NOT YOUR TYPICAL TOURIST GUIDE
Geaux Local: Exploring New Orleans Beyond the French Quarter & Living Like a Local
by Eric Sarrett
Rather than reviewing a book this week, I’m sharing a bit about the New Orleans guide that I recently made available on Kindle. You may wonder why, beyond trying to financially support this blog, I chose to write a book for New Orleans tourists when there are so many guides already out there, many of which are exhaustive and comprehensive, having been compiled by publishers who have resources that dwarf my one-man effort to encompass the Crescent City; but the fact that these other guides are so detailed and impersonal is the point. In the Information Age when more content is uploaded in a few hours than created in all of human history up to this century, exhaustive resources can be, well, exhausting. Too much information, too little knowledge.
I’ve purchased such typical guides myself and found I seldom use them, becoming overwhelmed by an avalanche of information that describes but doesn’t discriminate. I don’t want to know every option, just the best options. Thus, with Geaux Local, my goal is to highlight certain restaurants, bars, and activities that I feel will make for a great experience for New Orleans visitors who are either new or have been a few times but want to dig deeper. Granted, I don’t highlight the only places where you might have a great experience, but if you’re new in town I feel confident that if you follow this advice you will most certainly have a richer experience and discover New Orleans at a level that goes beyond the cursory ‘Big Easy’ clichés that hotel concierges are programmed to recommend. To accomplish this I offer enough options to give readers a choice, but not so many that you are overwhelmed into inaction. Geaux Local is written in a conversational tone, providing advice and recommendations as if you has a close friend in town to narrow down your choices and give insider tips to help you make the most of your time.
However, although recommendations are part of this book, I go beyond the where to the what, when, why, and how to help visitors gain a better understanding of New Orleans and feel comfortable during their visit. More so perhaps than any other in city in the U.S., New Orleans can be as intimidating as it is alluring. It has a reputation for crime and corruptions, and part of its appeal is its quirky culture that includes rituals, social norms, and pronunciations that confound not only first time tourists, but returning visitors. Then there are the patchwork neighborhoods that almost function as independent hamlets (at one point the city split into three municipalities trying to cope with this diversity) whose names get thrown around in directions and conversation as if common knowledge, yet seem like Chinese to the unseasoned visitor. I address all these issues and more, such as when to visit to miss the biggest crowds but not the best food and music.
Geaux Local is the guide I wish I would have had when I first visited . . . and even before I moved here . . . for after decades of visiting there was still so much I didn’t know. I’ve only recently become comfortable with the neighborhoods and geography, still stumble over pronunciations for some of the more obscure streets, and continue to learn the peculiarities and unspoken social rituals. Thus I include things like neighborhood and pronunciation guides, advice on how to get around, and some tips to help you feel safe–for you’ll be more confident if you know where you’re going and how to get there.
As a regular visitor over three different decades and a current resident, I’ve gone through and understand what it’s like to approach this city from the outside. I know the questions you’re likely to ask as a New Orleans tourist, because I’ve asked them all myself. People who grew up here or lived here longer may know more about the city, but if you’ve never gone through the process of discovering it anew or are far removed from that experience it can be difficult to relate to New Orleans visitors who are still both bewitched and bewildered by this unique place.
Below is an overview of the chapters and topics covered within:
I Job Application: Why You Should Hire Me As Your Guide
II How To Act Like A Transplanted Local
- Why a Transplant?
- Be Patient & Adjust Your Expectation
- Neighborhood Guide
- Pronunciation Guide
- How To Get Around
III Where To Eat That Locals Enjoy
IV Where To Drink Alongside Local
- Bars With Good Food
- Bars With Good Music
- Bars With Fantastic Happy Hours
- Bars With a Great Local Vibe
- 24 Hour Bars Outside The French Quarter
V Who To Listen To That Locals Dig
- Living Legends
- New Favorites
- Up & Coming
- Choose Your Own Adventure
- Music Calendars
VI What To Do & See That Locals Enjoy
- Book Stores
- Brewery Tours
- Coffee Shops
- Parks & Recreation
- Where To Find Out What’s Going On
- Ten Tourist Attractions Worth Paying For
VII What To Read To Immerse Yourself In Local History & Culture
VIII When To Visit To Avoid Crowds & Blend In More Easily
IX Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler
So if you’ve never been to New Orleans or have visited a time or two but are looking for expert guidance for your next adventure, I hope you’ll consider purchasing Geaux Local. For the same amount or less than you will likely tip your concierge or cab driver you’ll receive comprehensive advice and guidance from someone who’s been in your shoes. And if you are a local with an expert opinion of your own, feel free to purchase it and contact me with your 2¢–I love a good debate!