Bourbon Street in the French Quarter is New Orleans best known street because of its year-round and nearly twenty-four hour a day and seven day a week party atmosphere.It is often compared to Amsterdam with its “anything goes” attitude.
The New Orleans motto — Laissez les bon temps rouler or Let the good times roll — is exemplified by the almost 24 hour party atmosphere on the best known party street in New Orleans. Bourbon Street is lined with bars, jazz clubs, hotels, restaurants, “gentlemen’s clubs” (strip clubs) and boutiques. Jazz, blues, Zydeco and rock ‘n’ roll flow out open windows to the street. People dance and drink in the street outside Bourbon Street bars as if they too had spilled out the open windows.
Pat O’Brien’s is on Bourbon Street. Famous for invention of the drink known as the Hurricane, Pat O’Brien’s has a piano bar, garden patio and side bar. Famous Door, Bourbon Street Blues Club, Tropical Isle and Funky Pirate—with four locations, and the Old Opera House are just a few of the many bars often sholder to sholder in the seven busiest blocks of Bourbon.
There are, of course, many bars in New Orleans French Quarter that are not on Bourbon Street. One of the most popular and well known is Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafe across from the Farmer’s Market.
Preservation Hall on St. Peter Street between Royal and Bourbon is a music hall where you can listen to traditional New Orleans “Dixieland” Jazz played by local musicians. The party goes on most of the day and all night. Weekends and during Mardi Gras it’s frequently difficult to make your way through the crowds on Bourbon.
Don’t get a hotel room on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter if you want to sleep at night — its much too noisy and there is too much excitement to get much sleep. But do get a room on the second floor with a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street if you want to watch the passing parade from above. In addition to watching the throngs below, females on the balconies often beg for “throws” as those in the street demand something in return—typically a quick flash. The process is reversed with girls in the street and guys on the balcony.
The unwritten rule on Burbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans is drink and be merry. Drinking on the street is legal — actively encouraged even — as long as your drink is in a plastic cup. The police are very quick to deal with disorderly behavior so Laissez les bon temps rouler but don’t lose control. Bourbon Street is closed to vehicle traffic in the evening and Royal Street during the day making these two streets in the French Quarter into pedestrian malls for most of the day.