Tips for Families at TechEd 2013 in New Orleans

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Are you bringing your family with you to TechEd in New Orleans this year?  My wife, Amy, has some tips for you!

We went to NOLA two years ago for Thanksgiving. We had a great time and I’m sorry to be missing it this year, but the kids are older and school is not out at TechEd time. However, I thought I would offer some advice for families like I've done in the past for TechEd Orlando.

First, you must have beignets every morning for breakfast. I believe it is a law within city limits. :) Café Du Monde is, of course, famous for their beignets and chicory coffee and definitely worth the visit.  It’s right off Jackson Square where the horse carriages gather. But there is another one, Café Beignet, on Royal St and Bienville.  It is smaller, less crowded, and arguably has better beignets.

Second, if you have kids under the age of 15, have them off Bourbon Street/area by 7pm. It's not dangerous at all, it just gets loud and the language gets rougher when the younger crowd who started at noon come out for fresh air.

Third, go all the way down to the end of Decatur St. to the French Market Place. It's an open air market with stalls selling all the touristy things you’ll see in the shops, but much cheaper. Things like masks, boas, beads, and more.

Places to go:
  • The Audubon Zoo was really fun. Not big or anything, just a lovely piece of land out in the garden district easily accessed from most downtown hotels by street car.
  • The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is a nice cool place to spend a hot afternoon. You can buy combo tickets here for the aquarium and the zoo to save a few bucks.
  • At Mardi Gras World you can take a tour and see how the famous floats are made.
  • Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar is the oldest surviving building in New Orleans and dates back to the early 1700's. It has survived numerous floods and fires. It has no internal electricity because as a historical landmark, the structure of the building must be maintained. They cannot drill and run electricity into the building so it is essentially run off extension cords. Most of the “ghost tours” start from there which are fun.
  • The WWII museum is amazing and you can easily spend the whole day there. It's also less than a block from the Confederate Museum. Both are a "don’t miss".
  • Take the Saint Charles Street Car and walk around the garden district to check out the beautiful houses. While you're there, maybe visit Lafayette Cemetery #1.
  • Ride the horse carriages around the French Quarter.
  • Check out Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub (the oldest operating jazz club in NOLA). It’s on Bourbon street and great fun.
Remember to always bring water and sunscreen with you wherever you go.  It's going to be warm this time of year.  Have fun!!!