If you were looking at a map, Bourbon runs along a diagonal; confusingly to visitors, the ‘southern’ part of Bourbon (near Canal Street) is Upper Bourbon, while the ‘northern’ end (near Esplanade) is Lower Bourbon.
In New Orleans parlance, Upper and Lower and refer to the upriver and downriver flow of the Mississippi.
These days, many guides to New Orleans will tell you to ‘get off of Bourbon Street’, the implication being that the 13 block strip of neon, bars, clubs, restaurants and more bars is too lowbrow for your time.
To which we say: well, OK, when you’ve seen your tenth tourist sip out of a commemorative fishbowl, it’s hard to deny Bourbon can be pretty tacky.
Like much of the French Quarter, Bourbon Street’s historic architecture owes far more to Spain than France; most of the street’s French buildings were destroyed in the Great New Orleans Fire of 1788, when the city was then a Spanish colony.
For most of its history, Bourbon was a modest residential street, populated by a mix of Creoles (New Orleanians of Franco-Spanish descent) and the successive waves of immigrants who settled the French Quarter.
We basically always have time for barbeque shrimp, which is not grilled or smoked, but rather cooked in a lemon butter and pepper sauce.
Plenty of gumbo and Cajun pasta dishes round out the menu – that latter category includes some delicious fare like crawfish tails served over fettuccini alfredo and a shrimp and alligator jambalaya, also tossed with fettuccini.If all of the above is confusing, don’t worry – it’s more interesting trivia than vital geographic knowledge.Upper Bourbon is the area best known to tourists – the land of lots of neon, roaming bachelor and bachelorette parties, strip clubs, and enormous drinks served in souvenir cups.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.Ironically, the shuttering of Storyville’s brothels in 1917 likely accelerated the French Quarter’s popularity as a place to party.