chefs and menus that keep Creole traditions alive and well. Just to wet your appetite - there are over 300 restaurants in the French Quarter.

2. The World War II Museum. From canteens to tanks, this is a great place to connect with 'The Big One'. Plan on two hours and then some. The WW II Museum will affect you. The collection of battlefield equipment, films, newspaper headlines, statistics will stir emotions from with-in you, as it should.

3. The Civil War Museum is a block from the WW II Museum. Another great place to see artifacts and to learn about early US history.

4. Neighborhoods. Near the French Quarter, but pleasingly different, are streets and districts that show the rich history and early American-French differences. Julia Street is a collection of thirteen, mid-19th century townhouses. It is also a collection of fantastic art galleries. The architecture is very interesting, also. Just south of Julia Street is the Contemporary Arts Center, the latest and greatest and the soul of the New Orleans arts renaissance. Admission is only $5 and it is free on Thursday. Then, there is the Garden District, where early Americans settled after the Louisiana Purchase (good job Thomas Jefferson!!). The National Park Service offers free tours. Mansions, incredible landscaping, gardens, food, lodging and shopping. The Garden District is a like anti-venom after a late night on Bourbon Street. Classy, dignified, elegant, proper, respectful and charming.

5. The Uptown Angler. You have to drop in on the good people at the Uptown Angler. They have it all. Besides all the guides, tackle and flies, they will help you find a good place for lunch, a museum and other attractions, day or night.

6. Saints Football. A Sunday must. Saints football is crazy. The whole city goes nuts. Everyone seems to know Drew Brees. "I had lunch with Drew..." (that means he was 6 tables away), "I had drinks with Drew..." (that means he was walking down the street and you were gulping too many Hurricanes, "My cousin...", okay, okay you get the point. No matter who 'your team' is, be a Saints fan for a day, it's OK.

7. In between everything EAT!! Crabs and Creole specialties, like etouffee, jambalaya, gumbo and oysters. Oysters, I eat oysters from the Gulf in the cool or winter months and I eat a lot of them.

8. If you find yourself in some serious summer heat or an afternoon rain and need some indoor entertainment try the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Entergy IMAX Theater, the Gordon Biersch Brewery, the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery and there are many more activities for the wild and crazy to families - just do a Google search. Don't forget to check out the zoos, nature centers and zoological gardens. Oh, did I mention Mardi Gras!!! There are visitor coupons for discounted food, lodging and entertainment at -

Brian O'Keefe

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