Reader discretion is recommended. Louisiana Revised Statute, Title According to local tradition, the saying that Las Vegas is currently using on its TV ads, 'what happens in At least it could for an hour or so. And then when you were done, or at least broke, you could go to the conveniently located Church of Saint Louis to pray for forgiveness.
Today, however, while the Quarter has that same air about it For instance, the last mention of an Opium Den wasn't even in the Old City but instead, up by Tulane when it was raided in Gambling is limited to riverboats while under way, even cruise ships have to shut down their casinos while in port.
If you want to bet on something, you're going to have to pick a greyhound or a horse at the track and buy a Pari Mutuel ticket. You'll see the occasional slot machine in a tavern that caters to locals, but don't expect a payout of silver dollars, these are for 'entertainment only'.
While there are antique signs around warning of "pickpockets and loose women" those signs probably are only half right at best now. However you slice it, there are a lot more pickpockets, and purse snatchers, and pan handlers than there are 'loose women' on most days on most streets in the Quarter. But, as the subtitle to this article states, and the legal code cited and linked below proves, the Quarter is no longer 'wide open'. If, indeed, it ever really was.
The main reason anybody spends more time on that street than it would take to walk from Canal Street to Saint Phillip's Street to see the bar called Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop built in as an actual blacksmith's shop is to be part of the general atmosphere of 'fun' and 'naughtiness' that begins with the name of the street itself.
You can order breakfast with a shot and a beer in some places at six thirty in the morning. And if you get a couple of blocks off Bourbon and say wander over to Chartres Street, you can get a pretty good one at that.
While it is true that some of the bars appear to be open twenty four hours a day, the action usually winds down around dawn, and you can walk through and see the place anywhere from there on through the early afternoon. If you are looking to get more involved, the best thing to do is to go early and scout out a couple of likely looking places, then go find a good dinner.
Then go back in the early evening and circulate between them as mood, and opportunity, suits. And then sneak out with most of your wallet and dignity intact around midnight.
Now as to what sort of entertainment you're looking for is entirely up to you, but we'll run through the main ones for your amusement, if you will, and tell you what you should expect in each, and what you shouldn't as well. And, now hear this, for the most part, many of these places will welcome a couple with open arms way before they'll even talk to a single guy, or even worse, a rowdy group of guys who are already half lit.
Those they get plenty of. If you want a decent table or a seat at an out of the way table, go as a couple, be pleasant, and you'd be surprised at the reaction you get. Going in - a word of background that will cover everything below. Within each and every one of our totally arbitrary and somewhat overlapping categories, which is just like the establishments they represent, there are flavor varieties that run the gamut all the way through every possible combination you can imagine, and perhaps a few you can't, like a place that has 'shooter girls' in pasties passing out watered down drinks in a live music club that has a full menu until midnight But first - Food!
Within each of our sections, the selection of vittles available at each place varies from nothing through a full menu, and then that varies by time of day as some don't open their kitchen until sundown which is when others close theirs. You can order corn dogs on a stick at one place, and crawfish gumbo at another, and if neither of those works for you, there is always pizza by the slice or deep fried mystery meat with mustard sauce.
And all of it available for a range of prices running from a buck or two, or even free with the cover charge, all the way up to high dollar white tablecloth places with Portuguese wine served by the glass. Again the advice holds, wander through, see what's where and how much and remember it, then go back later when you need sustenance to dilute the booze. Music is usually the second thing most people think of when they think of New Orleans. First would be the Food, or booze, or maybe the French Quarter itself, possibly the River, the old Streetcars, or whatever, but then comes Music.
In the daytime a lot of it is pre-recorded, and so it probably isn't a local artist. But even at high noon, or even before, you can find live performers both on the street and in the clubs playing music, some with more enthusiasm than talent true, but it is still live music. But at night things change dramatically. The clubs come alive, and the range of music being played can be bewildering. Everything from very good jazz Dixieland, Smooth, Fusion, Improvisational, and so on all the way through top forty pop music cover bands, Zydeco complete with musical washboard, Delta Blues, nationally touring mainstream rock acts, and an aging hippie folk singer with an out of tune guitar slurring a forty year old protest song drunkenly into a worn out microphone.
All of it within two blocks of each other. Don't worry, if you're really in the mood to hear some Hip-Hop and you don't see it, or hear it, tonight, check the listings, it'll probably be center stage at the bar on the corner tomorrow night.
Some of the places don't bother with trying to compete on the music or any other side of things and just pour booze into people. They'll have several slightly out of focus and unlevel TVs turned to various sporting events while a bartender tries to talk a handful of out of focus and unlevel tourists into skipping the special and order their 'original' version of the Hurricane, or UFO Fuel, or whatever the latest fad drink is.
