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In short, while there’s plenty to discover off of Bourbon, there’s a lot to discover Let’s start, appropriately enough, with the history of one of the oldest streets in North America.First, despite popular rumor to the contrary, Bourbon was not named for bourbon.On Fridays, the oldest of old school New Orleans families line up around the block (or pay people to wait in line for them) and engage in day-long drinking and dining sessions. Galatoire’s “33” Bar and Steak For literal decades, nothing changed at Galatoire’s, one of the grandest of grand dame old New Orleans restaurants.Then they went and started accepting credit cards, and a few years ago, they opened Galatoire’s “33”.The times, they are a-changing, but in all seriousness, ‘33’ has the original Galatoire’s old school charms – it just also happens to have some very fine steaks.We’re partial to the ribeye, but then again, we’re always a bit partial to ribeye.While there are still live music clubs on Bourbon, those venues have tended to spread into other parts of the city.On the other hand, Bourbon remains a nightlife epicenter for the New Orleans LGBTQ scene, which established a presence here in the early 20th century, when the area had (more of an) anything goes reputation.
Run by the Brennan family restaurant empire, they serve excellent raw oysters, decadent ‘swamp pig’ pasta (crawfish tails and smoked pork belly in white wine cream sauce) and one of the truly great iterations of barbeque shrimp; their version is cooked in a buttery sauce that is balanced by a generous helping of rosemary. If you’re in the market for something simple and noticeably New Orleans, and you’re wandering around the 200 block of Bourbon, Olde Nola Cookery is a good choice.Ironically, the shuttering of Storyville’s brothels in 1917 likely accelerated the French Quarter’s popularity as a place to party.At the time, Mayor Martin Behrman said, “You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular,” and while the ‘it’ he referred to was prostitution, the legal nightlife that surrounded that practice quickly filled the Red Light vacuum.In the present day, while LGBTQ culture is thankfully accepted across the city, the ‘Lavender Line’ on Bourbon and St Ann Street still marks one of the country’s most fabled gay nightlife blocks.Bourbon Street runs 13 blocks through the heart of the French Quarter, from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue; it becomes Carondelet Street past Canal, and Pauger Street past Esplanade.