Culture, Cuisine & Karting, Oh My!
Exploring New Orleans’ friendliest neighbor, Jefferson Parish is an adventure! A multi-cultural parish that extends over 60 miles from the coastal region of Grand Isle along the Gulf of Mexico to its metropolitan regions along Lake Pontchartrain, Jefferson Parish is best discovered a layer at a time. Today we will explore the city-scape as we visit Bucktown, one of Jefferson’s unique neighborhoods, as well as Metairie’s “Fat City”.
Bucktown began as a tiny cluster of camps - houses built on stilts over the water - in the middle of the 19th century on the finger of land extending into Lake Pontchartrain north of what is now the intersection of Jefferson Parish and Orleans Parish. Residents continued to grow the community building more camps, then boats, making nets for trapping crabs year-round, then hauled in shrimp in the spring and summer. Bucktown fast became a fishing community with seafood processing plants, followed by storefronts, restaurants and eventually saloons and dance halls that attracted fun-seekers from New Orleans.
Just minutes by car from the New Orleans Central Business District, Bucktown today is a flat three by 20 block enclave consist ing of restaurants along the main access road, Old Hammond Highway, just opposite of the Lake’s levee and the Bucktown Harbor Marina and newly opened Bucktown Marsh Boardwalk, a favorite spot to watch the sun setting on Lake Pontchartrain. Along its 1,000 feet, you will find bird blinds as well as informational signs about plants, wildlife, fisheries and the coast.
A stop for lunch is at R&O’s Restaurant. A neighborhood favorite serving a blend of Creole-Italian, Cajun and south Louisiana seafood. A partner of the Louisiana Oyster Trail, the fried oyster poboy is a must-try! Of course, as pictured, the debris roast beef poboy is a local favorite along with a New Orleans style muffuletta!
Next, a visit to Metairie’s “Fat City”, built in the early 1970s with nightclubs, presumably in anticipation of legalized gambling, which never came to fruition, the area became known as “Fat City”. The area is adjacent to one of the busiest commercial corridors in the state, Veterans Memorial Boulevard at Causeway Boulevard, and the Lakeside Shopping Center, a hub for local and domestic and international visitors alike. Fat City was initially inhabited by a mainly young to middle-aged population looking for entertainment outside of New Orleans. The bustling nightlife of the 1980s brought numerous bars and entertainment lounges that eventually wore on the lure of the area and subsequently caused it to decline. Recent initiatives to revitalize the district has resulted in a rebirth of Fat City. Currently in the works are several initiatives aimed at enriching the Fat City District. Progress in the growth of restaurants, shops, and plans for green space is just the beginning.
Enjoy the scenery of the Fat City Art initiative – Murals of Fat City - which includes murals throughout the district depicting the fun and vibrancy of the district. Artscapes is a public art program created to bring art in the form of sculptures to the masses of Jefferson Parish. With sculptures located on major thoroughfares, public parks and other public spaces, this program provides individuals with an opportunity to view and appreciate art in an informal setting. Sculptures have been donated by local and regional philanthropists or are on loan from museums and private collections.
Dine this evening at Drago’s Restaurant, Home of the Original Charbroiled Oyster! An anchor in Fat City, Drago’s is one of Jefferson’s most renowned restaurants, a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Marvel at the sight of the flames billowing upward as oysters are flame-broiled where all can see…and smell! The inspiration for the Jefferson Louisiana Oyster Trail, Drago’s delivers a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Jefferson Parish’s Harvey is located on the west bank of the Mighty Mississippi River. This vibrant metropolitan area is as diverse in its offerings as it is in its people. Home to the Harvey Canal, a vital shipping route to the Gulf of Mexico, Harvey is also a bustling retail center and commercial corridor offering shops, attractions and activities to all ages. Boomtown Casino & Hotel rests along the shores of the Mississippi in Harvey offering gaming experiences from slots to table games, and more. Entertainment in Boomer’s Nightclub features no cover and no drink minimums and today’s hottest entertainment.
Perino’s Boiling Pot is our lunch choice today! Perino's, also a partner of the Louisiana Oyster Trail, is where the locals like to eat seafood. This casual, family-style restaurant is known for serving up the freshest Gulf seafood. The quintessential ‘hole in the wall’ or ‘local joint’ that you’ll be glad you experienced!
NOLA Motorsports Park is the largest karting track in the US and you get to experience the fun and thrill of a little friendly competition today. Enjoy this 40-acre karting facility that includes 30 acres of track area for a thrilling ride!
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