By Matthew Rudy
New Orleans' French Quarter is something everybody should see at least once. They've been partying in these streets since the late 18th Century, and you'll lose your tourist card if you don't reserve a couple of hours for a stroll and a hurricane (rum, passion fruit juice, orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup and grenadine) from Pat O'Brien's on Bourbon Street.
But to get the full New Orleans experience, get out of the quarter and visit three places where you'll by outnumbered by locals 10 to 1.
The po' boy sandwich is synonymous with New Orleans, but the version served in many restaurants is homogenized by "French" bread and machine-processed shrimp or beef. Have the sandwich the way it was intended -- with fresh New Orleans French bread and crispy fried shrimp or simmered roast beef dressed with lettuce, pickles and mayo. Why contribute to the shrimp-vs.-beef argument when you can try both?
The Parkway Bakery and Tavern has operated in the same rugged neighborhood northwest of the Quarter since 1911. It used to feed the workers at the American Can Company. Now, locals line up for the large fried shrimp sandwich, chili and turkey & alligator sausage gumbo. Take your sandwich and Abita lager and sit at one of the picnic tables on the patio.
South of the Quarter, near the U-shaped bend in the Mississippi River, is Domilise's -- another po' boy institution. Set in a little shack with a small, hand-painted sign, it looks like a place you'd never go into by yourself. Swallow your fear and be rewarded with giant, no-frills beef, shrimp and sausage sandwiches heartily endorsed by noted calorie-counter Mario Batali just last weekend.
Take a number, order from the board and take your sandwich and root beer to go in the likely event there aren't any open tables. Don't bother to order the small sandwich. The larges are a few bucks more and almost double the size. Get two different kinds and share with a friend.
The Tour players will be teeing it up at TPC Lousiana in suburban Avondale, a lovely, orderly track through the wetlands designed by Pete Dye with help from Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson. For golf with a lot more charm and soul, take the St. Charles Line streetcar to Audubon Park and play its historic par-62 course
, built just after the 1884 World's Fair was held on the site. For $35, you can zip around in three hours and have plenty of time to explore the rest of the day.