Some of these places have frozen cocktails running in ice cream machines all day and all night. Or they have a selection of beers on tap and an impressive laundry list of others in bottles, all at an impressive price as well. But here's the kicker, you can get one of their special on tap beers in a plastic cup and wander down the street and soak in the ambiance at a fraction of what that same beer will cost in some of the other clubs.
Exotic Dance and Strip Clubs. You'll notice that we didn't use the modifier "pretty" at the beginning of that sentence. In many of the clubs, it doesn't come into play.
But, to be fair, in others it does. It is simply a fact, if a good looking young woman has any talent at all, she probably won't be there long. There are some high profile clubs that have spots on or near Bourbon Street and use them to essentially scout for talent for their other clubs. A couple of them that are associated with national, and international, outfits are well known for employing absolutely gorgeous women during "prime time", and charging their patrons some absolutely gorgeous prices as well to see them perform.
Some feature classic Burlesque Strip Tease, others just have the girls doing pole or other dances, including lap dances, and the "no touch" rule is usually enforced, at least to a point. And now what you want to know about these clubs. They are "topless" only. Some have their performers wear pasties that cover their nipples, others don't.
But in all cases, at least on the main floor, consider them a 'tittie' bar. Totally nude public performance is prohibited by local ordinance within the city limits and Orleans parish. As for what else goes on elsewhere in these clubs Gay and Alternative Clubs. If you'd rather see a drag queen revue, or are looking for a bisexual lawyer wearing full leathers who is willing to talk dirty about their trashcan fetish over a brace of rail drinks, or perhaps just want to see those that are into things like that, that's in the Quarter as well.
It is safe to say that if you want to swing a certain way, pun intended, you'll find at least a few like minded individuals and at least one place that'll cater to it.
As for what else goes on in these clubs Sex Clubs Officially, there aren't any. Entertainments like Live Sex Shows, public participation shows, outright prostitution, and just about everything else is simply prohibited by law.
There is even a law against a customer receiving a therapeutic massage from a masseuse of the opposite sex. And so you'll be told by various bouncers who can and will remove you from the premises if you get stupid about it and start yelling about something your cousin in law said about his trip there. These places make their money by staying open, they are not going to let you do something that is going to get them closed down, and no mistake.
And there are a LOT of cops, enforcement officers, inspectors, and what have you throughout the area, in uniform and in plain clothes deep cover as a wandering drunk, to make sure of it. And now the proverbial rest of the story. A lot of places, especially the strip clubs, have an upstairs, and an upstairs upstairs, with private rooms for private shows with private dancers, or a quiet drink with a shot girl, or whatever Usually you'll have to buy a membership just to get upstairs, then you may have to spring for a 'gold card' or something for access to the private rooms, and then you can negotiate for that private audience with an available girl.
If you're lucky, and the girl isn't a vice cop, you might have that same sort of experience your cousin told you about. But of course, your cousin likely didn't tell you exactly how much all that cost either. And, truth be told, most of the time it isn't worth it anyway and your cousin is the biggest liar this side of Congress.
Oh, and while we're at it, according to the rumor mill, and this is totally unconfirmed, unsubstantiated, and strictly based on hearsay, but if it has been a slow night, you might be able to negotiate your way down to about a hundred and fifty bucks to Which is considerably less than the going rate during 'prime time'.
The Street For the most part, the Street is where it's at and where you're going to have the most fun. Get a drink, or three, wander down the street nigh on midnight, and just watch. If you want to see the Devil do a magic show for tips and a drink, you'll see it. If you want to see some decent looking half toasted tourist women flash their tits, and maybe their butts, at a balcony full of boozed up men for a tangled wad of cheap plastic beads, you'll see it.
If you want to hear a group of musicians play better blues than you'll ever hear in one of the clubs for the spare change people drop in an open instrument case, there's a good chance of that too. And there is a certain amount of entertainment available just standing off to one side out of the way and just watching, and listening, to all that is going on around you. Most of these people are not locals, and this is exactly what they came here for.
Otherwise respectable women will dress like a hooker from a 's TV show and expose themselves in public for a string of crappy beads that three months ago they would have thrown in the trash if they found them on the floor in the closet. And men that are pillars of virtue in their communities will pay for the beads for them to do it. To be fair, there are also packs of socialite women, on a "girl's night out" who do the same to young men as well, tossing beads and buying drinks for guys who either are happy to play along or flee in sheer terror.
And all the while there is the watchful eyes of some of New Orleans finest, on foot and on horseback, and on small nimble motorcycles, making sure things don't get too out of hand. We mentioned various laws and regulations several times Hardcore sexual conduct is the public portrayal, for its own sake, and for ensuing commercial gain.. Whoever violates or aids, abets, or participates in the violation of this Section shall be fined not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, imprisoned for not less than thirty days nor more than six months, or both.
Amended by Acts , No.